Letter to CoaH Families – May 12, 2020

Dear CoaH Families:

I am writing to provide an update on City on a Hill’s response to COVID-19. As a reminder, all of our previous messages are archived here.


I have heard that some parents are receiving EBT cards because of COVID-19. Are CoaH families eligible?

The Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) determines eligibility for benefits and will send out cards directly to families, City on a Hill families included. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) requested data from all schools to help facilitate the administration of this program by DTA. CoaH has provided the requested information to DESE in accordance with DESE’s deadline. According to DESE, schools do not and will not administer any part of this program other than providing the requested data to DESE. More information on the P-EBT program can be found at www.mass.gov/info-details/pandemic-ebt-p-ebt.


Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced that no student would be retained because of COVID-19; What is City on a Hill doing?

As a charter public school, City on a Hill operates independently from traditional districts, like Boston Public Schools (BPS). The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) entrusts charters like ours to act in the best interest of our students. CoaH’s decision is that students who were failing or were in danger of failing in the three quarters before the COVID-19 pandemic will not automatically be promoted to the next grade. Instead, each student’s unique situation will be evaluated on a case by case basis, and in some instances, this may result in a student repeating a grade. To be clear, this decision applies only to students who failed or were in danger of failing before COVID-19. If your student was on solid academic footing going into the COVID-19 pandemic and actively engaged in remote learning, this does not apply to you.

CoaH is following BPS on school closure; why not follow BPS on socially promoting students?

Governor Charlie Baker ordered all schools closed in the Commonwealth closed through June 29, including both City on a Hill Charter Public Schools and the Boston Public Schools, which are separate school districts. Each school district in the state operates independently and has the duty to act in the best interests of its students. CoaH’s small class sizes means there are greater opportunities for individualized instruction than in a larger, traditional public school. For any students who were failing prior to COVID-19, promoting them to the next grade while not having mastered the existing content often does more harm than good in the long run and does not set them up for success in college or life after college graduation.


  • Advanced Placement Exams continue this week! English is Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., and AP U.S. History is Friday at 1:30 p.m. AP Bio is on Monday, May 18 at 1:30 p.m.
  • We WILL have Quarter 4 grades and final exams. Students will be given a grade at the end of the year which could result in moving on to the next grade, doing summer school, or having to repeat a class.
  • This quarter, work will be graded for completion and accuracy. Any missing work will be marked as a zero. If students haven’t been doing all of their work, they can still make up work and are encouraged to do so.
  • Many teachers are hosting live virtual classes and/or office hours. Students should join these sessions when they can. It’s very helpful for students and the teacher to see each others’ faces!


  • All New Bedford teachers are hosting office hours every day and Google Meet opportunities for students to talk with their teachers and gain a better understanding of the content being taught.
  • New Bedford will NOT have final exams, but will utilize Apex unit tests, final projects and formative assessments for non Apex courses to determine final grades. 
  • Quarter 4 will be graded in the same manner that Quarter 3 was graded. Students will be given credit for all work completed.

As always, please know that we remain committed to supporting you to the greatest extent possible during this time. We continue to welcome your feedback on how this process is working or not working for you and your family. 


Kevin T. Taylor

Chief Executive Officer

To read our most up to date information, please visit the Our Response to COVID-19 page.

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