Hello Heath School Households,
Here is a summary of the latest meeting of the Brookline School Committee's Ad Hoc Remote Learning Task Force on July 24:
Upcoming Timeline - PSB Central Administration will present an update on fall planning at the School Committee meeting this Monday 7/27 (https://www.brooklinema.gov/Calendar.aspx?EID=8387). By Friday 7/31, a preliminary summary of our reopening plan is due to DESE (http://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/), and then a comprehensive plan is due by Monday 8/10. Also at the Monday 7/27 School Committee meeting, an analysis of the household and staff surveys is expected to be shared. The surveys both had a high response rate (>70%).
Additional State Guidance - DESE, in addition to providing general reopening guidance and administering the two-step planning process, has recently released additional guidance on areas such as transportation, facilities, and protocols for responding to positive COVID-19 cases (http://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/on-desktop.html).
Other PSB Central Office Updates - PSB Director of Operations Matt Gillis led an in-person walkthrough of demonstration classroom setups at Baker School. He also provided principals with data on the number of students they can fit in each of their classrooms using recommended distance requirements. On the remote learning side, PSB will use a single learning management system (LMS) within a grade level: Seesaw for grades K-2, Google Classroom for grades 3-5, and Canvas for grades 6-12.
Expert Advisory Panel Updates - The panels have researched and summarized a wide range of ideas, such as: (Panel 1) highlighting best practices from PSB in the Spring including learning hubs, common calendars, and regular parent communication, and potentially using text messages as a preferred modality of communication with parents; (Panel 2) resetting expectations and visualizing what school will look like in the Fall, setting up automated reminders to parents, promoting movement and physical wellness, and anticipating common socio-emotional challenges; (Panel 3) single online sign-on experiences, standardizing weekly communications, and leveraging at-home learning to support in-school work with smooth transitions between school and home and back; and (Panel 4) reviewing current evidence about COVID infection and transmission among different-age children, and analyzing the availability and turnaround time of COVID testing. A common theme across the panels is a focus on improving communication so that students, teachers, and parents all feel like they are working in a partnership (a “triadic relationship”) to facilitate learning, identify issues, and solve problems. Much of the panels’ work is posted on the remote learning task force webpage.
The next meeting of the Task Force is scheduled for July 31. See the Town calendar for upcoming School Committee meetings. You are encouraged to listen in and submit comments or questions.
As always, if you have a perspective that would be relevant to the Task Force, please do reach out to me by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to share your thoughts.
Eli Silk, Heath School Parent Representative