Academics Questions

  • ACADEMICS

    QUESTION

    RESPONSE

    Question about kids who take a language. It was difficult trying to teach another language to my child. Will there be more support for this?

    Learning an additional language, either in Dual Language or World Language programs can be challenging doing it remotely, but the District is committed to providing support for students and families to continue language learning at home. There are lots of resources on the Multilingual website in English, Spanish and Portuguese with online programs that students can access easily and without cost. Teachers have also been in contact with their students, summer programs in ESL, Spanish and Portuguese continued until August 14th. Many of our families participated in these free opportunities for their children. As we start the year, we will have a multilingual meeting on Sept. 10th for all families on incoming kindergartners in Dual Language Programs to provide information on enhancing language learning in the home. I hope that many of our families will participate. Information links will be sent prior to the meeting. 

    Across the country, families are considering homeschooling in large numbers as an alternative. What message would you give to those Framingham families?

    Homeschooled students are withdrawn from the Framingham Public Schools and the families become responsible for the curriculum and instruction of their children.  Remote learning, on the other hand, means that students remain enrolled in their school and receive their instruction from FPS teachers.

    Will remote learning be actual teaching this year or more of what I would call busy work?

    In the remote learning model, students receive 100% of their instruction through virtual means. Students will be expected to participate in live synchronous lessons at designated times throughout the school day. Asynchronous lessons will work to enhance the live synchronous opportunities utilized by teachers to engage students with content.  We do not expect--nor do we want--students to be fixed to a screen for the duration of the day. Rather, through professional development and good planning on the part of our excellent teachers we will rely on educators to design lessons that provide a combination of both live, synchronous interactive instruction and some independent activities. By creating a set schedule we are ensuring teachers' plans do not conflict with each other forcing a student to choose between subjects (as happened at the secondary level in the spring). By building teachers' capacity to shift to authentic remote teaching we will be able to meet the necessary demands of our curriculum while providing students with opportunities for tech and no tech learning experiences.Teachers will take attendance in each course every day and this will be reported in Aspen.  

    Can you please provide an update with regards to Technology and how the curriculum will be delivered?

    Increased technology will include providing all students with an assigned Chromebook (1:1) and delivery of content through digital means whenever possible. Google Classroom, with Google Meet, at the elementary level, and Canvas with Zoom, at the middle and high school levels, will be used to ensure all materials are accessible to students.  

    If we are going remote at first, how is the district getting technology out to students in a timely manner?

    The school year will begin with a remote learning model. As such the District is developing a system to distribute instructional materials including textbooks, Chromebooks, workbooks, and other essential resources to all students.

    Can you please discuss the platform and expectations for remote learning? 1. will all teachers be unified in both platform and expectations? 2. Will it be like a regular school day.. all live.. but just online? Or will it be just a few live lessons per week? Can they be recorded? 

    In the remote learning model, students receive 100% of their instruction through virtual means. Students will be expected to participate in live synchronous lessons at designated times throughout the school day. Asynchronous lessons will work to enhance the live synchronous opportunities utilized by teachers to engage students with content.  We do not expect--nor do we want--students to be fixed to a screen for the duration of the day. Rather, through professional development and good planning on the part of our excellent teachers we will rely on educators to design lessons that provide a combination of both live, synchronous interactive instruction and some independent activities. By creating a set schedule we are ensuring teachers' plans do not conflict with each other forcing a student to choose between subjects (as happened at the secondary level in the spring). By building teachers' capacity to shift to authentic remote teaching we will be able to meet the necessary demands of our curriculum while providing students with opportunities for tech and no tech learning experiences.Teachers will take attendance in each course every day and this will be reported in Aspen. 

    Increased technology will include providing all students with an assigned Chromebook (1:1) and delivery of content through digital means whenever possible. Google Classroom, at the elementary level, and Canvas, at the middle and high school levels, will be used to ensure all materials are accessible to students.

    What accomodations can be made for students on IEPs where remote or distance learning is of lower effectiveness than the general student population? Is anyone looking at staggered returns depending upon the needs of the students (rather than as an entire population?)

    Students identified as high needs will return to school earlier than the general population, if deemed safe by the Department of Public Health, per the schedule attached here

    If we have children in different grades/schools and end up returning in a hybrid format, what are our options if our kids end up on opposite weeks?  Will we have the opportunity to talk with other parents in our classes about switching weeks with them? Thank you for your time.

