The following is an open letter from Nashua Parent Voice to Nashua School Superintendent Jahmal Mosley.
Dear Mr. Superintendent,
As you recall, we submitted an appeal of local school board policy on September 29, to which you have yet to respond.
We did receive several thoughtful emails back from some members of the Nashua Board of Education — which were immediate and greatly appreciated — though these did not offer any answers to our appeal, nor any opportunities to meet or discuss in person.
In fact, several BOE members indicated that the timeline for the hybrid model needs to be revisited, that they understand and appreciate our position, and that the solutions we offered will be shared.
I think it is easy for you to try to dismiss us and to try to give others the wrong impression of us, Mr. Superintendent. But unlike your response in the Union Leader implied, with regards to our group and our friendly rally on Monday, we are strategic, not squeaky. Diligent, not divisive. Asking not attacking. Patient not impulsive. Judicious, not judgmental. Community-minded, not closed. Large and organized. Not small and flustered.
We have no intention of advocating that any student or teacher go back to school if that is not their choice — we support them fully in their option to choose remote. We acknowledge that remote learning is working well for some.
But we stand firm that for thousands, including students and teachers, it is not. Our greatest concerns include equal education opportunity, mental health, and more, especially for those that opted for a reasonable hybrid plan.
We assertively challenge that a hybrid plan that starts rolling out kindergarten in October and that doesn’t finish rolling out all the other grades until March at the earliest is the best that can be done. This was the reason for the appeal and rally.
You stated that this is the “wise turtle” approach. We are not certain that this is in fact wise, at all, for thousands, and feel that more can be done, safely. It brings us no comfort that you are “at peace with yourself” while thousands are distraught, displaced, and deficiently educated without consideration for a better plan. This is not about you.
You also stated that you realize that the decision to roll out hybrid, which includes reassessing the COVID-19 situation every two weeks to determine when the next grade level can begin partial in-school instruction, is not popular.
Wrong, Mr. Superintendent. The decision to roll out one grade at a time over the course of six months without any indication of what your own personal criteria or rationale is is not popular. Just to be clear. You would know that if you read the appeal or sat with us.
As suggested in the appeal which you have yet to address, solutions to consider include a full return to school by January as it would force the district to focus on one task without wavering. Several of your board members actually suggested this.
Or, group more grades together when rolling out the hybrid plan, with the following arrangement suggested: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, for 2 days minimum of in-school learning. Ultimately, however, we argue that middle school and high school levels should be able to begin their roll out at the same time as elementary.
Moreover, as indicated in the appeal, we want families to have the choice of 100 percent in-person or 100 percent remote learning, and then staff accordingly. This will prevent teachers from having to teach both ways and could help address shortages if they are unable to return to school.
Mr. Superintendent, if your personal criteria for an actual return is 0% community transmission and/or a vaccine, go to your parent, teacher, and student community immediately and tell them the truth without further delay or excuses. We all have a right to know.
As you know, the spread of the coronavirus in Nashua is now considered substantial, up from moderate, according to Nashua public health officials, as of October 5.
A solidified, unified plan, including consideration of solutions proposed in the Appeal, is more important now than ever and can even evolve to include a motion to accelerate the transition phases when conditions warrant.
Why haven’t you worked with parents, your own board, and the teacher’s union to give us all the answers to all the same questions we having been asking you?
We look forward to hearing back from you. We would love the opportunity to get insights on our questions from the Appeal, to be considered for the agenda at the next BOE, as well as to speak with you directly to make an introduction and connection.
Thank you in advance for your consideration.
Nashua Parent Voice is a collaborative group of more than 800 members (and growing) who believe students deserve better than the Nashua Public School District’s current remote model, and who are advocating for change.