Thursday, April 2, 2020

Remote Learning Plan

Good afternoon,
This is Patrick Daly, Superintendent of Schools. As previously discussed, we have prepared a remote learning plan for our students in North Reading that will begin on Monday, April 6th.
I would like to thank our administrative team, curriculum and special education leaders, and union leadership in developing this comprehensive and thoughtful plan. We believe that this plan is FLEXIBLE and will meet the needs of our students and educators socially, emotionally, and academically during these challenging times.
Please visit this site to read the details of our Remote Learning Plan and expect more specific information, including flexible remote learning schedules, from your principals and teachers in the near future.

Sincerely yours,
Dr. Daly

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Good evening parents and families,

I hope that everyone had an enjoyable weekend. I'm happy to share that our teachers and administration have been working through the weekend on the development of a plan that will lead to more structured learning for students that will begin to take shape this week with new modules scheduled for Monday, April 6th. Tomorrow each Principal will be meeting with the leadership team at each school, comprised of general education and special education teachers, in order to thoughtfully finalize the schedule for students and to answer any remaining questions.

For tomorrow we ask that students continue to explore the enrichment resources that have been shared. My hope is to have some additional structured guidance on Tuesday for the remainder of this week and then a distinct plan in place for our new remote learning schedule for Monday, April 6th.
This week I will be sharing some additional guidance for parents and families. Most importantly, I want to assure you that North Reading students will continue to receive the top level education that they are accustomed to receive from the very best teachers that the Commonwealth has to offer. I am in constant communication with local Superintendents and I am confident that we are on par with all other districts and that our remote learning experience will be designed with the best interest of North Reading students and families in mind and we will continue our "pursuit of excellence" in this new and exciting format.

It is also important to me that I clarify that we are not attempting to replicate school and instead are designing new remote learning opportunities for students that will be guided and structured by our teachers and administrators. Technology will continue to be a tool for us to use as we explore remote learning but it is not the only tool that our teachers will employ. I wish to thank our North Reading Educator Association union representatives for working so closely with us on this plan.
We have successfully distributed technology devices to those in need and I ask anyone who has not completed this form (or wishes to change their responses)to complete this brief online survey as soon as possible.

Our food services program continues to prepare meals for those who need them and if you need to complete or update that form you may do so here.

I wish you the best as we enter into our third full week of school closure and continue to
be available to you for any questions or concerns at any time at or 978-664-9557.

Thank you,

Dr. Daly

Friday, March 27, 2020

Dear North Reading School Community,
It's been another very eventful week for us and I appreciate the efforts of everyone in our community. I want to thank all of the doctors, nurses, drivers, food and grocery workers, safety, town administrators and other essential providers in our community for all that they are doing to support us during this challenging time.
I have been continuously impressed with the dedication of our food services team who prepared lunches for our families this week as well as our digital learning team who prepared Chromebooks for those who needed them. I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of creative and inspirational and motivational thoughts that have been shared with me from our school community, including the giving and thoughtfulness of so many individuals. Many have expressed the positive aspects that they are thankful for in these otherwise challenging times. I'm in a group of friends posting daily thoughts of gratitude. It's been a wonderful experience and I highly recommend journaling and capturing the highlights of this experiences with your children.
Following the information we have received this week from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education our teachers and administrators have been hard at work developing a plan to begin to transition in the coming weeks to remote learning opportunities for our students. We appreciate the many comments and suggestions that have come from our parents and staff and we will be working through the weekend and into early next week to thoughtfully develop a plan that meets the needs of all of our learners in North Reading. We thank you for your patience as we develop this model for our students.
Please see the attached letter from our Merrimack Valley Superintendent's Association. This is a joint statement of the unified vision that North Reading shares with our surrounding districts as we all look to take the next steps with remote learning.
Thank you and have a wonderful weekend. I will be in touch next week with many more details about our remote learning plan.
Dr. Daly

File attachments:
MVSA Statement 3-27-20 .pdf

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Good Afternoon North Reading Families,
I am writing with a very brief update on an extension of the school closures in Massachusetts that was just declared by Governor Baker and Commissioner Riley a few moments ago. The original closure was declared through Tuesday, April 7th, and that has now been extended through Monday, May 4th. There are clearly decisions being made at the state level in response to the rapidly changing data on this virus, the result of which was that superintendents and educators learned about this extension at the same time as everyone else. 
As promised by Commissioner Riley, we are expecting further documentation and guidance tomorrow morning from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that will speak to our responsibility and ability to provide an equitable educational opportunity for ALL students. We will be working diligently to unpack that information in the days ahead, and I will provide further details about any changes you can expect for your child(ren)'s learning experience through the extended closure by early next week.
Thank you for your patience during these trying times. I have also been collaborating with local superintendents and I thank thank them for their support in sending a similar message to all of our communities.
Sincerely yours,
Dr. Daly

