Frequently Asked Questions by Families

Where can I ask my questions and get a reply?

Go to the Worcester Public School website and click on “Contact”. This will bring you to a page where families, community and staff can ask questions.

Does this line have an interpreter or someone I can speak to in my native language?

You can also call: 508-799-3115. Interpreters are available on demand for whenever you need to speak to a Worcester Public Schools employee. When you call the above number, tell the person answering the phone that you need an interpreter. They will then put you briefly on hold while they get an interpreter on the line to assist. If at any time you need to speak with a particular teacher or another staff member, please send them an email asking them to call you with an interpreter on the line.

When are children going back to school?

On April 21, Governor Baker closed schools for the remainder of the year. The Department of Education gave updated guidelines for Remote Learning. Please check the Worcester Public Schools website for updated information.

Whether we are in school or at home, school staff are available for support. Because of the cancelation of April vacation, the last day of school for the 2019-2020 school year will be June 12, 2020.

When will summer school take place?

Our summer school programs will all be on line  and at home for 2020.

Most WPS programs will run June 17 through July 8 with the holiday, July 3, off. 

Some programs will run a different schedule. Please watch for more information.

Will students with disabilities have extended school year summer services and will it be a longer timeframe because of school closures?

Students with disabilities who have these services on their IEPs are eligible to receive. Due to the Covid 19 virus, the district will provide online summer school. More details will follow.

Where can I access food for my family?

FREE breakfast and lunch/supper meals are available Monday through Friday as a “grab and go”.  Parents or students walk or drive to the distribution site. Get the truck schedule by clicking 2020 Spring/Summer Mobile Meal Schedule.

 For food pantry sites.

If students do not go back to school until August, will they be passing to the next grade level?

In general, students who were on track for promotion through the third quarter will be moved on to their next grade level. When school reopens, students will be assessed to determine the need for “catch up” growth. An acceleration plan will be implemented to support them.

Schools will be in touch with the parents/guardians of any student student who was at risk for retention before the unexpected shutdown to discuss next steps.

My child is a senior in high school. What about graduation?

The district and high school staff look forward to recognizing seniors for their graduation. All high school graduations will be virtual this year. Principals will be contacting students and families with more details.

What about 8th grade and 6th grade promotions?

School staff  are currently planning these online celebrations. Specific information will be shared as soon as  it is available.

What about the MCAS tests?

The state has announced that MCAS will not be given this spring, 2020.

My Child takes MCAS -Alternate Assessment what will happen to my child’s portfolio?

Although the state has announced that MCAS Alt will not be submitted this school year, parents and teachers should collaborate to keep copies of learning activities completed during school closure to share with school in order to add to their child  portfolio.

How will students be graded in June?

Final grades will be determined by the average of the first 3 quarters. Students can receive an additional one (1) to four (4) points on their final grade according to their participation and performance on the teacher feedback rubric found on the Weekly Remote Learning Plan (https://worcesterschools.org/weekly-remote-learning-plans/) . Students should be in conversation with their teachers about their performance and examples of performances that earn 4 points. 

Final grades will be determined by the average of the first 3 quarters. Students can receive an additional one (1) to four (4) points on their final grade according to their participation and performance on the teacher feedback rubric found on the weekly remote learning plan. This opportunity is effective beginning the week of May 10, 2020.

How will my child be scheduled for their classes for the 2020-2021 school year?

School counselors are using information gathered through meetings with students before the disruption to the school year, data on student performance leading up to the disruption and by reaching out individually to each student to gather any other additional and  pertinent information needed to build a schedule that will promote rigor and relevance and success for all students.

When will Worcester Tech send admission letters out?

Admissions letters will be mailed the week  of April 21-24 as planned.

When will preschool admission letters be sent?

2020-2021 PRK acceptance letters  have been mailed out.

Will there be a negative impact on my child’s application to college if they receive pass / fail grades for the fourth quarter or even the third quarter of the 2019-2020 school year?

The only students receiving pass/fail are: students in 4th quarter Physical Education class; , students enrolled in Early College/High School; and those students who attend the Gerald Creamer Center and the Reach Academy.

Will colleges and universities change their protocol for awarding credit for AP qualifying scores as a result of the change to the AP exam this year?

Colleges and Universities have committed to maintaining their practices for awarding credit for a qualifying score of a 3, 4, or 5 on an AP exam despite the change in the format of the exam. Colleges and Universities believe that CollegeBoard has been able to uphold the measurement of rigor expected through Advanced Placement Study despite the redesign of the test.

Test security is of primary concern and the sources that students will be expected to use for the assessment will make it impossible for the students to collaborate on their answers. CollegeBoard will also leverage a range of digital security tools, including plagiarism detection software.

