BART plans for a remote start to the school year

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ADAMS — Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School will be among the first schools in Berkshire County to start the school year this fall. But, students and staff will begin remotely come Sept. 8.

In correspondence last week to families and staff, BART Executive Director James "Jay" C. White II said he is monitoring advice from the the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

"While I cannot say at this time when we will make the transition from remote to the hybrid learning model, I can [say] that we will formally evaluate before October 1st where we are in regards to the pandemic. Further, we will provide at least two weeks notice of a change from remote to hybrid models," he wrote.

While the remote plan means compromising on enrichment courses and activities, BART's core curriculum will remain intact to meet state standards, White said.

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Students and teachers will engage in daily live virtual classes from 8 a.m. to 3:40 p.m., known in educator lingo as "synchronous learning."

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"Asynchronous" learning, another now-in-vogue term, refers to students learning on their own time. At BART, as with other schools with remote and hybrid reopening plans, students who need special accommodations and support to learn with a disability may be offered some in-person instruction and services, coordinated through their individualized education program.

BART teachers will return to using the school's grading system, versus the credit/no-credit system adopted in the spring quarter.

Also, BART has joined the Berkshire Remote Learning Initiative, backed by the Berkshire County Education Task Force, to transition from Google Classroom to Canvas, another learning management system.

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The program helps students track and complete assignments, turn in work and find class materials and their grades. Parents and guardians can access their student's account and check progress in real time.

Teachers and staff are undergoing training to prepare for the new remote school year and plan to roll out more details to families and students ahead of the start of the year.

Jenn Smith can be reached at jsmith@berkshireeagle.com, at @JennSmith_Ink on Twitter and 413-496-6239.


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