Boston Public School (BPS) Superintendent Brenda Cassellius and Mayor Martin Walsh last week shared new policies with families and schools for remote learning that went into effect Monday.
This updated learning plan gives more guidance for students and teachers around attendance, assignments, grading, and scheduling. It also provides predictability for families with routine class schedules and contact between students and teachers.
“Since Governor Baker announced that all Massachusetts schools will remain closed through this academic year, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley recently released guidance to schools, underscoring that student learning will continue, while keeping health and safety as our top priority,” said Cassellius. “We understand that this is a challenging time for all of us as we balance work, home life, caring for loved ones, and the education of our children while also working to remain safe during this health crisis.”
As part of the new policies, no student will be held back in their grade. All students will advance to the next grade and have opportunities for summer learning and additional support in the fall. If parents believe their child would benefit from repeating their grade, they can request a meeting with their teacher to discuss further.
“Every school will share a class schedule with families and students,” said Cassellius. “Teachers will record daily attendance each week. Attendance includes completing learning activities or interaction with teachers/staff. Teachers in grades K0-5 will record daily attendance. Teachers in grades 6-12 will record daily attendance by course.”
Cassellius said students will receive grades and feedback on their assigned projects and tasks.
Elementary students (grades K0-5) will receive a Term 3 grade of Meets Expectations,
Approaching Expectations, or Not Yet Meeting Expectations. Secondary students (grades 6-12) will receive a Term 3 letter grade if it is above their average grade from Terms 1 and 2.
Otherwise, secondary students will earn a grade of Pass or Incomplete and that grade will not be factored into their final grade.
“Each school schedule will include class times, and a school staff member will contact each student at least every three days,” said Cassellius.
Students with disabilities will receive services that can reasonably be provided in a remote learning environment by their assigned team of educators in relation to the goals identified in the student’s IEP and ELS students will receive ESL instruction based on their English Development Level.
As for graduation for seniors Cassellius said graduation is a celebration of students, their families, and their school communities and BPS is working on several opportunities to celebrate this year’s graduations citywide and with each school.
We look forward to sharing more information soon.
“We will continue to assess and shift how we meet our students’ needs during this unprecedented closure based on feedback,” said Cassellius. My team and I have convened weekly Equity Roundtables to hear from educators, parents, social service providers, and community partners to gather real-time feedback and identify challenges so we can direct resources to support students and families who need them.”
Both Cassellius and Mayor Walsh thanked Boston’s teachers and staff for their continued cooperation during this difficult time, acknowledging that this week is Teachers Appreciation Week.
The Mayor stated that throughout the final weeks of the school year, BPS will continue distributing free meals for students and other resources; connecting with students on a routine basis; and collaborating with school communities, nonprofit partners, and parent groups, to ensure that students are getting the support they need.
“We are so grateful to our teachers, food workers, technology staff, and other frontline workers who are working tirelessly to get our children what they need to learn and stay healthy,” said Cassellius. “We care deeply for our students and families and look forward to continuing to build meaningful connections with all of you as we close out our school year over the next several weeks. If you have any questions about this information please contact your school principal.”