Dear Pelham Parents & Guardians:
As we adapt to new and difficult lifestyles caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pelham Public Schools and Districts across the region and country have been challenged to develop ways to support continuity of learning for our students. Our District's efforts in this area have been ongoing for two weeks and have included collaboration amongst all administrators, department coordinators, elementary staff developers, and the Pelham Teachers Association. Over the past two days (March 16 & 17), we strategized with our administrative leadership team, faculty and staff to finalize a collection of learning experiences for students grades K-12 while our schools remain closed.
In preparation for this plan, we assigned Chromebooks for all 6th graders (moving them from the classrooms to the home) so that all students grades 6-12 would have access to a device. Director of Technology Mr. John Sebalos led our efforts to identify families in grades K-8 who may need assistance with accessing mobile devices and/or internet connections in the home. We are arranging for all these children to be provided a Chromebook and a solution for WiFi access. If you have needs in this area that have not been addressed, please contact your school principal.
Below you will find a link to our Distance Learning Plan, to begin Wednesday, March 18, while the schools remain closed. Please note that these experiences will not be a substitute for the face-to-face classroom learning environment, but represent our best efforts to sustain learning during this challenging period. Furthermore, the Pelham Public Schools is not an institution of online learning and there are limits to our abilities in this realm. We asked teachers to develop relevant, yet practical experiences, and be cognizant that new learning and assessing for graded work may not be feasible or equitable until at least a week following the reopening of school. To that end, we will not issue 3rd quarter (secondary) or 2nd trimester (elementary) report cards at this time.
Finally, we ask for patience and understanding since this venture will come with unexpected human and technical challenges as the COVID-19 will affect families, faculty, staff, and administrators in unpredictable ways.
Elementary (Grades K-5)
A variety of learning activities have been made available for students. Parents may access these activities via a Google Document. Learning experiences are broken down by day, grade-level and subject area. We believe that children should focus on reading/writing and math, and then explore other curricular areas when possible and practicable. There is no need to print out sheets or documents, but simply write responses in a notebook or paper. Any questions should be directed to the classroom teacher.
Middle and High School (Grades 6-12)
Middle School and High School students in grades 6-12 may access assignments and resources, as well as communicate with teachers through their normal Google Classroom. Parents of 6th-12th graders have the ability to receive daily or weekly summaries of their child's Google Classroom through Guardian summaries. If parents are not receiving any of these summaries, they may email email@example.com for assistance.
These learning experiences are intended to strengthen students' mastery of their subject areas. The length of time these activities take will vary from student to student, and family to family. It is not intended to replicate the amount of time spent in school under normal conditions.
Additionally, students will be able to connect with their teachers via virtual office hours, which will occur for 45 minutes twice a week. An office hour schedule and instructions about how to connect is forthcoming. The virtual office hours are intended for teachers to communicate with children, and parents or guardians. At any time, parents and children may email teachers, and expect a response within 24 hours. We ask that this be the main avenue for parents to connect with teachers.
Again, we understand that there will be inconsistencies for children during this time. This will be a broad learning experience for the entire Pelham Public Schools community. We know that families and home-life will be stressed during our school closure, with childcare and supervision compromised at times. We anticipate the same will be true for faculty, staff, and administrators. To that end, we close by sharing a schedule for parents to assist families organize daily routines for children developed by NESCA (Neuropsychology & Education Services for Children & Adolescents), which may assist you in providing structure throughout the day.
We greatly appreciate your support and cooperation. I wish you all the best for you and your families. Be well.
Dr. Steven M. Garcia
Asst. Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Personnel