Superintendent's Updated Message 4/23/2020

Superintendent's Updated Message 4/23/2020
Posted on 04/23/2020

Dear Parents,

This afternoon, Governor Raimondo announced that schools will continue with virtual learning through the end of the year. While this was not a surprise, it did confirm our fears that we would not be able to reunite with our students in the near future. It is a crushing loss for all of us, and hits particularly hard for our graduating class of 2020. While we know nothing will replace the time and opportunities lost this Spring, we also want to celebrate all that our students have accomplished over time. We will be sharing end of year plans for graduation, promotion, and other milestones as soon as possible.

While the Governor’s announcement today was made in the best interest of public health and safety, it certainly is not what any of us wanted for our students. However, the Narragansett School System has been planning for such a possibility, and in the coming days each school will be sending specific details to you regarding the continuation of academic programs, end of year acknowledgments, and transitions between schools. Additionally, there are several details below which apply to all students:

Duration of the School Year and School Calendar:

The last day of school for students PK-11 will be Tuesday, June 16th. That would have been our last day of school were it a “normal” year and the guidance from the Rhode Island Department of Education asks us to complete the regular school year though the current distance learning format.

The last day for Narragansett High School seniors will be Friday, June 5th, which also would have been the last day for seniors were it a “normal” year. We are awaiting guidance from RIDE and the Governor regarding what formats for graduation will be permissible.

The Springs sports season for middle and high school has been cancelled. I know this is particularly disappointing to our student-athletes.

The Rhode Island Department of Education is recommending districts have a series of professional development days and vacation days through the end of the year. In Narragansett, these days will be as follows:

Professional Development Days (no school for students):
Friday, May 8th; Friday, May 22nd; Monday, June 1st

Vacation Days:
Friday, May 15th; Monday, May 25th (Memorial Day)

Grading and Assessments:

There will not be final exams at Narragansett High School this Spring. Mr. Warner has sent home a letter to families outlining the grading and assessment policies for NHS this Spring.

Likewise, Pier School and NES have adjusted assessment and grading practices to accommodate for a distance learning format. Each school has worked with teachers to implement these practices and will further communicate with parents as questions arise.

Materials Left at School:

Each Principal will communicate with families regarding a safe pickup of materials left at school. We recognize that with the sudden departure, books, personal items, etc. were left at school and need to be returned. We will schedule a day and time for each family to pick up items in the coming days.

Celebrations and Transitions:

We will hold our NHS Athletic Awards and Senior Banquet virtually. More details will be forthcoming from the high school administration.

Our Grade 4 and Grade 8 promotion and celebration ceremonies will take place virtually, and each school is planning something special for our students in these grades.

Pier School will be reaching out to our Grade 4 students as a part of the transition process to middle school, and, likewise, NHS will be reaching out to our Grade 8 students about the transition to high school.

I’d also like to again thank you all for your commitment to education and support of our students and teachers. This has been a learning experience for us all, and I appreciate the feedback, insights, and knowledge you have shared with us at every level. I recognize from my own current parental experience that the process of juggling work, distance learning, family, and other current stressors is asking all of us to take on unexpected roles and have unforeseen challenges. As a community, you have answered the call and I appreciate and admire all that you are doing for your children. We will continue to ask for your input and feedback and make adjustments accordingly.

I will continue to update you as we get new information, and I look forward to seeing you in person when the time comes!!


Peter J. Cummings, Ed.D