Do I have to take the AP exam?

The School Committee voted that for this year Advanced Placement (AP) students may choose not to take the AP exam. This year, students who do not take the AP exam will still receive AP credit on their high school transcript.

However, students who do not take the exam will not be eligible to receive the college credit that some colleges award if they do well on the exam.

What if my child requires accommodations for AP testing?

Students who have been approved for accommodations will still be able to test with their approved accommodations.

Guidance on how the accommodations will be delivered will come out with the Home Testing Guide in late April.

How do I access work for my child online?

  • Go to our website https://worcesterschools.org/  
  •   Click on “Weekly Remote Learning Plans” and  find your child’s school and then grade level
  • Have students log into their Clever account 
  • Be sure to also see the Extended Learning resources site
  • There is a new mobile app for easy access to this information, search “Worcester Public Schools” in the app store
  • Free WiFi services are available through Charter Free Wifi Program for 60 days for families.  There are some restrictions. (Phone # 1-844-488-8395)

What if we are having trouble logging into Clever or Google classroom?

If you need information to log into Clever, try the district help page: https://support.clever.com/hc/en-us/articles/115002717307

You may also contact your child’s teacher or principal.

If you would like help, Monday-Friday, technology coaches are available to help through email:

BURNCOAT SCHOOLS
Dante Quercio, QuercioD@worcesterschools.net

DOHERTY SCHOOLS
Annie Cohn, CohnA@worcesterschools.net

SOUTH SCHOOLS
Bethany Emery, EmeryB@worcesterschools.net

NORTH SCHOOLS
Laura Cahill, CahillL@worcesterschools.net

We don’t have access to technology at home.

The district is mailing remote learning packets which have resources that are not online. Do check in for more specific suggestions when the teacher calls.

TV is a resource to use:

  • WGBH will be running educational programs
  • Univisión and Telemundo will be organizing some bilingual educational programming. 

Students solidify skills through practice. Be sure to read to your child and listen to him/her read.  Play board games, talk about interesting topics and apply math skills to projects and tasks such as cooking and other projects (e.g., create a game, make a calendar, organize a draw by sorting and counting the objects, create and solve word problems that involve measurement, money, and other daily living tasks).

My child’s school has a remote learning plan and the grade level teacher also posts Google Classroom lessons. Which lesson(s) should we be doing and is it mandatory?

Students should be doing remote learning lessons. Teachers have been encouraged to incorporate Google classroom lessons into their remote learning plan.

We have Charter internet, but there is no free Wi-Fi for existing members?

No. This offer is for people who haven’t had accounts before.

I am having difficulty at home accessing remote learning because I do not speak English and do not understand how to work with my child at home. What resources are available for me to work with my child?

Please visit the Extended Learning Resources page on worcesterschools.org and click on Family Technology Support, and then Translation Help. On this page, you will find videos that provide information on how to translate the Remote Learning Plans to your native language using a computer or a mobile device. If you need additional assistance or have any questions about how to work with your child at home, please contact your child’s teacher and ask them to call you with an interpreter on the line. At your request, a teacher can also schedule a video conference with you and an interpreter to further assist if needed.

Along with the above, please visit the Parent/Guardian Information and Extended Learning Resources pages on worcesterschools.org for additional resources under the ESL tab.

Translations of connected messages and emails from the superintendent  go out in the top 7 languages besides English: 

Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Vietnamese, Twi, Albanian, Nepali 

Google translate is available for many other languages on the WPS website.

If a parent/guardian wants  to change the preferred language for communication, please go to our website to make that change in the section “Update Contact Information”

Please call our ELL Office for additional guidance.  (508)799-3623

What about preschool children and curriculum?

Our youngest students develop their learning foundation through play and conversation. Families are encouraged to read books daily together and provide time for play that involves imagination/pretend play, rhyming games, singing, and working with materials (e.g., playdough, blocks, crayons, markers). 

If you have internet access, please check the Weekly Remote Learning Plans link under Head Start and Preschool for wonderful suggestions. 

WPS preschool students now have Clever and Google accounts to access online activities. Guardians should also browse the Extended Learning resource on the Worcester Public Schools webpage and  contact the  preschool teacher for more suggestions.

How do I register my child for the new school year?

Please use one of the following options to register your preschool student for the upcoming school year:

  • Visit the Worcester Public Schools online registration link at worcesterschools.org/enroll
  • If you are unable to register online, please call the Parent Information Center at 508-799-3194 to set up an appointment to visit the center and complete an in person registration.

Please note that the deadline for preschool registration has been extended until June 12th.

The link for  elementary and secondary students is being developed. Please check back!

