With the first day of school just a bit over a month away, the Everett Public Schools (EPS) are already starting to plan for the upcoming school year so that things get off to a good start in the wake of nearly a full year of remote learning.
Supt. Priya Tahiliani said they have started working on the plan, focusing on six areas for the re-opening, including:
•Social Emotional Wellness
One of the biggest preparations is getting things ready and moving ahead with technology. Supt. Tahiliani said when she arrived, Everett was behind in the world of technology, and due to the pandemic, the district moved at light speed to try to catch up.
She said they are really focusing on the district’s technology capabilities now that they know what they can do from a year of remote learning.
“Every student in the district will be allowed a ChromeBook – not just for remote learning but for in-person learning with technology,” she said.
“The overall goal of this is to close the homework gap for students that don’t have connectivity,” she said. “We have shown tremendous growth in technology at EPS. To be honest, when I came in and found where the district was on this, we were not a leader in this area. But we have moved forward and wide very fast.”
In addition there are 200 Dell laptops secured for the STEM program, and they have six Mac Carts for computer teachers that have to move from classroom to classroom at the elementary levels. They have begun replacing outdated SmartBoards with ClearTouch TVs for the classrooms, also making sure all educators are provided Mac laptops to help teach their classes.
Facility safety has also been heavily focused on, she said, noting that the air conditioner projects at the Keverian and Everett High are underway and complete or will be completed. Heating projects at the Lafayette and English Schools will be done by the fall.
There has also been a robust program put in place to replace filters and clean HVAC systems – as well as to service the air purifiers that were put in place last year in the midst of COVID-19.
Hiring teachers is another major piece of this puzzle, and to date Tahiliani said they have filled 16 of the 55 open positions – with new teacher orientation beginning on Aug. 23.
“Our interview and hiring process is ongoing and it reaches more people and has more of a process than was done previously here,” she said.
Additionally, at the Administrative level, Everett High Asst. Principal Cory McCarthy will be transitioning to the Chief Equity Officer for the district, and Kelly-Ann Cooney will become the Director of English Learners.
There is also a robust curriculum, called the Open Circle Curriculum, that is being implemented to help with social-emotional wellness. That includes targeted interventions, restorative justice training, new student clubs, meditation/self-awareness implementation and social-emotional learning through art and music.
The first day of school for grades K-12 will be a half-day on Aug. 31.
There will be full days of school on Sept. 1 and 2 for all grades, with no school on Friday, Sept. 3, or Monday, Sept. Sept. 6. School for K-12 will resume after the Labor Day holiday on Sept. 7, with pre-K coming for their first day on Sept. 7.