Friday, March 20, 2020

Good afternoon North Reading Parents/Guardians and School Community,

I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone-- parents, teachers, and students-- for such a remarkable response in these challenging and unprecedented times. From what I’m seeing online and on social media teachers have compiled incredible resources and parents are assisting students in engaging with these enrichment activities. This has worked very well this first week and I appreciate everyone’s hard work and support.

Dr. Downs has helped to compile many of these resources on this site.

As we look to the next two weeks, through April 7th, we must begin to consider that there is a possibility that the recommendation will be for schools to remain closed for a longer period of time. We are awaiting further guidance from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) about what teaching and learning will look like in the event of an extended closure.

I will be meeting on Monday with a large group of Merrimack Valley Superintendents who will draft, as one of my colleagues wrote, “expectations for staff, students, and families, and at the same time minimize the comparisons between districts.”

One of the main reasons why we are not already engaged in “online learning” the way they appear to be in other states is that Massachusetts has issued clear guidance on the equity issues that need to be considered. This involves both concerns within our district and also among other districts in Massachusetts. For example, there are some districts in Massachusetts who do not have access to broadband. There may be students within the district with limited access at home. There are also concerns that any online or virtual learning may be in conflict with the reality that every single student deserves access to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). Therefore, to date, we have closely followed the DESE recommendations about these being non-school days and providing students access to “opportunities for learning.”

Moving forward we will continue to work closely with our teachers unions and all staff members to ensure that we have clear guidance around expectations and develop the best plan to keep all of our students moving forward while also being mindful of all equity concerns.

Teachers and support staff will continue to reach out to students and you may begin to see more optional group “hangout” sessions for social interactions in the coming days. I hope to have more concrete guidance for teaching and learning by the middle of next week that I will communicate to everyone in our school community.

At this time, I would appreciate it if parents could complete this brief online survey about technology readiness. Classroom teachers may also be reaching out to families to also identify individuals with questions or concerns about internet or device access at home. I also want to remind everyone that many internet providers are providing no cost options and support and relief during this challenging situation.

As always, thank you all so much for all of your support for our students. I’m looking forward to communication next week with our teachers and staff and with our student representatives.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Daly

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Out of an abundance of caution, our schools will be closed March 13 to March 27, 2020 as we continue a deep cleaning and disinfecting of all buildings. I am in contact with the North Reading Board of Health who continues to work with us and advise us on next steps.  Until further notice all events and activities are cancelled and there should be no staff or students reporting to the buildings. All afternoon and evening activities for this period of time are cancelled.
We have compiled this list of FAQs that will be regularly updated. We hope that you find this a helpful resource in these unprecedented circumstances.

Thank you to my amazing administrative team and our union and town leadership, as well as our school committee, who have all contributed and supported the development of this document.
This document will be continuously updated so please check in periodically.
Once again, at this time no known COVID-19 illness is present in our schools and this action is out of an abundance of caution.

Thank you for your support and cooperation as we work together to keep our schools and students safe. I’m looking forward to communication next week with our teachers and staff and with our student representatives.

Patrick C. Daly, Superintendent of Schools

Friday, March 13, 2020

March 13, 2020 Update

Good afternoon,
Please see the attached letter from the Merrimack Valley Superintendent's Association. North Reading, along with other member districts, have decided to close all schools through at least March 27, 2020.
I realize that there are many questions and so I ask you patience over the next few days as we finalize the FAQ document that our incredible Administrative Team has been working on all day. This document will hopefully address many of the questions that parents, teachers, and students will have about what those two weeks will look like.
I will say at that this time that North Reading Public Schools will treat these two weeks (March 13th through March 27, 2020) as non-school days that will be paid days for all employees who would have been regularly scheduled to work on those days. Pay will follow the typical weekly and bi-weekly pay schedule that employees are on. If you do not have direct deposit you will have your check mailed to you.
The schools are closed for two weeks and staff, students, and parents should not be coming to the buildings. The FAQs will communicate more very soon about teaching and learning during this period of time.
Thank you all for your support and patience during this time.
Sincerely yours,
Patrick Daly

File attachments:
MVSA School Closure Press Release FINAL VERSION .pdf

Press Release from MASS Superintendent's Association