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March 30, 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians of FECC/HES/OES students,
On Friday, March 27, I notified you that the Hewlett-Woodmere Public Schools will now reopen on Monday, April 20th, at the earliest. With this information, it is important that we continue to communicate with you regarding the impact this closing will have on your child’s education. While concerns about instruction are understandable, it is important to remember that our highest priority continues to be the health and safety of our students, staff, and community.
As you know, our approach to providing a continuity of instruction was prepared to allow staff and students the flexibility to communicate, do meaningful work, and provide supports to the greatest extent possible. Since the very first day of the closure, we operationalized remote instruction and began to provide devices and meals to those who needed them. As we embarked on this journey, we were very careful not to ask our staff, students, or parents to learn how to utilize new tools as we transitioned to this new, remote learning environment. Over the course of the last two weeks, our teachers have done a remarkable job making this transition with many choosing to experiment with new tools and methods. We are very appreciative of their hard work as well as your patience and support.
Should our schools remain closed beyond April 19, we intend to shift our approach to allow for more student-teacher interaction, while allowing for the continued reinforcement of skills and potential for the introduction of new content on a limited basis. Our concerns remain about excessive screen time as well as family dynamics and the rigid scheduling of students and staff, but we also recognize the importance of our teachers being able to “connect” with their students on a consistent basis. To that end, we have set the following expectations for our teachers, effective April 20:
- Regular Classroom Teachers will provide a daily lesson (subject will vary) that will be shared with their students. The teachers will create lessons using tools such as Nearpod, Seesaw, Screencastify, etc. The teacher will communicate the specifics of platform and time with you directly. This will allow students and parents to access these learning opportunities at times convenient to them.
- Regular Classroom Teachers will provide a daily opportunity to meet with their students utilizing face-to-face technology such as Zoom or Google Meet. They will use this time to check in with their students, answer questions and provide extra help when possible. A parent is encouraged to be present for these opportunities, but the interaction will be limited to the teacher and students. The teacher will share the timing for these sessions.
- Special Area Teachers (Music, Art, Physical Education) will post lessons once a week.
- In the near future, we will send you information to help you better understand the technological tools we will use to enable these opportunities. We recognize that there is a learning curve associated with this shift and stand ready to assist all involved.
Should you have any questions, please contact your child’s principal.
Once again, we would like to thank you for your patience and support during this difficult time.
Ralph Marino, Jr., Ed.D.