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School District Prepares For Not Returning To Classes This School Year

Schools Superintendent John Ravally wrote to parents on April 20 that “it appears” that remote learning will last longer than May 15.

Given the “strong possibility” that township students will not return to classes this school year, the district has planned for four more phases of “remote learning” to carry it through to the end of June.

Those phases were detailed in a “screen cast” prepared by Dan Loughren, the district’s assistant schools Superintendent, and posted on the district’s web site on April 20.

In the new phases, the third of which starts on April 30, changes will be made to how students are graded, according to the web site information. The third phase also marks the start of the district’s fourth marking period.

The district will also change the way in which it distributes breakfasts and lunches to students, switching from several days a week to a one-day-a-week bulk pickup.

Each of the phases is comprised of 12 instructional days, according to the web site.

In the first phase, students in Grades 6-12 were graded on attendance only, based on examples of completed work they submitted, according to the screen cast.

In Phase Two, students in those grades will be graded based on attendance, plus “informal feedback using our Remote Learning Rubric” of submitted work, according to the screen case.

In phases three through potentially four, five and six, students in Grades 6-12 will be graded daily based on attendance and daily assignments, according to the screen cast.

The “daily remote learning grades,” as they’re called, will be a √-, when a student does not complete a task; a √ for when a student “attempts the task, but significant gaps in completion are observed,” according to the screen cast; a √+ for when the student completes the task, and a √++ for when the student completes the task and “demonstrates attempts to extend his/her learning,” according to the screen cast.

In Grades Pre-K to 5, grades for the first two trimesters have been set and are final, according to the screen cast.

Grades will not be given for the third trimester, but the district “anticipate(s) that teachers will provide formal feedback to students and families in June,” according to the screen cast.

In an April 20 letter to the district, schools Superintendent John Ravally encouraged parents to go to the district web site and review the screen cast and participate in a remote learning survey.

The survey results, he said, “will be used to guide the development of the next phase of learning modules in hopes to improve the experience for our families. We will close this particular survey on Wednesday, April 22nd, however, our plan is to continue monitoring student/parent experiences with a similar survey tool as we progress through remote learning phases. As always, we value your opinion and intend on using what is gained from the surveys to inform instruction as we move forward during these unique times.”

“In addition, please know we are working to plan alternatives to some traditional end of year activities such as FHS Graduation, FHS Senior Awards, FMS Grade 8 promotion, and other activities that usually close out our school year,” Ravally wrote. “Our faculty advisors have been keeping close contact with students and our administrators are working with advisors, students and parents to brainstorm creative alternatives to some of these traditional activities in case we are not able to host them in the traditional way.”

“More information on these alternative plans will be communicated directly to families by the appropriate principals in the coming weeks should we learn that we are not able to return to school by the end of June,” he wrote.

“I realize these times bring about unique challenges for all of us,” Ravally wrote. “Franklin has a strong and supportive learning community, which is why I know whatever lies ahead of us in coming weeks will not be an obstacle to making sure our families are well cared for and in a position to overcome the challenges brought about by COVID-19. Thanks for your continued support.”

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