Superintendent's Email 3/16/2020

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Dear Lawrence Families,

It was only recently that we learned remote learning would be allowed by the New Jersey Department of Education if a “public health related closure” is needed.  I want to take a moment to thank our teachers, administrators and district staff members who have worked tirelessly to ensure that we could launch our remote learning plan.  


The Plan

Starting today, all Lawrence Township Public Schools (LTPS) officially moved to a remote learning environment through Monday, April 13. Our Spring Recess remains scheduled for April 6 - 10. As we move forward, we will re-evaluate the length of closure and follow guidelines provided by our public health officials to determine if we need to make any modifications.  

Last night, links to the remote learning environments were posted on the district homepage. There are two sections: K-6 Home Instruction Resources and 7-12 Home Instruction

The K-6 Home Instruction Resources site hosts the K-6 learning resources, as well as special education therapist learning plans. These plans also were distributed last week to parents of elementary school students.  All students in grades 7-12 will continue learning via Google Classroom.  Teachers will post weekly assignments.  If students have questions, they should e-mail their teacher(s) or contact them through Google Classroom.  

At this time, schools and the central office will be open from 8 AM - 12 PM Monday - Friday.  If you need assistance, please call instead of going to the school in person.  Please understand that we are here to support you and your children during these unprecedented times and we also are adhering to the guidelines to minimize social interaction.   

Please be mindful of internet and website bandwidth and realize that some visitors may experience difficulties and delays. Never has a country attempted to remotely teach all students at the same time. 


Expectations

I am writing to share expectations for our remote learning experience during our closure.  During this time, I ask for your continued patience and flexibility. This is uncharted territory as well as our first experience in educating almost 4000 students outside our physical walls.  I am confident that our staff members will rise to the challenges ahead.  The experience will evolve over time, as we adjust to a new instructional methodology.  The goal is on learning, not on covering curriculum. 

This is a unique time, and the most important consideration is that staff, students, and families stay healthy.  We have turned off parent access to Genesis gradebook.  During the closure, we will focus on three key strategies: 

  • Feedback, not grades.  
  • Guidance and coaching strategies.  
  • Encouragement and social connection.


We are mindful that members of our school community (including our teachers and other staff) may face challenges ahead.  As such and in the event that a staff member does not hear from a parent or student or see that they have participated in remote learning for more than two days, we have asked that a school district member will reach out to the family via a phone call or email. 


Guidelines for Students and Families: Elementary School

  • A series of learning experiences have been created for students by grade level.  These experiences for the upcoming week will be posted on the district website on Sunday evenings.  
  • Students are asked to complete one activity from each of the following categories daily:
    • Subject Area
    • Health and Wellness 
    • Arts Activity
    • Social/Emotional 
  • Parents should submit questions directly to their child’s teacher.  
  • If a response is not given within 24 hours, please reach out to your child’s guidance counselor or building administrator.

 

Guidelines for Students and Families: Grades 7 - 12

  • Students should follow teachers’ instructions on their Google Classroom sites.
  • Students are able to complete work on their own schedule and will receive feedback from their teacher.  
  • Students will receive feedback via Google Classroom (not Genesis) from their teachers.
  • It is important that students hit “Submit” when completing assignments via Google Classroom.
  • Students should submit questions to their teachers through Google Classroom or via email. 
  • Teachers will check email, give feedback on assignments, and/or respond to students’ comments and questions within a 24-hour period.  


Please make sure your child has access to their teachers’ Google Classrooms and follows the digital learning calendar. Reminder: district devices and email accounts are only for school-related activities.


Student Registration

At this point, we are not registering new students for the district. We will let you know once we resume registration.


Discount School Meal Program

We directly contacted families of students enrolled in and eligible for the free or reduced meal program via email or a phone call.  A weekly distribution schedule is in place.

I want to thank our dining services, transportation, and buildings and grounds staff for working tirelessly and on short notice to put this plan in place. We will continue to evaluate the locations and times for distribution and will make adjustments as necessary to ensure we are able to support the needs of our students and community. 


Additional Information

  • School guidance counselors will maintain contact with students/families, as needed, through email. 
  • Building administration is available to all families through email. 

In closing, I assure you that we considered information and recommendations from a variety of public officials and health professionals when making our decision to close. The coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented crisis. It will take all of us working together to get through it—and we will get through it.

 

Respectfully,

Ross Kasun, Ed.D.
Superintendent

 

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