As always, the safety and health of our students, staff, and greater community is our top priority. We have created this page to address the City on a Hill’s response to COVID-19 and its effect on our community.
Weekly Community Updates
Distance Learning & Chromebooks
City on a Hill teachers and administrators are working to provide all students who need them with Chromebooks to be able to participate in Distance Learning during our closure. Students will be graded on these assignments, and they are encouraged to complete the work to the best of their abilities and treat this differently than they would a school vacation week.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How long will City on a Hill be closed?
CoaH will be closed through the end of the 2019-2020 school year, in accordance with Governor Baker’s directive to close all schools in the Commonwealth.
How does the extended closure change City on a Hill’s distance learning plan?
City on a Hill teachers and administrators have been working to create the infrastructure to support Distance Learning which started on Monday, April 6. On Tuesday, April 7, we sent a letter reviewing the process and answering many questions related to the process. You can view that letter here or review our Distance Learning FAQ on our website here.
How will City on a Hill calculate Quarter 3 grades for my student?
Boston Students: Boston students will receive the grade from their 3rd quarter progress report if no other work was turned in after the closure on March 12, 2020. Students who have submitted work after March 12 will be able to increase their 3rd quarter grade to a higher grade depending on the work submitted. However, the March 12 grade will not be lowered based on the work submitted after March 12
New Bedford Students: New Bedford Students will receive the “Quality of Work” grade from Apex on March 12 if there has been no additional work done since that date. Students who have submitted work (Apex, Google Slides, paper-based) after March 12 will be able to increase their Quality of Work grade to a higher grade depending on the work submitted. However, the March 12 grade will not be lowered based on the work submitted after March 12.
When will I receive my student’s Quarter 3 Report Card?
Boston: All CoaH Boston report cards will be distributed this week through your student’s advisor. If you do not receive your student’s report card by the end of this week, please contact your student’s advisor.
New Bedford: All CoaH NB report cards were sent out to families yesterday (May 4). If you did not receive your student’s report card, please email Callie Pope, Director of School Operations, at email@example.com.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced that no Boston Public School student would be retained because of COVID-19; What is City on a Hill Boston 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.
City on a Hill Boston 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.
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.
What does Governor Baker’s decision to extend closure through the end of the 2019-2020 school year mean for Prom and Graduation?
We know that prom and graduation are important rites of passage for our students and proud moments for families. Given the COVID-19 crisis, we have decided to celebrate prom and graduation virtually and we are seeking your input in thinking creatively about how we can celebrate these milestones virtually. Please email your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. Your feedback and suggestions will be taken into consideration. A final decision is expected by Friday, May 8 and will be communicated in that day’s email.
How often can families expect to hear from CoaH?
In an effort to make our communications more predictable, families can expect to hear from me twice per week, on Tuesday and Friday afternoons, via email and robocall. The Tuesday message will contain any updates we have about our response to COVID-19 and the Friday message will answer questions raised by families that have been submitted to email@example.com that week. As our coronavirus response is a fast-moving, incredibly fluid situation we hope predictable communications will help ease anxieties.
What about MCAS and AP tests?
DESE Commissioner Riley has previously indicated that the MCAS window would be pushed back. This test is part of Massachusetts’ federal and state education requirements and any changes to the test window and/or cancellation would have to be negotiated by the respective legislators. Other states are wrestling with the same issue. Similarly, the College Board has posted a message on its website saying that Advanced Placement tests may be moving in the direction of take-home tests.
As a reminder, the MCAS and AP tests are not specific to City on a Hill. We will update guidance as soon as we receive more information.
Other schools are providing meals during the school closure; will City on a Hill do the same?
In Boston, we are working with our food vendor, City Fresh, to accommodate serving meals as soon as possible, likely only from our Circuit Street location given that it is located in a residential neighborhood. The start date is not yet known. I hope to have an update in my Friday, March 20 communication.
In New Bedford, we are partnering with the New Bedford Public Schools where they are providing ‘Grab and Go’ meals during district closure.
How does this closure impact the last day of school?
Like with many of the details related to returning to normal school operations following closure, our last day of school cannot yet be known. We are working with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to understand the impact of Governor Baker’s State of Emergency Declaration on schools. At this moment, the best information is that the last day of school will be no later than June 30, 2020. We will continue to share updates throughout the spring on this topic.
Will teachers and administrators be available during the extended closure?
City on a Hill’s Network Office will operate remotely beginning March 16 to ensure our operational functions continue, and to prepare for eventual re-opening of our schools. If you have any questions during this time, please call (617) 533-9471 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
All teachers and school-based administrators will be out of the building for the entirety of the closure, though they will offer 5 hours per week to be available remotely to students via phone or email through the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
Our Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion
In addition to the above health and logistical concerns, we want to acknowledge that due to its origins in Wuhan, China, this virus has been racialized. There have already been incidents nationwide of increased racism and xenophobia against those of Asian and Pacific Islander descent. We want to acknowledge that CoaH community members of Asian or Pacific Islander descent may experience this, and that discrimination of any kind is not tolerated in our community.
If you have questions, please email email@example.com.
- Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH)
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
- World Heath Organization (WHO)
- Internet Essentials from Comcast (FREE INTERNET) – (855) 846-8376
Articles & Flyers:
- When Xenophobia Spreads Like A Virus, NPR (March 4, 2020)
- Coping with Stress during the 2019-nCoV Outbreak, World Health Organization
- Helping children cope with stress during the 2019-nCoV Outbreak, World Health Organization
- Get Your Home Ready, Centers for Disease Control
- What To Do If You Are Sick, Centers for Disease Control