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District Updates: January 5, 2021

The communication below provides important information from the Public Schools of Brookline. Translated versions are available at the following links:


Dear PSB Community, 

I am writing to share some important and timely information about:

  • The mutually agreed upon Memorandum of Agreement between the Brookline Educators Union and the Brookline  School Committee; 
  • An important update on the snow day policy for this winter, and
  • Clarification on Cohort A and B in-person days for students in grades 1-8. 

Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) - Additional Early Release Days 

The new MOA, which can be found here, includes agreements on teaching/learning models, work location and schedules, quarantine and sick leave, and personal protective equipment, among other important items. In addition, we have agreed to provide additional time for teachers to plan and receive professional development to successfully implement the hybrid/remote model by scheduling two additional early release days each month (beginning in January) for all students in grades K-12. In practice, this means that students in both Cohort A and B (MT and RF at BHS) will have two additional early release days each month from January - June. On these days, students will be dismissed at 12:30 (with a grab-and-go lunch) regardless of whether students are receiving instruction in-person or remote.

The district calendar - available here and attached - has been updated with these new early release dates.

These additional early release days are designed to provide teachers with the time they need to create high-quality instruction, thereby enhancing the education for all students. All parties agreed that teachers need additional planning and preparation time to effectively implement a complex learning model. The early release days also allow teachers across the district to communicate and collaborate across grade levels and schools, including the Remote Learning Academy, to maintain equitable experiences for all students. We firmly believe that supporting our educators in this way will lead to a better instructional experience for all students. 

 

Revised Snow Day Policy for the 2020-2021 School Year

As you may recall, last month I shared details with you about our plans for snow days this winter. Our announced plan was to follow a Wednesday schedule on days when the school could not happen in-person due to the weather. Our first snow day, which stretched into two consecutive days, gave us cause to reconsider our plans and provide a better alternative.

Effective immediately, and for the remainder of this winter season, our snow day policy will be as follows:

  • When it is determined that in-person school is not possible due to the weather conditions, we will pivot to remote instruction.
  • The instruction on that “snow day” will follow the schedule for the day of the week on which it falls. For example, if a snow day is called on a Tuesday then we will follow a Tuesday schedule. The only change is that the instruction will be provided remotely.
  • The start and end times on these snow days/remote instruction days will be the normal time for that day of the week for all students, grades 1-12.
  • Students in kindergarten and BEEP will have a traditional snow day, with no in-person or remote instruction. Kindergarten and BEEP teachers and paraprofessionals will maintain their professional responsibilities on these snow days, including planning, collaboration and preparation work.

We have already had one “traditional” snow day (December 18), therefore the last day of the school year is currently scheduled for Tuesday, June 22. As is our practice, we will wait until April 1 (when the threat of snowstorms has passed) to make the announcement of the official last day of school for this academic year.

 

Calendar of In-Person Days (Grades 1-8) Cohorts A and B*

We have continued to review the grades 1-8 hybrid calendar to ensure a balance of in-person days for students in Cohorts A and B. We have specifically reviewed the instructional days for both cohorts starting on November 2 (when we were fully in the hybrid model) and a summary is available here. In order to balance the number of in-person instructional days between both cohorts, please note the following changes that have been made to the schedule:

  • Tuesday, February 9: Changed to Cohort B in-person day
  • Tuesday, March 16: Changed to Cohort B in-person day
  • Tuesday, June 22: Additional Cohort B in-person day

 

*Note: Brookline High School MT and RF cohorts follow a similar calendar (as provided by school leaders) to ensure balance across cohorts. 

As I have repeated often over the course of the past several months and say again now, I am deeply appreciative of your flexibility as we continue to revise schedules and plans. We want to respond to feedback and make adjustments, yet we are mindful that each time we do so we are impacting your schedule and that of your family. Please accept my thanks for your continued patience during this challenging year.

 

Sincerely,

V. James Marini
Interim Superintendent