Plans for Reopening Our Schools

Dear Needham Public Schools Families:

 

Welcome to the start of the 2020-2021 school year! Even though we are meeting remotely for the first two weeks of school, there is excitement and joy in bringing our students and staff back together. I’m proud that our staff is able to pivot to a fully remote learning model for the short term.

 

I am writing to provide you with important updates regarding the remote start of school on Monday, September 14 for students in Preschool through grade 12 and to explain the plan for reopening our school buildings on Tuesday, September 29. I know that the two-week delay in reopening the school buildings has placed another burden on some of our families, and I thank you for your patience as we continue to navigate the uncertainties in the midst of a pandemic.

 

I encourage you to watch this 10-minute video addressing school reopening plans and our commitment to the health, safety, and wellbeing of all our students and staff. I am joined by School Committee Chair Andrea Longo Carter and Town Manager Kate Fitzpatrick.

 

Maintenance and Health & Safety  

As I’ve said many times over the past six months, the health and safety of the Needham community is paramount, and we’ve dedicated a section of the district website for important health and safety information and protocols for families to review. To read more about our efforts to ensure safe and healthy school environments, click here:  NPS School Maintenance Information .

 

Revised School Calendar

Our first day of school is Monday, September 14th with all students engaged remotely. Please see the updated school calendar. We made a slight adjustment in the schedule: September 29 and 30 will be full days for the students in the Gold cohort; October 1 and 2 will be full days for students in the Blue cohort. The following weeks will continue with the planned calendar already approved by the School Committee.

 

Schedule for the First Two Weeks

As we begin the school year across the district, we are focused on building relationships and building capacity for learning, particularly in a remote learning environment. Teachers will take the time to get to know students, outline plans for success, and establish norms and expectations - all in an effort to nurture a strong academic experience for each student. Your child’s principal has already or will communicate specific information about learning from home and share details about the first week of school that are important to know for a successful start.  

 

In the Remote Learning Academy, the schedule will proceed as planned. Starting on day 1, the students will be building capacity for learning in a fully remote environment. There will be virtual meet-and-greet sessions, materials will be distributed, smaller live meetings will be held, and asynchronous work will begin.

 

Technology  

The NPS is committed to providing the technology tools necessary to support all students in the upcoming school year.  To learn more about our plans and programs to support all learners, click here: NPS School Technology Information

 

Nutrition Services  

School Nutrition Services staff will be preparing hot and fresh lunches every day for all Needham students beginning Monday, September 14th.  In accordance with a recent USDA waiver, school meals will be free for all children and teens, regardless of family income, for the first few months of this unique school year. Review the Nutrition Services information here to order a lunch to pick up and go; pick up will be at designated times at your child's school.

 

Transportation 

Bus passes have been mailed to our families who are registered for Transportation, including our Boston-resident families. If you have any questions or are interested in transportation, please check out information on the district's website: School Transportation

 

Please also check our FAQs on topics including building safety, health protocols, and the remote start to the school year. 

 

Our faculty and staff have worked together tirelessly and creatively to prepare for the start of school. We are ready to welcome and teach our students! We are knowledgeable of the new safety protocols; we’ve moved forward with the Needham Education Association negotiating team in prioritizing student and staff needs; we’ve hired qualified staff to fill open positions; and we have enough supplies to begin the school year. We can't wait to see our students!

 

On behalf of the dedicated faculty and staff of the Needham Public Schools, thank you for your continued partnership and welcome to the 2020-21 academic year.

 

Respectfully,

 

Dan Gutekanst

Superintendent of Schools

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On August 11th, the School Committee voted to approve the district's Plan for Reopening Schools 
with a Hybrid Learning Model for the start of the 2020-2021 school year. District staff, public health officials, parents, students, and School Committee members guided the planning process and provided feedback. We kept our dedication to the health and safety of our students and staff at the heart of the process. Our focus has been – and will remain – the health, safety, and wellbeing of all students and staff. We believe our hybrid model, which involves both in person and remote learning, best meets students’ educational needs and can be implemented safely for students and staff. Please reference the Health and Safety  pages and Building Maintenance pages on this website for details and protocols.The first day of school is September 14th.


This webpage provides families with important information. There are links on the left-hand side of this page with updates from the most recent 
School Committee presentation, answers to frequently asked questions, timely communications from our Superintendent as he responds to news from health and government officials, a reopening plan required by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), among other pertinent school and community information.

Please visit this page again as the information will be updated regularly.


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