BRRSD Families and Community Members,
At noon today, the countdown clock reached zero and we hit the ignition. Like a rocket, there is the initial thrust upward, building in force and pushing us back into our seats. Dials and gauges are changing by the second, lights are flashing, and in many ways, we are just holding on and hoping as we charge into the unknown. It is thrilling, exhilarating, and certainly a bit frightening; but there will be a time when the acceleration will slow and, even though we will be hurtling through space at intense speed, it will begin to feel normal. We will look around and see that we are beyond the atmosphere of the world we knew and are now able to see and do things we never knew we could.
We are not there yet, but what a first day it has been.
- Our staff has disseminated more than 800 devices for families in need;
- nearly 1,000 staff members opened online classrooms filled with initial resources;
- we prepared and transported meals for almost 1,000 students;
- support staff responded to each of the 392 emails to DLDtech@brrsd.k12.nj.us; and
- by noon, almost all of our 8,500 students had signed in and “reported” for school through the Attendance Form.
- And, yes, learning began.
In every home, this looked different, but the feedback we received was extremely positive and optimistic. Remember, we are only at the beginning.
Day One is quickly coming to an end. Let us celebrate and prepare for Day Two.
At this point, we only want to highlight three ideas for everyone:
- Teachers worked so hard to make sure our online classrooms were filled with learning opportunities that, as students and parents logged in for the first time, it may have seemed overwhelming. Remember that we are not in a rush, and the opportunities posted do not represent one day (or night) of work. We are not trying to create four and a half hours of work a day for every child (and five hours for every parent). Communicate with your teachers. They will help you find the right balance.
- Online classrooms are just that: BRRSD classrooms. Please make sure you are talking to your students about appropriate behavior. All of the rules and expectations that exist for any school day or any school function still exist. Within an online platform, there are new ways for ‘misbehavior’ to occur and this is simply unacceptable. We may all make mistakes, but we must work diligently to be good digital citizens and to demonstrate the character to which our District Values speak.
- The single most prevalent issue we received questions on was connected to our online Attendance Form, and it can be easily avoided. Students (or parents) should always use Chrome as their browser and must be logged in as the student before you open the form. You will not be able to submit attendance without logging in with your student’s information first. Once logged in, the form will take seconds to complete. If you have multiple students, each needs to log in and submit the form separately. Again, this is critical for instruction and for safety.
The district will continue to function, but please remember the best way to contact people is through email. Please be aware, office phones are not always staffed. Messages will be checked daily and will be returned as soon as possible, but email is the most direct way to contact us. As always, all resources can be found on our Distance Learning page.
We have only just left the atmosphere. Great adventure is in front of us. Speaking about the challenges of space, John F. Kennedy told the country in 1962:
We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.
It is the hard things that make us great and together we will do what is hard… because in B-R, we strive for greatness.
Thank you for a ‘great’ first day and for your continued collaboration,
Superintendent of Schools