Frequently Asked Questions
What is Beyond the Classroom?
The North Andover Public Schools, believes that learning can take place beyond the walls of a classroom and has established the Beyond the Classroom program.
Beyond the Classroom includes:
- Distance learning to replace cancelled school days
- Superintendent Snow Day Challenges
- Kindergarten Welcome Information and materials on Literacy and Math
- Bedtime Math Community
- Summer Reading Challenges
If school is cancelled, how will I know if it is a "built-in" snow day, or if a Beyond the Classroom Day assignment must be completed?
Information about whether a particular day is a Beyond the Classroom Day will be posted prominently on the homepage of this site, the North Andover Public Schools homepage, and tweeted out by @NASupt.
Is this like the “Blizzard Bag” models I have heard about?
Beyond The Classroom is a similar idea, but:
• Provides greater flexibility for assignments and due dates
• Encourages students to use digital tools and products when possible
• Allows for personalization, choice, creativity and passion-based learning
• Does not use compliance as a measure of learning or success of the program
What happens if the student is unable to complete the assignment at home?
Beyond the Classroom 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.
Students may have left resources or materials at school on an unexpected snow day. Some students may not have access to a device or Internet at home or—because of the unpredictable nature of cancelled school days—might experience a loss of power.
What if a parent is not able to be home to support a young child with work completion? What if a student requires IEP or ELL support services to complete curriculum assignments?
Assignments will not be due on the day following the school cancellation. One of the reasons for this is so we can ensure that students have the time and support services they may need to successfully complete their assignments. State and federal laws guarantee the right of a student with a disability to receive accommodations or modifications as documented in their IEP or 504 plans. Assignments are designed for independent practice, thus, young children might need an adult or older sibling to read the directions but should be able to complete the assignment on their own. Preschool and kindergarten assignments are optional since the state does not require students to attend formal preschool and kindergarten.
How do students access their assignments?
Students will access their assignments on the Beyond the Classroom website: https://nak12.net/beyondtheclassroom which can be accessed on a home computer, tablet or cell phone. Teachers across the district have worked collaboratively to prepare assignments for the first few alternative school days. If additional assignments are needed due to additional school cancellation days, teachers will post assignments no later than the morning of the cancelled school day. Teachers will communicate with students and parents what to expect.
How will students and their parents know about the Beyond The Classroom Project and remember what to do on a school cancellation day?
Students and parents received information about the Beyond The Classroom project in the fall via school newsletters, Open Houses and the Knightly News. Additional reminders at the beginning of the winter weather season will be provided. Teachers have the option to remind students before and throughout the cancelled school day using Twitter, Google Classroom, email, or other communication tools the class uses. As always, school cancellations will be announced on the school district webpage and links to the Beyond the Classroom will be provided there.
What is expected of students as evidence that they have completed their work?
How students will demonstrate their learning will vary based on the teacher, but students should expect to submit an end product of their work.
When will assignments be due?
As noted earlier, student work will never be due on the day that students return to school. Teachers have three options for assignment types:
- Short term, built into the current unit of study/curricular plan, with the due date at least a week after the cancelled school day. Teachers and students who use Google Classroom and/or online curriculum regularly may just continue with “business as usual” on the cancelled school day.
- End of unit, tied into the essential question or big ideas of the curriculum unit and due near the end of the unit.
- Longer term, to include weekend(s) and/or vacation(s), to facilitate visits to museums, cultural and historical sites, art events, etc., embracing the mindset that learning can happen anywhere.
How long will the total of all assignments take for students to complete?
Assignments will be reasonable in length for the developmental age and grade level of students, and we are mindful of the unique opportunity for family time on school cancellation days. Emphasis is placed on the quality of learning experiences, not on quantity or compliance. Estimated times for school work completion per grade band will be:
- Pre-K & K: optional
- Gr. 1-2: up to 60 minutes
- Gr. 3-5: up to 90 minutes
- Gr. 6-8: up to 20 minutes per subject area
- Gr. 9-12: up to 30 minutes per subject area
The teacher will determine and communicate when the work is due.
What if a student would have been absent on that day? Are they obligated to make up the assignment?
Just like any other time a student is absent, students will make up the work just as they would if school were in session.
What if a teacher would have been absent on that day?
Just like any other time a teacher is absent, the teacher leaves assignments for students to complete as soon as he/she is able.
What if a student does not complete his/her assignment?
Teachers will respond to missed work just like they would any time a student does not complete class work or homework.
What about compensatory services for students with IEPs?
Similar to our procedure when a related provider (Occupational, Physical, or Speech Therapist), is absent for multiple school days/sessions, the school district will offer compensatory services. Students’ skills are not typically impacted when they miss a minimal amount of services, so parents may wish to waive compensatory time and ask that their child continue with his/her regular schedule. For parents who wish to schedule compensatory services, the Special Education liaison will schedule session(s) at a time that will afford the least disruption to a student’s typical school day. The service(s) may be adjacent to a regular service session, before or after school, or as an Extended School Year service.
How do we know that the program is successful?
The school department will regularly complete a program audit to ensure that students engage with quality, curriculum-based assignments and that student learning is commensurate with a regular school day.
Who should I speak to if I have a question or a concern?
It is always best to communicate directly with the teacher first. School administrators are also always available to answer questions and provide support.