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4/24/20 Superintendent Update

4/24/20 Superintendent Update
Posted on 04/24/2020

Dear NPS Community:

 

 Like me, you are probably relieved and disheartened that school has been closed through June. As a mom and an educator, I feel both parts. My daughter turned 14 this week; we celebrated and grieved this milestone and how we had to celebrate it. She had a lot of wishes that many of us share. Many of you have written with wishes an opinions about what to do next in our closure lives.

 

My email box looks something like this:

 

  • “You need to drastically increase the work we were giving students!”
  • “It's too much screen time! My kids are stressed! I am stressed!”
  • “Our educators are getting paid full time, why can’t they be online with the kids for 4 hours a day!”
  • “When will we offer a 6 hour day for the kids!”
  • "You need to cut the amount of screen-time, the kids are stressed!"
  • “It's too much! My spouse and I can’t work full-time jobs and be at our 1st, 3rd, 6th graders' online meetings!”
  • “I can’t teach math!”
  • “Give me the materials and I will teach math!”
  • “How could you possibly grade our students!”
  • “Why would you take away our students’ grades!”

 

I want you to know I am reading every word, and we are working as a team of educators and school committee members to determine revisions to remote learning as we head into Phases 3 (May 4-June 17) and Phase 4 (June 17-summer/open of traditional school).  To this end, I again encourage you to use the thoughtexchange feedback tool below to share and star key ideas you would like us to understand. It is important for us to realize how many issues we are all juggling—sick family members, those struggling with deaths from COVID (staff, families and students alike), work and educating our children...and grieving from the loss of our former freedoms. While it is tempting to try to recreate all of our experiences online, I think we all know we cannot simply transfer our former lives to an online copy. So we have to be patient as we head into this next phase as we all shake out the best practices for teaching, learning, parenting, and living in this next phase of closure.

 

I did spend the week meeting with focus groups of teachers and students and all of this feedback including the thoughtexchange results will be discussed on Monday night at our school committee meeting at 7 pm. Teachers will be present to share their experiences and observations.

 

We are most diligently working on ensuring our juniors get the college application and research support they need. We will also work diligently to reschedule and reshape as many senior activities as we can—guided by our senior student leaders.

 

We are transitioning into what we would be doing at buildings during summer break, a refresh, repaint and repair of facilities, waxing, and cleaning for re-opening whenever we are allowed to do that. Thus far I have limited cleaning to large group spaces with the idea that we need to keep classrooms intact for the return. That shifts now that we are closed through June. In the coming weeks we will have a plan for the packing up of student and staff belongings and transitioning them to your homes or to be kept in safekeeping until we reopen. We will work with facilities, teaching staff, and the Board of Health in this process.

 

Brown/KMS Campuses Closed

As part of this transition to summer, the construction plans for the KMS/Brown campus will be accelerated in certain aspects. To that end, the campus will be CLOSED until further notice. That means no cars or foot traffic through the campus and those of you allowing your children to cut through the campus need to redirect them just as we did last summer. Construction will be live and roads will be paved, torn up etc. For everyone's safety, the campus is now closed except for maintenance workers and custodians.

 

Emergency Child Care During Closure

Both staff (educators facilitating remote learning) and families who are deemed essential workers during closure may have the need for emergency childcare and the state has responded with this resource:  https://eeclead.force.com/apex/EEC_ChildCareEmergencyProcedure that I wanted to be sure you all knew about.

 

Holidays

Tonight at sundown begins the observance of Ramadan, which is known as the holiest month in Islam, a period of prayer and charity for Muslims around the world. Those celebrating Ramadan fast each day from sunrise to sunset, after which the family shares an evening meal. The end of Ramadan will be celebrated in the U.S. on Saturday, May 23rd, and is known as Eid al-fitr, the “Feast of Fast-Breaking.” On this date, family and friends typically gather for a festive meal to ‘break-fast’ along with engaging in prayer. While observances and celebrations may look different this year because of the health emergency our world is experiencing, we send our best wishes to all of our families and colleagues who celebrate Ramadan and Eid-al-fitr.

 

 I wish you all a nice weekend. 

Anna



Anna P. Nolin, Ed.D.
Superintendent  of Schools
The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new. – Socrates 

Natick Public Schools
Twitter@annapnolin
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