Message from the Superintendent

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EPS Focus on School Reopening

FORMULATING AN INCLUSIVE APPROACH

 
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To Our Educators, Staff, and the Community,

The unprecedented end of last school year is giving way to an equally unique start to 2020-21. But we are ready for the challenge, and we can't wait for the moment when our students walk back through our doors and into our classrooms!
 
We are fully engrossed in our efforts to develop three plans to present to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the community in advance of the approaching school year. Central to this endeavor is the formation of a Back-to-School Steering Committee to oversee the work, as well as the creation of four subcommittees that will define and refine specific components of our blueprint.
 
The broad outline of our reopening strategy is included at the bottom of this communication, in the form of a brochure that we encourage you to read. Additionally, the complete details of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Initial Fall School Reopening Guidance, which is central to our exhaustive planning, can be found here.
 
In order to meet state deadlines and account for three reopening scenarios outlined by DESE, we have to work quickly but deliberately. To make this happen, we need our talented professionals and dedicated members of the community to join us.
 
While my office will form our Back to School Steering Committee, we are also creating four subcommittees that will tackle vital aspects of this effort.
 
The subcommittees focus on the following areas:
 
Outfitting Schools: This subcommittee will concentrate on the essential safety precautions that will be in place when students return to school buildings. Fundamental to this effort will be ensuring that schools have the necessary Personal Protection Equipment, and that physical spaces are efficiently set up to accommodate social distancing.

Directed Supports for Vulnerable Students: This subcommittee will focus on the district's most marginalized populations, such as students of color, immigrants, students with disabilities, and low-income students. This group will make sure that students have access to the materials they need for success in school and at home, including access to technology and Wi-Fi hotspots.
 
Curriculum, Instruction, and Professional Development: This group will be tasked with arming our staff with the necessary supports and tools they need to seamlessly transition between the three realities we are prepping for when school begins (in-person teaching and learning, a combination of in-person and remote learning, and an all remote learning).

Strengthening the Bridge Between Families and School: Those who work on this subcommittee will help secure the critical wrap-around services our students and families will need to continue to withstand these unprecedented times. This will include, among other things, social and emotional support, childcare, food security, and language barriers.
 
In closing, I want to stress two unwavering facets of our preparations. One, the safety and well-being of our students and staff is at the heart of everything we’re doing; our district will meet or exceed every DESE recommendation related to the health of our community. Two, we're looking at the reopening of our schools through an equity lens so we provide equal access and opportunity for every student. The COVID-19 crisis can't detract us from the critical objective of eliminating achievement gaps.
 
I hope your summer is off to a sensational start. I am equally hopeful that you can find the time to join us as we undertake the exciting work needed to ensure a successful 2020-2021.
 
In partnership,
Priya Tahiliani
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