April 3, 2020
Dear PHAmily,
Earlier this week, families should have received a parent letter from the Commissioner of Elementary & Secondary Education , Jeff Riley. This letter indicated that MA schools will remain closed at least until May 4, 2020 and the commissioner issued specific guidance to schools and districts for remote learning. We are pleased to report that these recommendations are aligned with our @home learning framework. The most salient alignments are: 1) students are engaged in meaningful and productive learning for approximately half the length of a regular school day; 2) K-12 remote learning focuses on reinforcing skills already taught this school year and applying and deepening those skills; and 3) in grades 7-12 we will continue with new material, particularly at the high school level while we carefully consider equity of access and support for all students.
K-12 Teaching & Learning
Set a Schedule
An @home learning environment will require students of all ages to take much more ownership of their learning. That autonomy can bring challenges, so the need for parents to establish a daily routine at home is key. Elements of a daily routine include but are not limited to getting dressed, starting school, taking a break each morning or afternoon, or eating lunch the same time each day. However, you should still allow for some flexibility and choices such as reading instead of math at designated time. The most important thing is that they are engaged.
Set up a Work Space
Parents can help normalize the experience for a student by providing a consistent place at home to work, whether it be for reading or video conferencing a lesson. "Find a place where the student is going to have materials they need and can work without being interrupted by other things happening in the house," said Bruce Friend, chief operating officer at the Aurora Institute.
PHA @Home Learning  
In the third week of school closures to slow the spread of the coronavirus, we are navigating the challenge of social distancing and transforming an educational environment from school to home. At PHA, we aim to provide learning opportunities to allow students to remain engaged in learning by reinforcing, applying and deepening skills already taught this school year, providing some exposure to new ideas, content and essential skills, and staying connected to PHA faculty and staff. Please continue to visit the PHA @Home Learning page for updates. It should be noted that at the High School/Collegiate Institute Level, we will continue learning with new content & skills given that HS/CI has credit bearing courses.
Supporting Our Students' Technology Needs
Our IT Director, Jorge Vega and IT Manager, Chris Newcomb have been busy retrieving Chromebooks from PHA, and preparing them for distribution to families via FedEx. So far we have distributed 102 Chromebooks to students in need. Families should note that they'll receive an email from familytech@phacs.org when their Chromebook is on the way. At this time, it should be noted that we've prioritized delivery to middle school students since they utilize online resources including Google Classroom. 

If you have questions about getting your child online or need technical support, please contact us at familytech@phacs.org  or call/text the "PHAmily Tech Support" hotline at (716) 202-8645.
Chromebook computers being prepared for distribution to students in the garage of PHA IT Director Jorge Vega.
Chromebook computers being prepared for mailing in the kitchen of IT manager Chris Newcomb.
Doug Anderson , grade 7-12 PHA Art Teacher has been figuring out how to teach art from home and is asking students to send him pictures of their art projects. He started an Instagram account called ArtAtPHA for drawings, paintings, craft projects, and photos made by PHA students, families, teachers, and staff . To add to the page, send a photo of your art or craft project to danderson@phacs.org .
Complete the 2020 Census Form Today
It is absolutely crucial that you all complete the 2020 US Census. The census data determines the allocation of billions of federal dollars to support many vital programs including hospitals, roads, and public schools like PHA.

Click here , select your preferred language, and hit Respond.
Additional Resources
How to Make a Face Mask
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have stepped back from their recommendation that healthy individuals should not wear masks and are now considering that there might be benefits to wearing face masks while continuing to maintain social distancing. Given the severe shortage of N95 medical masks, and the need for those to be reserved for medical personnel, please consider constructing homemade masks from materials you may have at home. Click on this link for more information and for guidance on how to make your own face mask.

Emergency Relief Funds
For Cambridge Residents: The City of Cambridge, and locally-based business have launched Cambridge COVID-19 Emergency Fund  and  Cambridge Artist Relief Fund emergency relief funds—one to help low-income families, workers, and the elderly meet their basic needs and a second to support individual artists, musicians, and local arts and cultural organizations threatened by lost income. 
For Boston Residents: Please visit the City of Boston's Resiliency Fund website:

Food and other Resources
Please continue to visit the PHA COVID-19 web page for access to essential resources.
On Friday April 3, 2020 at 7:00PM , open your window, stand on your porch or in front of your house to applaud the many doctors, nurses, grocery store workers and others at the front line of the coronavirus crisis. Read more about the #ClapBecauseWeCare campaign in this BostonGlobe article and spread the word with those in your social network.