My child has an IEP meeting that is upcoming will the district have virtual IEP meetings?

The special education department will schedule IEP meetings when schools reopen and your child’s IEP services and plan will not change during school closures. 

Also, the district is coordinating how to schedule IEP meetings only for annual reviews and/or students that are placed out of the district at this time.  Parents will be contacted when plans are in place for both parents and staff only when there is an agreement to have a  virtual IEP meeting. This may also include using a translator to assist parents during the IEP meeting.

My child was evaluated by the arena team, will an eligibility meeting be held?

Yes, parents will be contacted to set up a virtual IEP meeting if the family is in agreement. This may also include using a translator to assist parents during the IEP meeting.

Are preschool and Early Intervention referrals of children turning three being accepted through the arena process?

Yes, referrals should be emailed to Leishla Berrios at berriosl@worcesterschools.net or they can be mailed to DAB.

Will arena evaluations be completed during the shutdown?

No, arena evaluations will not be completed during the shutdown. However, the district is looking into alternative ways to work with EI and determine special education eligibility when children turn three and transition from EI to the WPS.

My family is feeling anxious and under a lot of stress because of COVID-19 and not being able to leave the house. I do not have any support. What should I do?

I feel unsafe at home because of a family member. How can I get help?

When will we move to more direct teacher and classroom based instruction rather than full school or larger groups, given the need for extended engagement?

During the week of May 11, the district will be fully transitioned to the new “Remote Plus Weekly Learning Plan”.

When will students and staff be able to collect their things that are still in the buildings? How will students who do not have transportation do so?

It is anticipated that students will pick up their belongings outside each building the week of June 8th. Students will be contacted with a date and time.

Students who are unable to retrieve their belongings should be in contact with their principal or assistant principal to make arrangements when the pick update is announced.

20% of staff will be allowed in their schools to gather their belongings and set their room for summer cleaning the week of June 1.

What if parents choose not to have their child engage in Worcester Public Schools remote learning plans to complete assigned work and decide to use alternative materials? How will the district consider this option in regards to remote learning expectations?

Students can complete the weekly assignments listed on the remote plus online learning plans or complete the non-tech plans. Since the WPS is now transitioning to learning new information connected to the power standards, all students are expected to complete one of these plans.

Students will receive feedback based on their completion of the Remote Learning expectations.

How are seniors being included in end-of-year planning including graduation?

It was announced Tuesday, April 21, that schools will not reopen this school year. High school principals are leading their staff in planning the virtual celebration. Each school will be in touch with their seniors as they plan. How they do this will be in line with the structures, processes, and traditions that are established or developed in their individual school communities.

Will seniors receive a refund on their class dues that is to cover graduation expenses? How will they receive that?

Activities, traditions, structures, and processes are individualized by school, therefore vary by school. School principals and Class Sponsors will be in touch with seniors in regard to expenditures and what may or may not be refundable.

Where and how has the change in AP policy been communicated to AP students and to their families?

Each school’s AP Coordinator as well as students’ AP teachers have contacted them. Additional information appears on this website.

When will National Honors Society/National Junior Honor Society admissions be announced?

This information will be forthcoming.

How will admission to programs that traditionally are determined by MCAS scores like Goddard Scholars be decided?

Admission for  SY 20-21 have already been determined. 

The admission committee will meet in the future to discuss updates on the admission policy.

Parents are asking if the district will have virtual IEP Team meetings?

The special education department will schedule  Initial, Re-evaluation IEP meetings when schools reopen as IEP services will not change during school closures.  The district is also in the process of coordinating how to schedule IEP meetings only for annual reviews and/or students that are placed out of the district at this time.  Parents and staff will be contacted when plans are in place only when there is an agreement to have a  virtual IEP meeting.  It is important that this plan provides equitable access for SWD to assist parents/guardians when there is a need to access a translator and/or interpreter during the IEP meeting.

Can parents request that the district retain their child for the coming school year ?

Decisions about retaining a child are very serious. All decisions regarding retention should be held in partnership with school personnel. Individual analysis of a student’s academic performance over time should be considered in any retention conversation.

Will the district be distributing chromebooks?

The district has formulated a plan for the distribution of chromebooks. The first distribution is May 15.  This first distribution will be to provide one chromebook to families that do not have a device. The second wave of chromebooks will be May 25-29 and distributed to elementary and middle school students at a 2:1 ratio per family. (For example, if there are four children attending the WPS in the family, 2 chromebooks will be distributed.)  The final distribution will be June 8-12 to high school students at a 2:1 ratio. Distribution dates will be published. Parents will be contacted for pick up days and times. Flexibility with dates is expected due to the unpredictability of the virus.

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