19 March 2021
Happy weekend to you all. It’s certainly been a busy week again. With lots of news to get to, I’ll get to it.
Full student body return
I know you all now know the plan is for the high school to begin bringing back all the high school students at the same time after the April Break. We still have much planning to do but I wanted to put out as much information as I have at the moment.
- Monday April 26th will be a 9th grade only day to give our youngest students a chance to come to the high school all together for the first time. All other students will be remote that day.
- Tuesday April 27th we will have a full return for all students choosing to come back in the building with us.
- We are going to stay with the same cycle of days for the rest of the year.
- The order of the color blocks will also remain the same.
- Wednesdays are remaining ½ days throughout the entire district. ½ day Wednesdays will give teachers time to plan and make the adjustments necessary to change their plans from hybrid to in person.
- Zooming into classes will end. Once we are fully back, teachers will be focused on the full classes in front of them and will not offer a hybrid option to students who are not in the building. We do have some RLS students who will be exceptions to this rule.
- There will be significant changes to the traffic for morning drop offs. We are currently working with the WPD and town officials about the most safe and efficient way to support our incredibly busy arrival time. More details will come at a later date.
- Lunches remain an area of great concern for us in terms of safe operation. Once we have detailed plans for this we will send that information out.
- Physical distancing, wearing masks, and hand washing will continue to be incredibly important. We realize distancing is going to be highly problematic with over 1400 students back in the building together and we will continue to need your help messaging that to the students.
- Weekly surveillance testing will continue. It will continue to be required for all school athletes to participate and it will continue to be highly encouraged for all the other students. Testing for our staff will continue as well, even though many of them will be fully vaccinated. Testing remains essential to keeping our entire community safe.
Please note: We will be producing a comprehensive reopening document for you all the week of April 5th. We will also be holding a webinar the week of April 12th to go through our plans and answer any questions you may have.
I know this summary will likely create as many questions as it answers, but it is as far along as we are at the moment. I also know there are a lot of feelings that go along with the return to school and those aren’t easy logistical problems to solve. These are dilemmas we have to manage and please know we want to be able to support your students through whatever challenges this latest shift brings for them. Please be in touch with your guidance counselor or Assistant principal if you need to start a conversation about this kind of support before or after we move to a full return.
MCAS and AP exams
The MCAS testing schedule for May and June will be ready soon, but I wanted you to get you all ready for the significant impact it will have on many teaching days. Because all the English and Math exam days for both the 10th and 11th grades have been moved to May, it will mean we will have 9 testing days where we will have to change our daily schedule that month. We will have 2 more MCAS days in June for the 9th graders to take science. As many of you know the AP exams are also scheduled for May and are set by the College Board. The confluence of these two systems will cause a disruption to the number of classes we can offer on any of those days. We are currently working to make the schedule as efficient as possible, but if you remember the schedule we put together in January (when we were originally told we would test the 11th graders), you will also remember how much teaching time we would have lost. We will feel that impact in May and June for certain.
Please Talk with your kids
There have been so many important social justice issues coming to the forefront these last few weeks. I’d like to encourage you to have conversations with your students about them. From the hateful “Heil, Hitler” comment we had during seminar day, to the raising of our Black Lives Matter flag, to the targeting of Asian, and Asian Americans in this country, there is a lot for your children to think about. This past Wednesday we had an advisory lesson structured around giving the students the opportunity to both understand why we hung the flag and giving them the opportunity to reflect on what the moment meant to them. We encourage you to continue to have these conversations at home to help them process everything. As always, please let us know if we can offer you and your family any support.
Wellesley High School Wind Ensemble!
Here’s a great way to end your week – and an end of the week letter!
Please enjoy this video of the Wellesley High School Wind Ensemble. A huge thank you to Steve Scott and all the students for putting this together. I know the work behind this is a long and tedious process – but totally worth it.
Be safe and well. I hope you have a great weekend.