Christa McAuliffe Charter School Announces Hybrid Model Starting March 1

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FRAMINGHAM – The Christa McAuliffe Charter School announced a hybrid model for students, today, January 25.

The regional public middle school announced today “families can now choose whether or not to enroll McAuliffe children in our McAuliffe@School + Home program during the first phase of that program (from March 1 through April 16). In phase one, students will attend school in-person every other week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.”

“We recognize that for one or more of several reasons, including transportation, many families may elect to keep their children learning 100% remotely for now. The 100% remote program will operate similarly to the McAuliffe@Home program. … We look forward to supporting the academic and moral growth of McAuliffe scholars whether they learn from home or at school,” said the regional middle school.

“While we are planning for McAuliffe@School + Home to start on March 1, we will continue to evaluate community and school health metrics. If COVID-19 metrics rise to unacceptable levels, and/or a trend in Massachusetts in-school transmission becomes evident, McAuliffe will stay with (or revert to) 100% remote learning until it is deemed safe to return to in-person teaching and learning,” said the regional middle school in an email to families.

All families must complete a form to the school by Sunday, January 31 at noon indicating their choice for March 1 through April 16.

There will also be a ZOOM Q&A for families on Wednesday, January 27 at 7 p.m.

Q&A provided by the Charter School

Why is McAuliffe launching a hybrid program at this time?We know that remote learning has been a struggle for many scholars and we have wanted to move to hybrid when possible. With evidence of low in-school COVID-19 transmission in Massachusetts, a recent decline of new COVID-19 cases in our area, and the advent of routine COVID-19 testing for scholars and staff, a hybrid program is now feasible.

Why does phase one of McAuliffe@School + Home entail students attending school in-person every other week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays rather than for the entire week?We are launching our hybrid program at 30% (three days out of ten) rather than 50% (five days out of ten) because we believe that a shorter window maximizes health and safety while we experience the more vulnerable period of Winter and early Spring. We also believe that continuity of daily experience is important for scholars, and running hybrid on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday allows us to keep the current sequence of blocks (as opposed to another combination of three days during the week). In March we will reevaluate the length of the program and consider expanding to five days a week for Phase Two (from April 26 to the end of school).

What is my choice and by when do I need to make a decision?You must choose whether to keep your child 100% remote or enroll your child in McAuliffe@School+Home, our hybrid program. You must make this choice by Sunday, January 31 at noon. If we do not hear from you, we will assume that you are choosing for your child to remain 100% remote.

How long am I committing to this decision?If you choose to keep your child 100% remote, your child must remain in that program until April 16. In March, you will have the opportunity to elect to enroll your child in phase two of McAuliffe@School+Home starting April 26, or keep your child 100% remote through the remainder of the year.

What should I consider when making my decision?

  1. Read the description of each program below and decide what would be best for your child and your family. Each program is valuable and there is no right or wrong answer.
  2. Consider how your child will get to school in the McAuliffe@School+Home program. This year, the Framingham Public Schools can only transport 6th grade scholars who live more than two miles from the school. If your child does not qualify for busing and you cannot provide alternate transportation, then you must choose for your child to stay 100% remote.
  3. Consider whether you are comfortable with your child being tested at least once a week for COVID-19 (the nasal swab test). Routine testing is an important part of our safety plan for McAuliffe@School+Home, both for students and staff. We will work with a state-approved organization that provides this service. If you sign your child up for McAuliffe@School+Home, we hope that you will give the school permission to routinely test your child, and we will provide you with more information about how it works. 
  4. Recognize that if your child attends McAuliffe@School + Home, your child must use a school-provided Chromebook rather than a personal device.
  5. If there are any particular circumstances relating to your child’s schedule that may affect your child’s experience in McAuliffe@School+Home, we will write with that information shortly, and you can use the information in that email to help you make your decision.
  6. Please use our decision flowchart to help you make your decision!

When will McAuliffe@School+Home begin?The program will begin on the week of March 1 (or March 8, depending on the week to which your child is assigned.

