NSBORO-CONNECT 2.0 details released

Above: Northborough and Southborough Schools are directing parents to a dedicated website for how the relaunched remote learning program will work.

Our public schools are gearing up to launch mandatory remote learning on Monday, April 6th. This morning, the administration released details on how that will work.

The shift will allow teachers to introduce new concepts. But it won’t fully replicate what would have taken place in classrooms. High school students are expected to spend 2.5 to 3 hours on school work per day, including teacher interactions. The youngest students should spend an hour or less.

Not all of that time will be screen time. The overview explains that the Northborough-Southborough District:

is conscious of the effects of increased screen time and seeks balance between learning through technology and remote learning that happens offline to support students’ curiosity and understanding.

The details also include news that the district will observe originally scheduled holidays and April break. That means no schooling on Good Friday, April 10th and the week of April 20th.

On Monday night, Superintendent Gregory Martineau explained to the Combined school Committees some key differences between the current remote learning model and the planned reboot.

NSBORO-CONNECT 1.0 (running through tomorrow):

  • optional learning
  • geared to building and maintaining skills
  • teachers gave some feedback but no grades

NSBORO-CONNECT 2.0 (starting Monday):

  • required work
  • introducing new content
  • will be assessed for grades

At that time, Martineau said that grading was still being worked out, especially for the more complex for middle and high school courses.

The newly posted overview sets out a “Master Schedule” for when teachers and kids will make “real-time connections”. Those formats could include:

video conference, shared Google document, chat, telephone conference call, pre-recorded video, or discussion board. Educators will use their professional judgment to determine the format that works best for a session’s purpose.

The schedule splits the timeframes for those connections by Elementary Schools (8:00 – 9:55 am), Middle School (10:00 – 11:55 am), and Algonquin (12:00 – 1:55 pm): 

master scheduleThe shaded blocks of time indicate when teachers can connect with their students in real-time without conflicting with similar activities at other levels throughout the District. Faculty and staff will continue to be available to students throughout the day, as identified in each of the grade span schedules: elementary, middle, and high school.

The schedules are touted as developed to:

  • Provide defined opportunities to connect with educators multiple times per week.
  • Give students access to daily academic content directed by educators.
  • Include additional daily time for enrichment activities such as the arts (dance, media arts, music, theater, visual arts and physical education).
  • Minimize the potential for conflict of family resources and time (e.g. wifi, devices, parental support).

Within each of the Master Schedule windows there are more detailed breakdowns. For Elementary schools, half hour chunks of time will be split between Finn, Woodward, and Neary grade levels. (Pre-K will also have time, which coincides with the Neary shift.)

For those grades students will study math and English Language Arts each day. Science and social studies each will be once per week. The site explains:

The amount of time students will spend per school day on assignments, which includes real-time sessions, may range:

  • PreK/K – up to 60 minutes.
  • Grades 1-2 – up to about 90 minutes.
  • Grades 3-5 – up to 120 minutes.

Trottier’s schedule alternates days dedicated to core classes or specials/Flex. The middle school students should spend 2 – 2.5 hours per day on assignments.

You can read the full details for the Monday launch on a dedicated website. Details you can find there include:

  • Guiding principles of NSBORO-CONNECT 2.0
  • Goals of NSBORO-CONNECT 2.0
  • The District’s definition of remote learning
  • Availability of the Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough faculty and staff (PreK-12)
  • What office hours are
  • What English Language Education will look like for English Learners
  • What Individualized Educational Program (IEP)/504 supports (PreK-12) will look like and how chilldren will receive the support that they require
  • Virtual IEP/504 Team meetings
  • Status of Standardized Testing (PreK-12)
  • Attendance (PreK-12)

At the Monday meeting, Martineau targeted reopening schools on May 4th. But he acknowledged that the situation may change.

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