January 14th update

Good afternoon,

I want to take a minute to share some updates with you about a variety of important topics, including the impact of today’s closure by Norwich Public Schools. Let me start there:
January 14 NPS Closure

First, it’s important to remember that while we are great partners, Norwich Public Schools (NPS) and Norwich Free Academy are different entities. If you see a notice about NPS closing, please don’t assume that means NFA is also closed. If we are closing or have any other operational message to share, it will come directly from NFA. While we often follow each other with weather decisions, we aren’t bound to follow in those – or any other – situation.

As I mentioned in an earlier email to you, if any of our partner districts close for bussing or staffing issues, and we have the ability to be open, we will continue our day as planned. Students are then able to find other transportation here or communicate with teachers and check assignments through Google classroom.
Making Up Missed Work

Students who are absent today will have ample time to make up any missed work – including midterm assessments. Previously, we had announced that all assignments must be completed by January 21. We have now extended that to January 26, an additional three full school days.

The second semester will still start Thursday, January 20.

Grading/Report Card Update

As the first semester comes to a close, I want to alert you to changes you’ll see in PowerSchool or on your student’s report card. Traditionally, you would see M1, M2, E1 and S1 (marking periods, exams and semester). Because of our decision to modify midterms exams, we will present grades differently. You will now see M1, M2 and Y1.

If your child is taking a one-semester course, then Y1 is the final grade for that course. If your child is taking a year-long course, Y1 represents the running total grade for that class. Why this change?

Remember, we announced earlier that teachers have the ability to do mid-term assessments, but they aren’t formalized exams as you are used to. One of the main elements of that change is the weighting of grades to have any assessment being done now be noted as part of marking period 2 rather than have its own special weight.

In addition, we have changed the practice of awarding ½ credit during the year for a full-year, full-credit course. By focusing on the full year, it emphasizes our ability to monitor progress throughout an entire year rather than essentially break a full-year class into two one-semester courses.

So, once the second semester starts, when you check PowerSchool, you’ll then see M3 – which represents their grade in the third marking period) and Y1 – which still represents the running grade for the year incorporating M1, M2 and now M3.

COVID Update

While our overall numbers for the year are still high, I have been pleased with a significant decline in cases as this week progresses. And, as I mentioned, we do now have rapid home testing kits for use by symptomatic students. If your child is home with COVID symptoms, please call our Medical Center at (860) 425-5551 to arrange for a test pick up between 7 am and 3 pm, Monday through Friday.

I hope you have an enjoyable and healthy long weekend. Thank you again for your continued patience and support.
Dr. Brian M. Kelly
Head of School/Superintendent