Westborough schools get waiver for `time in learning’

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By Susan Gonsalves, Contributing Writer

Westborough Public Schools logoWestborough – Westborough received a waiver by the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to continue close to its present level of direct instruction.

The community was one of 63 districts using a hybrid model that fell short of the adjusted student learning time regulations released earlier this month.

At that time, Assistant Superintendent Daniel Mayer told the Westborough School Committee that according to the new rules, schools with hybrid learning must offer 35 hours of live instruction over a two-week period. Live instruction includes in person learning and remote with a teacher interacting with students.

Westborough was offering 30 hours and with the successful waiver, must offer 32.5 hours.

During the first two weeks of November, schools were surveyed in grades 1,4,7 and 10 based on the model they were using at the time to collect the data.

The district presented an appeal based on parent satisfaction with the present program, the high participation rate by students and the existence of small group instruction for vulnerable sub groups, Meyer said.

He noted that the high level of additional support provided to about 1,000 out of 4,000 students impressed the state and was part of its decision-making process.

Superintendent Amber Bock said minor adjustments were made to what is counted as reported hours and changes went into effect on Jan. 19.

She added that it is great to see students back in the hallways after a winter break that was extended with a period of remote-only learning time.

The “smooth transition,” back means that sports and club activities will resume as well, she said.