Dear Members of the Cushing Community,

Thank you to all of you who were able to participate in one of the series of webinars that were presented this past week. Thank you as well for all of the follow-up questions and positive feedback that you have expressed for the efforts to make the transition to remote learning as successful as possible. The faculty just completed a week of extensive professional development and are so excited to reengage with students in the learning process we started all the way back in September.

While it seems all but impossible to answer every question that might arise between now and the resumption of classes on Monday, April 6th , please know that there is always support just a few keystrokes or a phone call away. Please reach out to the Academic Office, Student Affairs, Technology, advisors, Academic Support teachers—really anyone! We are all here to help guide families through the initial logistics as well as the longer and larger process. 

For a complete list of resources related to Cushing’s approach to remote learning, please visit www.cushing.org/remotelearning , our Remote Learning Resources page. You can also access this page from MyCushing (once logged in, go to the Resources tab, then look for the icon labeled Remote Learning Resources).

On the Remote Learning Resources page, under Downloads, you'll find the Cushing Remote Learning Plan . As you review the slides or watch any of the webinar recordings also available there, please remember a few key details:

Schedule:
Our daily schedule has been adjusted so that students will receive three hours of instruction—in each of their classes—per week, and they should expect to be in class for three to four hours each day. There will be new meeting times for each class, but the periods in which classes take place remains the same (all A period classes still meet during A period; double-letter classes will default to their first letter, so AB becomes A). The schedule adjustments allow for flexibility in the form of synchronous and asynchronous class meeting times.

Classes that meet synchronously will be conducted in real time; however, they will also be recorded for any student unable to participate because of individual circumstances (especially related to time differentials). At least one period in each class will be conducted asynchronously every week, which means that the teacher has prerecorded a class (a demonstration, virtual lab, writing exercise, etc.) that all students will complete independently, on their own time and at their own pace, with guided instructions from the teacher. All students will know which of their classes are meeting synchronously and asynchronously at the beginning of each week, and this information will be posted on the Bulletin Board for each class within MyCushing .

All academic classes will continue to meet within the new schedule, including Visual and Performing Arts classes (Mr. Hindle will be in additional contact about private music lessons). There will be a weekly Connections class for 9th and 10th grades (Ms. Stone will be in touch!).

Participation is expected in any synchronous class or meeting if it falls within the timespan of our traditional academic day, 8:15 am to 10:00 pm, regardless of time zone. If a class or commitment falls outside of that window, participation is optional. Again, those classes will be recorded and made available to watch at a later time, but students are certainly welcome and encouraged to participate synchronously if they are willing and able. 

Technology & communication:
MyCushing will remain the central warehouse for all resources and information that students will need. Please also continue to check “messages” within MyCushing as well (push notifications can be set to receive additional notification via text and email).

Zoom will be the primary platform for all videoconferencing. Students will need to download the Zoom app and can then sign on via the Google option and their Cushing email accounts. Some international students may need to use a different email address to create a Zoom user account. Simply by clicking on any Zoom meeting URL, students will be guided through this process.

We have taken every possible precaution to ensure the security and privacy of these Zoom meetings, which includes establishing clear protocols for faculty when setting initial parameters and utilizing the functionality provided by Zoom to control the access and participation of individual users (thus minimizing the possibility of “Zoom bombing”). Additional safety and security precautions will be discussed with students on an ongoing basis, and we strongly urge all users to install any updates that are provided by Zoom.

Please remember to email virtualclassroom@cushing.org with any questions or help with technology.

AP exams:
All AP students will be able to take their AP exams from home in May via a new format that has been created by the College Board. Additionally, all AP Students will be required to complete a final project or portfolio in each class as well.

Preparing for the fall:
All returning students will meet virtually with members of the Academic Office to discuss classes and to plan a schedule for next year.

All juniors will continue to meet regularly with their College Counselors. The College Counseling Office will also continue to introduce and support underclassmen in the initial stages of the college process as well.


In terms of preparing for classes on Monday, please follow these steps:

  • Students should log into MyCushing on Monday by 9:00 am (EST).
  • Look for and click on the “Advisor Meeting” link under the “Groups” heading at the top of the screen.
  • A new window will open to a series of Advisory Events.
  • Simply click on the URL for Monday’s meeting, and then wait to be “admitted” to Advisory!
  • Lastly, please make sure that you have completed all of the Student Affairs forms that are also highlighted at the top of any screen within MyCushing. 


After three weeks of being apart, we are thrilled to reconnect and reengage our community with renewed purpose and enthusiasm about the learning and discovery to come.

See you Monday!


Sincerely,

Director of Academic Affairs
English Department
Cushing Academy
39 School Street
Ashburnham, MA 01430
978.827.7011