Letter from Superintendent Salim: April 7, 2020

Letter from Superintendent Salim: April 7, 2020
Posted on 04/07/2020

Dear CPS Families & Community,

The emergency closure of school buildings in Cambridge Public Schools is scheduled to end on May 4, but it is very possible that our buildings will remain closed for even longer. While a number of elements for supporting Distance Learning were in place at the time of this closure, many of us could not have imagined what it would be like to be living in a state of prolonged social distancing.

These are difficult times for our school community -- and times when the part that each of us plays in the education of students comes into sharper focus than ever before. For any number of reasons, our talented and hard-working educators will need to work in partnership with families in new ways during this distance learning period.

To our CPS families: it has been said many times that parents are children’s first teachers -- and now you are the ones who are sitting by your children’s sides, or creating the time and space for them to stay engaged and learning. For the hard work that this requires of you, we thank you.

The following Distance Learning Plan is designed to give both educators and parents/caregivers a clear picture of the expectations and structure we are putting in place to support the learning of CPS students. The Objectives of this Distance Learning Plan are to:

  • Maintain connections between educators and students - engaging every student in CPS in meaningful ways with an explicit focus on their well-being.

  • Provide opportunities for productive learning that include experiences that are both online and offline, and both educator-facilitated and student self-directed.

  • Build a bridge across social distancing by partnering with families to ensure that student needs are understood and supported.

  • Focus support on students with the greatest needs including supports for students with disabilities, English learners and other needs.

CPS remains strongly committed to providing our students with meaningful and productive learning opportunities through a distance learning model. However, nothing can replace the in-person schooling experience, and we should not expect that distance learning can replicate the traditional school day. This extended closure has forced all of us to completely reorganize how we work as educators, students, parents and caregivers -- and adapting to these changes is hard work.

The word “unprecedented” has been used to describe this moment in time, and there are other words we might use: unfamiliar, uncomfortable, uncertain, unimaginable. During times like this, I take comfort in another “U” word: Unity. By uniting our efforts, we can reduce the negative impact on students in general and look out for the needs of those who are most vulnerable. As always, I thank you for your partnership and wish you and your family safety and health during the days ahead.


Kenneth N. Salim, Ed.D.

Read the full Distance Learning Support Plan >>

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