Remote Learning Plan

FRENCH | PORTUGUESE | SPANISH

REVISED May 12, 2020

Originally posted April 10, 2020

Dear BPS Families,

Since the Brockton Public Schools closed on March 12, our teachers, staff and administrators have been working tirelessly to provide each of our students with learning resources and enrichment activities designed to keep their skills sharp. We thank every family member who has contributed to keeping our students focused on learning activities during this unprecedented time. We know it has not been easy to juggle at-home learning, work responsibilities and caring for loved ones and we cannot thank you enough for all you’re doing to support your children.

Our team created a formalized plan detailing our guiding principles for remote learning, what you can expect from our staff and what we hope we can expect from you as we work collaboratively to keep students engaged. The following pages provide a detailed overview of our plan as we move forward, with particular emphasis on equity in access. As part of our commitment to equity, we distributed 5,000 BPS laptops over the past week to ensure that each of our students is able to access the “Learning at Home” page on bpsma.org.

We understand that it’s difficult to focus on learning if there are obstacles in your home life. While this document focuses on remote learning, please know that we are also here to support the social emotional needs of your family during these uncertain times. I encourage you to visit our website, explore the resources we’ve posted and get in touch with a member of our staff if you need help.

Thank you again for your continued support.

Sincerely,

Michael P. Thomas

Superintendent of Schools

Remote Learning Plan

The following plan was created in consultation with district leadership and leaders of the Brockton Education Association in an effort to provide students and parents with a clear list of the principles and expectations that will guide our remote learning efforts through the end of the school year. The details put forth in this document are subject to change based on evolving state and federal guidelines.

Guiding Principles:

1.       The health and safety of our students and staff is prioritized above all else. During this public health crisis, we understand that the unexpected illness of a loved one could make it difficult for students to complete learning activities or for teachers to assist their students. We are committed to remaining flexible and supporting our community members so that they can focus on the emotional and physical well-being of themselves and their families.

2.       We strive to make our online learning resources as equitable as possible, taking into consideration disparities in access to technology and educational supports at home.

3.       While we recognize that remote learning is an imperfect substitute for classroom instruction, we are committed to maintaining connections between school staff and students to aid students in their at-home learning experiences.

4.       Remote learning is intended to reinforce skills already taught this school year to mitigate the impacts of “learning loss” during the closure. During term 4, teachers will focus on preparing students for the next grade level.

5.       The district’s remote learning resources have been designed to provide our students with meaningful educational experiences for approximately half the length of a regular school day (see attached sample schedule in Appendix A). The district has shared a variety of free online learning resources for students and families who would like to continue learning beyond the recommended time frame.

6.       Instructional technology is the best and most effective means for the district to connect with all of our families, however remote learning is not synonymous with online learning. While many of our resources can be completed on a computer, we also encourage participation in art projects, physical fitness and exploration of the natural world.

7.       During this unprecedented time, our district must be prepared to quickly adapt to evolving recommendations put forth by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). We will continue to communicate any updates to you as they become available.

8.       While the intention of this document is to detail our remote learning plan, we feel it is critical to take every opportunity to remind the families we serve that our staff is here to support the social emotional needs of each child during what we know is a difficult and stressful time. Please visit the “Social Emotional Supports” section on bpsma.org to learn more and to get in touch with our Student Support Services team.

Staff Expectations:

1.    Each Monday, district administration will post learning resources on the BPS website for BPS families. Beginning April 13, Edgenuity, an online course platform, was added to the choice of district resources available to students in grades 6-12. Further instructions for Edgenuity were communicated directly to families in grades 6-12 and are available on the Learning at Home resource pages.

2.    Teachers at all levels will communicate with their students each Monday to outline resources and remote learning opportunities.

3.     Learning resources assigned during phase three of the school closure (May 4-June 24), will focus on strengthening the prerequisite skills our students and preparing them for the next grade level.

4.    In addition to the districtwide resources available on bpsma.org, teachers retain the professional autonomy to design materials and share these materials with their students. All materials are intended to cultivate natural curiosities and keep students engaged in the Brockton learning community, and will be communicated through the weekly check-ins.

