South Hadley school officials cancel spring break

  • Plains Elementary School in South Hadley GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 4/13/2020 3:59:43 PM

SOUTH HADLEY — The South Hadley School Committee has voted to cancel April spring break in order to shift the last day of the school year to an earlier date.

As a result of the vote, the last day of the school year, which was previously June 24, has been moved to June 19. Spring break was set to run from April 21-24, not including Patriots Day on April 20.

The School Committee voted after previously sending out a survey to parents and teachers. 

In survey responses, 74 percent of teachers and staff said that they would prefer to cancel the break, according to interim superintendent Diana Bonneville, while 79 percent of parents also preferred to cancel the planned break.

While less than half of parents are believed to have responded to the survey, Bonneville said that from the sample, “the answer was clear.” 

On Monday, the school district also enacted its distance learning plan, described as “an overarching framework of expectations” intended to provide structure and flexibility to students and their families. The plan was created in response to Gov. Charlie Baker's announcement that schools will remain closed through at least May 4.

“The purpose of this plan is not to replicate the classroom experience, outline nor try to anticipate every eventuality or possible scenario,” according to the plan outline, “but rather is an attempt to balance the needs of all the people who belong to our school community: students, staff and families.”

“Assignments will not be graded in the traditional sense,” according to the plan, and students will have multiple opportunities to revise their work.

At the high school and middle school levels, quarters three and four of the school year will be graded on a pass/fail basis, and yearly grades will be given as credit/no credit. Students will not take final exams and must complete 60 percent of their work to attain credit.

Below the middle school level, grades also will be assigned on a pass/fail basis "and will be based on the student's attempt at learning.”

Under the plan, all teachers will post weekly lessons and assignments online and focus on “core skills,” and will be available to answer student or parent questions during all school hours, with timely responses encouraged after hours. The lessons are still not intended to replicate classroom learning, and no homework will be assigned in addition to classwork.

Jacquelyn Voghel can be reached at jvoghel@gazettenet.com.


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