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COVID 19 Update, 3/26

COVID 19 #5 Update

Good morning Georgetown Community!

Well there we have it! All schools must be closed until May 4th. This is not unexpected but clearly unfortunate and it will require us to stay connected and remain committed to educating our students for an additional month. This will be challenging but I have confidence that we will all rise to the occasion as long as we work together!

I hope that you are continuing to be well as we are moving through the second week of remote learning in the first phase of our school closure. I know as the time passes this may get more challenging as students miss their friends and teachers and parents struggle with how to work from home and set up a home school operation which is not the way our students are used to learning. Our teachers have been communicating with you and your students via email and some through zoom and google hangout. While using these apps is not required of all teachers, those who are doing them seem to be having a positive experience because it allows for two way communication which we are all missing. One of the challenges with lengthy school closures like this is the isolation we all feel with the temporary loss of the daily connections and relationships that we all sometimes take for granted. Some ideas I have heard are virtual play dates, story hours, Zoom parties , on line classes and sing alongs. If you have other ideas that you have been doing to reduce the isolation, please share them with me and I will send them along on my blog. We are all going to face feelings of isolation, if we are not already, and sharing great ideas is important to keep spirits up

I want to let you know that the leadership team has been planning for an extended closure but we are still waiting for guidance that will be coming from the state either tomorrow or at the conference call with the Commissioner on Friday. He has been working with the various stakeholders to reach agreement on how this second stage of school closings will be conducted. In the short term, we will continue to ask teachers to provide assignments and enrichment activities and ask that parents continue to encourage your students to complete them so that the habit and process of learning will continue. We are expecting to get information from the Commissioner about if and how expectations for teachers and students should change with this extended closure. Many parents are asking what we are going to do about moving forward with the curriculum, assigning required work and grading and providing feedback to students. Respectfully, we have the same questions and I suspect that a closure of an additional month may be more focused on setting parameters for students and curriculum while continuing to practice skills, expanding reading and writing skills, engaging in critical thinking and trying out new things. Teachers will continue to reach out to students and to encourage them to keep working hard even though they are not in school. I know that our teachers and students miss each other very much and I miss all of you!

Here are a few things to highlight:

1. Rolling Staff Rally

In order to show how much the staff misses our students, we are going to have a “rolling rally” through Georgetown. We are working with the fire and police departments to establish a route and then we will publish it. The staff will form a line with their vehicles and travel throughout town. Our hope is that families will come out in front of their houses or to the end of their streets to wave to the staff as they drive by beeping their horns and waving to students. Our plan is to hold this rally on Wednesday, April 1st beginning at the Penn Brook School. Cars will assemble at 9:45 am and the parade will begin at 10 am. I hope families will come out and enjoy seeing the staff rolling by!

2. Report Cards

At Penn Brook School, report cards will be sent to families on a staggered basis by grade beginning April 1st with kindergarten. Each day another grade will be sent out using the emails that are used to receive the Principal’s This Week every Sunday night. Sixth grade teachers will post report card grades by April 1st. Special Education progress reports will be sent directly to parents starting on April 1st. Any parent that does not receive their child’s report card (since this is the first time we are trying this) should contact their child’s teacher and they will send the report card to you.

Final plans for report cards have not been made at the Middle High School at this time. They are on a quarter schedules while the PB is on a trimester schedule. More information will be provided when we hear from the Commissioner.

3. Kindergarten Registration Postponed

The kindergarten registration process has been amended as follows:

May 12- General registration at Penn Brook

May 13- Registration packets collected for current Perley students going to kindergarten next fall

The screening of students will continue as planned with current Perley students going to kindergarten next year being screened in June. All other incoming kindergarteners will be screened in September.

4. Additional Resources from DESE

I have attached a list of resources that DESE wants to share with families. These include on line resources that they suggest. In acknowledgement of the fact that not all families across the state have access to internet and/or devices, they have developed a partnership with WGBY television and will be broadcasting educational programs each day on the television. You might want to check this out.

5. Sharing a Hopeful Perspective

A good friend sent me this poem by author Kitty O’Meara offering a way to look at the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Thought I would share.

Information Coming Soon

1. What about MCAS for the Year? Will it happen or be cancelled?

2. What are the expectations for students and educators during this extended closure?

3. Will academic curriculum continue along with continued enrichment?

4. What will happen to the spring sports schedule?

Stay well and I’ll talk to you soon!

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