Thank you, once again, for your ongoing support during the distance learning term prompted by the COVID-19 global health pandemic. Your patience, understanding, flexibility, and partnership are greatly appreciated.
Distance Learning Schedule Update
Over the next four weeks, we will implement some modest changes to our plan at each building based on your feedback. We continue to adapt during this extended period of remotely educating students. Here are some critical points about the final weeks of the 2019-20 school year.
- The current distance learning schedule will continue through May 29, 2020. The last day for instruction will be May 29, 2020
- During the last week of school, June 1-5, we will operate differently than the rest of the distance learning period.
- There will be no formal class meetings or new assignments during this final week.
- At the elementary school level, teachers will schedule a closing conference with every family.
- At the middle school and high school level, teachers will follow-up with students who have outstanding work or need additional assistance to complete the term successfully.
- Students and families will also be offered a menu of optional virtual field trips and other enrichment opportunities for exploration during the last week of school.
Grading and Reporting
Our schools have also been discussing how to effectively provide meaningful feedback about student academic growth during this period of distance learning. Each level (elementary, middle, and high school) has worked to identify how grades will be assigned. Since this is new for everyone, there are many safeguards in place to ensure a student’s academic grades are not adversely impacted due to the abrupt shift to the educational environment. You can expect to receive more information this week from your school principal about our grading approach during the fourth quarter.
The Minnesota Departments of Health and Education released guidance about celebrating commencement. The district’s plans for an online commencement ceremony for Northfield High School and Area Learning Center graduations are in alignment with the state’s directions. Commencement is a rite-of-passage for teenagers and the entire district shares their disappointment in how COVID-19 has disrupted the final quarter of their high school careers. You can the events currently being planned to honor the Class of 2020 here.
Thank you for your continued partnership in support of our students and their education. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a trying time for the entire planet and it is testing our patience. Please continue to take care of your own social/emotional needs and let our school know if we can assist you in any way. Please keep supporting each other during these difficult times. When the pandemic is over, I want us to be able to look each other in the eye and be proud of how we worked through it — together — as friends and neighbors.
Matt Hillmann, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools