April 16, 2020
This afternoon, Governor Sununu announced the extension of the school closure and the continuation of remote learning through the end of the academic year. He noted that the decision was necessary because we are not able to bring students back into the school buildings in a way that doesn’t exacerbate the spread of coronavirus. He expressed gratitude for the way that New Hampshire’s community of educators, students, and families have come together during this difficult time.
This new phase of remote learning brings about more questions and additional logistics to figure out. Below are details on some of the topics that we anticipate you may have questions about.
Remote Learning and WIN Days
Remote learning will continue through June 12 for the John Stark, Henniker, and Weare School Districts.
One recent change we implemented in K-8 in the Henniker and Weare School Districts is WIN. WIN (What I Need) Days were added in response to the overwhelmed feeling expressed by many parents, students, and teachers. Many parents are trying to juggle supporting their children’s remote learning with their own work responsibilities. Some students are finding that they need additional time and support to complete assignments. Additionally, educators are trying to fit their professional responsibilities around meeting the needs of students. WIN days allow for the flexibility to meet some of these needs and to ease some of the strain our community is feeling. It will help us to build capacity in order to sustain remote learning through the long term.
On WIN Days, students will do a brief morning check-in with their teacher to share their plan for the day. While it is not a day for new learning, students will have the option to do make-up work, engage in extension activities, work with interventionists, and take advantage of other offerings during a WIN Day. Teachers will use the remainder of the day to address the long list of responsibilities, including communicating with parents and students, collaborating with colleagues, preparing instructional materials, and engaging students requiring individualized support.
April Vacation and the Last Day of School
Monday, 4/27 and Tuesday, 4/28 will be vacation days for students and staff.
Remote learning will continue for the remainder of that week (Wednesday-Friday).
There will NOT be a WIN day that week.
The last day of school for students will be June 12 in the John Stark, Henniker and Weare districts
Grading & Reporting
Teachers will continue to report out on student progress and grading will continue as it did pre-remote learning, but fewer standards and less content will be addressed than in a typical spring term. New Hampshire students will not take NHSAS, SAT, and DLM testing this spring. The possibility of issuing vouchers to high school students who may wish to take the SAT in early June (if it is available at that time) is being explored.
Summer Educational Programming
If state officials allow, we have plans to offer summer programming for students. The offerings will include special education and related services, remediation, and enrichment. We are making plans with the understanding that there may still be restrictions through the summer. If we are not able to bring students back into the schools, we are exploring possible virtual options for supporting and engaging students in July and August.
End-of-Year Celebrations & Ceremonies
At every grade level, there are end-of-year celebrations that occur. These events highlight achievements, build community, and bring closure to the school year. It is impossible to make definite plans right now, but we do have tentative plans for BIG TENT WEEK from August 2-8. In addition to graduation, we are proposing that prom, 8th-grade promotion, field day, and other significant events happen during that week. If it is safe to do so, this will be a nice opportunity to bring the community together.
The worldwide crisis is causing significant economic uncertainty. While we will continue to pay people, maintain the buildings, and do necessary work on the buildings, we will avoid all non-essential spending across the SAU. We are also in the process of looking at how best to use grant money that we anticipate receiving through the federal Coronavirus Care Fund.
Ensuring that students with disabilities are not left behind during this epidemic has been a major priority. We have taken a number of steps to make sure that all students are getting access to the education they are entitled to receive. Over 1500 specialized services are currently being provided remotely through our Special Education & ELL programs. We are tracking whether students are meeting their annual IEP goals and are receiving all of the special education and related services articulated in their IEP. Extended school year services will be offered to students who need them, as determined by individual IEP teams. ESY services will be provided in person (if allowable) or through remote learning (if needed). Check with your child’s case manager for specific dates and times.
The USDA and the State of NH have approved a waiver that allows schools to offer meals to all students 18 and under free of charge. These meals will be delivered weekdays to your home address. This is only for the duration of the current COVID-19 crisis and will not expand into the summer break. If you have not been receiving meals during this crisis and want breakfast and lunch to be delivered, contact:
Weare School District: 603-529-8012
If your household income has been affected due to this current crisis, you may wish to fill out a free or reduced application to see if you are eligible for free or reduced pricing when school resumes. An approved application now would be in effect until October 2020. Applications are available on the school websites.
Due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the school boards in SAU 24 will continue to hold all business meetings and special sessions online. All board meetings will remain open to the public. We encourage our community members to join us and make your voices heard during the public comment portion of the meetings. Information about upcoming board meetings on the school websites.
If you have specific questions or concerns about remote learning or future plans, please contact the building principal.