Update from the Office of Student Services: May 8, 2020

Update from the Office of Student Services: May 8, 2020
Posted on 05/08/2020

Dear OSS Parents/Caregivers:

I hope that you and your family are safe and well during this challenging time. My goal in writing this letter to you is to provide you with an update for how the Office of Student Services will continue to serve your child and support you during this time.

Extended School Year: The Office of Student Services leadership team is currently working on summer learning plans that adhere to state and public health guidelines. We will provide more information soon.

Early Childhood: Based on the guidance from the federal and state departments of education, Cambridge Public Schools will continue to partner with Early Intervention Providers to provide services and support early childhood transitions.

Remote Learning Experience: Based on the new guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Early and Secondary Education, Cambridge Public Schools will focus on teaching the content standards essential for student success for the next grade or course. The Office of Student Services will maintain a continued focus on current IEP goals with prerequisite learning standards.

Student Remote Learning Plans: The weekly remote learning plan provides parents/caregivers with a schedule of when and how their child’s services will be delivered. Guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Early and Secondary Education states that the IEP does not need to be changed for students to receive remote services. The plan includes:

  • Supports and resources for independent learning that can include academic content and homework packets and project-based learning opportunities, with the accommodations your child needs.

  • Instruction and services that can be delivered remotely in whole group and small group settings or individually. Instruction and services can be provided by using online programs, television or the telephone.

IEP Services: Guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Early and Secondary Education states that many specialized instructional opportunities and related services may be modified to be effectively provided by sending resources and support to students remotely. The determination of how FAPE is to be provided may need to be different in this time of unprecedented national emergency.

IEP Meetings: Cambridge Public Schools is committed to offering all families the opportunity for Remote (video and/or audio conferencing) meetings whenever possible. We will work to ensure that all families are comfortable with this option, receive reports in advance as appropriate, and have the necessary tools to participate by telephone or by computer. Your child’s Team Chairperson will follow-up with you, if appropriate, to schedule this meeting.

Additional Parent Resources: We are working with our teams to develop standalone online training to assist you as you work with your child at home. If you have any suggestions, please contact our SEPAC Family Liaison, Zuleka Queen-Postell. More information to come soon.

Promotion: (From Dr. Salim’s May 6th Distance Learning and Support Plan Update to families) The State guidance has recommended that all students be promoted to the next grade in the fall. In CPS, all JK-8 students will be promoted to the next grade level, unless a conversation about retention was initiated with the family/caregiver prior to the closure. CRLS/HSEP student promotion is dependent on passing courses in both semesters and the number of credits a student has earned throughout the school year.

End-of-year and graduation ceremonies: (From Dr. Salim’s May 6th Distance Learning and Support Plan Update to families) All end-of-year celebrations will be conducted virtually, in alignment with public health guidelines. School teams are working hard on plans to celebrate these important milestones. More information to come soon.

MCAS: As of April 10th Commissioner Riley canceled this spring’s regular administration of grade-level MCAS tests for students in grades 3-10. This includes the cancellation of the MCAS-Alt.

OSS Eleven Month Programs: Students in our 11th month program will continue to receive instruction remotely. Your child’s case manager will use the weekly remote learning plan to provide information about the delivery of instruction and services.

We are thankful for your continued partnership during this time. We look forward to working with the Special Education Parent Advisory Committee (SEPAC) and the community to provide enriching and engaging learning experiences for students as we plan for the summer and fall. If you have any questions about this information, please contact your child’s case manager or contact us at cps@cpsd.us.

Best,

Alexis Morgan
Assistant Superintendent, Office of Student Services

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