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ConVal middle schools get full flex day

  • ConVal school bus in snow Staff photo by Ben Conant

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 1/12/2021 11:18:55 AM

The two middle schools in the ConVal School District are set to adopt full-day flex days each Friday starting Jan. 19. Middle schools began the 2020 school year with a half day of 30-minute classes on Fridays and an afternoon of planning time for teachers, and Fridays have been full flex days since the schools switched to remote education following the Thanksgiving holidays. The change was sought to ease the burden of teachers, and reduce the amount of screen time for students.

Two teachers requested the School Board consider a full-day flex day on Nov. 17, citing a need for more time to plan, and meet with struggling students, and existing full-day flex days at the high school. The School Board’s Middle School Committee presented their assessment of various solutions on Dec. 22, at which point the Board unanimously agreed to alter the schedule in the middle schools for when in-person learning resumes.

The committee heard middle school teachers’ concerns regarding the difficulty of teaching lessons for in-person and remote students simultaneously in addition to their need for more planning time, SMS teacher Michelle Hautanen told the School Board during the Dec. 22 presentation. Surveyed parents and students supported reduced screen time, flex days, and an option for attending school in-person on Fridays, committee members reported. The changed schedule still meets the state-required quota for instructional hours, Superintendent Kimberly Rizzo Saunders said.

The committee had also looked into creating a fully remote pod of students rather than integrated classrooms of remote and in-person students due to the difficulty in simultaneously teaching on two platforms, but decided that the negatives of changing teachers halfway through the year and the logistics of such a switch outweighed the potential benefits of such an option for this school year, according to School Board meeting minutes.


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