Letter to CoaH Families – May 15, 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.


Please share your Remote Learning Feedback with City on a Hill!

Leaders at CoaH want to learn more about what students, parents and staff are experiencing during this time of remote learning to better improve our district/network’s communication and support.

Please click here to take a short 2-3 minute survey.

  • Completing this survey is voluntary and all responses are anonymous.
  • Remember to click SUBMIT at the end of the survey to make sure your responses are received!

Parents/Guardians: If you have more than one child in our schools, take the survey once per child. (Example: Click on the survey link and answer all questions as they relate to your first child. When finished, click SUBMIT, then click survey link again to take a second time, answering all questions related to second child.)

Your voice is critical in helping leaders across our schools better understand what is working well and what can be improved during this time. We are looking forward to your feedback!

How is City on a Hill celebrating the Class of 2020?

We are celebrating seniors in multiple ways this year. City on a Hill is posting celebrations of seniors on social media. Make sure you follow City on a Hill on Facebook, Twitter (@COAHCPS), and Instagram (@COAHCPS) so you can be part of the celebration! 


What is the plan for CoaH Boston graduation?

We are excited to announce that this year’s City on a Hill Boston graduation will be virtual. Graduates and families will be able to stream graduation on Friday, June 12th at 6 p.m. Each graduate will be able to record their part of graduation from home – we will follow up with additional instructions.

Congratulations to our student graduation speakers:

ValedictorianEvelyn Tejada Garcia – CoaH CS
Anyeris Diaz – CoaH DS
SalutatorianJermiah Germain – CoaH CS
Destin Bundu – CoaH DS
Citizen ScholarLanaya Kimble – CoaH CS
Lakeisha Harper – CoaH DS


What is the plan for CoaH New Bedford graduation?

We have incorporated the feedback we have heard from students, families and staff and have put together an exciting virtual graduation which will celebrate our seniors and their many accomplishments. 

The virtual graduation video will be shown in a live viewing party on Friday, June 12 at 5 p.m. The video will include footage of all graduating seniors in their caps and gowns, personalized student messages recorded from home, acknowledgement of awards received, honor status, and speeches from Mr. Taylor, Dr. Dion, and a few senior teachers. More information will be shared with seniors and their families next week.  


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. 

We encourage you to visit the P-EBT program website www.mass.gov/info-details/pandemic-ebt-p-ebt for up to date information and answers to Frequently Asked Questions..

If receiving DTA benefits, your P-EBT benefits will be added to your existing EBT card. If not actively receiving DTA benefits, you will receive a P-EBT card in the mail for each eligible student in your household.  If you have questions about P-EBT or other food resources, call Project Bread’s Hotline at 1-800-645-8333. 


  • Q4 and Final Exam Dates.  The last day of classes will be on Wednesday, June 17.  Final exams will be June 18-24.  We will send a survey next week that will ask students to sign up for a specific time slot for each exam.
  • Grading Policy.  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.  Any missing work will be marked as a zero and will hurt your grade.  Please make up any missing work!
  • APEX.  For those taking an online course through APEX, classes close on May 22.  All work must be completed by then.  Reach out to cwagner@cityonahill.org if you have questions.
  • Attend virtual classes and/or office hours.  Many teachers are hosting live classes and office hours, and students should plan to attend if possible.
  • Social Media.  Mr. Hughes will post a new selfie challenge each week on facebook (City on a Hill Charter Public Schools) and on Instagram (coahcps).  Students and families can follow these accounts to see the weekly theme using the hashtag #COAHSpirit!   This week’s theme: PAJAMA WEEK!  Follow COAH on facebook and instagram to see senior celebrations as well.

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.


  • 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.
  • The last day of school for all seniors will be Friday, June 5th.  The last day of school for all underclassmen will be Wednesday, June 24th.  

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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