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Message from Superintendent Duerr

Dear Clipper Families,

We are closely monitoring developments at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). I plan to provide you with weekly updates as we anticipate additional guidance on summer school programming and the reopening of schools in the fall. In addition, our parent and staff advisory committee began meeting this week, and I plan to update you often on our progress.

Teacher Professional Development. As we begin to prepare for what the start of the next school year looks like, we aim to strengthen our structures and practices for remote learning and prepare our teachers to engage and support students in at least a partial remote learning setting. The next two Fridays will be designated as days of professional learning for our staff, PreK - Grade 12. Students will have assignments to complete; however, there will be no Zoom check ins or office hours on June 12 or 19. Our staff will be building digital classrooms and coordinating the instructional materials curated within them. More information and orientation videos for students and families will be made available in late summer ahead of beginning the new year.

Summer School Update. School leaders are working with the Office of Teaching and Learning to prepare the curriculum for this educational program. The summer learning academy, for students entering grades 1 - 7 will begin on Monday, July 27, and conclude on Thursday, August 20. Each of the four weeks of the program will run Monday through Thursday, from 8am to noon. We are hopeful that we will be able to offer a hybrid model that combines in- person and remote learning. If that is not possible, the program will be offered remotely.

The Falmouth High School and the Lawrence summer school programs will continue to be offered this summer as they have in the past. While the FHS program will be completely online from home, the hope is the Lawrence program will be a hybrid of both in-person learning as well as remote learning. Both programs will begin on July 27 and conclude on August 20. Students and families will receive information directly from these schools.

The Extended School Year (ESY) program provided for qualifying students will begin on Monday, July 13, and conclude on the same day as all other summer programming on Thursday, August 20.

We are waiting for full summer school guidance on face to face requirements prior to making the decision if we can support at least a portion of programming in-person.

Reopening Schools in September. As is the case with summer programming, we are also waiting for guidance from DESE about the reopening of school this fall. It is scheduled to be sent to districts during the week of June 15, 2020. In the meantime, district administration and educators along with the parent and staff advisory committee are reviewing models for reopening; health and safety materials and protocols; teaching and learning; and social and emotional learning, health, and wellness. Although we would hope to be in school full time at some point during the next school year, it is likely we will begin school in a hybrid model.

Parent & Staff Advisory Update. The Reopening Schools Advisory Committee met yesterday. The main concern from everyone during our first meeting was safety. As the committee explored concerns about safety, they touched on other concerns, too. Over the course of the discussion, members generated many questions. We were able to answer some while others still need to be better defined in order to respond.

Questions with Answers:

  • If the potential opening school schedule will be a portion of time in school and a portion of time in remote learning, how will I work out a schedule if siblings are on different days/weeks? To the extent possible, we will keep siblings on the same schedule, if requested.
  • How can we ensure students who need counseling support will receive services? Counselors are working with students who have requested a counselor. Families can reach out to schools if they wish their child to receive counseling

 

Questions about Safety:

  • What are the details we will follow to meet the guidelines for safety?
  • How do we keep our youngest learners safe when they do not understand distancing?
  • Some students in specialized programs require a hands-on approach to How will we be able to provide the support needed from a distance?
  • Is it possible to have some live instruction outdoors when students are in school since guidance indicates we are safer outside?

*The district is waiting on guidance from DESE regarding required safety supplies and protocols.

Additional Questions:

  • How will we address the social and emotional needs of our students?
  • What will sports and extracurricular activities look like?
  • If school is going to be a hybrid, how do working parents manage child care?
  • How do we determine where students are academically?
  • What will be the financial and educational impact?

The committee will continue to meet weekly throughout June to explore these concerns, pose new questions, and influence planning and support for students and their families. If you would like to add to the list of questions please email us at info@falmouth.k12.ma.us, learning@falmouth.k12.ma.us, or to me directly at lduerr@falmouth.k12.ma.us.

In closing. Earlier this week, the Town of Falmouth and the School Department sent a joint statement in response to recent events. I would like to extend a personal note to all our families and students on behalf of the Falmouth Public Schools. As leaders, we believe we must continue to educate and support each other and our youth to be effective PeaceBuilders and to demonstrate the behaviors of an informed and respectful ally. True change takes time and requires everyone -- no matter our background or circumstance, race/ethnicity, gender identity, or disability. We will diligently examine our actions and our programs to promote equity, access, and opportunity for each and every one of our students. We will remain steadfast in the pursuit of justice and equality for all. Each day, I am reminded of the words every elementary student knows by heart as a PeaceBuilder. Their pledge should be one we all live by. I will leave you with the PeaceBuilders Challenge.


Sincerely,
Lori Duerr, Ed.D. 
Superintendent Falmouth Public Schools