    The hybrid learning model ensures all students who are physically able will receive some in-person instruction while increasing our ability to keep students and staff physically distanced. Per DESE guidance, high-needs students will be prioritized for full-time in-person learning as these students should receive as much in-person instruction as possible. The Framingham Public Schools hybrid learning model will prioritize special populations including students with disabilities, students with IEPs or 504 plans with vision and/or hearing impairments, preschool-aged students with identified disabilities, students who are McKinney-Vento, in Foster Care or Group Home settings as well as a population of English learners (foundational level students and students on English Learner Success Plans) that require direct services on a daily basis as outlined in the DESE Initial Fall School Reopening Guidance. All other students will be assigned a group (Group A or Group B) for alternating weeks of in-person and remote learning (Week A and Week B). Special care will be taken to ensure that all students from the same household will be assigned to the same group.

    How does the district plan to make up compensatory services for sped students?

    • How are they proposing to deal with IEP revaluations and supporting kids with IEPs?
    •  For students in out of district placements, will framingham be determining the schedule or the out of district school?  Can you speak more specifically about how you are prioritizing these students?

    The Department of Secondary and Elementary Education has not released guidance on recovery support and Covid-19 compensatory services yet.  

    • We are currently planning to start testing at the beginning of the school year. Staff will reach out to families to schedule times for the testing to occur at the schools. 
    • Each out of district school is required to submit a plan to the DESE for approval and determine if they will be fully remote, fully back in person or in a hybrid model to start the year. As out of district schools are making those determinations, they are information us and the families.  

    Will kindergarteners / preschool be required to wear masks?

    Information taken directly from the FPS Back to School Plan as of August 12, 2020: Face Coverings/Masks are the single most important risk management measure to contain the spread of COVID-19. Face coverings will be required to be worn by all students and staff PK-12 with exceptions only for those students or staff for whom it is not safe to do so due to a medical condition or other considerations

    In any model with remote or hybrid - At the high school will there be instructor led classes? that was the key piece lacking from the spring model

    The remote and hybrid learning models will utilize all existing staff to support students while they engage with in person and remote teaching. All staff will utilize live teaching using the Google Classroom platform in elementary school and the Canvas platform in middle and high school for both in person and remote teaching to provide consistency and access for students. Teachers will take attendance for both in-person and remote student groups which will be reported in Aspen.

    At the high school level, all scheduling and cohorting practices outlined in the in-person model, including the revised schedule, will continue to be implemented in the hybrid and remote models. Students will participate in synchronous learning whenever possible. Teachers will be asked to live stream their lessons or video conference with remote students every day so that students who are learning remotely can participate in lessons and interact with their peers in real time whenever possible. All lesson materials will be available in Canvas for students to access whether they are in person or remote.

    How would you deal with siblings in different grades, regarding On/OFF weeks. Would it be possible to request that they attend the same ON/OFF week— sending them to the building the same day.

    The hybrid learning model ensures all students who are physically able will receive some in-person instruction while increasing our ability to keep students and staff physically distanced. Per DESE guidance, high-needs students will be prioritized for full-time in-person learning as these students should receive as much in-person instruction as possible. The Framingham Public Schools hybrid learning model will prioritize special populations including students with disabilities, students with IEPs or 504 plans with vision and/or hearing impairments, preschool-aged students with identified disabilities, students who are McKinney-Vento, in Foster Care or Group Home settings as well as a population of English learners (foundational level students and students on English Learner Success Plans) that require direct services on a daily basis as outlined in the DESE Initial Fall School Reopening Guidance. All other students will be assigned a group (Group A or Group B) for alternating weeks of in-person and remote learning (Week A and Week B). Special care will be taken to ensure that all students from the same household will be assigned to the same group.

    Would it be possible for kids that have 1 on 1 support that they get this type of 1 on 1 service remotely?

    This will be determined on an individual basis after reviewing the Individual Education Program (IEP), the purpose of the 1:1 support, and the staff who will be providing the support when we are fully remote. 

    BLOCKS

    • Should we assume that BLOCKS preschool will follow all the same procedures/schedule as FPS?
    • How will BLOCKS work remotely?
    • Will BLOCKS families still have to pay for preschool even if they are remote? 

