The Practice Run is Over; Haverhill Students to be Graded on Remote School Work Going Forward

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From here on out, students will be graded on their remote learning as Haverhill and area school districts adopt new state education recommendations.

Haverhill school leaders acted favorably Thursday night toward the state guidance on remote learning from home. As WHAV previously reported, Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley said last week that schools should not confuse “remote learning” with “online learning.” His recommendations note, as examples, “large-group video or audio conference calls, 1:1 phone or video calls, email, work packets, projects, reading lists, online learning platforms.”

Riley’s recommendations came following Gov. Charlie Baker’s recent announcement that schools will not be reopening before May 4. In a letter to school leaders throughout the state, the DOE noted that since the Covid-19 outbreak forced the closure of schools in the Bay State, school districts have been using a variety of remote teaching methods to continue educating students.  The new guidelines, which they characterize as recommendations, not requirements, are designed to foster educational consistency throughout this crisis.

Speaking remotely with the Haverhill School Committee Thursday night, Superintendent Margaret Marotta said although the teachers have been working diligently since the schools were first closed, the new guidelines will be helpful.

“Fortunately in Haverhill, there’s been a lot of great work already underway over the last week or so where teachers have really been out there online and reaching out to children by phone. So, the guidance was very helpful. It does say that moving forward we are considering this, beginning on a week from Monday, it will be considered school and the work that is completed by the students will be graded,” she said.

The guidance letter acknowledges that while the internet is an excellent tool for remote learning, there are other technological and non-technological methods of teaching such as video presentations, audio conference calls and emails as well as outdoor exploration, reading lists and artistic projects. It also emphasized that all of these should include appropriate social distancing.

The letter went on to say students should be engaged in productive learning for approximately half the length of a regular school day and that educators should focus on reinforcing skills already taught this school year as well as physical and artistic activities.

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