A Memo From Director of Curriculum & Instruction Valerie Sullivan
Next to the health and wellbeing of our staff, students, and families, the continuation of student learning is our top priority as we continue to navigate school closure. Teachers and administrators of LSUU schools remain committed to creating learning environments that foster a strong community and a culture of care even though we must do so remotely.
Each school has tailored its remote learning a little differently, but we understand you need clarity around the basic structures and expectations, and how those will be delivered by staff. Principals and teachers will continue ongoing communication with students and families regarding the details for continuity of education through distance learning in each school. All LSUU schools have common agreements and practices in place for the key elements of distance learning.
The realities of distance learning require adjustments to the scope and sequence of our curriculum. These adjustments do not compromise our expectations but narrow our priorities on a more focused set of proficiencies. While the specific skills of these priorities vary by grade-level and the content area they remain anchored in our Mission Related Goals of creating effective communicators, thinkers and problem-solvers, and socially responsible citizens. As a generalization, the focused skills during the closure period include reading, writing, problem-solving, inquiry, wellness and creativity, and personal reflection.
Each school has created a remote school day schedule that divides time into three parts: live time with the teacher, viewing lessons and other multimedia, and completing independent work.
The live time with teachers is a critical feature of the remote school day that allows us to continue our focus on community and a culture of care. This connection may be in a small group like morning meetings, homeroom, and teacher advisory or individually.
Teachers and students use learning management systems and Google applications to communicate, deliver and manage learning experiences, and submit student work. The Elementary schools’ learning management system is SeeSaw. Middle and High Schools’ utilize Schoology.
At the elementary level, families are encouraged to look at SeeSaw with their students to see the work they have shared with their teacher. Communication about the learning expectations and requirements will most likely be shared directly with guardians from a teacher communication like an email, newsletter, or blog post.
Middle and High school families are encouraged to regularly review courses in Schoology. You can do this by ‘looking on’ with your student or through a parent account (learn more about Schoology Parent Access here and look for us to resend parent access passwords in an upcoming mailing). Communication about learning expectations and requirements will most likely be shared directly with students.
Within each school’s daily remote schedule, students will be provided clear instructions and learning experiences, as well as dedicated “office hours,” where students and families can receive support from teachers via Google Meet, phone, or email. It is important that students use these resources and supports to make progress on the assigned work. Work completion and participation in a morning meeting or TA will be used to determine attendance during remote instruction. If a student is going to be absent for the day and unable to participate in online learning, please email your child’s teacher or call the main office of your child’s school and leave a message.
Students are encouraged to do the best they can to complete assignments and teachers are expected to provide feedback through SeeSaw and Schoology, however, the student evidence will count only if it is evidence of improved student performance. A student’s academic standing will not be negatively impacted during this unprecedented time. For elementary and ML students, this means we will spend more time than usual in the fall gathering information and assessing the skills and abilities of students to generate grade-level, small group, and individual instructional plans to respond appropriately. High School students who are unable to finish academic work will be issued an incomplete and will be provided opportunities to complete assignments following the remote learning period. We are also considering what an ‘incomplete’ and ‘passing’ means in the current context, and in particular, for seniors.
Teachers will periodically check-in through phone or email to let you know how your child is progressing and give you additional insights into your child’s learning experiences. However, keep in mind that teachers are responsible for outreach and engagement with many students and their families. If you have a question or concern about your child’s learning, don’t hesitate to initiate contact with your child’s teacher.
If you need assistance with a district-issued device please use the tech-ticket system by sending an email to [email protected]
We understand that parents and students are very concerned about this interruption to student learning. We also recognize that the impact of a prolonged school closure differs from graduating seniors potentially missing important traditions and rites of passage to our youngest learners who aren’t receiving the critical, structured reading instruction. There are many scenarios and questions to consider, but we are committed to three things; students will not be penalized during this pandemic, we will continue to ask for your feedback and input, and we will share our plans as they are created. We are working very hard within and across schools to create the best experiences and support possible for all children during this time. We ask for your patience as we continue to work through this incredibly challenging and complex situation.
Principals and teachers will continue communications about the specifics for supporting students and families in each school. We will also continue to provide updates and information about details for student learning as we are able. Guidance from the Agency of Education on end-of-year school events is expected in early May, and we will also provide information on these as soon as we are able.
Your hard work to support your children in this challenging time is evident! We know that every family is doing their best, and each family’s best looks different. While this is new, different and challenging for all of us, there are many silver linings, and we will be stronger as a result.