A central tenet of the School Cancellation Project is that student work will never be due on the day that students return to school.
This way, we can ensure that all students have equitable access to complete assignments.
Teachers will prepare and communicate assignments to students and parents using Aspen, Google Classroom, or teacher websites. Assignments will be posted no later than the morning of the cancelled day, but may be posted sooner: the night before, early in the winter months, based on the nature of the assignments, the teacher’s style and the needs of their students. At the secondary level, students will only be responsible for completing the activities for the classes that they would have had on the cancelled school day. The day in the cycle will be communicated to students and parents on the school website. It is important to remember that, just like teaching an online class, the teacher is not “on the clock” for the entire day. Teachers prep for this class just as they prep for any other class – this may occur during an in-school prep period, in the evening, on a weekend, or well in advance during summer break. Teachers may present individual class assignments, grade level assignments or team assignments. Teachers take the role as facilitator of learning, as they so often do during regular class hours.
During regular school hours on the cancelled day, teachers will monitor communication from students. Teachers will interact with students during regular school hours in virtual ways, including collaboration with shared Google Docs as they monitor individual or group assignments, and by hosting virtual office hours - using Google Classroom, Google Hangout, or email – to answer questions or provide support to students. Teachers will communicate instructions for how and when they will be available to students no later than the morning of the cancellation.
Teachers correct assignments as they typically would, in a timely manner following the assignment due date. Teachers will be available to help students in person following the school cancellation day during their regularly scheduled before, during, and after school hours.
Life Skills and Post Graduate teachers will assign students an activity related to the development of their job and/or independent living skills, to include online training modules where they may be available and/or applicable.
Specialists (Music, Art, Health, Physical Education, Technology, Computer Science, Engineering)
As all teachers, specialists will develop assignments/activities that support their curriculum and post them on Aspen, Google Classroom or teacher websites. Students will only be responsible for completing the activities for the specialists that they would have had on the cancelled school day. The day in the cycle will be communicated to students and parents on the school website.
Special Needs Teachers and English Second Language Teachers
These teachers review their schedule for the cancelled school day and consider how to best support students to complete their snow day assignments. In some cases, they will have co-created the assignments with the teacher and/or contributed to modifications of the assignments. The Special Education/ESL teacher will communicate with the classroom teacher, students, and/or parents as necessary before, on, or after the school cancellation day to provide the ongoing support that students require to successfully complete their assignments.
The Special Education/ESL teacher may also provide direct student services to small groups of students during the school day via the teacher’s website, Google Docs, or enrichment activities previously planned as part of the School Cancellation Project. In this case, the Special Education/ESL teacher will provide a home assignment for this cohort of students, connected to this curriculum, to continue learning at home. In this case, the expectation of the Special Education/ESL teacher is the same as a classroom teacher.
Student Support Staff (Psychologists, Counselors, OT/PT, SLP)
Student Support Staff will engage in school or district-wide work that reinforces or enhances their day-to-day student support services. This may include developing newsletters for parents or informational videos or flyers for students’ virtual backpacks. Counselors may wish to host virtual office hours on cancellation days to meet with students. Student Support teams may choose to hold a digital meeting on Google Hangout during the school cancellation day, as opportunities to connect and collaborate can be challenging to find on a typical busy school day.
The work completed on a cancelled school day is intended to have a direct impact on student growth, development or learning. Student Support Staff will collaborate with their supervisor about how to best provide services on a cancelled school day.
For Psychologists, the cancelled school day also provides an opportunity to catch up on student testing analysis and report writing.
Library Media Specialists and Academic Facilitators
Library Media Specialists will support teachers and students throughout the cancelled school day by hosting office hours over Google Chat/Email. They will support digital learning troubleshooting and Google Apps management, as well as ensuring that their respective schools are appropriately represented on the the website. Additionally, Library Media Specialists may partner with school principals to deliver meaningful professional development throughout the year to support teachers in their understanding of blended learning and the many digital tools that can be used to enrich and personalize the learning experience for students.
The secondary Library Media Specialist/Academic Facilitator team may choose to hold a digital meeting, as opportunities to connect and collaborate can be challenging to find during the school year.