What will be the regular schedule for McAuliffe@School+Home?If your child enrolls in McAuliffe@School+Home, your child will attend school three days out of ten.
In McAuliffe@School+Home, your child will be assigned to Week A or Week B. The McAuliffe schedule will rotate between those two weeks, and your child will attend school in-person when the McAuliffe schedule is on their week. 
For example, if your child is assigned to Week A, then on Week A of the program, your child will attend school 

  • remotely on Monday
  • in-person for three days (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday)
  • remotely on Friday. 

On Week B of the program, your child will attend school remotely. 
On the following week (Week A), the cycle will begin again and your child will return to school on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

What will McAuliffe@School+Home be like?During the week that your child is in school, they will attend school in-person on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. For safety reasons, your child will stay in the same classroom with the same group of scholars (cohort) throughout the day. Your child will also keep all their same teachers. 
Teachers of Core Subjects (English Language Arts, Social Studies, Science and Math) will teach their classes in front of McAuliffe@School+Home scholars. Crew will be in-person as well. Often those classes will be taught with Zoom so that remote scholars can participate. Sometimes, those classes will be taught with a focus just on in-school learners.

Note: a small number of scholars will have to Zoom into classes with one or two core teachers, or their Crew, due to unusual schedules. If your child is in that situation, you will receive more information in a separate email and you can use that information to help you decide whether your child should enroll in McAuliffe@School+Home or stay 100% remote.

All World Language and most Related Arts classes will be taught via a Zoom platform because we cannot keep scholars in a fixed cohort for those subjects. In those circumstances, a guest teacher will be in the classroom while scholars participate in class via Zoom.

Scholars will eat lunch in their classrooms, and they will have recess time outdoors unless the weather does not permit. When possible, they will have some classes/activities outdoors.

During the week that your child is at home, they will attend most blocks via Zoom as they always have. During a few blocks each week, mostly on Wednesdays, they may work on their own to complete activities at their own pace.

Will McAuliffe@School+Home be safe?At McAuliffe we take health and safety very seriously. Our ventilation system is updated and air purifiers will run in all classrooms. Our students will strictly remain with their classroom cohort. All students must wear masks at all times, except briefly while eating. Students must wash their hands frequently and clean their desks with sanitizer spray or wipes. They must remain in their assigned seats during class. When in the hallways, they must follow hallway directions at all times. In general, students must follow all directions of teachers and other staff. Failure to comply with the directions of adults may result in a student moving to the 100% remote program.
We will ask families of McAuliffe@School+Home students to sign up their children for free weekly COVID-19 testing. Routine testing will allow us to catch any cases early and substantially lower risk of transmission. Staff will be tested weekly as well.

What will the 100% remote experience be like?The 100% remote experience will be very similar to the McAuliffe@Home program that students have experienced since the start of school. They will participate in classes via Zoom. Sometimes those classes will consist of live streaming into a McAuliffe classroom, while other classes will be remote for all students. The major difference between 100% remote and McAuliffe@School+Home (hybrid) will be that instead of having three to five blocks every other week in which they might work on their own, 100% remote students will have those “non-Zoom” blocks once a week.

My child has participated in the Mission: McAuliffe program. What will happen with that program?You will receive separate information about Mission: McAuliffe. In the meantime, please complete the form explaining whether you choose for your child to attend McAuliffe@School + Home or be 100% remote. If you choose McAuliffe@School + Home, your child will continue to attend Mission:McAuliffe every week.

What about this plan might change?If scholar(s) within a cohort test positive, those scholars will be individually tested. They may need to quarantine or stay in isolation for a certain period of time depending on test results. They will stay 100% remote until they are eligible to return to school as per quarantine/isolation rules.
If many scholars and/or staff quarantine, or in-school transmission becomes evident, McAuliffe may revert to 100% remote learning until it is deemed safe to return to in-person teaching and learning.

If public health conditions worsen to the point that health experts determine in-school learning to be unsafe, or if there is a trend of in-school transmission observed in other Massachusetts schools, McAuliffe will revert to 100% remote learning until circumstances improve.
In March, after the launch of McAuliffe@School+Home, McAuliffe will evaluate the program and determine whether circumstances allow its expansion from three to five days out of ten. We may also adjust other aspects of the program.


email: call or text at 508-315-7176

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