DPS Superintendent Update: April 13th
DPS Coronavirus COVID-19 Community Update
Monday, April 13, 2020
Last night I shared Dedham's Phase 2 Remote Learning Plan with all parents, faculty/staff, and students in grades 6-12. This plan took effect today, and establishes credit and grading criteria and guidelines for the use of audio/video conferencing between educators and students, as well as many other provisions for our work moving forward. As this is a very lengthy document, a web-friendly version is available on our website or by clicking HERE. This web-friendly version allows users to jump right to the parts that are most of interest without having to wade through all 16 pages of text. Please take some time to read through the parts that are most of interest to you. If you are the parent of a student(s) in grades 6-12, I highly encourage you to sit down and read through the portions about credits, grading, and transcripts with your child. All the work assigned now “counts” and it is very important that everyone is on the same page. I appreciate your support as we transition into this next phase of remote learning.
This next phase of remote learning is being initiated at a time when we are learning that more and more Massachusetts residents are being afflicted with COVID-19. This includes a growing number of our families in Dedham, and we are working to support those families and challenges to their immediate health and safety. I participated in 7 separate video conference calls today within different parts of the district and it is very clear that MANY of our students and families are being impacted in many different ways during this crisis.
Our first priority throughout this horrible sequence continues to be the well-being of all members of our community. I know how much concentrated effort is being expended by our DPS educators and support staff on making sure we do our best to support everyone’s needs. That includes those students and families who are rightly concerned about the appropriate levels of academic rigor and exposure to new academic content, while simultaneously helping to support those students and families who are struggling with food insecurity and those who have (sometimes multiple) family members who now have confirmed cases of COVID-19. In many cases, these multiple scenarios are occurring with students and families who share the same classes and classroom teacher(s).
Please reach out to your principal, teacher(s), counselor, or other trusted adults in the Dedham school district if you or someone you know in DPS needs support and/or is struggling to cope at this very difficult time. We are here and stand ready to help you in whatever way you need. Please keep us informed and we will support you and your family and/or connect you with what you need in the community. Thank you for your ongoing patience as we deal with the wide array of challenges and difficulties faced by all members of our extended Dedham Public Schools family.
Survey Regarding April Vacation Now Closed
Thank you to everyone who provided a response to the survey regarding the possibility of continuing schooling through the designated April vacation. The Dedham School Committee was interested in your views based on the Commissioner’s guidance regarding a possible cancellation of scheduled April vacation days and how those days would “count” toward districts’ annual requirement. If districts choose to continue with their remote learning plans instead of going on their scheduled April 20-24 vacations, districts could conclude their school years up to 4 days earlier (recall that Monday, April 20 (Patriots Day) is an official statewide legal holiday).
The survey closed at 12:00 PM today for faculty and staff. I will be compiling this data and presenting this information to the School Committee. The School Committee may choose to consider this option and could possibly vote on amending the school calendar at its next scheduled meeting on Wednesday, April 15. If the Committee votes to make any changes to the calendar, I will inform the district right away. Thank you to all those who completed this survey. The survey automatically restricted voting to only one vote per email address.
All Town of Dedham Outside Town Basketball Courts, Playgrounds, And Fields Are Closed
Please respect the Dedham Board of Health vote to close all parks including all outside town basketball courts and baseball fields to use by anyone until at least May 1. This action does not currently include dog parks, walking paths, trails or tracks. Please do your part and spread this message to practice appropriate physical distancing and try to slow the spread of this very contagious virus. Thank you for your cooperation!