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June 17, 2020 // End of Year Updates and Reminders

Dear SPS Families,

It has been a great joy and salve to participate, albeit virtually, in familiar end-of-the-year routines such as concerts, art shows, field days, and community celebrations.  As a civic community, we have much to be grateful for--generous community partnerships, supportive relationships with the town and safety divisions, and a robust civic base.  As a member of the learning community, I am grateful for the commitment of families, the professionalism and creativity of educators, and the inspiration of students.

As this extraordinary school year winds down, we are committed to planning for the next extraordinary school year.  Thank you to all who have completed the family feedback survey.  If you haven’t done so and wish to offer your feedback, please do so by Friday, June 19th.  You can anticipate additional surveys as we respond to advisories from DESE and feedback from students and staff.  It is important to all of us that we place students at the forefront of our work together.  

A couple of end-of-the-year updates and reminders:

  • Report cards will be distributed through the ASPEN Family Portal on Wednesday, June 17th at 5 PM.  Students will not be assessed on individual standards.  Instead, a credit/no credit rating will be issued for engagement in remote learning, per guidance from DESE.  If you need help accessing your ASPEN family portal, please contact your building’s front office.
  • Device loaners are available for families needing access to online resources over the summer.  If you require a device, please complete this linked form
  • Extensions for summer learning have been posted on sudburystudents.orgYou will find many rich resources on this site, including summer reading and mathematics links, SEL activities, and science explorations.  We hope that you will enjoy exploring the site and continuing the learning.  

This summer, like summers past, will be a period of planning and learning.  The Teaching & Learning department is engaging with educators on a variety of topics including Blended Learning, Social-Emotional Learning, Culturally Responsive Teaching, and On-Line Instructional Tools.  Educator teams are also working to develop and revise curriculum to reflect updated curriculum frameworks and to respond to student and family feedback.

When we return in the fall we will, undoubtedly, be returning to a different schoolhouse.  We know that access and comfort using technology was one of the barriers families faced when learning from home.  Next year, we will be assigning Chromebooks to students in grades 2-8.  Elementary students will have the ability to take their assigned Chromebook home should we need to transition to a remote learning model.  Middle school students will continue to take their Chromebooks home on a daily basis.  Our intent is to ensure that the high-touch surface of a Chromebook is not shared among students and that families have access to a student device in a period of remote learning.  Loaners will continue to be available to students in k-1 during a remote period if needed.   Online learning platforms support virtual classrooms.  We will continue to use Schoology at the middle school and will establish Google Classrooms at the beginning of the year for all students in grades 2-5.  Thanks to the generous support of SERF, students in k-1 will use SeeSaw a learning platform that can more easily be navigated on a tablet and relies less on keyboarding skills.  These structural modifications are a first step that will better enable the district to respond to health directives from state and local agencies.  We acknowledge that it has been a steep learning curve to implement a distance learning model, but are confident in the expertise of our educators and grateful for the support of our community.  Together, we will innovate in the service of students.  

Focusing on students also means focusing on families.  We know that families are being stretched as they serve as caregivers and educators.  We also know that economic pressures have created new needs.  We hope that you are able to take a breath this summer and engage in play and relaxation.  Please reach out to your building administrator, Superintendent Crozier or me, if you have specific concerns or questions.

With gratitude and appreciation,

Kim Swain
Assistant Superintendent for Teaching & Learning