WEYMOUTH — Superintendent Jennifer Curtis-Whipple is pleased to announce that Weymouth Public Schools teachers and staff are going above and beyond for their students during school closures in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout the school closure, Weymouth Public Schools teachers have ensured that their students have the necessary resources to continue to learn during these unprecedented times. This includes remote learning conducted by English Language Learning teacher Molly Louzan and Occupational Therapist Carolyn Panasci.
Louzan collaborates with classroom teachers to ensure students’ success in their general curriculum while providing direct instruction for English language learners (ELL). The ELL curriculum focuses on the same concepts, essential questions, phonics skills, vocabulary, comprehension skills and writing skills, but is modified to make the content more easily accessible to the ELL population.
Louzan’s 50-plus students speak an array of languages including Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Gujarati, Hindi, Telugu, Vietnamese, Urdu, Russian and Albanian.
With many different languages and English learning proficiencies between the students, Louzan is presented with the challenge of ensuring each student is provided with the support needed to continue to participate in their general curriculum in the wake of the transition to remote learning.
Since the beginning of remote learning, Louzan has adjusted her teaching to address the current needs of her students. Weymouth’s primary ELL teachers have been working together to design learning activities each week that offer new thematic content at different levels of complexity depending on the students’ abilities. Themes have included plants, animals, weather, ocean life and more.
Louzan’s focus over the past two months has also been on supporting families to ensure their basic needs are met, they have access to technology, they remain partnered with the school community and that the district does everything it can to help them through this unprecedented time.
“Connecting with students, providing support and offering information about resources to ensure families have their basic needs met has been my priority during this time,” said Louzan. “I think my students and families know that I understand that it is an incredibly challenging time for many. I am very grateful to have such a strong partnership with my students’ families – they are incredible people. That connectedness is what matters most to me right now.”
Occupational Therapist Panasci provides occupational therapy (OT) services for students who have been evaluated by an occupational therapist and are found to have a fine motor, visual motor or sensory motor disability which impacts their ability to participate in school curriculum. While in school, Panasci generally saw children one at a time to work on goals that were specifically set for them.
Remote learning complicates this task as most families don’t have access to the majority of the tools and materials Panasci uses during OT sessions. To help the students continue to work toward their goals in light of these new obstacles, Panasci has been making slideshows each week which contain pictures, written suggestions and videos instructing parents on how they can work on their child’s OT goals with common household items.
“I felt that by showing how occupational therapy activities could be done at home and with common objects, parents would be empowered to not only help their children progress with their skills, but be able to do these things offline,” said Panasci. “During the COVID-19 pandemic we are all so tied to our computers, I felt it would be great to encourage some work that would be done face to face.”
While both teachers have had to adapt their teaching styles to the new climate of learning, both Louzan and Panasci are dedicated to providing the support their students need during this time.
The district strives to continuously provide support and resources for all students during these unprecedented times. Any student or family in need of further assistance should contact their school principal.