Bedford Public Schools
Resources and Enrichment Ideas
An Update from the Superintendent of Schools
April 29, 2020
If you need this document translated, please call your child’s school principal - Si necesita este documento traducido, por favor comuníquese con la escuela de su hijo - Se você precisa este documento traduzido, entre em contato com a escola do ses filho - Si vous avez besoin de traduire ce document, s'il vous plaît contacter l'école de votre enfant - 如果你需要这份文件翻译，请联系您的孩子的学校 - ،إذا كنت تحتاج /تحتاجين إلى ترجمة هذه الوثيقة إلى اللغة العربية يرجى الاتصال بمدرسة طفلك/طفلتك
Dear Families, Faculty and Staff,
The following message includes my thoughts about the continuing challenges of remote learning, my hopes for how parents will communicate with teachers and principals going forward, the kind of planning that is beginning for the summer and fall, and the impending leadership change precipitated by my retirement.
The continued closure of schools and our awareness that it will last for another 7+ weeks have begun to take a toll in increased stress, decreased patience, and intensification of all of the emotions that the lack of routine and human contact are causing.
What is heartening is the knowledge that families, faculty, staff and students are all doing their best under extremely disorienting conditions. What is heartening being the continued creativity teachers are calling on to create connections with and between their students. What is heartening is knowing that the vast majority of school personnel are working harder than they normally do, and that is a bar that is already ceiling high. To the many families that have send messages of appreciation during this difficult time, I send a hearty thank you.
What pains me is the recognition that some families' conditions are so challenging, that they are unable to help their dependent learners, which means most Davis School children, and many children across the other schools, engage in the learning we are providing. I empathize with the families whose job responsibilities, caring for an ill loved one, or caring for babies, toddlers, or students with significant emotional or neurological challenges make it impossible for them to help their kids access the learning. And I empathize with our teachers, many of whom face similar challenges, but from whom we, and they themselves, continue to expect so much.
Emailing Teachers and Principals
Since increased stress can pull us apart, I appeal to everyone to counter those forces with as much empathy and understanding as possible. This has been a morale thumping week for many of our teachers who have received way too many emails from families complaining about what they are providing for their children. We understand how beneficial it would be for some students to have more structured learning time and how difficult it is for some to handle the work we are providing. We also understand how changes to the character and amount of work would ease a burden that some families are shouldering. Regardless, they take their toll, even though they come from a minority of families. This is particularly so because some parents are complaining from polar opposite sides of the situation- either demanding that the teachers do more, even replicate the normal school day, or complaining that too much is being asked, and that their children are going to fall further and further behind. Please know that we continue to try to find better ways to enable independent learning to take place in as many homes as possible.
I in no way wish to diminish the value of feedback, and in recognition of this, principals are doing surveys, holding virtual parent meetings, etc. As well, if there are particular needs that your child has, your communication with your child's classroom teacher, counselor, specialist, etc. should by all means continue.
But our decisions as a district as to the quantity of work, the frequency of "live interactions", etc. are governed by our consideration of all of the above, by guidance from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, by our need to engage all students and to ensure that certain essential grade or course level learning takes place. Above all, we are still primarily concerned with the emotional and mental health of our students, our faculty and our families.
Also on Our Plates
Please understand that at the same time that our professionals are doing their very best to achieve these ends, we have to simultaneously plan for two extraordinary challenges:
1. to determine how we are going to provide both general remediation and student-specific remediation in the fall and beyond, and how to do this while addressing new learning in a timely fashion
2. to determine multiple alternative learning scenarios given the likelihood that traditional brick and mortar learning will either be unable to begin in September, be modified to enable social distancing, or be interrupted as it has been this year.
Among the considerations in our planning is how to best use the remainder of this school year and the summer time.
All of this needs to be figured out in a timely fashion and in light of the real possibility that the town will feel the budgetary impact of diminished revenue.
The district leadership's partners in this planning include at the moment: our faculty members (who I can't say enough about), our teacher’s union (with which we are so fortunate to have such a collaborative relationship), other districts' leaders (superintendents, assistant superintendents, special educators- all of whom are meeting in job alike conferences to share ideas and best practices), and DESE. Please know that we will be reaching out to families as well for input as the planning work unfolds.
BPS Leadership Transition
I am very happy to share that my own retirement date will not be until August 31. Our newly appointed superintendent-to-be, Phillip Conrad, who will begin on July 1, and I are in close communication, and we are both looking forward to partnering throughout the summer to ensure not only a smooth leadership transition, but the best possible solutions to the above challenges.
Superintendent of Schools
A Message to Parents and Guardians
Dear Bedford Families,
I hope this message finds you all doing well. In response to the closure of BPS for the next few weeks, curriculum leaders, coaches, administrators, and teachers have been working hard to prepare enrichment activities for all Bedford Public School students.
The activities contained on this webpage are optional and can be used to maintain an educational routine and connection to school. The goal of each activity is to give students an opportunity to practice skills and review previously taught content through the completion of different activities that include games, practice assessments, and projects. Since the goal of the activities is to support prior lessons, the work completed by students will not be collected or graded by classroom teachers.
A suggestion would be to establish a daily schedule Monday thru Friday for students. This might look like the following schedule:
Before 9:00 a.m. Wake up
9:00-10:00 a.m. Morning walk/play outside
10:00-11:00 a.m. Academic time (use the activities within the BPS website)
11:00-12:00 p.m. Creative time (legos, drawing, painting, coloring, building, etc.)
12:30 p.m. Chores
1:00-2:00 p.m. Quiet time (reading, puzzles, writing)
2:00-3:00 p.m. Academic time (use the activities within the BPS website)
3:00-5:00 p.m. Play outside, walk, dance, try to get some exercise
If you have accessibility concerns, we will be updating this page with more ideas from special educators, EL teachers, and related service providers throughout the time students are out of school. If you have questions about any of the activities, please email your child's principal. Thank you for your support.
Tricia Clifford, Ed.D
Bedford Community Resources and Support
We understand closure of the Bedford Public Schools may impact the members of our community in various ways. Here is a list of resources that our students and families may access during school closures, including several other area resources for families dealing with food insecurity. We will continue to update this list as more information becomes available.
3/17/20 - Comcast and Spectrum are currently offering free wifi for households that do not currently have access to it. Other internet service providers are offering discounts and lifting caps on data. Xfinity wifi hotspots will be available for free, even for those without an Xfinity account.