Somerville High School Remote Learning Overview 

During this emergency closing, Somerville High School is committed to providing alternative access to student learning opportunities, and to sustain learning, in the context of the challenges posed by the global pandemic. We recognize that all stakeholders are facing a wide range of personal and professional challenges. We are committed to working together to establish a collaborative, flexible, and supportive working environment for staff, and appropriate educational experiences for students.  

While remote learning cannot replace the power and impact of learning in a classroom community, this period of extended school closure necessitates the implementation of new practices.  Our main goals will be provide a sense of community, connection, and purpose for students and educators, provide students with the knowledge and skills required to be successful in their next phase of schooling, and help students maintain and refine their current content and skill knowledge, and help them maintain the habits of learning necessary to be successful in an academic setting.

Understanding the need for flexibility on the part of both educators and families/students, instruction during this period may be “synchronous” (that is, group or classwork while an educator is “present” through a pre-approved video chat format) and/or “asynchronous” (that is, work prepared by staff and given to students to work on independently). This document outlines what you can expect over these next few weeks. We are committed to revisiting and revising the plan as we move forward.

The well-being of our students and staff is of paramount importance. This remote plan provides both students and staff a framework for student learning in a remote setting that allows all to face the challenges of keeping ourselves and our families healthy and safe during this time.  


What will learning look like for students?

  • Teachers will post assignments for the week every Monday on Google Classroom. 
  • Weekly assignments can also be viewed in Aspen gradebook every Monday so students and families can see the upcoming work that will be due.
  • The weekly posting should include all learning activities and assignments for students, office hours, and any class meetings that the teacher might choose to hold.
  • Students will be able to work through the assignments for the week at their own pace with the expectation that students complete and submit all assignments by the end of the week. 
  • If students need help, they can reach teachers via email or any other communication system their teachers have established. In addition, teachers will host “office hours” twice a week. These office hours will be a time when teachers can give feedback via their established platform (email, remind app, google chat, etc).
  • To foster a sense of community for students, teachers may, where possible, host (live or prerecorded) one class meeting per week. Educators will make the content of these meetings available to students who are not able to attend. The schedule for these meetings will be posted with the list of assignments every Monday.

How much and what type of work will students be doing?

  • The DESE Guidelines strongly recommend that districts and schools focus on reinforcing skills already taught this school year and applying and deepening these skills. In some cases, teachers and students may wish to continue with new material. Teachers will not, however, be following established curriculum and pacing guides. Rather, the expectation is that they work on engaging students with deeper learning around knowledge and skills that are core to next year’s curriculum. Next year, SHS teachers will be prepared to adjust pacing/sequencing accordingly.
  • Per DESE Guidelines, we are aiming to have students “engage in productive and meaningful learning for approximately half the length of a regular school day.”

How will grading for Q4 work?

  • Traditional grades will not be given for work; student will be assessed on a credit/no credit basis.
  • Staff will be focusing on giving feedback for improvement rather than grades. The focus will be on working with families and students to maintain and develop skills and knowledge by providing encouragement and commentary on student work, progress on assignments, and project based exercises.
  • Flexibility will be given to students who may not have access to technology, or who are facing extenuating circumstances.
  • We are currently working to establish thresholds for earning Credit for Quarter 4 and clarity around how Quarter 4 will impact the end of course overall grade.  
  • Note: Earning a “P” for Quarter 4 does not automatically guarantee credit for the course if a student has failed previous quarters. Teachers are encouraged to communicate with students who might fail for the year. Teachers will work with their department head/supervisor on a student’s work plan. Student completion of the work plan will allow the student to earn credit for the course.

How can I support student learning at home?

  • Monitor student work. Teachers will be posting assignments in Aspen, and entering credit/no credit for student work.
  • Every Monday, teachers will be posting office hours and the schedule for any class meetings along with the required class work. Help your student make a schedule and plan for the week. Click here to find a template for a weekly plan. This weekly plan includes three tabs, one of them is a sample weekly plan.
  • Parents/Guardians can be added to Google Classroom. This means you get notifications of upcoming work and when your student has turned work in. Email your student’s teachers if you want to be added to the Google Classroom.
  • Communicate with SHS staff if you have questions or concerns; email will be the best way to reach staff.
  • Reach out to SPS if you need help with technology. Somerville Public Schools Remote Tech Support Form or call 311

Will Good Friday and April Vacation still be observed?


English Learner Education

  • Students in the English Learner Education program will continue to receive English language development in listening, speaking, reading, and writing through their ESL classes. 
  • Teachers of English learners across the content areas will follow DESE’s guidance on remote learning experiences for English learners when designing their weekly assignments and instructional plans. 
  • Please contact Emily Blitz ( with any questions or concerns related to remote learning experiences for English learners.

Special Education Resources 

  • While we will not be able to provide services exactly as outlined in IEPs, we will be providing services, consultation, accommodations, and modifications that are aligned to their current IEPs with the ultimate goal of assisting students to maintain progress toward current goals. 
  • We will also be working with families to coordinate IEP meetings via video/phone conference whenever possible. 
  • If you have questions about your student with an IEP, reach out to their liaison or to Rachel Ziulkowski (, Special Education Department Chair.

School Counseling Services

  • The School Counseling Department is available to provide support to students and families during these difficult times.  
  • Counselors will continue to collaborate with other professionals and will refer students and families to community and school-based resources as needed.
  • College and Career counselors are also offering a variety of services.  
  • If you need any information about these support services, please reach out to your school counselor via email. See our website for contact information. If you click on the counselor’s name via our site, it will bring you to their email.
  • For any additional assistance regarding these services, reach out to our School Counseling Director, or our Director of College and Career Services,
  • Here’s a great resource for students and families:  Mental Health and Well Being.