JFK School Parent Council Meeting
Thursday, April 9
8:30-9:30 p.m., via Zoom
David Juralewicz, Nichole Barros, Morgan Hayword, Tracy Triplett, Jen Douglas, Krista Magnuson, Meredith Sandiford, Sally Griffith, Amy Gusefski, Beatriz (Bibi) Pantoja
Introductions were made.
Alternate Times/Locations for SPC Meetings
Dave noted that every parent/guardian at the JFK is automatically a member of the School Parent Council (SPC), even if they cannot attend meetings. Bibi noted that meetings occurring during the school day or early evening are difficult for her to attend, and that evening meetings would be better. The SPC could consider looking into offsite meetings (if permissible) to accommodate an evening slot (assuming meetings cannot be held later at the school). It may also be possible to allow for remote participation.
Parents provided various observations, lessons-learned from remote learning so far:
- Setting up a workspace that mirrors the classroom – desk, chair, daily schedule and creating a separate adult and child workspace between which the adult can jump has helped
- Homeschooling is challenging even for all parents, including those not also trying to meet the demands of their employers
- Zoom has been fun and helpful (at least for older kids) to get to see friends and to interact; some teachers are having students work cooperatively on Zoom, but this is more feasible for older kids.
- Marco Polo has worked well for younger kids (posting videos for students to watch on their own schedule) because it doesn’t have to be done live.
- Teachers have been using Facetime and Google Hangout to conduct individual meetings, which has worked well.
- Specialists, like Ms. Moody and Mr. Broussard have reached out to some families, which has been much appreciated.
- Parents have been supplementing the school assignments with their own workbooks, flashcards, and educational activities. Kids will learn from all kinds of activities, not just their school assignments.
- It’s ok – and perhaps essential – to make modifications to the assigned work and to focus on just getting some of the work done, having a little learning and engagement each day.
- Some times of day are more challenging than others for focusing and doing school work, like the afternoon. Making learning a game can help.
- It’s important to keep in mind that the sudden change in environmental and schedule makes I hard for kids to show their true abilities.
- Even if kids don’t seem to be paying attention during virtual conferences, they are still engaged.
- Teachers and others have brought Chromebooks to families – including those whose addresses were not updated with BPS. One family is working with the school to get a textbook delivered, as the online version has proven difficult to use.
- Everyone expressed that the teachers have been doing a great job, and very much appreciated the connection to resources and socialization being provided to students.
Everyone agreed that the Town Hall was a success. Families loved the use of the specialists, the communal signing in the beginning, and the group exercises. Future meetings would benefit from additional muting of participants during presentations.
Resources for Families
Krista pointed out that it has been difficult for BPS to reach some families, particularly if updated addresses have not been provided. Tracy confirmed that Dr. Copeland reported at the most recent School Site Council (SSC) meeting that most, but not all, families had been contacted by the school.
Krista pointed out will be important to fill out the recently provided (email, text, etc.) BPS survey seeking to confirm what resources families need and whether they are being provided. It is available in ten languages.
Meredith reported that JP Kids Soccer is interested in donating funds to JFK families in need, similar to the purchase of Stop & Shop cards made by the SPC just before the school closed. Krista reported that the SPC purchased 20 giftcards from Stop & Shop for $100 each and Dr. Copeland distributed them to families likely to be facing food insecurity. Krista will reach out to Dr. Copeland to determine whether she is still in contact with those families and whether it would be feasible to distribute them and to whom. It is possible there may be a greater number of families in need now. Distribution could presumably be handled by Dr. Copeland and the teachers of those students.
When Will School Reopen?
Tracy noted that at the prior SSC meeting (March 27) there was no definitive information on when and whether school will reopen this year, but that, by law (and union contract), the school year can’t go beyond June 30.
Krista pointed out that the Josiah Quincy School has been converted to a Covid-19 screening facility, suggesting that there is no plan to reopen schools this school year.
The general feeling of the group was that schools would not reopen this school year.
Krista pointed out that State House and Senate have passed a resolution to cancel the MCAS for this year.
Nichole asked whether a graduation ceremony of some kind would be held for Fifth Graders.