CANTON — Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Fischer-Mueller would like to share with the school community updates and information provided at the October 1 Canton School Committee meeting.
Update on School Year 2020-21
Students are back in school buildings as part of the hybrid model. Each cohort has now been in school for at least one day following the transition to the hybrid model earlier this week. The return of students has been energizing for staff, students and families.
Families and staff are reminded of the importance of self-screening for COVID-19 symptoms. Staff and students must screen each day for these symptoms by filling out the COVID-19 screening form before entering the school buildings. Contact information for each school’s nursing office and instructions are available on the form for anyone who does not pass the symptom screening questionnaire.
QR codes that connect to each screening form are also available on infographics here.
Parents/guardians are also encouraged to ensure their children have sweaters or jackets at school as temperatures begin to be cooler in the morning. As part of the health and safety measures regarding air quality and ventilation in school buildings, windows will be opened during the school day for the extent of the “non-heating” season.
Teaching and Learning
The District this week received information from the state regarding MCAS testing. This year, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) plans to have students complete the MCAS test as usual in the spring semester. These plans are based on the state’s expectation that testing would be administered in person, in the school building.
Current seniors who took their MCAS when they were sophomores and passed will not need to complete the testing. Current juniors who were not able to complete the MCAS last year due to the school closures will be able to complete the ELA and Math portions this year, along with any seniors who needed to retake the MCAS but were not able to in the spring. As of now, juniors and seniors will have two opportunities to take their ELA and Math MCAS, once in January and once again in May if their results are not what they need.
DESE had already adjusted science requirements last spring, so any students in grades 10-12 that have not taken the Science/Technology/Engineering (STE) exams do not need to for the remainder of their high school years provided they receive a passing grade in a related course. Ninth grade students will take the STE exam in the spring.
Students in grades 3-8 will be expected to take the ELA, Math and STE exams as usual in April or May. Guidance for the MCAS Alt is expected in the future. These plans will continue to be re-evaluated as the situation around the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve. The District will keep families apprised of any updates to the state’s guidance as the year progresses.
Remote Learning Pathway
Two elements will be added to the Remote Learning Pathway (RLP) program. In the coming weeks, a staff member will be assigned to handle weekly communication for students that are part of the RLP. Members of this pathway will still receive building-based updates as usual, but will also receive a separate weekly communication with RLP-specific information.
The District will also be assigning a RLP Administrator. This person will be assigned to communicate with families and teachers to ensure their needs are being met as well as coordinating the distribution of any materials specific to the RLP. This person will also assist any students and families who are coming on or off of the pathway.
The District has three upcoming distribution dates for physical materials for elementary students. These dates are Thursday, Oct. 15; Thursday, Oct. 29; and Thursday, Nov. 12. The Galvin Middle School and Canton High School will distribute materials from their buildings on their individual schedules. Teachers will be in contact with parents if there are materials to be picked up.
Technology and Digital Learning
The District has experienced some great successes regarding technology and devices as the school year began, while also problem-solving the challenges that exist. When the District began remote learning in the spring, it was able to lend devices to students, but did not have nearly the number of devices necessary for 1:1 digital learning. As the District prepared for the fall, the purchasing of devices to support remote learning was a top priority. Just this week, the Technology Team deployed all iPads for K-2 and Chromebooks for grades 3-8. At this time, the District is waiting for ninth grade Chromebooks and teacher devices to arrive. Once all of the devices that have been procured are delivered to the District, the District will have added 3,000 devices.
Students, families and staff who are experiencing any issues with their devices or connectivity are encouraged to contact the CPS Tech Help ticketing system by emailing [email protected]. The technology team is working as quickly as they can to respond to these submissions.
The next Canton School Committee meeting will take place on Thursday, Oct. 15. Each meeting is available to watch via Zoom and upcoming meetings are listed on the District website.