Distance Learning Rollout Plans
Having completed our first week of school closure, and as we embark upon week two with an entirely different landscape before us, I am writing to update you on how we are preparing for this change of direction. For context, when we initially established an at-home learning strategy of posting Suggested Learning Activities for School Closure on each teacher webpage, this was never intended to be a long-term school closure solution. We learned on Friday, March 13th at noon that our schools would be closed for three weeks without any foreshadowing of a longer closure in that moment. I commend our teachers and staff for promptly organizing learning activities to support students and families with webpages active by Wednesday, March 18th at 8:30 a.m.
As you are now aware, we received notification of the Governor’s Shelter-in-Place orders on Tuesday, March 17thindicating that we should plan for a potentially longer closure through distance learning, thus requiring a whole new approach. I truly do recognize the incredible challenge that the Shelter-in-Place order creates for families. I want to assure you that we intend to provide all LPJUSD students with learning materials that ensure access to learning throughout the closure. I have been working with a steering committee of teachers and support staff to rescript our continuity of learning model to include a more directed, on-line approach such that we can better support you and your children in the coming weeks. You can anticipate receiving an invitation to an introductory Zoom meeting with your child’s teacher(s) this Friday, March 27th wherein he/she will lay the groundwork for officially piloting distance learning on Monday, March 30th. In the interim, teachers will continue to post Suggested Learning Activities for your use at home.
Looking at this unsettling situation through your lens, I can certainly understand that the pace of implementation may be slower than you would like. Thank you for your continued support and patience. On our end, most all staff are working remotely, but we have been thoughtfully making rollout plans while chasing a moving target daily.
As some parents have inquired, it may be helpful to know some of the challenges that we have been actively trying to mitigate such that we can consistently and equitably serve all students:
- We are committed to ensuring every student has access to distance learning. As such, we have been conducting a needs assessment for those that may not have access to a device for distance learning and/or connectivity at home. We are developing a corresponding plan for addressing this discrepancy.
- We are currently determining how services specific to special education students will be delivered based on individual student needs.
- We are determining which distance learning platforms (Zoom, Google Classroom, Seesaw, etc.) will best support each grade level and we are trying to mirror those of our other LGHS feeder school for continuity as much as possible.
- We are making sure all teachers are well-versed in the use of any platforms we choose to deploy. Just as many of you are new to having your students learn from home, this is a new instructional model for many of our staff as well.
- We are determining essential curriculum objectives at each grade level and in middle school content areas. Given the delivery model will be significantly different, we want to get the biggest bang for our buck so to speak.
- We are looking for practical ways to assign and assess student learning without placing undue hardship on families.
- We are making provisions for families for whom daily school lunches are needed.
That being said, we are confident that by front-loading our efforts we will have smoother sailing next week and into the foreseeable future. Speaking of which, if you foresee a challenge with being able to support/monitor any of the platforms we may be using in the coming weeks, please reach out. For example, instructions for joining a Zoom meeting, etc. If you do not have a device at home and you have not already let us know, please do so such that we can be of assistance. I will circle back with you prior to Friday with more specific details and/or updates.
It goes without saying that this is an incredibly challenging time for our entire community. There are many different stressors facing families and I hope to help remove them not add to them. Thank you to those of you who have provided feedback from the home front. This has helped me keep a pulse on specific COVID-19 impacts. I appreciate your continued support.