Important School Update

Important School Update
Posted on 03/18/2020

Dear Parents,

A little while ago, the Governor announced that the next two weeks will be “distance learning” weeks for Rhode Island Public Schools, initially lasting from March 23rd to April 3rd, and possibly being extended should it be necessary. The Commissioner of Education has stated that these days will “count” as full school days and will not need to be made up if districts engage in a distance learning process. As such, the Narragansett School System is ready to fully implement our distance/virtual learning plan in place of our regular school day.

This letter is intended to give an overview of our approach to distance learning beginning Monday, March 23rd. While our primary goal is to prevent loss of learning due to missed school days, we also hope to provide a means for our students to continue to be a part of our learning community and virtually connect with their fellow students, their teachers, and with support staff.

We recognize that virtual learning is a new experience for many of us, and will proceed at a pace that enables our entire community to build our expertise together.
We will all need to be patient and understand that we may all make mistakes or adjust practices as we become more proficient in this different method of learning. We will all need to have a "growth mindset" as we help one another and get better through practice and feedback. As such, below are outlined the various responsibilities of members of our community that will contribute to a successful implementation of virtual learning practices. 


Beginning Monday, March 23rd, students in grades 5-12 should check their PowerSchool Learning platform, and parents of students PK-4 should look for an email from Narragansett Elementary School linking to the assignment web page.


We are in uncharted waters, and as such I would like to clarify the responsibilities of the various members of our classroom and school communities in supporting virtual learning:


Student Responsibilities:

  • Students will be responsible to complete the learning tasks that grade level teachers send home.
  • Students will be responsible for log-in to any online learning tools that have been assigned by the teacher.
  • Students will be thoughtful and kind in regard to online communications with peers and teachers.  It is expected that all online activity be school appropriate
  • Students in grades 5-12 will be expected to log in to PowerSchool Learning to complete required assignments.
    • Students will participate in learning by completing assigned work and responding to teacher posts/prompts.
    • Students will communicate with their teacher if there are circumstances that limit their ability to complete work by the specified time.
    • Students will ask teachers for help if they are confused by a lesson or feel they are falling behind. 


Teacher Responsibilities:

  • In grades PK-4, teachers will post assignments on the school web site, and parents will receive an email when new materials are available.
  • In grades 5-12, teachers will have all learning activities posted in PowerSchool Learning for students.
  • Lesson plans will be modified appropriately to be delivered virtually.
  • Accommodations for IEP, ELL, and 504 students will be included in the development of the virtual lesson plan and supported by Special Educators.
  • Teachers will provide instructions to students through PowerSchool Learning on how students will submit completed assignments. 
  • Teachers will be available for office hours to respond to student emails, questions, etc.
  • Teachers may conduct live check-ins/discussions through services such as Google Hangouts. 
  • Counselors, School Psychologists, and other mental health support staff will check in with students on a regular basis.  


Administrator Responsibilities:

  • Provide key communication and direction for the school community.
  • Establish schedules and routines by school.
  • Support parents, teachers, and students in implementation.
  • Secure and distribute resources as needed.
  • Supervise instruction and provide feedback to teachers
  • Problem solve, innovate, and plan for students, staff, and parent needs.


Parent Responsibilities:

  • Parents will support/establish daily schedule that will develop a positive routine for daily learning.
  • Parents will remind students of distance learning expectations and encourage students to be working diligently on assignments.
  • Parents will encourage students to use office hours with their teachers.
  • Parents will be responsible for reporting the absence of their child if s/he normally would be kept home from school. For example, if s/he is ill, has a doctor’s appointment, or other reason to be unavailable for learning.  Parents will need to email the school secretary and school nurse to report an absence.


Student Attendance:

  • Attendance in a distance learning environment is defined as “engaged with the assigned material.” This may include:
    • Submission of an academic assignment online
    • Submission of an assessment online
    • Live presence on an assessment
    • Documentation of student participation in an interactive tutorial or computer-assisted instruction
    • An email to the teacher demonstrating the student is on-line, or has initiated contact with the teacher to ask a question about an academic matter
    • A live posting by the student showing the student’s participation in an online study group that is assigned by the teacher
    • A posting by the student in a discussion forum showing the students participating in an online academic discussion
    • Recent edits in google docs (timestamps)
    • Physical attendance in an online video or text chat live
    • For our younger students, a text or email from a caregiver to the teacher stating or demonstrating (via photo) that work has been completed
    • For our younger students-students bring in completed work upon return from leave (such as reading logs signed, worksheets returned, projects etc.)
    • Teachers can check Websites where classrooms are set up for usage (such as Dreambox)
  • If any student grades PK-12 is sick with any symptoms that you would normally give cause to stay home from school, such as a fever, stomach illness, or respiratory issues parents will need to email the school nurse to report an absence.

Beginning this Monday, March 23rd breakfast and lunch will be available to students from 10:00 AM- to 11:00 AM on a “grab and go basis” at Narragansett High School. This service is available free of charge to all Rhode Island students who are 18 and under no matter where they may reside, and I encourage our Jamestown and other regional students to make use of this service if necessary.  

I fully recognize that virtual learning does not replace the in-person interactions we so value. However, this approach will ensure continuity of learning in this uncertain time. Many thanks go to our teachers, administrators, and support staff who have been working incredibly hard to prepare for this situation. Please be sure to communicate with your child’s teachers, principal, or me if you have questions, and look for follow up communication from your child’s principal with more details.


Peter J. Cummings, Ed.D

Superintendent of Schools