Dear Members of the Wellesley Public Schools Community,
I hope you each remain safe and healthy. As I noted in my update last week, our WPS team has been working diligently on our next version of remote learning based on the extended school closure and new guidance from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Balancing our interest in facilitating meaningful and productive learning experiences along with necessary flexibility and a concern for issues of equity and access, we plan to begin rolling out this updated approach next week. (We will be releasing a detailed PreK-12 plan to the public early in the week.)
What will be common across each level is for students to have a real-time check-in with a teacher each day. This will allow staff to maintain connections with students and support their social & emotional health. Teacher instruction will be delivered in live and recorded formats, which will provide flexibility to staff and families managing home schedules. Teacher feedback on student work will also be provided to help foster growth through these learning experiences. Instructional expectations will no longer be optional and full student participation will be expected.
Next week, our team will be working across the district to launch this updated approach with elements that will go “live” at different times throughout the week. Real-time teacher check-ins with students, if not already underway, will begin earlier in the week and will allow teachers to orient students to new remote learning expectations. Instructional lessons will begin to be phased in later in the week. As a reminder, Passover and Good Friday are both next week when many staff and students will have limited ability to engage. Please keep this in mind in terms of everyone’s accessibility next week.
Working in this new format will be new to many of us and I ask for everyone’s patience as there are bound to be challenges that we will work to address as they arise.
One other point I would like to highlight is related to our calendar. Based on our current academic calendar, the week of April 20th is designated as the WPS April Vacation. Because of our desire to maintain a continuity of student learning during this time as well as the current stay-at-home advisory, the Administration will be recommending to the School Committee next week that we cancel April Vacation this year. If this is approved, the school year for students would end on Tuesday, June 16th.
The next few weeks will be challenging for our community on many fronts as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase across the state. Thank you in advance for your support and collaboration as we continue to navigate through this time of uncertainty and complexity. Let’s continue to take care of ourselves and each other.
Dr. David Lussier
Superintendent of Schools