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FMS Updated School Closure Parent Letter 4/17/2020
Holly Spence
Thursday, April 16, 2020

Thursday, April 17, 2020

Dear RSU 1 Families,

I’m sure that you and your family are as sad to learn that we won’t be able to return to school as the staff and I are.  It is a tremendously disappointing situation, but necessary for us all to stay healthy. Now, more than ever, we appreciate all that you and your family are sacrificing and doing to make remote learning work.  Moving forward, we will continue with the learning expectations that have been established, including students using their devices for this work unless a family has no internet access.  

As a reminder:

  • Students are expected to participate in a total of 6-8 hours of “academic work” a week within their teacher-proposed schedule.  This amounts to approximately 1-2 hours of academic work daily and it will be in math, reading, writing, science, and social studies.  PK-2nd grade students may have slightly less. 

  • In addition to the 6-8 hours of academic work planned by the classroom teacher, physical education, art, library, and music will also be part of the schedule.  

  • Independent, choice reading time will be an additional item on each teacher schedule for thirty minutes to an hour, depending on the age of your student.  

  • All students will attend one virtual community meeting weekly with their class and teacher/s as part of their distance learning plan to help students stay socially connected.  

There are some students who do not have access to the internet, making virtual learning impossible.  Another set of packets will be created for students without the internet and will be available for pick up on Friday, May 1st.  We will send a reminder message to families closer to this date with further details about pick-up times.  

Report Cards:

Please be on the lookout for report cards as they were sent out on April 13th.  They will be primarily based on the trimester ending on March 13th (our last in-person school day). Going forward, at the 3-8 grade level, grades will be based on “habits of work.”  In June, a final communication to families will take the form of a trimester 3 report card that will look different from the traditional one.  

Given our current exceptional circumstances, it does not make sense to have teachers grade in the way they did before distance learning began.  All report cards for grades K-5 will include a principal letter as well as a note from each teacher to close out the year. I will be in touch about this with more details at a later date.  The final report card in grades 6-8 (March 14th through the end-of-the-year) will share final HOW grades, as well as teacher comments on efforts made during distance learning.  

April Vacation:

We still plan to take the week of April vacation off.  Students are not expected to do their distance learning during the week of April 20th - 24th.

Meal Update:

All children, ages 0-18, are eligible for free RSU 1 meals and will continue, with the exception of the week of April break, through the end of the school year. If you participate in the Backpack program, an extra bag of food will be sent home this week.  During the April break, if your family needs additional food during this time, food will be available for pick-up at Fisher Mitchell School (Tuesday and Thursday from 10:30-1:00). Also, the Bath Skate Park offers meals, groceries, school supplies, and toiletries from 4-5pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  

End-of-Year Materials:

We recognize that none of us expected that we would not be returning to school when we left on March 13th.  We know that students may have left a variety of personal items at school. We are working on a plan for how to safely return those items to students.  Additionally, devices that have been borrowed from school and other school materials will need to be returned. More information on the logistics of how and when this will take place will follow at a later date.  

Thank you for your ongoing perseverance and flexibility given the latest decision from the state to do distance learning for the rest of the year.  Please let me know if you have any questions.  

Sincerely,

Ross Berkowitz