Potential pass-fail grading, the governor’s extension of school closures through at least May 20, hopes for a traditional graduation and creating “virtual” approximations of “spring events” are all part of an email sent to student families and faculty by new Superintendent of Schools Susie Da Silva.

She also discussed plans for surveys to gauge on reactions to “eLearning” and get an idea how it is progressing. “We know and agree, that a digital device or resource does not replace our talented educators,” she said.

Da Silva, who started her work leading Ridgefield’s schools Wednesday, April 1, emailed families and faculty to share thoughts on continuing school operations during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Many of the issues she raises are likely to be discussed at the Board of Education’s meeting scheduled for Monday, April 13, at 7 p.m. The agenda includes “superintendent’s 90-day entry plan” and a “distance learning update” as well as budget issues. The meeting will be livestreamed on the school system’s website: www.Ridgefield.org

Ridgefield School Board Chairwoman Margaret Stamatis told The Press that the governor’s order appeared to be leaving flexibility for future decisions.

“As you probably heard, yesterday afternoon the governor extended closures to May 20 but purposely did not say until the end of the year,” Stamatis said in an email.

“My understanding is that the commissioner of education recommended to the governor that they not make the decision to close through end of the year at this point so that they could ‘buy more time’ to see if there is flexibility and possibility for some of those end of year experiences to happen for our students in CT, even if they look different than what has been done historically.”

The email Superintendent Da Silva sent Thursday, April 9, follows:

Da Silva email

Dear Families and Faculty,

I hope this email finds you well and healthy. Finally, the sun found its way out!

While this communication is brief, it does share important updates. You can expect further details, once we are able to process as a district and provide more concrete information to families, faculty, and students. Thank you for partnering with us at home and at “school.”

Enjoy the holiday and long weekend.

Warmly, Susie

Susie Da Silva, Ed.D.

COVID-19

Return to “physical school”

As you may have already heard, Governor Lamont announced today that school closures will extend until at least May 20, 2020.

Graduation

Commencement is a true accomplishment for our students. We will partner with students, faculty, and families to begin planning for an alternative experience. Our students’ voices will be an integral part of this process. We will begin planning for this experience in the coming weeks. That being said, optimistically, we still hope for a traditional ceremony.

Spring Events

Where it makes sense to do so, we will create “virtual” similar experiences to the planned events for this spring. Given Governor Lamont’s announcement today, you can expect to hear more from your child’s school or the District Office in the coming week.

Grading Practices

On April 8, 2020, the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) provided guidance to CT school districts with respect to student grading during the COVID-19 crisis. While the decision with respect to grading is local, the CSDE’s guidance is encouraging a form of a “locally guided Pass/Fail protocol for grading.” The reasoning for CSDE’s guidance is driven by communication, engagement, and collaboration with many different sources, such as the United States Department of Education, Connecticut colleges and universities, other state colleges and universities, NCAA, and partners in other state departments of education.

Our district team has already been proactively planning for grading during the school closure period. We will now consider CSDE’s guidance and our students, then make recommendations on the most effective grading protocol for Ridgefield students. As soon as we are able to communicate these with you, we will.

eLearning Experience

We have been receiving feedback on our eLearning experience across all three levels. Mr. Creller (assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction Craig Creller) will be providing the Board of Education an update on Monday, April 13, 2020. We will continue to assess our program and make adjustments to the plan as we collect feedback from our students, faculty, and families. We know and agree, that a digital device or resource does not replace our talented educators.

A survey will be distributed to families in grades 6-12 in the coming week. Your insights will be helpful as we continue to adjust our program.