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A Message from the Superintendent of Schools - April 17, 2020
District
Friday, April 17, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians:

During these extraordinary times, our resolve although tested remains strong as we deliver remote instruction to our students providing a sense of normalcy. Yesterday, Governor Murphy announced that schools will remain closed until May 15. At this time, it is still unclear when we will return to school.

Our District continues to look for ways to connect with our school community and most importantly our students. In finding a balance we strive to not limit creativity while at the same time understanding that we are working through an imperfect time that will on occasion produce imperfect results.

The teachers know how to own their classroom when at school. During this unprecedented time their classroom has expanded to include their homes and yours. Their new virtual classroom requires them to not only develop new skills swiftly, but also replicate their classroom expectations and management while delivering their academic content in an entirely new environment.

As I had previously shared in my communication on March 24, synchronous instruction continues to be implemented at different levels and through different platforms and that is still the case.  We have not chosen a sole platform as they all present unique challenges with regard to required security safeguards, teacher training and comfortability, and host-student responsibility. Every video conferencing platform that exists continues to address issues as they arise. In addressing our own challenges, we have expanded the required training for our staff, reiterated student expectations and we are currently piloting different platforms in different settings to not only provide “live” instruction, but also expand opportunities for small group instruction while exercising greater control of the virtual environment.

As we conclude the third marking period, it is necessary to evaluate what the next four weeks will look like for our students. We continue to evaluate our instructional practices during the closure and make adjustments accordingly. As we await guidance for a possible re-entry plan, we are working to prioritize skills while moving forward with new learning. Students will continue to receive timely feedback and grading will continue, with the understanding that staff has the flexibility to address individual student needs and personal circumstances as necessary. I ask that you communicate any questions or concerns to your child’s teacher and principal.

As a school community, we are experiencing the loss of loved ones, financial uncertainty, and social isolation. While we want and need to affirm our feelings during this time we also want and need to share hope for all the good things that are to come. Your continued messages of support and appreciation help us see beyond our challenges and bolsters our pride to serve in this great community- thank you!

Stay safe, healthy and hopeful,

Dr. Morillo
Superintendent of Schools