December 1, 2020

The Needham Channel

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Needham Public Schools Update: March 17, 2020

March 17, 2020  8:15 p.m. Dear Needham Public Schools Families: Allow me to share some additional updates about the school closure and how we will be able to support your children during this time.  Many of you may be eager to hear what learning options and resources are available for your children. We acknowledge that it is not possible to replicate the caring instructional environment of the classroom remotely, but the teachers and administrators of the Needham Public Schools are working each day to develop a thoughtful and coordinated plan to support you. The staff is collaborating on enrichment activities and finding ways to stay engaged with our students and families while school is not in session. Families in grades K to 5 will receive a curated list of resources by Friday, March 20th; Middle School families will receive cluster-specific resources on Saturday, March 21st; and High School students will receive department and teacher specific learning activities on Monday morning, March 23rd. Throughout the week of March 23rd and moving forward, teachers and counselors will be reaching out to their students during regular school hours. All of the learning opportunities are recommended but not required. The work will not be graded nor will we introduce new curriculum or new units of study. In the meantime, families and students may want to check out their school’s Technology Center websites for links to different online learning resources and reminders about Digital Citizenship and/or advice on managing children’s device usage. There are also some grade-level appropriate apps you may wish to consider to download or use. Broadmeadow Eliot Mitchell Newman Sunita Williams High Rock Pollard Needham High School Learning from home is a solution to the need for social distancing, but social connection is an important protective factor for all of us. Our challenge is to find new ways to connect because it is risky for children to hang out in large groups or be together on the playground, which is why all school playgrounds have been closed. Our community partners, Needham Public Health, Needham Health and Human Services, and the Needham Community Council are helping to meet the needs of families during this crisis. Families may contact the Needham Community Council, for example, to get meals and food. We recognize that our Boston resident students and families need resources closer to home and we are thankful that METCO, Inc. provides a list of services and supports. I will continue to provide necessary updates and information via email, the NPS website, and on NPS Twitter throughout the school closure.  Finally, let me acknowledge that I understand these times are extraordinary, uncertain, and can be exhausting, especially for the adults who may be anxious about a loved one’s health, their jobs, and protecting young families. During the days and weeks ahead, let’s acknowledge we will make mistakes, and we will need to practice patience, perspective, and empathy.  Let’s remember to check on one another and our neighbors, especially the elderly.  I’m reminded of something Mother Teresa urged others to consider during tumultuous times: “Never be so busy as not to think of others.”  Throughout her life, Mother Teresa also urged us to smile often.  Great advice for these times! While the schools are closed, please continue to reach out to me at 781-455-0400 x11203 or dan_gutekanst@needham.k12.ma.us  Thank you to all those who are partners in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our community.   Respectfully, Dan Gutekanst Superintendent Needham Public Schools