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Students back to in-person learning | Superindenent's Corner

 

Last updated 4/21/2021 at 11:53am

There is much to celebrate this month. Last week, the remaining elementary students returned to in-person learning if their families chose to do so. Elementary students attend in-person learning four half days per week and complete the afternoons in distance learning.

This week, middle and high school students returned to in-person learning, if they elected that mode of instruction. Middle and high school students attend class with a teacher four days per week, but in-person learning happens two days per week. Students engage in distance learning the other days of the week. On Wednesdays, students learn asynchronously which may include independent assignments, prepared instructional lessons or individual student support.

Middle and high school teachers will teach their students during the same period with those who decided to stay with distance learning. They may use a variety of instructional methods including teaching simultaneously to both distance and in-person learners, beginning with the whole class and then supporting individual students, or they may switch between the groups depending on the day's content and activities. I am so impressed by teachers' innovation and dedication as they plan to teach using new technology and methods to support their students.

Last week, we held another round of staff and family town hall webinars about middle and high school in-person learning. The family webinar recordings are available in English and Spanish on the district website under the Return to School tab (https://bit.ly/3eiMeoj). We received many good questions during those events, and I thought those questions and answers would be helpful to share to give you an idea what the school day will look like.

Top 5 family questions

1. Can students have the option to eat outside? Will there be an option to eat outside and not in the cafeteria?

All schools have created safe guidelines for students to eat at school, including internal and external supervised spaces. At the middle school this begins with the cafeteria, and where possible, students will be able to use the outdoors. In all instances, students will be eating in a socially distant, safe, and supervised environment.

2. Can high school students bring their own lunch?

Yes, with the reminder that they should follow all guidelines for eating in designated safe spaces.

3. If students are eating during passing time in high school how are they keeping safe without 6 feet distance and not wearing masks?

Building administrators at all schools have created safe guidelines for students to eat at school, including internal and external supervised spaces. In all instances, students will be eating in a socially distant, safe, and supervised environment, and not while in motion during passing.

4. If a student isn't able to attend in person school, can we attend the Zoom scheduled that day?

Yes, in fact, unless they are physically unable to log in and engage in learning, we will expect students to.

5. Will students who missed a day of in-person take distance learning in place for that in person learning day?

Yes, just as in the answer above. Students who are ordinarily in person should log in as a remote leaner for the lesson on any day that they miss being there in person.

Another question I have been asked by several parents is how we plan to make up the learning affected by the pandemic. We will employ several strategies to assess students' learning needs and help support them to close those educational gaps. Summer school is one way students can get the extra instruction and learning support they need to catch up.

This summer, programs will include both in-person and distance learning elements, depending on the program.

Elementary school summer programs are generally for students who need extra support in core subjects and are recommended by staff. If you think your child needs additional help, please contact your school office for guidance.

Middle and high school students can earn or make up required academic credits or enroll in Elite Fitness through summer school. Find more information and the registration link on the Summer School website (https://bit.ly/2Q9J3HH). Summer school enrollment ends June 17, but register soon as spots fill quickly.

We will continue to develop other ways to assess and support students who may be behind, but it is important to remember that nearly all students worldwide experienced an impact to their learning. The pandemic is not within our control and people all over the globe responded in different ways to keep safe and keep moving forward the best we could.

I suspect we'll see the effect on our community and the children surface in many ways, and staff is prepared to help students and their families in any way we can.

Our focus during the last quarter of this school year is to recognize and support the mental health and well-being of our students. We recognize the value of focusing on relationships and providing grace to students as we conclude this most difficult school year.

If your child returned to school this week, I hope it was a smooth transition.

 

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