Superintendent's Message 10/23/20
October 23, 2020
Greetings Lawrence Families!
I am writing to provide an update to information that I included in my October 12, 2020 letter to parents, and to clarify information about the number of minutes of direct, synchronous instruction that hybrid and remote only students will receive within the schedule.
During the last week, I have heard from several parents of children in grades K-6 who voiced concerns about the instructional schedule linked within that letter. Most questions surrounded the perceived difference in the number of minutes of direct instruction that hybrid students would receive versus the number remote only students would receive.
I truly appreciate those who took the time to reach out to me, our Board members, my office, or our principals with questions and a sincere desire to work together on a schedule and instructional program that is equitable for all students. We do listen and act on such information when it is in the best interest of all of our students. We made some changes based on that feedback. For instance, there will be time each morning for students who are not in-person that day to connect with their teacher to set learning expectations and ask questions. In addition, there will be staff available to help students who are at home in the morning and need further support.
On a separate document that I am including with this letter is a breakdown of contact time students in grades K-6 will have with their teachers. Included with the tables is information outlining the number of minutes of direct, synchronous instruction that students in Hybrid Cohort A, Hybrid Cohort B, or Remote Only will receive during the week.
We will continually monitor, evaluate, and adjust as needed. As our teachers need time to adjust and enhance their expertise in this next phase, the majority of instruction on Fridays will be asynchronous, so our teachers have additional time to plan, prepare, and collaborate with each other. We will reevaluate this in January, and we may make some modifications to our schedule.
In my October 12th letter, I stated, “Currently, it looks like students whose last name begins with letters A-L will be in cohort (group) A, and those whose last name begins with M-Z will be in the B cohort.” Now that we have parents’ choices for hybrid or remote, the distribution is better for us to use A-K for Cohort A and L-Z for Cohort B.
Also, in the October 12th letter, we stated that parents need to keep their child(ren) in the hybrid or remote option chosen through the current phase. Our new model and schedule offer flexibility; therefore, beginning in January, we will establish periods during which parents can re-evaluate their choice and change from hybrid to remote or vice versa.
Please know that we continually monitor this pandemic, and we are aware that there is a current increase in positive cases in New Jersey. We are in constant contact with our Health Department and the surrounding school districts. Our anticipated dates of reopening schools for in-person instruction may need to be altered and adjusted to ensure the health, safety and wellness of our students, staff and families. We will keep you updated.