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May 1st, 2020
Dear APS families,
I hope you had some time over April break to rest and adjust to Governor Baker’s announcement that schools will remain closed through the end of the school year.
It deeply saddened me to know that I would not be seeing our students again this year, meeting with parents, visiting schools, or sharing in the joys of our traditional end-of-year celebrations. It has taken me a while to adjust to that feeling and to begin to re-imagine how we can make these next months and our closure something exceptional and meaningful to all in our community, in spite of this school year being so different from what we have come to expect in the past.
The announcement that we will be closed through the remainder of the year also means that we are no longer just experiencing a temporary emergency that would resolve itself once we returned to school. It’s very different to tolerate a short-term challenge than it is to educate and learn remotely through the remainder of the year. As we make the transition to this next phase of the closure, our teachers have worked hard to focus on using the learning of the past six weeks to refine their remote instructional efforts and to strengthen their efforts to bring the warmth and meaningfulness of the classroom to the lives of our students.
At the April 30th school committee meeting, we presented results from the APS Community Survey we distributed earlier this month. The initial results from the community survey were quite positive. The majority of our families indicated that students were engaged in learning for three or more hours a day, that the materials provided by teachers were helpful, and that Google Classroom and Google Meet or live video conferencing were the most impactful learning tools. We will work on maximizing their use over the coming weeks to promote students’ success.
The APS staff and faculty will do our best to support our students and families over the coming weeks. We are all balancing circumstances that are difficult and unique. Like many of our families, our teachers are working while they are supporting their children’s learning at home, caring for an older parent who may be ill, or dealing with illness themselves. They need your support and understanding through this difficult time. Managing this crisis is no simple task and I applaud our educators for their commitment to their students. Next week, May 4th - 8th, is national Teacher Appreciation Week, and I hope you join me in thanking our teachers and support staff for their generosity and dedication to our community. In these challenging times, we truly appreciate their impact and the vital role they play to inspire our students.