8/10/20 School Board Meeting Guide

The school board meeting last night focused again– surprise, surprise! — on the plan for reopening the schools in the midst of the ongoing pandemic. The district administration made detailed presentations on what school would look like for students at all levels, depending on whether they’ve chosen the entirely remote or hybrid instruction option. Countless important details have still not been resolved, but the instructional plans presented last night offer a pretty good window into the structure of the school days this fall. Some of the highlights:

The Elementary Instructional Plan

Elementary students in fully remote instruction will be taught by dedicated remote instruction teachers. They will meet live with their teachers, via Zoom, for three different periods each day (9am, 11am, and 1pm). They will work at home on their own (or– let’s say it out loud– with a parent or caregiver) during the rest of the school day, on activities the teacher has designed in advance. Elementary students with hybrid instruction will be in school with their teacher half of all school days. On the other days, they will have live sessions with their teachers once a day (at 9am), have an optional live check-in each day at 11:30am, and work on their own the rest of the school day.

The schedule of activities for each school week will be laid out for everyone no later than Friday of the previous week, and students who are unable to attend the live sessions will be accommodated in some way yet to be determined. All students will have district-supplied technology to do remote work, and will use a combination of online services (Zoom, Google Classroom, and Seesaw) throughout each school day.

You can watch the full presentation of this plan yourself here; the presentation slides are available here. The district also continues to update their public Fall Planning Guide website with additional information and video explanations of the plan.

The Secondary Instructional Plan

Fully remote and hybrid students in middle and high school will all take the same classes with the same teachers. Each day, teachers will have the option between an entire live class period, a class where remote students are live with the in-person class for some but not all of the period, or a class remote students work on their own while the teacher works in those in class. The option will vary depending on the subject and the lesson, but the goal is to have 60% of the instructional time for the core subjects of math, language arts, science, social studies, and world language be live or partially live for remote students. Here’s a good summary of what the different options look like from the presentation (click on the image to see a larger version):

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Teachers will post a full schedule of instruction and activities for the coming week no later than Sunday each week. Remote teaching will be done primarily using Zoom and the newly-adopted Schoology learning platform.

You can watch the full presentation of this plan yourself here; the presentation slides are available here. And, as I noted above, there is lots of additional information available on the district’s Fall Planning Guide website.

Spin the Wheel

I know everyone in the community wants both more clarity and certainty about what schools will look like this fall. But superintendent Campbell also stressed last night that there are several worrying trends that might require that all instruction be remote in the end, including new state guidelines released just yesterday afternoon, staffing challenges in the district, and — of course — the ongoing failure to control the pandemic in the U.S. So as we all try to understand the options in these instructional models, we should also be prepared for the possibility that the rug could be pulled out from under much of it. You can watch her brief words here.

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