5.    Special Education teachers will work collaboratively to develop accessible learning opportunities which can serve as the basis for ongoing learning during the school closure considering the specific needs of their students.

6.    Teachers shall determine when their duties and responsibilities will be performed with flexibility to account for these unique and challenging circumstances.

7.    When using an online synchronous (live) learning platform, teachers must provide notice via email to parents/guardians before engaging in the activity. Please see Appendix A for our audio and video platform disclaimer.

8.    Elaborate projects that require special printing or production will not be assigned.

9.    All teachers will communicate weekly office hours to their students and families. Office hours are expected to begin no earlier than 9 a.m. and no later than the end of a typical school day. During office hours, the teacher will be available to respond to student/parent questions via email, chat/text or video calls.

10.    If after multiple attempts a teacher has failed to connect with a student, he or she will notify his/her building principal.  

11.    No educators are expected/required to reply to emails, phone calls or text messages outside of their typical school day hours. If a parent emails or calls a teacher or building administrator during off hours, he or she should expect a response within 24 hours. If a parent emails or calls a teacher or building administrator during the weekend, he or she should expect a response on Monday.

Student and Parent/Guardian Expectations:

1.    The district will release online learning resources on bpsma.org each Monday for the week. Students should make every effort to consistently participate in remote learning activities daily so as not to fall behind. Parents/guardians should support this by keeping their child at home and focused on learning.

2.    If barriers exist that prevent a student from accessing remote learning activities, his/her parent or guardian should notify the child’s teacher or principal as soon as possible to discuss ways to address those challenges. The parent/guardian should call his/her child’s school to contact the principal during what would typically be regular school hours. Parents/guardians can also email their child’s principal or teacher. Please contact your child’s school if you require printed learning materials.

3.    We understand that the structured schedule our students adhere to in school would be impossible to emulate at home and we hope that the daily workload will provide families with the flexibility to go at their own pace.

4.    Activities are designed to engage the independent learning level of the students and should not require extensive parental/guardian guidance. Parents/guardians should expect to provide the same support that they would for homework assignments.

Accountability:
The district has adopted a detailed grading policy for the remote learning period. Please click here to review the policy. We will not allow this closure to negatively impact a student’s GPA or overall course grade.

 

Supports for Learners and Families:

·       Your teacher and principal are here to help. Please encourage your child to reach out with any questions he or she might have about the learning resources.

·       Please know that although our buildings are closed, staff in the Guidance Department continue to be available to answer questions and provide support and resources to you and your children. If you’d like to schedule a check-in, please click here.

·       Parents who need language assistance should contact our Bilingual Community Relations Facilitators by clicking here. Our facilitators speak Cape Verdean Creole, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, French, Spanish, Laotian, Thai and Chinese.

·       Students who require technical support on a BPS laptop should contact the BPS Help Desk at (508) 468-0973 or email PARENTHD@BPSMA.ORG.

·       Students who require assistance logging in to our online learning platforms, including but not limited to Clever and Edgenuity, should email Instructionaltechnologysupport@bpsma.org.

 

Expectations for Use of Technology:

Students and parents/guardians are prohibited from capturing screenshots, pictures, audio/video recording and distribution of any virtual educational experience in order to protect student privacy, proactively prevent potential cyberbullying, prevent the distribution of copyrighted materials and comply with Massachusetts law.

During any and all video check-ins with teachers and classmates, students are expected to abide by the code of conduct expectations outlined in their school handbook, including but not limited to expectations for appropriate dress and language. 

Students will engage in virtual educational experiences in a quiet, private area to the best of their ability in order to minimize background noise and distractions and to protect the integrity of student engagement as well as student confidentiality. Family members are similarly expected to respect the child’s at-home learning environment by avoiding unnecessary interruptions or distractions.

Parents/guardians and other household members must respect and keep confidential any personal or private information inadvertently discovered about other students due to the proximity of virtual education. 

District-Approved Communications and Learning Platforms*:

·       The district’s website, BPSMA.org, for the purpose of disseminating weekly online learning resources and for sharing important updates.

