Weekly email: Feb 11th

A painting of the original Smith Academy building, now the Town Hall
Good morning everyone,
My apologies in advance for this rather lengthy email and thanks for your patience in getting through it all.
I hope that you are looking forward to the long weekend and getting some rest. I do appreciate that the pandemic continues to make life very difficult and stressful for students, families and staff. The middle of February is a tough time of year and please know that we will continue to try to do our best for all involved in SA.
I am looking forward to seeing folks after the Feb break, when Spring will just be around the corner.
Please do email with questions or concerns - the email is sent on Thursday so that we can respond to inquiries the next day, should you have any.
News and Upcoming Events
More students returning to in-person learning
At the School committee meeting on Tuesday I talked through some initial thinking on how we might go about facilitating a return to more in person learning at SA. We have also dedicated time at staff meetings to look at ways that we can continue to improve our current model and find ways to incorporate more of our students back in person. I will provide regular updates on progress and changes during the weekly school committee meetings.
Space for students in-person
For now, I wanted to let you know that we are still under capacity in Grades 9, 10, 11 & 12 so if your student would like to return, we can accommodate them for 2 days and potentially 4 days. Please email Kristy in the office for more details.
Increased SEL support for all learners
As a staff we are aware of the SEL impact that the pandemic continues to have on all of our learners and met to look at ways that we can increase our live outreach and community building with all students: Live, remote, Hybrid. In a concerted effort to increase teacher-student connections and to lay the foundations for effective culture building for when we are able to return to "normal" school life, from Feb 22nd, there will be a slightly different approach to classes between 8:30-11:50.
Teachers will be contacting students to let them know that there will be a change to the way that classes start. Please be aware that:
  • All learners (in person/ remote) must be logged in to the class meet. In some cases this will be instead of google forms for attendance. This must be done in person.
  • Following this, both cohorts are expected to be live with the teacher whilst the teacher offers a live recap of the previous lesson/ task
  • After this, the teacher will remind students of when their office hours & live check ins are
  • Finally, live directions will be given to both cohorts for the main lesson. The remote group will be asked to go to google classroom. The live group will stay with the teacher and work as directed.
Please note that a slightly different process will be implemented for teachers who run concurrent electives. These staff will rotate through live classes with each group over the course of a two week period.
Additional feedback on returning more students to school 
In addition to the quarterly surveys, we are interested to hear more feedback on how we can encourage more students to return to SA. Please take 2 mins to share your thoughts here. It would be good to have responses ahead of the SC meeting on Feb 16th.
Travel Guidance
Please make sure you are aware of guidance if you are planning to leave the state this break: Link
This week, students and teachers discussed diversity, inclusivity and equity in school and used this resource about microaggressions in the classroom.


Please see updates, here
Please see updates in relation to the Fall II Sports season, here.
MCAS Grades 7 & 8
DESE has assured us that MCAS testing in Grades 7 & 8 will be much more streamlined as the intention is to use these state-wide tests as a way of looking at helping inform schools about knowledge gaps as a result of the pandemic. Please be aware of the tentative testing window below. A specific schedule will be shared soon. 
ELA - April 5 - May 7 (Grade 7 & 8)
Math - April 26 - May 28 (Grade 7 & 8)
Science - April 27 - May 28 (Grade 8)
MCAS: High School (9, 10, 11) 
AP Exam News
The district has decided the best option is for you to take your Exams online at home. If you are an in-person student on the day of your Exam you can opt to be remote that day, or leave early. The new dates are as follows, and can also be found on our website HERE
  • AP English Literature and Composition: May 18th at noon

  • AP US Government and Politics: May 20th at noon.

  • AP Art: May 20th Portfolio deadline at 11:59pm

  • AP Biology: May 27th at noon

  • AP VHS Computer Science at June 1st at 4:00pm

  • AP Calculus: June 9th at noon.

Please contact Ms Sacks with any questions/ clarifications
Upcoming Dates
  • Feb vacation: 15 - 19th
  • March 12 - No school (remote or in-person) Staff PD
  • April 2: Grades close for Q3
Hey SA!
Here's a sneak peak into your 2021 Yearbook
Order Your 2021 SA Yearbook ONLINE Offer ends Thursday, 2/11/21
Congratulations to you if you read through this entire message! Please let me know the secret code, "Tottenham Hotspur Rule,' the next time you see me.