Message from Manuel J. Fernandez & Christen Sohn: January 24, 2021

Dear CSUS Parents and Caregivers,

We hope you enjoyed the sunshine and kept warm this weekend. This week we are sharing a lot of scheduling updates - both our recent updates to increase live learning time and our continued progress toward the transition to a hybrid learning model.

Recent schedule updates
In the January 8 Sunday Rundown, we shared that The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education announced additional amendments to the Student Learning Time (SLT) regulations. The amendments establish new minimum levels for live, synchronous instruction that districts are required to meet during remote learning.

To meet these requirements in the middle of a semester, we chose to add additional live class opportunities with the goal of providing support for existing Flex Time assignments. These additional meeting times did not require additional work from scholars, but were designed to support them in completing work that was already assigned, and catching up on any missed work prior to the end of the semester. This was a challenging adjustment for some scholars; we know they have gotten into a “rhythm,” and some scholars have become used to working off screen and independently. Other scholars reported that they used this time effectively to check in with teachers, work with peers, and complete missing or late assignments. We also offered scholars a degree of choice when selecting which additional classes to attend, which included a combination of classes and virtual Meets that offered additional support with assignments, enrichment, and/or opportunities for social connection.

We know that these changes ‘worked’ for some scholars, and were frustrating for others. Some scholars liked being able to make choices, and others found the process confusing. When we transition to our Semester 2 schedule, much of this additional synchronous learning time will be built more fluidly into our day by adding minutes to our existing courses. We also invited scholars to complete a survey to provide feedback about what class offerings and choices would be most useful to them. Any caregivers that would like to offer ideas or suggestions for use of instructional time as we move into Semester 2 are welcome to complete this survey or email Assistant Principal Christen Sohn.

Transition to in-person/hybrid learning
As many of you may have read in Dr. Salim’s recent email, CPS is moving forward with plans to provide expanded in-person learning opportunities beginning on March 1. Here are some important dates and relevant next steps
  • Monday, January 25: Families will be notified of their scholar’s enrollment status based on information from the January 8-15 family survey. You will receive an additional update from the District later this week, with important information that must be reviewed and forms that must be completed. This will include information about safety protocols, transportation/bus information, and information about student COVID-19 testing.
  • Wednesday, January 27 and Wednesday, February 3: District-wide professional development days for important school-based staff planning and preparation. There will be NO SCHOOL for scholars on those days. Scholar Flex Time assignments will be adjusted to accommodate the shorter school week.
  • Families interested in changing their scholar’s learning model may request a change to a student’s instruction mode (in-person or remote learning) through the existing COVID-19 Hardship Appeal process.

In the coming weeks, our staff will continue working hard to prepare for an in-person learning model that is safe, welcoming, and engaging. We will also be reflecting on the first half of the year and sharing best practices around how to continue to grow in our ability to provide thoughtful and engaging remote teaching and learning experiences for our scholars that will continue to attend school remotely. We are incredibly fortunate in our talented, dedicated staff who are working hard to provide quality interactive instruction using a variety of tools to reach scholars through screens!

We continue to appreciate your patience and collaboration as we navigate these changes; if you have questions, we encourage you to connect with us. Thank you for entrusting us with your scholar’s learning in this unprecedented year. We understand that you have choices regarding your child’s education, and we appreciate you choosing CSUS.

Manuel and Christen

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