School Committee Takes Proactive Measures on Remote Learning

The school district has been working diligently behind the scenes to add support to the current remote learning plan. 

“We are flying the plane as we are building it,” said Superintendent Lisa Howard. “With extension of the closure, we believe our families need more support and structure since we are now headed to a re-opening date of May 4th, potentially longer.”

Howard, like all other School Superintendents across the Commonwealth, was blindsided by the news of the COVID-19 pandemic and is relying on the help of her leadership staff to navigate her way through these unsteady waters. With recommendations from the Commissioner of Education, the district is in the process of developing a more in-depth remote learning plan.

“We need to develop a plan that will give families the tools needed as if we won’t open again, hoping that we will be wrong.”

Staff members are using the means that they have to dive deeper into the remote learning framework and iron out any issues that came up during the first three weeks of the closure.

One of the goals going forward is to align the school websites so they are more user-friendly for parents who have students at two different schools. While the websites currently have the same look, they have varying degrees of getting access to assignments, which creates added frustration for parents.

In addition to solving technology issues, principals have been editing documents and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the teacher’s union to clarify expectations for distance learning. Keeping in mind that Winthrop is not a one-to-one district, and not every student has access to a computer, principals will rely heavily on communication with parents to get every student the device that he/she needs.

“Everyone wants to be back in class,” said Howard, who has heard from several parents attesting to the statement. “Students miss their peers, their friendships and the structure that goes along with being in the school building.”

The teachers, counselors, staff and leadership team are prioritizing health during the crisis, however; they are also looking ahead and planning out ways to delay traditional events so no student has to miss out.

“Principal Crombie and I have been in communication with the senior class officers and we are very mindful that there are several senior events during May 4 through May 23rd. We will try not to lose any of these events and push them out if necessary.”

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