March 25, 2020
Dear Parents/Guardians and Community members,
First, as we approach the midpoint of week #2 of the Emergency Education Plan (home instruction / distance learning), I just want to express my sincere appreciation for our school community. It is pretty extraordinary to think that within practically one week’s time, a plan was created in which the way instruction is provided was completely transformed. It is a testament to our faculty’s passion, professionalism, and dedication as well as the outstanding support and partnership from our parents/guardians, and it speaks volumes about the flexibility and adaptability of our students that made this a successful transition. I just want to extend a message of gratitude to our entire school community. Cranford is, indeed, a wonderful community, in which we should all take pride.
The current Emergency Education Plan (Home Instruction /Distance Learning) was based on a two week window and focused in large part on providing students with enrichment, supplemental activities and new instructional topics that could be completed autonomously. However, the proposition of an extended closure is cause for a reevaluation of the plan. Although we do not know when the Governor will lift Executive Order No. 103 (2020), which states that our schools will be, “closed to students ...and shall remain closed as long as this Order remains in effect...”, the commissioner informally on a conference call last week said we should be prepared for 4 weeks at this moment in time. However, as you have seen on the news this continues to be an evolving situation and it is quite possible that we will have to plan for an even longer closure.
Therefore, the District has been discussing how to transition our focus to provide an even greater continuity of education through the infusion of live interaction, while continuing to balance what is reasonable for staff, parents/guardians, and students. Live interaction, for our District purposes, is defined as shared teacher / student experiences through an audio / visual platform, i.e. zoom, google meet, etc… We believe we have developed the foundation of a plan that strikes the appropriate balance as we pivot towards preparing for a potentially longer period of home instruction / distance learning, one that extends past the upcoming spring break.
In order to further develop the plan and make sure the staff has the appropriate support prior to communicating it to the community at large and implementing it on Tuesday, April 14, we will be holding a virtual Professional Development Day next week, on Monday, March 30. This will still count as a “regular” school day for students, but please know that teachers may not be readily available throughout the day (including office hours) as they will be taking part in the Professional Development Day. Students and parents / guardians should try to save their questions for Tuesday. Teachers will be advised to prepare for March 30, by providing students with enrichment activities and / or provide students with an opportunity to catch up on their workload, instead of providing new material.
We will provide the details of the updated Emergency Education Plan (Home Instruction / Distance Learning) to the community by April 1st.
Again, I cannot thank you enough for your flexibility, patience, and collaboration as we work through this evolving situation together.
I am so appreciative to be a part of the Cranford Community! Let’s continue to take care of ourselves and each other!