Welcome to Duxbury High School
March 25, 2020
Dear Students, Faculty, Parents and Guardians,
I hope you and your families are well. As we hit the midway point to our second week, the state-wide closure is still scheduled to end on April 6. However, given the evolving nature of this pandemic, we have begun to prepare for the potential of a longer period of closure. There is no doubt that this is an iterative process for all of us and I appreciate the creativity, flexibility and engagement I am seeing across our entire school community.
We have been receiving a lot of important feedback over the last few days and the combined leadership teams of Duxbury Middle School and Duxbury High School met Tuesday to work through some of the issues that have come up and find solutions.
As we approach the third week of this closure, our primary goals are to:
Maintain the continuity of learning for all of our students that we have undertaken so far and
Begin providing a more structured and rigorous learning environment for our students and families.
We remain cognizant that this situation is fluid and that this period of school closure has upended the dynamics and routines of many of our families. DHS is committed to supporting our students and families to the best of our ability and I encourage you to reach out if there is anything we can do to support you and your family.
The most significant adjustment we are going to make is the way in which we all communicate with our students and their families. Beginning on Monday, March 30, teachers will be sending out an email that will list the assignments that have been posted in Schoology every Monday morning. Assignments can be videos, readings, Zoom/Google Hangout meeting times and any products/responses that students will be submitting/posting by the end of the week. These assignments will focus on content area skill maintenance, enhancement, and social-emotional learning and will be submitted through Schoology each week on Friday. We will continue this practice weekly until we return to school.
Beginning on Monday, March 30, teachers will also being recording and tracking all work that is returned by students. In regards to the work assigned, I can foresee a scenario if we enter a period of extended closure where the completion and submission of work could be determinative toward a student earning credit in a course. Only a few high schools in the state have formalized their plans for how this work will “count” during this closure and these solutions are novel; they are also ahead of any guidance from DESE. With this said, the expectation is now that every DHS student access and engage with this material. Parents and guardians can always monitor their student's engagement through a Schoology parent/guardian account and if you have not yet set up your account, directions are linked here.
Earlier today I sent a letter directly to our AP students (via Ms. Walsh) about the changes they have made to the exam format as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic. We have held a virtual meeting with AP teachers to make sure everyone is on the same page and to gather and get answers to class specific questions. Our AP teachers have been and will continue to post work and host virtual class meetings to assist our students in engaging with the curriculum and preparing for these exams.
Over the last week our Junior class officers have been meeting and doing everything within their power to make sure we have a prom this year. With the current restrictions on large group gatherings, the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in our state and the potential availability at the venue for the group of our size during the remainder of our school year the officers, advisors and I decided that our best opportunity for success would be to postpone the prom from Saturday, May 9 to Friday, June 12. This change will create a number of questions about ticket sales, the red carpet, etc. and the answers to these will be forthcoming. We will continue to provide you will updated information as soon as it becomes available. We are determined to make this an unforgettable evening!
Senior Night Out
For similar reasons to the ones described above, we have also postponed Senior Night Out to May 22. As we get closer to event and our return to school, we will provide more specific information about ticket sales and logistics for the evening.
Virtual Class Meetings
There are certainly going to be questions about this from students and the Student Council and I have scheduled virtual class meetings for members of the freshman and sophomore class this Friday, 12:00 PM and juniors and seniors at 12:30 PM. Invitations to the meeting will be emailed directly to students on Thursday.
Our incredible Student Council is going to host a virtual Namaste Day tomorrow for all of students and families. (See flyer below) I encourage everyone to take some time on Thursday and participate in these offerings. Thank you to STUCO for putting this all together.
There can be no doubt that this unscheduled closure of school and the uncertainty around Covid-19 pandemic and social distancing expectations can increase feelings of isolation, anxiety and depression. One of the resources available to all residents (child, adolescent, adult, senior citizen) in the town of Duxbury is the William James INTERFACE referral service. The information below is taken directly from their website linked below. Many DHS families have had great success utilizing this service and I would recommend it to anyone in need.
"The William James INTERFACE Referral Service is a mental health and wellness referral Helpline available Monday through Friday, 9 am -5 pm, at 888-244-6843 (toll free). This is a free, confidential referral service for individuals across the lifespan living in participating communities. The list of participating communities can be found on Communities Tab above. Callers, from participating communities, are matched with licensed mental health providers from our extensive database, on average, within 2 weeks of their call to INTERFACE. Each referral best meets the location, insurance, and specialty needs of the caller."
These are really unprecedented times in education and this is and will remain and iterative process until we return to school; hopefully very soon. In closing, I want to wish you and your families good health in the coming week .