Schools Focus on Emotional Wellness First, Then Learning

Revere School Superintendent Dianne Kelly said amid this COVID-19 pandemic and everyone’s world turned upside down RPS’s emphasis is on emotional and physical wellness, helping each other, and reducing stress…and then learning. 

“Parents are communicating to us that they are really overwhelmed so we are trying to help assuage that a bit,” said Kelly. “Our first priority, especially in the coming week, is connecting with students and families to ensure that everyone has access to crucial social connections and public health information. We want to make sure every student has their basic needs for food and shelter, and safety met. We want every family to know how to obtain school meals, devices, internet access, and other supports offered by the city via revere311.”

Kelly said she and RPS staff realize how overwhelming all of this may be for parents. In addition to taking care of family’s health and wellness many are likely dealing with changes to their own working situations and trying to figure out financial changes.

“Please don’t let this school closure period detract from your ability to focus on those very important matters,” said Kelly. “Do the best you can. When we get through this crisis, we will be planning on how to further support students over the summer and into the next couple of academic years to get everyone caught up. Families and students should reach out to the teacher or other school staff if additional support is needed in order to complete any work. We are all here to help and will do whatever we can so all students will be successful.”

In addition to caring for each other socially and emotionally, Kelly said now is also the time to start thinking about how we can help students move forward academically.

“Despite the challenges of not being in school and not being in the physical company of teachers, learning needs to be part of everyone’s new daily routine,” she said. “As time passes and we learn more about the patterns and behaviors of COVID-19, it appears less and less likely to me that we will be able to reopen schools this year. Our hope remains that we will find a way to do so; but we determined the best strategy is to plan as if we will not be back and then hope we are wrong.”

Kelly said the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has provided guidance on remote learning to Revere Schools and school districts across the state.

“Remote learning can encompass a wide variety of learning opportunities,” said kelly. “While technology can be a supportive tool, districts and schools should also consider ways that student learning can continue offline. This could include exploring the natural world, activities to support students’ local communities–with appropriate social distancing, and engaging, hands-on projects and artistic creations that stem from students’ own passions and experiences.”

Kelly said RPS embraces these ideas as a foundation for its remote learning plan.

“Students and caregivers can expect teachers to post a range of learning activities that may or may not involve the use of technology,” said Kelly. “We know that families and staff have different levels of expertise in the use of technology. We hope this system meets the needs of all and can be customized, to some degree, for individuals.”

Kelly said RPS’s plan for now is to make appropriate resources available and accessible for all students and their caregivers.

“We are not specifying work periods because we know these may vary based on teacher, student and family needs,” she said. “Students should spend roughly 3 hours each day on remote learning. These 3 hours should include some art, music, or physical activity. Most lessons provided by teachers will be designed so students can complete them at any time. In some cases, teachers will set up voluntary class meetings through Google Hangout or a similar online forum. Other teachers and staff members may prefer to reach out to students and families by email or phone.”

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