Virus update: Schools announce their online plans and how to retrieve materials/belongings

by beth on March 18, 2020

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Parents of students in the Southborough and Northborough K-12 schools should have gotten emails by now. Yesterday and early today, principals provided details on how their schools will handle optional online education during the 3 week closure. Teachers are following up with specific details for their classrooms. (Check-in methods vary by schools and grade levels.)

This is also the morning when families are able to pick up items left behind. (When kids left schools on Thursday, word had yet to go out about Friday’s closure, let alone the 2 week, then 3 week extension.) Importantly, today is also the launch of bagged lunch pickups and the time for parents who applied to borrow online devices to get them.

Each school is providing its online education options under what the district is calling “NSBORO-CONNECT”. Communications from principals stress that this is optional learning and won’t impact grades.

Some principals are encouraging parents to provide a schedule/structure for students. As the Finn communication put it:

At school, students rely on following a structured schedule. Communicating with your child that they will have a structure to follow for the next several weeks will help to establish routines and expectations to make the most out of this period of time.

Here are highlights from individual Southborough schools’ communications. 

Finn School (Grades K-1)

Excerpts from a posting by Principal Clayton Ryan:

Later on this morning you will receive communication from your child’s teacher with specific directions on how to access the optional learning material created for your child. Your child’s teacher and grade team created a broad, cross-curricular series of learning activities that will be sent out every Monday to you during this closure. We are encouraging you to engage your child(ren) in these optional learning activities until we’re able to re-establish access to our schools. Teachers and staff will also be connecting with you personally, during the course of each week to check-in about your child’s well-being. . .

For parents who do not have regular access to technology or printers, paper copies of activity packets are available. You must fill out the paper copy request form below, in order to receive a paper copy of the packet.
Paper Copy Request Form https://docs.google.com/…/1FAIpQLSc3pbmlhI2PjkFds-…/viewform

I’ve established Mondays, from 8:00am- 11:00am, at the Finn School office, for paper copy pickups during the closure.

If it’s possible for you and your family please encourage your child to take part in the resources we have made available. In addition, we encourage all students to regularly practice writing, drawing and coloring, and of course, reading books.

Woodward School (Grades 2-3)

Excerpts from an email by Principal Steven Mucci:

The learning experiences being provided by teachers are optional. The opportunities are to help students engage in learning and maintain skills.

The work from NSBORO-Connect will not be graded or be used for assessment purposes.

Educators will be in touch with students/families via email and/or google classroom. Students should expect two check-ins a day from their classroom teachers in order to stay connected and ask questions. Please do not hesitate to reach out to teachers throughout the closure.

Classroom teachers will also be providing optional activities created by our special area teachers so our students can remain engaged in physical education, art, music, library, technology, and health education.

NSBORO-Connect will remain in place until the day before schools reopen. You will receive updates from your classroom teacher throughout this time.

As a way for me to stay connected to students and families during the closure, I have created a Woodward Instagram account where I plan to post daily riddles, questions and videos. Please follow us @woodward_school and add your comments.

You can check out his insta postings here. On Facebook, the Woodward team also shared a cool link to a story on #OperationStoryTime. It explains how children’s authors (including some famous favorites) are posting videos online and using live streaming to conduct virtual storytimes and even creative/educational sessions for kids stuck at home. Check that out here.

Neary School (Grades 4-5)

Excerpts from a letter by Principal Kathleen Valenti:

Over the course of the past several days, Neary staff members have been virtually collaborating and planning with one another in order to prepare for NSBORO-Connect. . .

NSBORO-Connect will begin on Wednesday, March 18th. Teachers will be in touch with students and families through email and/or google classroom. Students will receive two check-ins per day from their teacher(s) in order to stay connected and ask questions. Please do not hesitate to reach out to teachers throughout the closure.

Please know that the learning experiences being provided by teachers are optional . The opportunities are to help students engage in learning and maintain skills. During this closure, no new learning will be introduced and the optional learning experiences will not be graded or assessed.

Neary will be open on Wednesday, March 18th, from 8:00-12:00 a.m. for families to pick up necessary items such as instruments or outdoor garments (i.e. hats, coats). Classrooms will be closed, but we will have staff in the main office to retrieve any necessary items for you. All optional learning experiences will be offered by our teachers through Google classroom or email.

Therefore, there will be no need for any items such as books or papers to be retrieved from the classroom. As a reminder, if your child is looking for a new book to read, Neary has a subscription to SORA, an online library, which can be accessed at soraapp.com. Students will need their Google classroom login to access books. If you need assistance with this, please email your child’s teacher.

Trottier Middle School (Grades 6-8)

Excerpts from an email by Principal Gary Hreschuk:

The building will be open from 8-12. . . Wednesday, March 18, for students to get any materials from their lockers. Staff will be here to monitor the hallways and to supervise in order to limit student access.

NSBORO-CONNECT

I appreciate your patience and support as we continue to work together in navigating these upcoming weeks. Our goal as a Trottier staff is to keep communicating virtually with both students and families, as well as to provide optional learning experiences for our students. Our teachers have planned a series of engaging activities your child will be able to do. These activities are not intended to replicate the learning that would take place in our classrooms, but are designed to help students in maintaining existing skills. Per Superintendent Martineau’s message from Sunday, March 16, these optional experiences will be delivered through CANVAS, our online learning management-portal, and will begin Wednesday, March 18. . .

CANVAS

Activities and materials for each core subject will be posted daily by your child’s teacher. Your child is encouraged to check CANVAS daily for these activities if he/she chooses to participate. Please have the notification feature in CANVAS on so you are receiving updates. In CANVAS, click on Account, Settings, Notifications. “Course Content and Announcements” should be set to “Notify Me Right Away”. Additionally, our school counselors have added a detailed list of social-emotional learning resources to their website. You can access counselors via email to schedule a time to connect.

POSSIBLE DAILY SCHEDULE

We know that adolescents thrive and depend on structure and predictability to maintain a sense of security. Therefore I have provided a model of what a typical day may look like for your child over these next few weeks should your family decide to participate in the optional activities. You know your child best, so this model is only one example of how the days may be structured.

Example activity schedule for Trottier

Algonquin Regional High School (Grades 9-12)

Principal Sara Walsh informed me that her school followed up on the Superintendent’s earlier message about NSBORO-Connect and Canvas:

For ARHS, we are using canvas and integrating a wealth of fun new platforms. We are holding our meetings and school day academic work via video conferencing. It’s a wonderful challenge.

Today, ARHS is providing left curriculum items back to students (students had to sign up online to schedule an appointment). Today, the district is passing out devices and starting food services for all of Northborough from the high school.

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