An Open Letter to East Providence School Superintendent Crowley
Mrs. Crowley, I think all East Providence parents, guardians and grandparents really need and want to know if there is a learning plan for the city’s graduating 5th and 8th graders. I am focusing on these two grades because these students will be leaving schools, school cultures and teachers that they have interacted with for several years and moving up to the middle and high schools.
As every school year ends, we hear of the “summer slide” and are encouraged as parents to foster learning and reading disciplines over the summer so that students are ready to move forward when school resumes each September. It’s not news to anyone that our summer slide started, to some degree, all the way back in March. Our family’s experience with Orlo Avenue Elementary School’s distance learning was nothing less than spectacular but there was still an emotional and social void that one could see in the eyes of these children. While the daily, remote schooling was effective and helpful, we can all agree that it did not rise to level of in-school learning. For almost all our city’s students, these shortfalls will likely be addressed during the 2020/2021 school year and will be easiest for those students who remain at their current schools and teaching staff. The reason I say this is because each school knows where the voids are and they know each student’s abilities and progress. This, however, seems to be less true for those students of the graduating 5th an 8th grade classes as they head up to the middle and high schools. These students will be in new schools with all new teachers. Not through any fault of their own, these teachers will not have the depth of student knowledge nor fully understand each student’s strengths and weaknesses. Transcripts will offer some clues but will never replace the first-hand knowledge that a teacher gains from that long term one-on-one exposure.
So, Mrs. Crowley, What’s the Plan? Do we simply send these two grades forward and have the first quarter (or two) be nothing more than a fire drill as teachers race to get these students back up to level or will there be a comprehensive plan that will be shared with all the parents, guardians and other interested parties? Do we use any part of the summer months to resolve some of these issues or do you feel strongly that all will be well come September? There were numerous meetings with the city’s population and each school’s PTA as you rallied the community around the building of our new high school. I hope to see the same effort placed in preparing our graduating 5th and 8th graders for their new adventure, as well as a plan for all the other grades affected by Covid-19
I look forward to your response and thank you in advance for your time and consideration,
Christopher Brosco Sr.
142 John Street
East Providence, RI 02914