Dear North Smithfield Families,
I am pleased to report that we have had minimal COVID cases since our return from April Vacation. With people remaining cautious, testing, and with vaccinations available to students 16 and older, I am again optimistic that we will finish this school year strong.
Below are a couple of updates for the next school year:
We have posted the District School Calendar for the 21-22 school year at https://drive.google.com/drive/u/1/folders/0B4pXf2-eHXpCNVh3bHhHQXNheGs.
Our first day of school for students will be August 31st and the last day of school will be June 14th.
This calendar is different in that it contains four Rhode Island Department of Education professional days. These four days will be asynchronous days in that students will have assignments to work on during teacher professional development. Our district professional development days, which were usually listed as “No School Days” for students, have been rolled into a new Common Planning Time detailed later in this email.
During this current school year, we ran a slightly shortened version of the usual student day to make room for additional preparation and work required by the mix of in-person, hybrid, and at-home learning.
For the 21-22 school year we are returning to something closer to normal as we fully expect and are planning a return to five days a week, all in-person instruction. There will however be a slight shift in the school start times so we can accommodate a new Common Planning Time for staff.
NSMS/NSHS: Student Start 7:55 Student End 2:20
NSES: Student Start 8:45 Student End 3:10
More information will become available around bus times, and student drop-off and pick-up by school.
What is the Common Planning Time requirement and why it is important?
One of the accreditation requirements from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) is that high schools provide teachers with Common Planning Time. Common Planning Time is also required by the Rhode Island Council on Elementary and Secondary Education. With an already packed student instructional schedule, this has proved very difficult to implement. Many districts have found a solution by implementing a Wednesday early release for students in order to hold Common Planning Time for teachers in the afternoon.
Our solution is much more far-reaching, consistent, and not limited to just the high school. Instead of dismissing students early one day a week, our teachers will report for Common Planning each day of the week 45 minutes before the student school day begins.
This morning Common Planning Time can/will be used for:
We are piloting this model on a one-year trial basis, followed by a review and decision for continuation. No district in the state has been able to implement this model with their high schools, let alone including all grade levels PK-12. Even with the addition of Common Planning Time, our schools are still exceeding the daily student instructional time defined in the Rhode Island Basic Education Plan.
Thank you all for your support and have a great weekend.
Michael St. Jean, Superintendent