Summary: The first day of school will be September 16th. The School Committee with vote August 5th to decide on how to proceed with reopening. Dr. Nolin is still advising NPS start on a hybrid schedule of in school one week, remote second week for all students. Students who can't or don't want to return to live school would have the option, under the hybrid choice, to use the Edgenuity program supplemented with support from NPS teachers.
The School Committee voted to start school for students on September 16th. Students will have to be in school 170 days, which makes the last day of school as June 16th (with no snow days). The State allowed this 10 day delay to give teachers and districts more time for planning and preparation.
The Board of Health joined the School Committee at the beginning of the meeting to ensure they are working closely with the Natick Public Schools. More details on their presentation can be found in this forum post.
In person school learning is being prioritized. Full in school learning is optimal, but not a possibility. Two possible options for reopening were presented to the School Committee. School committee will vote on Wednesday, August 5 about which of these options NPS will use.
Two options for School Committee to vote on are Hybrid and Fully Remote:
Option 1: Hybrid option
In this option parents will choose between:
Going hybrid, with week in person learning and week remote learning
Fully remote with Edgenuity
No matter what model parents choose under the hybrid umbrella- that isn’t homeschool - there is a slot for you in a classroom. The choice between these two options is more fluid than a semester choice. There is a 3-4 week timeframe to switch between options, you do not need to commit to a semester. Dr. Nolin noted that Edgenuity for elementary school children comes with a per pupil cost and asked that people be aware of that if they consider switching.
Option 2: Fully remote learning with no in person school at this time.
More details about In person school in the Hybrid Option:
Every school will hopefully have access to 2 canopies for mask breaks from 9/11 - 10/2 so that kids can go outside even if it is raining. These are not for teachers to hold classes outside.
During the remote week, specials like band, music, chorus, keyboarding, anything where students have to share materials would be scheduled. Ideally students would have live contact with teacher (needs to be negotiated) and the specials teacher. Special education students will also have contact with their teachers.
“Homework on steroids” will also be assigned to be completed during the remote week in the core classes.
School day would be roughly 8 am - 1 pm
Week on, week off provides family flexibility, keeps the most connection and is safest for the schools.
Children with significant special needs and ELL learners will be prioritized for full time school.
More information about Fully Remote with Edgenuity:
Dr. Nolin reported that Edgenuity was chosen in part because in the spring, a major challenge of going into full remote required NPS to take formally a live curriculum and digitalize it. “It was a heavy lift for our teachers. There has to be prep for that and the union has to be involved.” By using Edgenuity, this does not have to happen.
Edgenuity curriculum is curated around the same state standards as the NPS curriculum.
Mr. Downing said there are not parent demo accounts for families to check out Edgenuity.
Curriculum guides are available and will be sent out to the community.
The pros about Edgenuity it will provide project based learning, skill based experiences, writing prompts that can be done at a time that works into your schedule. But if our teachers are offering support and you want that you can attend.
Potential cons were raised by School Committee members who questioned the equity of this option as opposed to a live remote option.
Change: High school AP classes will now be run through Virtual High School to allow for a greater course selection for those students.
If the school system has to go full remote (in the case of another closure period):
Students who were going hybrid would stay on a similar schedule but doing it remote
Students who were going fully remote could transition into hybrid schedule
It may take a couple of weeks but all students would join into one group and go fully remote together.
If families want to stay on a separate fully remote track and go at their own pace that may be possible as well
Information about Teacher Union survey/poll results:
Poll taken by teachers last week of July
Option wasn’t given in the poll for a full remote learning
Given that option was not available, Mr Wood, the EAN president shared, “We accepted the harsh reality that the hybrid model is the option.”
Over 50% of membership has concerns about coming back to school in person
Ranges from nervous to utterly terrified
Information about the Survey of Parents/Students:
About 4200 students represented (out of 5300 students) with duplicates taken out.
Only have data results with possible duplicates in them (5182 responses):
4268 first choice hybrid (82%)
914 first choice fully remote (18%)
The option of live remote was not a possibility in this survey
SEL support for kids and teachers
For kids in total remote learning with Edgenuity there would be a dedicated SEL time/course with NPS teachers facilitating
Teachers will still have access to guidance counselors to chat about how to help students on their caseload, teachers still attend PLC meetings
Working on best way to support teachers and how to deliver trauma related support
More information about specials:
Makes sense to offer specials at home remotely since they can’t run anyway
Example: band can’t happen in person, working to see if they can do it remotely
When students are in the remote week of the hybrid model students would have specials rotation similar to what it would look like at school. They will be a live whole class lesson.
Students in full remote may be able to join peers in specials.
More information about Cohorting:
Trying to keep number of people kids come in contact with very small
Most difficult at high school with levels and different schedules, will not ask students to sacrifice course offerings to make cohorts easier, they won't have a clear idea on High School picture until School Committee votes on a schedule.
Can’t control what kids do outside of school, but we need to be a community and be safe outside of school
It’s not a perfect solution, but you will know in a given week how many students are in contact with your child at school
For middle school students the cohort would be 10-14 students, students stay in one place and teachers rotate in
Cohorting within neighborhoods has been suggested but inequity was pointed out by Dr. Nolin as our neighborhoods are very stratified
More information about Sports and extracurricular clubs:
The decision to run sports is made by MIAA and hasn't yet been decided
Extracurricular activities at NPS are up in the air
The schools are nervous about interscholastic sports and how they may affect the cohorting that schools are carefully putting together.
More information about the next Survey that will come out:
A final survey will come out on August 11th to get parent final decisions about if they choose hybrid or fully remote with Edgenuity
Dr. Nolin said that since school’s start is being pushed back by 10 days, parents will have more time to decide on the plan they must choose.