Last night at the District 69 Board of Education meeting the board approved the District’s phase-in plan for Launching the 2020-21 school year (link to full report here). Based on this decision, all students will engage in full-time remote learning, beginning on the first day of school, August 24, 2020.
It is anticipated that Remote Learning 2.0 will extend for at least several weeks, and potentially longer. In recognition of the fluidity of this situation, the Board will be updated at their regularly scheduled meetings, with the first update scheduled for September 18th, and additional reports each month following. Therefore parents should plan for students to be engaged in full remote learning through at least September 18th, and very likely longer. Information will be communicated to families following each monthly Board meeting.
In making this decision, the primary focus is on the safety of students and staff. In addition, the District is guided by:
- A student-centered approach that addresses students’ health, academic and social-emotional needs.
- Identifying a consistent approach that allows for a level of predictability and planning for families, students, and staff.
- Developing a plan that focuses District resources towards the most supportive launch to the year.
- The knowledge that no matter what plan the District implements, it is not possible for any school to return to a pre-March 13th “normal” for the foreseeable future.
This summer, the District has invested a considerable amount of time and money toward professional development to enhance our teachers’ knowledge and skill in best instructional practices in a remote environment. Our teachers have dedicated many hours to learning these best practices and preparing for an enhanced remote learning experience. The Remote Learning Plan Learning Team has been meeting and reviewing stakeholder feedback. The result is a Remote Learning 2.0 plan that will include:
- A foundation of asynchronous learning to ensure all students are able to access the core curriculum, and to provide maximum flexibility for students and their families to complete work
- Increased, consistently scheduled, daily synchronous teacher engagement with students
- Consistent, daily drop-in help sessions/office hours for students to work synchronously with their teacher
- Opportunities for students to collaborate with each other (peer to peer) in smaller video conferencing groups
- Distribution of physical materials and supply kits to support units of instruction and to reduce sole dependency on technology, especially for younger learners
- Increased focus on project based learning that reduces screen time
- Regularly scheduled synchronous parent/caregiver support sessions led by the child’s teacher to preview upcoming content and provide strategies for helping them support their child’s learning at home.
- Regularly scheduled synchronous engagement for junior high students that provides consistent access to each core teacher
- Consistently scheduled fine arts, PE/Health, library and other specials classes
- Grading practices aligned with the remote learning environment will be implemented
- Attendance will be defined in the context of remote learning expectations, and monitored by the child’s teacher as an early indicator of disengagement or other barriers to learning
- Assessment practices that provide students and parents with feedback on each learner’s progress, and align with remote learning expectations
- Regular (weekly) communication from the teacher to the parents
- Enhanced technology to improve access and reduce tech glitches for videos
While the District is beginning the year in full-time remote learning, we are also preparing for the eventual return to in-person learning. We do not yet know when that return will happen. The Return to In Person Task Force has begun meeting. This Task Force will build the framework that helps to prioritize which groups of students are provided with in-person opportunities first.
The Task Force will provide recommendations for the gradual and safe return to in-person instruction. The decision related to the timing of this return will be made by the Board of Education. You will be receiving a separate communication later this week with the opportunity to RSVP for a focus group meeting, as well as an online survey seeking your input. The Parent Focus Groups will be held on Wednesday, July 29 at 2:15 p.m. or 6:00 p.m.
Our teachers and staff are looking forward to reconnecting with the District 69 community at the start of the school year. We will be resuming our weekly principal to parent email on Fridays to make sure you have all the detailed information that you need for the return to school, Remote Learning 2.0, and the transition to the next grade level.
As always, our Community Schools Team is available to assist and support individual families. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request assistance. The Team is also working with partner organizations in the community to help identify potential childcare options, if needed. We hope to share those with you shortly.
In the coming weeks we will provide families with additional resources and information regarding the District’s Remote Learning 2.0 Plan and answer your frequently asked questions. Some of these topics include:
- The timeline for Remote Learning 2.0
- Class placements and transition to new grade levels
- Managing remote learning at home
As always, please feel free to reach out to your school Principal with questions or concerns. We hope that you and your family are safe and healthy and we appreciate your support as we navigate this uncertain time.
Margaret E. Clauson, Ed.D
Principal, Madison School
Principal, Edison School
Principal, Lincoln Junior High School
Update – 6/9
Summer resources for students – Click here
Update – 6/4
Important Frequently Asked Questions for the end of the 2019-20 School Year. – Click here
The mission of District 69 is to achieve educational excellence through the active engagement and cooperation of students, teachers, parents and community.