Update from Principal Talbot

Dear PHS Families,

 

I continue to hope that these communications find everyone well.  Hopefully, you were able to celebrate the various religious holidays of last week to the best extent possible. 

 

I am writing to welcome you to Week 2 of our Remote Learning Environment and to provide as much information as I can about what you can expect from our teachers and your children as we navigate this journey into unchartered territory together. 

 

This email may be a bit more involved than others that I have sent in the past, so I have broken it down by topic, used bullets when possible, and even linked other documents and resources in an attempt to streamline it. 

 

Family Resources:

Before we get too far into the nuts and bolts, I wanted to remind everyone of helpful resources at your disposal.

  • Click here to access the district’s COVID-19 resource page.  Here, you will find an archive of all district-wide communications as well as many other resources to answer your COVID-19 FAQs
  • Click here to visit the PPS Digital Learning Resource Page, which will link you to some great online resources on a variety of topics, including:
  • Click here to access the PPS Health Services webpage, which links to a variety of resources concerning our physical well-being, including links to the CDC, the Pembroke Board of Health, DPH, and many more. 
  • Please click here for a brief message from our school nurse, Ms. Turvey.  She can be accessed via email at Samantha.Turvey@pembrokek12.org

 

Ending Term 3:

As you know, the March 13 shutdown essentially brought Term 3 to a close.  To accommodate students that were missing T3 work prior to March 13, we extended a deadline of today, April 13, for students to connect with teachers to get that work turned in.  Beginning tomorrow, staff will be calculating final T3 averages to post to PowerSchool.   We are developing a plan to get a report card to families during the school’s closure. 

 

Beginning Term 4:

Beginning last Monday, we began our Remote Learning period.  Here are a few thoughts:

  • For now, this Remote Learning Environment is from April 6 – May 4 and it pre-supposes that we will be returning to school on May 5. 
  • If we learn, between now and then, that the shutdown will extend beyond May 4 (and here’s hoping that it does not!) we will send additional guidance for how we will finish up the year. 
  • During this time, we are adhering to the guidance from the Commissioner of Education.   Among other things, this guidance states that
    • Remote learning cannot replace students’ experiences in a traditional school setting.
    • The safety and well-being of our students is the primary focus.
    • Remote learning is not necessarily done behind a computer screen.  It can and should take many forms.
    • Student-learning during this time should be approximately half the length of a regular school day
    • Teachers should reinforce skills and concepts already taught, deepening those understandings rather than moving ahead with new material.
    • If/when a school feel it is time to move forward with new material, especially at the high school, it should happen in consideration of equity of access and support for all students. 
    • Academic content submitted by students should be graded on a Credit/No Credit basis.
  • At PHS, we are using an asynchronous model for our remote learning.  This means that teachers will post assignments and resources to the Google Classroom page and allow students to engage in that work when it is suitable for the students’ daily schedule.  Many of our students are working to support families or sharing devices with multiple siblings, so we are not requiring students to log in at certain times.  Rather, we are letting them login when it works for them. 
  • Teachers will have scheduled “office hours” three days a week.  This will allow students to connect with teachers in real-time if they decide they need to do so.  Again, students aren’t required to attend these hours, but participation in them is strongly encouraged. 
    • The schedule for office hours by department is found here.  As you can see, Wednesday is left open, meaning it is a flex day for students.  They can reach out to teachers as they see fit on Wednesday. 
    • Remember, if a student has two teachers holding office hours at the same time, something this schedule will limit but not entirely prevent, he or she can catch up with a teacher during the next scheduled office hour. 
    • Students can ask specific questions or get that extra support during these office hours. 
    • If we learn that this schedule needs to be adjusted, we will do so and communicate those changes to students.  
  • We still need to solve for the calculation of students’ final grades and the impact our Remote Learning Environment will have on them.  I ask for your patience, as district-wide administrators continue to collaborate on this topic to find the best formula for our students.  Again, much of this decision depends upon whether or not we return to school. 

 

Communication:

  • By and large, our staff will be communicating with students via Google Classroom and school email.  Please remind your child to check both platforms regularly. 
  • Teachers will be posting assignments in PowerSchool, as they would normally do.  This will allow you to monitor student progress.
  • Teachers will also be communicating with families based on the email addresses and phone numbers found in PowerSchool.  Please be sure this information is accurate to ensure timely communication between school and family. 
  • Please remember that all expectations for student behavior that exist during a normal school day exist in our Remote Learning Environment and electronic communications as well. 
  • Please remember that all students and families should adhere to the Remote Learning Guidelines and Privacy Disclaimers found in Superintendent Obey's email to families on April 3

 

April Vacation:

As the superintendent communicated last Friday, April 10, the Pembroke Public Schools School Committee voted to adjust the 2019-20 school calendar to address April vacation and the last day of school.  During vacation week (4/20-4/24), Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday will be remote learning days.  That brings our last day of school back to Tuesday, June 16.

 

End of Year Activities:

In closing, I know that all of you are waiting for important updates on the status of all of our end-of-year activities.  Unfortunately, at this time, I do not have any new information to add, as all of our decisions are predicated on what happens after May 4.

 

If we return to school, we would have time to still hold our Prom, our Senior Week Activities, and Graduation. The school committee is meeting on April 21 at 7 p.m., at which point, we all may have a better understanding of what is in store for us for the rest of the year.

 

Please know that I am committed to having those once-in-a-lifetime moments for our students, particularly our Senior Class.  Even if it means postponing those events until later in the spring/summer, I am fully in favor of and dedicated to making them happen for our students.   

 

Once again, I hope all of you are well.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or concerns. 

 

Kind Regards,

 

Marc Talbot, Principal