·       Clever

·       Edgenuity

·       Microsoft Teams

·       Zoom

·       Infinite Campus

·       Imagine Literacy & Imagine Math

·       Amplify

·       Newsela

·       Carnegie Learning

·       Discovery Education

·       Edcite

·       Ellevation

·       FloCabulary

·       Lexia

·       ST Math

*This is not an exhaustive list. Please log in to Clever to access additional recommended software.

 

 

APPENDIX A

SAMPLE DAILY SCHEDULES FOR STUDENTS.

 

Many of you have requested some additional guidance and we hope this information will be helpful. In accordance with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) we are recommending up to three hours of ungraded learning each day. Below are sample schedules that you can use to help structure your child(ren)’s learning.

 

Elementary School Sample Schedule

 

Time

Sample Activities

9:00-10:00

Math

·       Complete lesson on website (lesson, practice, problem of the day)

·       Play one of the suggested games

·       Go to Clever and extend math learning on any of the recommended websites

10:00-10:30

Physical Education: Get outside and get some exercise

10:30-11:30

Reading

·       Complete lesson on website

·       Read a book

·       Go to Clever and extend literacy learning on any of the recommended websites

11:30- 12:00

Art/ Social Studies/ Science:

·       Engage in a creative project

·       Go on one of the free museum tours https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/travel/a31784720/best-virtual-tours/

·       Engage in an inspiring Science Mystery, https://mysteryscience.com/

 

Middle/High School Sample Schedule

 

Schedule

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Start Time:

 

___:____

 

End Time:

 

___:_____

 

Math

ELA/ESL

Math

ELA/ESL

World

 Languages

Science

Social

Studies

Science

Social

 Studies

Complete core content work

Music

Art

Physical Education

Health

APPENDIX B

AUDIO AND VIDEO PLATFORM DISCLAIMER

Dear parent/guardian,

As you know, the Brockton Public Schools has presently closed its physical school buildings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During this period of school closure, the District will be providing students with remote learning opportunities, which may include analog materials, telephone calls, video conferencing, pre-recorded lessons, and other online services. Students are expected to participate in these services if possible. Please reach out to us as soon as possible if you anticipate or become aware of any issues with your child accessing the remote opportunities provided by the District. 

In accordance with state and federal laws, including the Massachusetts Wiretapping Act and FERPA, parents and students must refrain from recording any and all remote lessons. Exceptions may be made on an individual basis due to special circumstances, and only with the consent of everyone involved in the lesson. In addition, while parents/ guardians are permitted to observe online instruction in a non-disruptive manner, to the extent that remote learning opportunities provide access to confidential student information, all participants agree, by participating in this remote learning opportunity, to refrain from disseminating any confidential student information about other student participants with any and all third parties. By participating in the remote learning opportunities, consent to this request is hereby provided. 

Similarly, we ask everyone in our school community to recognize that video conferences and other online services will be taking place in the homes of the educators and students who participate in the calls, and to be mindful of everyone’s right to privacy. To that end, we remind our students to dress appropriately and choose an appropriate location in their home from which to participate in any and all remote learning opportunities, particularly those with a video component. Parents/ guardians should take all precautions to safeguard personal or private information that they do not wish to be disclosed.  

Students will be expected to behave in accordance with school rules of conduct while participating in remote instruction. Cyber-bullying, harassment, discrimination, and abuse of the remote learning process will not be tolerated and may result in suspension from remote learning, as well as additional consequences when school resumes. The District also encourages its staff and students alike to limit disruptions to remote lessons to the extent feasible (while also recognizing that sometimes pets, small children, and technical difficulties cannot be prevented from disrupting a lesson that happens at home). 

Special education teachers, ELL/ SEI teachers, and individual service providers will be in contact with parents/ guardians of students with specialized learning needs regarding necessary modifications to the remote instruction opportunities offered to other members of an individual student’s class, as well as to discuss direct and group service provision.  

Thank you,

Michael P. Thomas

Superintendent of Schools

Additional Documentation

The following documents provided by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education helped guide our remote learning plan and provided strategies for how the district can best support the Class of 2020 as they prepare to graduate.

DESE Letter to Families

High School Guidance