Paraprofessionals will use a Google Doc template (or printed version), shared with the teacher(s) with whom they work, to collaborate in regard to the specific students they support on a daily basis. Paraprofessionals will review the school cancellation assignment(s) and list the types of supports that their students may need to be successful, connected to their knowledge of the students’ learning needs, accommodations, and their daily classroom experiences. Paraprofessionals will make a plan for how/when they will check in with the students once school is back in session to support their successful completion of the end product. Paraprofessionals may communicate plans via email, Google Docs, or when they return to school.
Paraprofessionals will review each of their students’ IEP goals and progress reports to date*. Paraprofessionals will also have the opportunity to participate in online professional development on the school cancellation day, an opportunity that is often not available to them when school is in session.
*School and district administrators will ensure Paraprofessionals’ access to assignments and IEP goals/progress reports.
Instructional Coaches, K-12 and 6-12 Curriculum Directors, & Education Team Facilitators
This cohort will be responsible for a “pre-review” of the School Cancellation Project initiative. Their goal is to support educators in aligning school cancellation assignments to the curriculum frameworks, and guiding/supporting educators as they develop quality, meaningful learning experiences for students. ETFs will additionally assist Paraprofessionals as they prepare for school cancellation days.
This cohort may also want to use this time for planning and paperwork.
Principals, Assistant Principals, and K-12 Directors
Principals, Assistant Principals, and K-12 Directors will be responsible for a review of the School Cancellation Project following each school cancellation day. This will be the primary accountability measure to ensure the program’s successful implementation.
Principals, Assistant Principals, and Directors will also use Google Sheets to track some of the productive ideas and successful digital learning tools that they learn about during the review. They will share these ideas with their school communities so that educators can learn from one another and continue to develop meaningful assignments as our School Cancellation Project evolves.
Principals and Assistant Principals will check in with a sample of teachers/ teams following a cancelled school day. The purpose of this review is to ensure that quality assignments were communicated to students, including an end product and due date. Principals and Assistant Principals will identify and communicate a follow up check-in with these teacher teams following the end product due date, to ensure that student learning is commensurate with a regular school day.
Principals and Assistant Principals will also meet with a sample of student support personnel following a cancelled school day. The purpose of this check-in is to ensure that the work completed on a cancelled school day has a direct impact on student growth, development or learning as intended.
The sample of personnel teams for the review will be randomly selected. Principals and Assistant Principals will communicate with the identified personnel upon return to school following the cancelled day, providing information about how and when the check-in will take place.
An example of the review is below. On subsequent snow days, different staff on a rotating basis will be selected to participate in the review.
Example of program review, first school cancellation day:
- All Grade 1 & 3 teacher teams and paraprofessionals
- All OT, PT, SLP, ESL personnel
MVMMS Assistant Principal and METCO Director:
- Each administrator checks in with two grade-level teams and paraprofessionals.
- One administrator checks in with Life Skills program; the other checks in with the Student Support Center program and School Counselors.
MHS Assistant Principals and Administrator for Secondary Student Services:
- Each AP checks in with two departments and paraprofessionals.
- One AP checks in with Life Skills and Post Grad program; one AP checks in with ACCESS.
- Administrator for Secondary Student Services checks in with school counselors and psychologists.
K-12 Director of Global Language, Arts, and Music/ K-12 Director of Athletics, Health & Wellness:
- Each Director checks in with specialists in PK-5 and 6-8 grade-levels.
At the end of the winter season, each school will conduct surveys to evaluate the success of the program. The surveys will include information about the following:
- Student survey will ask: 1.) what worked; 2.) what didn’t work; and 3.) if they felt that the assignments were helpful.
- Teacher survey will ask: 1.) how many students completed assignments while at home; 2.) how many students needed in school time upon return to complete assignments; 3.) how many students contacted teachers via email, Google, or other teacher websites during the snow day for help/guidance; and 4.) how many students had access problems during the snow day.
- Parent survey will ask: 1.) what worked; and 2.) what challenges did they encounter.
Feedback will be shared with families, teachers, and the School Committee.