- Sudbury Public Schools
May 1, 2020 // Superintendent's Update
Dear SPS Families,
Speaking for myself and on behalf of the Sudbury Public Schools staff, our hearts go out to all those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. I frequently connect with the staff at each school and they share with me your stories, from ill family members to job losses. The families of our community are faced with many struggles, but we here in SPS wish you to know that you are not alone and that we will continue to support you.
The news from Governor Baker on April 21st that schools will remain in a remote learning model until the end of the school year was unpleasant. I believe we all had hope for a different outcome, so the announcement was stinging for students, parents, and staff. We all miss school and the comforting patterns of its day-to-day activities. We also miss its steeped traditions and culminating activities and projects. The SPS faculty and administration are beginning to have conversations regarding how to approach some of those end of the year activities, specifically at transition points like 5th and 8th grade. I hope to share more in the coming weeks.
On Friday, April 24, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) released additional guidance related to remote learning. After our teams analyzed the documents, we concluded that SPS’s approach to remote learning was very closely aligned with DESE guidance. The guidance emphasized a continued focus on the student-teacher connection and honing lessons on prerequisite skills students will need as they advance to the next grade level. SPS staff will continue to provide lessons that ensure students are best positioned for next year, knowing that adjustments will also be made to our curriculum to meet individual student needs.
As we refine how the student-teacher connection is strengthened, all teachers will employ synchronous connections with students at least twice a week in addition to the previously established “Office Hours.” At the middle school, this will take place with the students’ homeroom teacher. We believe this change will deepen the connections students have with their learning and their classmates. In a k-8 setting, Office Hours take many forms. We’ve seen a lot of impactful ideas including virtual lunch bunches, spirit moments, individual coaching, and small group get-to-togethers.
As we continue to refine and learn, your feedback is helpful. We are hopeful that the adjustments we have made for the upcoming week address some of the suggestions we have received. Recognizing that the Sudbury Learns from Home Plan relies heavily on access to technology, we have continued to provide loaners to families who have no other access to a device. If you need a device, please complete the linked form. We encourage you to continue to communicate any concerns, ideas, or needs with your classroom teacher, principal, or curriculum team.
Thank you again for everything you are doing. My heart has been lifted by the many stories I have heard of support, generosity, and caring by our school community. It is invigorating to see how hard our talented staff and families are working together to support students in this new, virtual learning environment. I wish you well in the coming weeks.