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March 30, 2020

MA Commissioner Riley's letter to MA Families


March 30, 2020

Dear SPS Families,

Happy Monday!  I hope you all are doing well and finding time for good experiences in this time of social distancing.  We understand that these are trying times for families, and please know the Stoughton Schools family WILL get through this!  

As you know, Governor Baker announced last Wednesday that schools will be closed through May 1st.   As a result, the Commissioner of Education provided further guidance for all districts on how we should adjust to a longer time away from physical school while providing rich learning experiences for our students.  The information below provides an explanation of the shifts we will be making this week at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. This document provides more detail about a variety of areas where we are enhancing our learning experiences over the next several weeks.

Beginning this week, and in full force by 4/6, teachers will be posting more specific remote learning activities and assignments for students. While many teachers were already doing so, we have set a higher and more consistent expectation across the district.  Students will now be required to complete the assignments presented by their teachers on a more regular basis, typically within a week. To keep in touch with students and have regular social and academic check-ins, teachers will now be hosting Google Meet sessions throughout the week*.  Recognizing that there are device limitations at home or possible overlaps, those sessions will be recorded so students can check in with their class at a later time. To the greatest extent possible, ALL of our teachers including English Learner and Special Education instructors will be providing more specific learning experiences for their students.

At the High School level, the biggest change is that we will be eliminating courses that only run in Term 4.  We are developing other avenues to complete those courses and are examining graduation requirements in light of this unique situation.  High School teachers will be checking on the completion of assignments and keeping track of that information. While we are not using traditional grading through the closure, students are expected to complete assigned classwork in a timely fashion.  Students should be checking Google Classroom daily, participating in Meet sessions where possible, and reaching out to teachers using their stoughtonschools.org email for any help or guidance needed. 

At OMS, we will be eliminating end of trimester exams, and adjusting the dates for the third trimester, hoping that we are back on May 4th.  Expectations for teacher-provided assignments, Google Meet sessions, and student completion of work are essentially the same as the high school.  

At the elementary level, grade level teachers are working together to set up specific activities within the four major domains (ELA, Math, Social Studies, Science) as well as other creative areas.  Specialists are also providing ideas, activities and projects for elementary students. EL, Special Ed, and other specialists will reach out with additional learning experiences at all three levels this week.

To better ensure that students have access to learning tools, we have taken apart several Chromebook carts and will be able to offer whatever we have left (about 250) to SPS families in need on a first come, first served basis. (A second device is now allowed until supplies last.) DRIVE-THRU Distribution will be tomorrow, Tuesday, 3-31, 10-11:30am (the same time as food distribution) behind SHS.

Join me for the next Super’s Stories at Six tonight, Monday 3-30, where I’ll tell a Beary cool tale!  https://youtu.be/R437skbJrbA

One of the amazing things that I have seen over the last couple of weeks is this cool sense of searching for lost treasures.  Old board games, great books, backyard toys, and bicycles are all appearing. People are out walking and running. And, while not in person, I’ve seen people reconnecting with a treasured old friend.  These are surely unusual and difficult times, but I am grateful for the treasure we have in each other (students, staff, and families)!  

We’ve got this Knights!

Dr. John Marcus, Superintendent


March 25, 2020

Just now, Governor Baker announced an extension of the school closures to Friday, May 1st, with a possible reopening on Monday, May 4, 2020.

We recognize that this is a significant change to the initial three-week closure, but please know that the SPS team will continue to be here for our wonderful students, staff, and families!  I will be meeting with our administrative team very soon, and we will provide additional guidance for the community as we move forward with this extension.  

Please know how grateful I am for all that our community members have been doing to keep themselves safe, to provide learning experiences for our students (and themselves), and to offer help to friends and neighbors to keep our families cared-for and fed.  There will be many questions in the next few days, and we will be here to answer them.  We will stay connected and keep our community strong!

We've got this Knights!!

Thanks everyone.

Dr. John Marcus, Superintendent


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