COVID 19 Community Update #9 – April 3, 2020

Pittsfield Families,

Now that we have had some experience with remote learning and realize that we will be utilizing remote learning for at least another month and possibly to the end of the school year, the district is making a number of modifications to our current practices.  We have also looked forward to the remaining months of the school year in making plans for students and families to the greatest extent possible.

You are receiving this additional message to advise you of actions taken by the Pittsfield School
Board at its meeting last night, Thursday, April 2:

April Vacation.  Our annual April vacation has been cancelled.  Thanks to the many parents who helped the Board make this decision by responding to our survey this week.

Building Access.  Beginning Monday, April 6, access to the district’s buildings will be further limited:

  • Students will no longer have access to the buildings
  • Community members are asked not to enter the buildings
  • School offices will not be staffed on a consistent basis
  • Communications are requested to be made via email; email addresses for all staff are available on the school websites
  • Food service operations will continue in current format

Grading.  Due to the complexities of remote learning, our grading system will be altered for third and fourth quarters as follows:

  • PES: (grades K to 6) narrative reports
  • PMS: (grades 7 & 8)  narrative reports with comments reflecting on-course-pace / off-course-pace status
  • PHS: (grades 9 to 12)
    • Narrative reports with comments reflecting on-course-pace / off-course-pace status
    • Spring semester-only courses default to pass / fail
    • Yearlong only courses default to pass / fail with individual student or teacher options to maintain letter grading

Graduation:  PMHS graduation is scheduled for Saturday, June 6; we’re not sure what graduation will look like yet, but rest assured that planning for graduation activities for our seniors while we are moving forward.

Instructional / Learning Time Commitment.  General guidelines have been established relative to instructional / learning time per grade as follows:

  • Kindergarten: 60 minutes
  • Grades 1 & 2: 90 minutes
  • Grades 3 & 4: 120 minutes
  • Grades 5 & 6: 150 minutes
  • Grades 7 to 12: 30-40 minutes per course with total no more than 4 hours

As noted, these time guidelines are “guidelines” and not requirements.  All students and all instructional activities are not the same so we would expect variations to occur, and we are confident in our teachers to develop instructional activities that best serve our students.  These time spans are being established to provide only the most general frames of reference.

Last Day of School. The last day of school for our 2019-2020 school year is scheduled for Friday, June 12.

School Board Meetings.  School Board meetings will continue to be held remotely with accommodations for public access during the emergency period.  Some Board discussions – including a discussion of the recent warrant article regarding the tuitioning of high school students – have been put on hold for now; the Board is hoping to have an open, face-to-face meeting on this and other topics as soon as it is able to do so.

School Board Officers.  Last night’s meeting was the annual Board reorganization meeting; the current Board:

  • Bea Douglas, Chair
  • Heidi Asdot, Vice-Chair
  • Ted Mitchell, Secretary
  • Adam Gauthier, Member
  • Jessica Drouin, Member

Weekly Schedule.  Beginning Monday, April 6, our teachers will shift to a 4/1 model, which means that regular instruction will be provided for four days each week, on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  Friday will be a day for catch-up, student conferences, individual and small group help, faculty office hours, etc.

We thank our colleague teacher leaders and administrators for making recommendations regarding the instructional decisions that our School Board has made, and we thank our Pittsfield School Board for your openness to making these modifications in the interest of best serving our students in this challenging and unprecedented time.



John Freeman, Superintendent of Schools

Derek Hamilton, Dean of Operations