October 30, 2020

Dear Hastings Families,

Last year, the administrators collaborated on a presentation called Our Schools which highlighted and celebrated examples across Hillside Elementary School, Farragut Middle School, and Hastings High School of how each school supports the academic and social-emotional learning needs of children. This year, we are hosting three Our Schools presentations using Zoom webinar on November 4, 2020, February 3, 2021, and April 28, 2021. The Zoom webinar information is here

On November 4th from 6:30 pm-8:00 pm, the Our Schools presentation will feature examples of how each school is preparing children for success in an ever-changing world. The two book studies last year on What School Could Be by Ted Dintersmith and Most Likely to Success: Preparing Kids For the Innovation Era by Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith are still on our minds and will continue to shape conversations about how experiences children have in school should align to the expectations for future learning, work and life after graduation. The pandemic has not stifled the creativity and enthusiasm of our children and teachers. There are many examples to choose from and the school-based administrative team (Lou, Melissa, Jennifer, Kevin, Amy, John) will be curating these examples through video images and photos of students and teachers explaining how content is used to engage in creative problem-solving and inquiry, how collaboration is fostered among students, and how students apply social-emotional learning practices in and outside of school.  Jeanette Kocur, Director of School Counseling, will share some of the ways school counselors are working with students across the District to strengthen their academic and social-emotional learning skills. Andrew Wendol, Interim Director of Physical Education, Health, and Athletics, will share examples of how students learn skills for life and future learning. Director of Special Education, Laura Sullivan and Assistant Director, Tesfa Stewart will focus on examples from special education to illustrate how professional learning supports the development of academic and social-emotional learning skills of children.  Melissa Szymanski, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, will highlight an important project she has been involved in with teachers and administrators.  We hope you can join our webinar. 

Over the summer, Tesfa Stewart, Assistant Director of Special Education, Jeanette Kocur, Director of School Counseling, and I convened a conversation series for middle and high school students called, Time to Talk About Social Justice and Racism. The objective was to create a safe and judgment-free environment for students to ponder and discuss what they were seeing and hearing on the news and their own experiences in school and in the community. The insights and experiences from the summer meetings confirmed how important it is for these conversations to continue. The new dates and Zoom login information can be found here. All middle and high school students are encouraged and welcomed to join these conversations. The first meeting is on November 4th from 3:15 pm-4:00 pm.

Although Hastings High School had to shift into remote learning yesterday, this change will not impact the use of the Cochran Gym on November 3 as a polling location. The gym has been thoroughly disinfected and sanitized. 

Virtual Parent-Teacher Conferences will also be held on November 3. Remote and in-person learning is canceled. Virtual evening Parent-Teacher Conferences are available on November 12. Please check with your child’s school to schedule a time to meet with teachers. 

Although the fall foliage at this time of the year is always beautiful, it also signals daylight savings time which starts on Sunday, November 1. 

We continue to review our remote learning practices and the hybrid model to explore how to improve upon and make adjustments where we can. Although there is no substitute for regular daily instruction, everyone is striving to create engaging and purposeful in-person and remote learning. If concerns or questions arise, please first contact the school principal or assistant principal so they have an opportunity to work with you. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation. 

I hope your family enjoys a safe Halloween weekend. 


Valerie Henning-Piedmonte, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools