Dear APS Families,
As we finish the first week of phase 2 of the APS At-Home Learning Plan, I hope our students have found encouragement from connecting with their teachers and peers. I know our staff is working tirelessly to support your children in their learning and our teachers are passionate about making the at-home experience meaningful for students.
A number of people have asked about whether we will have a spring break and I want to share with you the recommendation I made to our School Committee during our April 1, 2020 meeting. I recommended that the school district maintain the district’s calendar with respect to spring recess. There will be no school from Monday, April 20 to Friday, April 24, 2020.
There are a few reasons I believe it is in our best interest as a district to take a break at this time. Given the increased spread and impact of the virus, I anticipate the Governor’s closure will extend beyond May 4th. Although abandoning the spring break might enable us to end the year four days earlier, if we are able to return to classes before the end of the school year, our current schedule will provide valuable time when we can connect face-to-face with our students, provide direct classroom instruction, and bring a positive closure to the school year. It will also give us more time to prepare for and hold the celebrations we look forward to as our school year draws to a close: Graduation, moving-up ceremonies, and the many other ways we celebrate our close of the year. Taking the time to acknowledge our students’ milestones is important to all in the community and provides a well-deserved sense of pride for our students, especially after a year of uncertainty and drastic changes. Maintaining the school break gives us the best chance of accomplishing that.
With the anticipation that the closure will last longer than May 4, the spring break will also give all of us time to prepare well for the remaining weeks of remote learning. The mandated closure and the disruptions created by the public health crisis have been stressful and unsettling for us all. I believe it will benefit our students, staff and administrators to pause. Over the past several weeks our staff needed to work quickly to prepare the level of detail provided in phase 2. The spring break will allow us to reflect on the systems and processes we implemented and to make thoughtful adjustments that enable us to provide the most constructive and meaningful educational program for students on our return from the break.
I understand that there are differing perspectives on this and some would prefer to continue instruction instead of taking the spring break. Some other districts have done just that. I understand that this may be a reasonable choice for those districts. Many of these districts would have ended school during the week of June 22nd and are teaching for two to four days during the break to bring the end of school to the prior week. Fortunately, our school year ends during the week of the 15th. Although I respect districts for making that decision, I believe we are best served by taking the break.
I hope that everyone can use the break to rest and recover as we continue to endure this physical isolation. I anticipate that we will return to learning with renewed energy and commitment to make the stretch to the end of the year as meaningful and productive as possible. I hope you stay safe and healthy through this challenging time.