From the Desk of the Superintendent, May 19, 2020

From the Desk of the Superintendent, May 19, 2020
Posted on 05/19/2020
Desk of SuperintendentMay 19, 2020

Dear Westfield Public Schools Families,
I hope this letter finds you happy and healthy as we approach the end of the school year. I continue to be deeply grateful to our teachers, support staff, administrators, and parents for the extraordinary efforts demonstrated during this public health crisis. I am writing today to provide you with several updates.

I would like to begin by congratulating all our SEPAC Shining Star Award winners (please see attached). The Shining Stars Award honors excellence in education and support personnel who contribute to the acceptance and success of Westfield students with exceptionalities. These individuals go the “extra mile” for special education students, and the award gives students and families the opportunities to recognize Westfield Public Schools staff that have impacted their lives. Under normal circumstances, a celebration is held with the staff and the students and their families that nominated them. This year, SEPAC reached out to families and the schools for nominations, and the staff are being honored in The Westfield News and our district Facebook page.

Westfield High School and our elementary schools are in the process of distributing student belongings. WIS, WMS, and WTA will accomplish this task beginning the first week of June. You will receive specific information directly from school administrators if you have not already. We have made the decision not to collect Chromebooks from staff or students in June except from those that are leaving the district. While opening day for students is not until August 31, we still face a lot of uncertainty in terms of what school will look like next fall. We do not believe that it makes sense to collect Chromebooks in June only to have to redistribute them in August.

While our primary focus is on finishing this year as strongly as we can, we have our eyes and plans on returning to school in the fall. Last week, DESE Commissioner Riley assembled a committee to develop recommendations for opening schools next school year. While we wait for guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health/Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, we will create our own working groups to create possible scenarios that best fit the needs and safety of our students and staff.

Our back to school planning will be focused on keeping student learning at the forefront. We are also conscious of the fact that there could be further interruptions experienced during the 2020-21 school year due to a resurgence of COVID-19. We are aware of a subset of our community who may decide not to send their children to school for a variety of reasons. We will work to make sure that we use the reflective observation and input of our teachers, administrators, parents, and students to improve our in-person schooling and our Remote Learning Plan to concentrate on the best and most impactful learning and teaching. Generally, we will prepare for three scenarios:

1. Back to School - in-person schooling with health safeguards.

2. Hybrid Approach - some in-person schooling and some remote learning.

3. Remote Learning - taking what worked in the crisis, what we learned in the crisis, and input from future surveys to refine and improve our plan.

Finally, I know that the past few months have been challenging and there are certainly more obstacles ahead. Our students, staff, and families continue to be in our thoughts as we collectively experience this pandemic. We are stronger when we work together and appreciate the support, care, and attention that we have provided our students and each other during this difficult time.

Thank you,

Stefan Czaporowski
Superintendent of Schools
Westfield Public Schools