Return to Learn Update: Getting Ready for Distance Learning

e-Connections Post

On Wednesday, we announced that our 2020-21 academic year will begin with a full distance learning mode. While we had hoped to bring students back to both a blended learning model and distance learning plan, because of rising COVID-19 cases, lag times in testing, and inefficient contact tracing, we are unable to do so at this time. While we may not be offering a blended learning model at this time, we know that a strong distance learning plan will be a foundational component for either model in our Return Together plan.

We would now like to share with you some key details of our Return to Learn Distance Learning Plan and our vision for distance learning that offers high-level instruction and support. You can view the presentation to our Board here.

Over the coming days, please look out for an additional updates with our draft distance learning document and updates to our Return Together webpage at www.scusd.edu/return-together.

The District’s vision is driven by the following six guiding principles: 
  1. Commitment to grade level content and instructional rigor
  2. Focus on the depth of instruction, rather than the pace
  3. Prioritize content and learning
  4. Maintain the inclusion of each and every learner
  5. Identify and address gaps in learning through instruction. Monitor students’ progress on grade level appropriate assessments and adjust supports based on student results.
  6. Focus on the commonalities that students share in this time of crisis, not just on their differences

With the above guiding principles in mind the district is committed to ensuring every student has access to the following:

  • Consistent direct live instruction for every student – Access to daily direct live instruction for students, with the option of participating in recorded instruction at alternate times of the day.
  • Access and availability - Teacher availability to students outside of direct live instruction.
  • Symmetry and cohesion in learning and delivery – Google Classroom as learning management system to allow for symmetry and cohesion in instruction and learning.
  • Collaboration - Meaningful and structured collaboration between teachers, principals, and colleagues from grade levels and departments to improve outcomes for students based on data and student need.
  • Professional development and supports for educators - Professional development for all educators on strategies needed to deliver high-quality instruction and on the District’s learning management system, Google Classroom, that ensures students access to learning grounded in the essential standards.
  • Appropriate supports for students receiving Special Education - Ensure students with disabilities are included in all offerings of school education models by using the IEP process to customize educational opportunities and supports when necessary.
  • Targeted student support and intervention - Supports and instruction for small groups of students who need additional instructional and/or social and emotional attention.
  • Communication and feedback – Regular communication to students and parents on learning goals and student progress, including weekly teacher-student-parent/guardian communication and report of student progress consistent with the District’s grading policies to maintain the home-to-school connection.
  • Assessments and accountability – Assessments during learning and throughout the school year that evaluate how students are progressing both in the moment and over time to address learning loss before and after the school closure.
  • Support for English Learners - Designated and integrated instruction in English language development including assessment of progress toward language proficiency and targeted support to access curriculum.