March 27, 2020: Remote Extension, Genesis, etc.

Dear Parents and Community Members,


As the days and now weeks go by, I am sure you, like all of us, are feeling a bit restless and eager for a return to our typical daily routines.  As we navigate teaching and learning remotely, I cannot thank our teachers and staff enough for the ways in which they have risen to meet this unprecedented challenge. They have pulled together to support one another and our students in innovative ways while always maintaining a sense of compassion and humor.  


As we communicated early on, we had hoped to return on Tuesday, April 14th following spring break.  However, Governor Murphy announced yesterday that the decision to reopen schools lies with him and there will be no decision on the topic until April 17th. We  continue to seek guidance from our county health officials and the Department of Education but we now expect remote teaching and learning to continue through Friday, May 1. 2020. Should public health officials and Governor Murphy deem that it is safe to return to school prior to May 4, we will reassess and communicate to the public accordingly. 


Spring Break: April 6th - 13th

A few parents have asked us whether we might consider continuing our remote learning over spring break since many travel plans have been cancelled and families are sheltering at home.  We believe that, with the added pressures and stress of juggling child care and the multiple responsibilities of parenting, working remotely from home and becoming the facilitators of your children’s learning, everyone needs a true break! Therefore, we will pause our remote learning schedule and assignments for Monday, April 6th through Monday April 13th. We encourage you to take this time to decompress, spend time with your family members, and stay well.


Marking Period 3:

As we continue to operate through remote learning, we plan to make adjustments to the current instructional calendar. Marking Period 3, originally scheduled to end on April 3rd will now end on Friday, April 17th and Marking Period 4 will begin on Monday, April 20th. This change will assist students in adjusting to the remote learning platform and will only impact students in grades 6-12. K-5 will still operate in trimesters and is currently in Trimester #3. 


Genesis Gradebook

We appreciate your patience this week as we placed the active grading feature in Genesis on pause.  This allowed us to determine how to best proceed with marking periods and identify support systems to effectively assess students in an equitable way while planning for the long term.  During this shutoff, parents and students should still have received assignments and feedback for learning.  


At 8:00 AM on Monday, March 30th, we will turn the grading feature back on.  This will give students two weeks to make up missed assignments, participate in online lessons, submit current work and demonstrate proficiency before the marking period ends on April 17th. At 3:00 PM (on April 17th), access to Genesis will be turned off to allow teachers time to enter grades for Marking Period 3. Parent / student access will resume on Wednesday, April 22nd at 3:00 PM when all grades have been entered.  


Statewide Testing

On Tuesday, March 24, Governor Phil Murphy announced that the State of New Jersey is cancelling all statewide student assessments for the spring 2020 testing window. This includes the springtime administration of the New Jersey Student Learning Assessments (NJSLA), ACCESS for ELLs, and the Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) assessment. Cancellation of statewide assessments will not prevent students from meeting their graduation assessment requirements. *It’s important to note that students in 8th-10th grade might have to do make-ups this fall. This is good news for all of us and will help alleviate the stress of parents and educators so that we can clearly maintain the focus on learning rather than high-stakes assessment. 


Social Distancing

I am sure you might be tired of hearing everyone preach the necessity of social distancing.  Now more than ever it is critically important to adhere to the guidelines in order to flatten the curve and shorten the time we are all in lockdown mode.  I know your children are restless and are eager to play with friends, gather some teammates together to organize a practice scrimmage, or to simply hang out. Health Care Authorities are imploring all of us to refrain from scheduling playdates with even a “small” group of friends, allow pick-up sports games, or study groups. The advice from many health care workers who are on the front lines battling the pandemic is: Act as if each person has COVID-19. If we just assume that each person is a carrier, we can keep each other safe. 


#RvilleProud

Though we cannot meet in person, we can continue to experience social connection. Please follow @rvilleproud and use #rvilleproud on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to see what our staff and students are up to and participate in district spirit activities. We miss you all!


Thank you as always for your continued support. It is a privilege to serve the Robbinsville community!


Sincerely,

Kathie Foster, Superintendent


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