Calendar Update and Message from Superintendent

Update from Superintendent
Posted on 04/01/2020

Dear Parents,

I hope you all are finding a rhythm in this crazy new reality and are finding ways to balance work, family, and community. We have collectively accomplished so much in such a short period of time! It seems incredible to consider we have only been engaged in distance learning for only a little over a week. You have been incredibly supportive of our students and teachers, and it is deeply appreciated. There is so much information coming at us, I thought it might be useful to summarize some of it here:

School Schedule:

The Governor yesterday announced the extension of distance learning through the end of April. The Commissioner of Education has requested that schools adopt a common calendar across the state for April, and Narragansett will comply. The changes are as following:

· Friday April 3 (this Friday) and Friday April 17 are now PD days -  no classes for students.

· Thursday April 9 and Friday April 10 – Vacation Days for everyone.

An updated calendar can be found HERE.

Parent Feedback:

We sent out a survey last week, and will do so again at the end of this week. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. A few items were patterns across schools and grade levels that I thought were excellent areas for growth for our district:

· Students appreciate and need small group and/or full group live sessions using Zoom and Google Hangouts as regularly as possible.

· Keeping the level of homework at approximately the same as “regular” school is appreciated – fewer, deeper assignments rather than rote learning is more engaging to students.   

· Coordinating schedules and assignments with other grade level teachers and specialists is critical, as many students have increased responsibilities at home and need to plan ahead. Avoid giving multiple tests on the same day.

Technology

Many thanks go to our entire Technology team, as they have set up a cell center and “tech triage” system to help students and faculty with tech issues. They have kept us up and running, and it is greatly appreciated. In some other news:

· If you are experiencing technical issues with your school-issued laptop, please email techsupport@nssk12.org or call 401-284-4951 from 8am-3pm to reach our tech support team who will try to assist in and troubleshoot any issues you may be having.

· PowerSchool Learning assures us they are devoting the resources and expertise to make the platform fully functional going forward. We have been fiercely advocating to get this working properly. Seems to be better this week.

· Zoom: The Tech team has found a way for this to be used grades 5-12. More information to come from teachers and principals as they incorporate this resource.

What’s Next?

Quite honestly, we just don’t know yet. The Governor and RIDE want to make short term decisions right now. To that end, we are not yet canceling end of year activities (as of this afternoon -  could change tomorrow). We will certainly make contingency plans for major events like Graduation, etc. I’ll keep you informed.

It’s so sad for all of our children to miss this vital time of the school year, and is particularly impactful for those students who are in transition years -  4th, 8th, and 12th grade. We will plan for recognition, ceremonies, and transition activities when we have more solid information on the calendar going forward.

We have scheduled an emergency virtual school committee meeting tonight at 5:00 to approve the 2020-2021 school budget for consideration by the town council. School budget information can be found here. I hope it goes as well as all of the great work our students and teachers have done establishing distance learning!

Stay safe, stay physically distant and emotionally together, and wash your hands! Looking forward to seeing you and our students in person when all of this is over.

Sincerely,

Dr. Peter Cummings

Superintendent

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