April 8, 2020
Dear MSAD #4 Families:
We are following the recommendation made by our Commissioner of Education, which was supported by the Governor, to replace classroom instruction with remote learning for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. We will continue to provide remote learning until June 9th, unless the Governor declares it is safe to return to on-site learning. If that were to happen, we would consider returning so that students and staff could have closure for this academic year.
As I stated in my previous letter, I understand that remote learning is not our preferred method of teaching and we are doing our very best to be as effective as possible under these circumstances. I have to say that my staff and administrators have really stepped up to the plate to make this work for our students. I realize that I have asked a great deal of them and have challenged them to step out of their comfort zone to navigate new ways of instructing and connecting with their students during a time when they are also trying to take care of themselves and their families. On this same note, I am aware of the added responsibility this has put on families to support their child’s education at home. I want to express how very appreciative I am and how much I respect the efforts all of you have demonstrated to do what is best for the children in our communities. Please know that I do not expect families to replicate what a classroom teacher would do. I do not expect elementary students to spend any more than two or three hours at the most on academics. If you are not able to get work done during this time frame, put it away for another day. As challenges arise for all students Pre-K – 12, please contact teachers for assistance. If you continue to have struggles, contact the building principal for help.
Realizing that some of our students do not have internet services, we have collaborated with the Department of Education and have received close to 100 hot spots to distribute to our students. My Technology Director, Ms. Dunton has worked hard to spearhead this project and identify areas in our community challenged with connectivity issues.
I know that our students have experienced a great deal of loss with so many school activities being cancelled. Graduation is probably the most important event that has yet to be determined. I have instructed my Principal, Mr. Keane to continue to work on two plans, one for a traditional graduation; although we may still have to consider social distancing and other precautions, and one which considers alternative means to honor this rite of passage.
We are all experiencing a new learning curve and doing the best we can during a very stressful time. I have observed my staff, students and families rise to the occasion and demonstrate just how strong they are. Our communities continue to reach out to us to offer their help and have come through when we have asked them for assistance. As I grieve for what we have lost, I am so very grateful for all that we have.
MSAD #4 Superintendent