We extend our heartfelt care and concern to you as we navigate this global crisis together. We can announce that SBUnified schools will remain closed through Friday, May 1. Based on that decision, and in the face of unprecedented constraints, we as educators have the opportunity to provide our children and young adults with experiences that connect them to the world beyond themselves. We can comfort young people through new routines and a continuing sense of community, and we can challenge them to grow academically even as they learn from home. Thank you for your patience during Phase I, our initial week of school closure, from March 16-20. During this time we found new ways to continue serving meals to students, aggressively pursued expansion of our already robust technology infrastructure, and made interim learning and social-emotional support resources available to families. Teachers worked to submit report card grades and participated in training in order to prepare to facilitate remote learning, even as we collaboratively generated a comprehensive plan to support remote learning after Spring Break.
As we launch remote learning during Phase II, March 30-April 3, we also ready ourselves to sustain our efforts for as long as is required.
Monday, March 30 and Tuesday, March 31 will function as Teacher Work Days during which teachers will collaborate remotely in Professional Learning Communities to prepare lessons and instruction. Wednesday, April 1 will function as our first day of a new kind of school. Teachers will begin to interact with students to create new understandings of routines and procedures, and may begin to assign academic work. We will communicate procedures for collecting any necessary items from school, such as devices, instruments, or personal items, next week.
For secondary schools, we will be following a weekly schedule of classes that is wholly different from our traditional schedules. To inform your planning, please review this Secondary Remote Learning Master Schedule and Guidelines . High school teachers of college-level courses (AP/IB/Dual Enrollment) may resume instruction beginning March 30 so long as they adhere to new norms to ensure access and appropriate pacing.
For elementary schools, students and families will receive printed learning resources through the mail. These materials will serve as a bridge until more personalized instruction is available from your child’s teacher. These resources will also be added to the Learning At Home website that our district has created. We anticipate the continued use of print resources, as determined by age-group and overall need, as part of our blended learning approach. We are also actively working on plans to provide devices to students in preschool through second grade. To inform your planning, your child’s school will release a schedule and guidelines document this coming week of March 30th.
We deeply appreciate the attitude and efforts of our staff, who are committed to using technology, as well as other available resources, to maintain positive connections to students and to optimize learning. At the same time, we want to advise families of the reality that many teachers will encounter limitations as they balance the facilitation of remote learning with the need to attend to varying personal circumstances. Our teachers, administrators, and staff will continue to be available to all students and families via phone, email, and other technology platforms when applicable. We are prepared to provide specific additional support for students who may need them. Students with IEPs will continue to be supported by their case managers and service providers. During the week of March 30 families of students with IEPs can expect to be contacted personally by those who work directly with your child to share what you can expect from remote learning and how it will address the IEP. Students served by a 504 plan will receive their accommodations through remote learning to the greatest extent possible.
We recognize that many questions remain about the future of our academic and co-curricular programming. We will increasingly turn our attention to these important pending matters in Phase III, beginning April 6th, and we will provide information as we have it. In the meantime, we ask that you direct any questions about our remote learning plan to your student’s teachers and administrators. Thank you again for your support and partnership; it’s more valuable than ever.
Raul Ramirez, Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Instruction
Shawn Carey, Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Instruction