Hello Amherst Regional High School families!
For those of you who do not already know, my name is Talib Sadiq and I am the Interim Principal at ARHS this year. I am honored and excited to be in this position. We have a great team of adults working hard preparing to welcome back all of your children to this new learning environment. I also want to let you know about some of the changes going on at ARHS. One of the biggest ones is the student and teacher schedules.
I have attached an outline schedule of the new schedule your children will be following this year. We chose to switch from the 7 – Drop 1 schedule we have been using for the past 4 years, to a 3 x 3 + 1 Block schedule. The catalyst for this was the feedback we received from your children and our teachers about how challenging it was to manage six or seven classes for students, and for teachers to teach four or five classes virtually. Another reason for the change is, a high school schedule that includes five or six transitions/cohorts is not feasible from a public health perspective as we are not on a “team” or “cohort” model like the K-8 schools. In addition, this schedule works in a virtual or in-person model. There are many other schools in our area, and across the country that use Block Schedules with success for all stakeholders, Northampton being one of them.
As we continue to improve how we do Distance Learning, all of our teachers will be doing a week of Professional Development (PD) with the Global Online Academy. This is a LINK to a document that summarizes the focus of the PD. In addition to the PD for faculty, Sam Camera, our new Assistant Principal and Ella Stocker our new Distance Learning Coordinator, are leading the creation of a website that will be a hub for online learning support and link to resources for faculty, students and families. As soon as this site is live we will send it to you, as well as listing it on the ARPS website and in each teacher’s Google Classrooms.
Along with that PD, the district is supporting our teachers with ongoing workshops about Dismantling White Supremacist Culture. This is a link to some of the information shared at a recent workshop. This is a link to a Podcast featuring Dr. Gholdy Muhammad, author of the book Cultivating Genuis. We will be incorporating aspects of her educational frameworks into how lesson plans are created and delivered. The goal is to increase our teachers’ ability to effectively educate our diverse population of students in this new environment.
Another goal we have is to distribute student schedules, textbooks, ChromeBooks, and “kits” for some of their classes on Monday September 14th & Tuesday September 15th. Before those dates arrive we will be sending out specific times you can come to the school to get those supplies. We will make individual arrangements with families unable to come to the school at those times.
When your children look at their schedules, they will see some unfamiliar class titles. Some class names and some content had to be changed to work with this new schedule. We did use student requests to make their schedules. So even though the class names and way they will be taught is different, much of the content is what the students, and you, expected it to be.
All of us at ARHS are committed to making the best of this year. We all struggled to just make it through the spring. Since then we’ve been working hard to make the fall more engaging and manageable for everyone. We want to partner with all ARHS families, to make this the best educational experience possible for every student this year. Please let me know if you have any ideas to help support us to do that. Thanks and take care.