Update from Robin Harris: March 23, 2020

Update from Robin Harris: March 23, 2020
Posted on 03/23/2020

Hello Fletcher Maynard Academy,

I hope you are well during this second week of school closures. I will write an update for you every Monday. Daniel Skeritt, our family liaison will email each Wednesday with a focus on community resources.

Ensuring Access to Food and Technology

Over the last week, the school district and FMA staff have been working to create systems for supporting students while they are out of school. This includes ensuring food security and universal access to the internet and technology. The work is ongoing, but it is a moment to be proud of our community. At present:

  • Free bagged breakfast and lunches can be picked up from FMA each day and different locations. See here for more information.
  • The district is delivering internet hotspots to families who do not have internet access.
  • All 3rd-5th grade students should have a working Chromebook computer.
  • The district has ordered 600 Chromebook computers for JK-2 students whose families do not have an accessible device for their children.
  • Staff at FMA have been working extremely hard, reaching out to families to assess what they need. Always contact me, Daniel or your child’s classroom teacher if you need anything additional.

Below, is our plan for keeping students learning while they are out of school. Please know that the plan may change; none of us have created a “virtual school” before, and certainly not in a week. We are learning as we go.

We do know that access will be more challenging for some students and families, and for that reason the plan for now is that we will not continue to progress through the curriculum and specific grade-level standards. Teachers will not be teaching lessons. They will be focusing on engagement and enrichment to keep student skills from sliding backwards. But to do this, we need your help. Younger students especially will need family support, both to get their learning plans and complete some of the activities. Older students will need families to help them structure their time and log into their Google classrooms. I know this a lot to ask in the middle of a developing pandemic. Families are continuing to work, both inside and outside the home, and caring for their children during the day, all of this while managing very real anxieties and fears. We are doing the same, and it is challenging.

Please know that we are here to help! Again, we know that some families have more barriers to engagement than others. This is why our entire staff, not just classroom teachers, will be monitoring student engagement and reaching out to families and students to offer support and remove barriers. If students are not responding or connecting, we will call and email to see how we can help. We may not have four walls anymore, but we are still a community. And our community is more important now than ever when our collective instinct is to wall ourselves off. So, as a community, we are also asking that you do not opt out of the work.Don't be surprised if I show up at your door to see why your child is not responding to the requests from teachers. :-).

Our students will stay engaged so long as their peers stay engaged. This is their community, too. At some point, if too many students stop showing up in their google classrooms and stop sharing work, the tenuous classroom communities we’re building will fall apart, and our students who need these learning communities the most won’t have a place to go. So when we are annoying you with phone calls and emails, please be patient with us. The phone call or email is about more than just your child.

Fletcher Maynard Academy Plan for Remote Learning
FMA teacher cluster teams are meeting and working. I think I have been involved in more Zoom meetings during the last two weeks than I have been in a year. :-) You and/or your child should have heard from your child’s classroom teacher by last Friday. The plans are different depending on the grade level and available technology. Please follow the plans of the teachers as well as check the FMA webpage. Here you can keep up with the work and expectations for all FMA staff.

In the coming weeks, our school and district will explore virtual engagement for groups of students at a time and ways of supporting peer to peer connections (for example, virtual morning meetings, virtual lunch groups, etc).

Special educators, support staff, and interventionists will support students they work with and students/families who are experiencing barriers to engagement. It is important to note that because our current approach to remote learning is not a continuation of grade-level standards or curriculum, district guidance is that special educators will not continue individual student services. However, special educators will provide additional enrichment activities to their students along with activities provided by classroom teachers.

The plans teachers have created reflect a tremendous amount of work over the past week and are still a work in progress. None of us are experts in virtual teaching and many of our teachers are, like you, juggling the demands of work and family. Please be patient with us as we continue to evolve. But also, if you appreciate what your child’s teacher is doing, please tell them! It will mean a lot.

I miss our community and our routines as much as your children do. We hope, as you do, that we can return to school soon. Please reach out via email or phone, 617.201.7817 if you have any questions.

Be well,


PS - Thank you so much for all the well wishes, thoughts, and prayers for my mother. She continues to make progress.

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