    BLOCKS staff are part of the FTA bargaining units and therefore will follow the decisions negotiated and agreed upon by the respective bargaining units and the district.

    BLOCKS will provide remote learning using the guidelines negotiated and will modify based on the age and needs of the children.

    BLOCKS will not charge families tuition during the remote learning time.

    Can you speak about what 100% remote learning will look like, for those students who can't return to school due to health risk (or if we go to 100% remote for all students)?  Will there be full days of  live teacher-led classes?

    In the remote learning model, students receive 100% of their instruction through virtual means. Students will be expected to participate in live synchronous lessons at designated times throughout the school day. Asynchronous lessons will work to enhance the live synchronous opportunities utilized by teachers to engage students with content.  We do not expect--nor do we want--students to be fixed to a screen for the duration of the day. Rather, through professional development and good planning on the part of our excellent teachers we will rely on educators to design lessons that provide a combination of both live, synchronous interactive instruction and some independent activities. By creating a set schedule we are ensuring teachers' plans do not conflict with each other forcing a student to choose between subjects (as happened at the secondary level in the spring). By building teachers' capacity to shift to authentic remote teaching we will be able to meet the necessary demands of our curriculum while providing students with opportunities for tech and no tech learning experiences.Teachers will take attendance in each course every day and this will be reported in Aspen. 

    Has there been any discussion around grade retention for anyone who chooses?

    All students' needs are different. Parents are encouraged to engage in two-way communication with teachers and staff regarding the progress of their students. 

    If Framingham is remote in September and October, there has to be more consistency with a regular schedule of live teaching, collecting, and grading work. What are your thoughts for a schedule for the elementary school, and accountability for collecting and grading student work?

    In the remote learning model, students receive 100% of their instruction through virtual means. Students will be expected to participate in live synchronous lessons at designated times throughout the school day. Asynchronous lessons will work to enhance the live synchronous opportunities utilized by teachers to engage students with content.  We do not expect--nor do we want--students to be fixed to a screen for the duration of the day. Rather, through professional development and good planning on the part of our excellent teachers we will rely on educators to design lessons that provide a combination of both live, synchronous interactive instruction and some independent activities. By creating a set schedule we are ensuring teachers' plans do not conflict with each other forcing a student to choose between subjects (as happened at the secondary level in the spring). By building teachers' capacity to shift to authentic remote teaching we will be able to meet the necessary demands of our curriculum while providing students with opportunities for tech and no tech learning experiences.Teachers will take attendance in each course every day and this will be reported in Aspen. 

    Grading Expectations:

    Elementary School

    Teachers will utilize formative and summative assessments as well as anecdotal records to monitor student progress towards standards mastery. Additionally, teachers will provide ongoing feedback to students regarding their progress towards grade level personal and social growth indicators. This feedback should be individualized and focused on a student’s current level of understanding and provide next steps to move the student academically, behaviorally, and socially-emotionally. With respect to feedback, teachers will monitor and support student engagement regardless of the learning model. Formal parent conferences will be held in the fall and spring, and report cards will be issued electronically in January and at the end of school. Parents are encouraged to engage in two-way communication with teachers and staff regarding the progress of their student. 

    Middle School

    Teachers will utilize formative and summative assessments as well as other appropriate measures to monitor student progress towards standards mastery.  Teachers will provide regular feedback to students regarding their progress towards meeting these standards. In any learning model, this feedback should be individualized and focused on a student’s current level of understanding and provide next steps to help the student grow. While some assignments may need to be modified if learning is occurring virtually, academic work will continue to be assigned, submitted, and graded regardless of the learning model.       

    Middle school students will receive comments on midterm progress reports and letter grades on report cards each trimester, as they have in the past. 

    High School   

    Teachers will utilize formative and summative assessments as well as other appropriate measures to monitor student progress towards standards mastery.  Teachers will provide regular feedback to students regarding their progress towards meeting these standards. In any learning model, this feedback should be individualized and focused on a student’s current level of understanding and provide next steps to help the student grow. While some assignments may need to be modified if learning is occurring virtually, academic work will continue to be assigned, submitted, and graded regardless of the learning model.       

    High school students will receive comments on progress reports and letter grades on report cards each term, as they have in the past.

    How can the Library can play a role to support the schools and children and families in accessing resources needed to ensure school success?

