Parents applaud Mattapoisett K-2 return

Feb 3, 2021

MATTAPOISETT — Old Hammondtown and Center Schools’ youngest elementary students returned to full in-person school on Jan. 19, and according to officials and parents alike, things are going well. 

“The plan is in motion according to how we thought,” Old Rochester Regional Superintendent Michael Nelson said. 

The in-person learning model — which brought kindergarten, first and second grade students back to the classroom full time  — utilizes large, open spaces at Old Hammondtown School and Center School to accommodate students while maintaining six feet of social distancing. 

Nelson said that — as they were in the hybrid model — students have been adept in following safety rules as more students occupy the buildings. 

“The kids have been remarkable since we’ve returned to school,” he said, “that hasn’t changed.” 

In the model, areas like gyms and libraries are being used to accommodate students. Some students also switched teachers, classrooms and even school buildings to accommodate six feet of social distance. 

Leanne Potter, a parent of one of the kindergarteners who switched buildings from Center School to Old Hammondtown, said that her son has benefited from the pivot to in-person learning — and that he may even be in better shape than her two older children who are still in the hybrid remote and in-person model. 

“He has adjusted fine,” she wrote in an email to Sippican Week. “I feel that he will be the most on track education-wise for this school year as he (hopefully!) will be having half of this school year full time in person.”

Potter’s two daughters are in third and sixth grade — and she said school can be tough for her third grader.

She is easily distracted at home. I wish they found room for the 3rd graders at school because I feel they need it,” Potter wrote. “This age group is tough to teach at home! On the positive side, I find the workload is manageable and easy to navigate on the computer.”

For Potter’s sixth grader, things tend to be a bit easier — but she feels her daughter still isn’t learning at the same level she would in the classroom full time. 

“Socially she is fine,” Potter said. “She tells me work is done. I have to check often, as she usually will rush through it to get it done so she can hang out and play at home.”

While no plans have been released to bring third through sixth graders back to the classroom full time, Nelson said that the district is always looking for ways to provide more services to students in all learning models. 

“We’ve always wanted to have as many students in the building as possible,” he said. 

Stephanie Clark — one of the parents behind Mattapoisett Concerned, a coalition of parents who pushed for a full in-person learning model for young students — said the pivot to full time classroom learning for her son has been transformative. 

“I can see the difference in my son,” she said, adding that he’s been excited to see friends he hasn’t been able to be around in nearly a year. 

“I think they’ve done a fantastic job,” Clark said.