Last week, the Northborough-Southborough Public Schools issued its final monthly newsletter of 2020. This one included some nice information on what students have been up to at each school, plus an overview of how the administration is handling schooling in a pandemic across the districts. For those who don’t get the messages (or missed it), I’m sharing highlights.*
NSBORO: Looking forward
An introduction from Superintendent Gregory Martineau included news on the administration’s plans for moving forward in the new year:
I know 2020 has been a unique year, one that required most of us to adapt, adjust, and respond to unpredictability. I’m looking forward to 2021 and placing 2020 in the rear-view mirror and the day when my communications to families are centered on teaching and learning and NOT COVID-19. I remain optimistic that a return to some semblance of normal is on the horizon.
As a learning organization, The Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough has endeavored to support students’ social, emotional, and academic journies. The District will continue to improve the current learning models and ensure that we’re listening to the feedback and input from our students and families. To this end, the District is analyzing the data collected from the Family and Educator surveys, which closed on December 4, 2020. I will share the survey results and analyses with families in January. These data are being used to improve the current learning models and develop a path forward for increased in-person learning for our students.
In January 2021, stakeholders will have an opportunity to learn more about the path forward, ask questions, hear from the District’s Medical Advisory Team (MAT) and District and school-based leaders. The District will utilize local health and safety metrics to ensure that data-based decisions are made based on science.
Learning and Teaching in the time of COVID
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Stefanie Reinhorn looked back on examples of how the schools met this year’s challenges:
The Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough educators have spent countless hours reimagining learning and teaching for the hybrid and remote models. As a result, students and teachers are playing new roles in the learning process as are parents and guardians. We are seeing all sorts of innovative approaches to teaching high priority skills and knowledge. Science teachers are converting labs to include demonstrations and staged participation for safe hands-on experiments. Musicians from the Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, and Symphonic Band are emerging percussionists, using bucket drumming as a way to exercise their musical muscles. Remote learners are using digital whiteboards so their teachers can see their work during zoom classes. There are abundant examples of students and teachers learning new technologies to support hybrid and remote learning experiences.
While digital technologies have been powerful, educators are also working to find a balance by promoting learning away from the screen. Students are still asked to read, write, and create on paper. Teachers task students of all ages with completing work independently away from Zoom. Students together with their families are developing habits to support learning at home including a productive learning space, strategies for time-management, and organization of resources. In this way, our unique situation is creating opportunities for learning that might not have otherwise been required.
Finn School: Hello Around the World
Every culture has a unique way of greeting people and Finn wanted to recognize the many different ways our students say “hello.” This Bulletin Board illustrates the current level of diversity in language and culture taking place at the Finn School. The many different languages listed directly reflect Finn’s student population and were identified through the school’s “All About Me” activities. Learning about the uniqueness each student brings to the Finn School helps the Finn staff make genuine connections and allows us to support students in ways that truly make a difference.
Woodward School: Partnering with Southborough Youth and Family Services
Despite the challenges we all continue to face, the holiday spirit of giving is alive and well at the Woodward School. In partnership with Southborough Youth and Family Services, the Woodward faculty and staff collectively donated over $1,600 in gift cards to Southborough families in need. If you would like to contribute to community giving, please consider donating to Southborough Youth and Family Services or the Southborough Food Pantry.
Learning at Neary School: Take a Peek
If you can’t view the embedded video below, click here.
Trottier Middle School: We are Family
Here is a little We Are Family to take you into December break.
With each day, we see our staff and students returning to what they do best. We’ve been very proud of your efforts, and the students are responding accordingly.
Algonquin Regional High School: Teaching and Learning Spotlight
Students in the Fine and Performing Arts worked this week on a variety of projects, including preparing the materials they will need for next week and following the break: here, students in Danielle DeCiero’s class are preparing clay for the extended time away in remote learning and winter vacation. When we return, this clay will be used to create a mug. Additionally, and fittingly, some students worked on art as gifts for loved ones: below in the middle, Caroline Kent created a cartoon of her sister in Digital Art with Michelle Sheppard. This picture was then printed, boxed, and will be going to her sister for Christmas! Others chose to create a cartoon of themselves, of family members, and of their friends. Here are some other examples of the kids’ fine work: the charcoal sketch combining two Da Vinci rough sketches is by Dana Gaudette, and freshman Cole Walter recently created this picture done with lines and had to include text in Rebecca Duffy’s Art 1 class.
*The newsletter included a blurb from each of Northborough’s K-8 schools as well. But I’m just focusing on news relevant to students from Southborough.