    The Library and the District enjoy a strong partnership. The Library’s continued outreach to community partners to help families obtain library cards to allow access to online and print materials will continue to grow. Additionally, the use of the Bookmobile (once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted) offers access to books for students and families. The Library and the Library Media Specialists at the schools will continue to partner to enhance the experience for our students. 

    Please consider establishing community hubs for learning and I would be interested in moving these discussions from theory to action and what the next steps will be to continue these conversations

    The Department of Public Health has shared some of the work other communities have done to create community hubs to support students with limited means. We are currently working with community partners to assess the viability of this option. 

    Can we build off of the SEL curriculum and provide tools for parents as much as students?

    The district, in collaboration with our student support staff, will develop resource materials for parents to help support their children's social emotional wellbeing.  These materials will include strategies to  support students' social, emotional and behavioral/mental health, particularly during  the remote learning period. These resources will be drawn from a variety of sources, including the various SEL curricula currently utilized across the district.  



    What is the plan to distribute textbooks, technology and supplies needed for students to participate in remote learning?

    The district is planning for materials and technology to be distributed in early September.  More details to come.

    I have concern for the kindergartners that are starting school for the first time. They are transitioning into a whole new environment. How do you make it successful with remote learning for those students?

    The most important building block for our kindergarten students and families is a connection to the classroom teacher, classmates and their school community. A significant amount of time will be dedicated to building these relationships. Additionally,  

    When schools will move to the hybrid model. will it still be the option to study remotely?

    Yes. Parents will have the option of having their students continue to learn remotely.

    Is there a way to “pair” homeless students with other students where the homeless student would ‘go to school’ each day at a specific student’s home so they have a set location to participate remotely effectively.

    While we cannot pair homeless students with other students, we are looking at potential community hubs sites to provide safe oversight and support to promising students with limited resources including homeless students, low income students and students struggling to access online learning. 

    Once the hybrid model has transitioned to students back in school, if parents exercise the option to keep their students home, does that mean that the student will interact with *their* class in real-time, or will there be a dedicated teacher for that grade to teach remote kids separately from those physically present in the classroom?

    The plan is for students to continue to engage with their classmates and remain connected to their assigned teacher.  

    For kids who need a new IEP assessment, how will that go forward?

    We are currently planning to start testing at the beginning of the school year. Staff will reach out to families to schedule times for the testing to occur at the schools. 

    How are teachers assessing where students left off with the curriculum last year to know where to begin this school year?

    Information taken directly from the FPS Back to School Plan as of August 12, 2020: Due to the substantial changes to how and where students may be learning in 2020-2021, it is inevitable that instructional time will need to be reprioritized to support students’ social emotional needs and ability to safely access technology. For this reason, the District acknowledges that in no grade level or content area will we be able to teach the entire curriculum this year. However, our goal is to maximize learning and to provide students with a full day of instruction of grade-level content regardless of the learning model. For this reason, the curriculum and scheduling decisions for all three learning models are intentionally the same.

    Content leaders, including district staff, coaches, and department heads, will review pacing guides and curriculum maps to identify foundational standards that may need to be taught prior to introducing new grade-level content standards, highlight opportunities for compacting curriculum, and determine standards that will not be covered. Collaboration opportunities at all levels will be paramount to support consistency of pacing within and across schools.  

    Will there be traditional grading or will it be the same as the Spring?

    Information taken directly from the FPS Back to School Plan as of August 12, 2020: Elementary - Formal parent conferences will be held in the fall and spring, and report cards will be issued electronically in January and at the end of school. Parents are encouraged to engage in two-way communication with teachers and staff regarding the progress of their student. 

    Middle school students will receive comments on midterm progress reports and letter grades on report cards each trimester, as they have in the past. 

    High school students will receive comments on progress reports and letter grades on report cards each term, as they have in the past.

    Cross Posted from the Physical Operations Questions (Updated 9/2/20)

    Can my child use their own chromebook vs. a school issued chromebook? 

     

     

    While students are able to use their own personal devices to access remote learning, the District strongly recommends that all Framingham Public School students use school-issued chromebooks.

    School issued chromebooks have a few features that have been added on to make them work better in our classrooms.

    • They have protection against unauthorized and potentially harmful sites.
    • They allow teachers to use a program called Securly which allows them to control each student's chromebook during class time. This is most often used in elementary and middle schools.
    • The district’s technology staff can troubleshoot or replace technology that is not working.