1. Describe how you will deliver continuous learning opportunities for all students, including special student populations.
We are utilizing both our regular Jupiter Student System as well as Google Classroom. Our Grades 4-8 had previously used Google classroom, so it was more seamless for them. Grades K-3 have been adapting, either beginning to use Google classroom or other online platforms that are appropriate to their level. Before leaving, we had a plan in place for students to take required textbooks, learning packets, etc. in place, and before the “stay home” order was issued, we had the opportunity for safe, socially distanced packet and material pickup. Teachers are also providing new instruction through videos through these and other online platforms, including meetings and YouTube. We also are exploring possibilities for safe, socially distanced drive thru pickup and drop off of materials.
For our Special Needs populations, we have worked with our Resource Department to provide continuous availability to Resource students (both those with Individual Service Plans and others in our RtI program) from 9 a.m. through 6 p.m. each day, per the table below:
As one can readily see, different teachers and aides have signed up for one-hour (or so) time slots to cover each of the 9 hours, and we have notified all families of this availability and schedule. Furthermore, these students can also reach out to their regular teachers as they normally would in class, but they have this additional support available all day (especially if their regular teacher’s office hours are not at a convenient time for their working). Also, all students receiving services through our Resource Department have been divided among Resource personnel, and they are reaching out specifically to these families on a regular basis to check in and see what help might be needed.
2. Describe how your district communicates expectations for continuous learning implementation to 1. ) students, 2.) families, and 3.) staff.
Jupiter and direct email have been the primary means of communicating expectations. The principal has provided regular updates with links. We have added a “Resources” page to our website to provide additional resources we have been finding throughout the process. Many teachers, even though not required for their safety and privacy, have provided parents with their home phone numbers. All teachers are keeping posted regular “office hours” when they are available, per the table below:
Phone calls and online platforms have also been used when needed. For families that were slow to get into the routine, teachers first took care of many of them through their direct contacts. If there was still no response, teachers reported those students’ names to administration, and the Principal/Assistant Principal has reached out to them via emails and phone calls to see how we could assist. The principal has also been recording some online videos for families to use as needed. The Principal has been and continues to be in regular communication specifically with staff, providing resources, PD, guidance (i.e. the DOE continuous learning plan 52-page guidance document), etc. He has used email. Administration has also been in attendance at grade level/PLC Zoom meetings for continual discussion and support.
3. Describe student access to academic instruction, resources, and supports during continuous learning.
All students are being provided academic instruction and resources through the various online platforms, specifically Jupiter, Juno Pods, and Google Classroom, as well as other online platforms including YouTube for video and other videos for instruction. We are ensuring this through grading of completed materials and follow up for those students who are not completing assignments. As noted in #4, we are providing devices to those families who need them. As noted previously, we are exploring and piloting a safe, socially-distanced drive thru dropoff/pickup of materials the week of April 13 and anticipate utilizing that some (but not overdo it so as to protect people and prevent unnecessary travel), particularly for lower grades.
Special Needs students have been provided a constant contact (teacher/aide) as noted in #1 for 9 full hours every day.
As another and very important support, we have also been specifically checking in with families vulnerable to food insecurity, and the principal has raised donations for this and has made special safe arrangements to meet with families and provide food and other assistance as needed and available.
4. What equipment and tools are available to staff and students to enable your continuous learning plan? Please list.
We tested our e-learning capabilities on September 30, 2019, and followed up specifically with any families who were unable to complete our test assignments. When the remote learning started on March 13, the week of March 16 we started hearing from a few parents about concerns, and the principal has been making special arrangements to meet with families individually at the school to loan them school devices. Through April we have done this for multiple families (fortunately our population and demographics have demonstrated the vast majority have devices at home, and all have shown through their attendance and completion of online material that they have Internet capability). Work is being assigned that can be completed and returned electronically so as to avoid issues with families that may not have printing capability at home.
As noted multiple times, we are using a myriad of online platforms, especially Jupiter and Google Classroom, to provide instruction. We are also piloting drive thru pickup/dropoff of materials with multiple times available, maintaining the utmost in safety first and foremost, with social distancing maintained through strict procedures followed.
5. Describe how educators and support staff are expected to connect with students and families on an ongoing basis.
As noted in the answer to #1, teachers have posted their available office hours for each day of instruction and are expected to be available at these times. The principal has provided this master list and thus far has received no complaints about a teacher not being available or responsive as needed. In addition, teachers have been asked to provide by the Friday before or no later than Sunday morning their outline of plans and assignments for the following week so families have adequate planning time for their unique circumstances. This is especially helpful to families with multiple students. This is also done with the noted proviso that things may change given what the teacher sees as progress for the class as a whole (based on formative assessment). Flexibility has been stressed in all areas.
6. Describe your method for providing timely and meaningful academic feedback to students.
Teachers have been instructed to continue to grade materials in their usual timely manner. Per Archdiocesan guidance on this specific issue, teachers have been told to reach out to students who are not performing to the level the teacher (who knows each student best) knows they were doing before the Covid-19 crisis necessitated remote learning.
We feel we have always done a good job of providing competency-based assessment as well as flexibility to ensure that the work is a learning measure, and that grades are not punitive in nature. We have been discussing with Archdiocesan and Deanery personnel, after reviewing DOE guidance, about our plans for final grades for the 4th quarter. We will give some sort of summative assessment grade for students, but the more important information is the ongoing communication with parents through our various electronic and online platforms. We have increased our flexibility during these unprecedented times, making sure to note that completion and understanding of the material is more important than timelines that, while important to meet as a life skill, is not necessarily as enforceable given each family’s unique set of circumstances. The principal has encouraged both staff and parents to be patient and continue communicating with one another, and we have shown that we are working with parents and students. The teachers and administration have all received an overwhelming number of positive emails about the process, and they have also been quick to address concerns brought to their attention in a timely manner.
Section Two: Achievement and Attendance
7. Does your continuous learning plan provide an avenue for students to earn high school credits? If so, describe the approach.
Not applicable, since we are a K-8 school whose students do not earn any high school credit.
8. Describe your attendance policy for continuous learning.
We are primarily utilizing our Jupiter grading system for our attendance on instructional days. Parents have been notified of the requirements for logging in. Furthermore, we have created an official Attendance Committee consisting of the Assistant Principal, Computer Teacher/Technology Liaison, teachers of various grade levels, and the Administrative Assistant (Attendance Officer) responsible for attendance regularly to develop and monitor our plan, implementation, and ongoing progress and completion. Students have to log in for a minimum time designated to achieve their attendance for that day. Lower grade levels are also utilizing other means for instruction and are manually checking and inputting attendance via these measures. All teachers are reviewing attendance in addition to the Attendance Officer and St. Matthew administration on a regular and ongoing basis. Families are contacted who are not meeting the attendance requirement on an ongoing basis. We are also providing our parents, which the Church notes as the first and primary educators of their children, the flexibility to let us know if remote learning continued as expected on a day but was not recorded, and adjustments can be made on a limited basis by specific written documentation provided to the Attendance Officer.
9. Describe your long-term goals to address skill gaps for the remainder of the school year.
Teachers have been instructed to prioritize Core Standards first and foremost and note both items that might get missed due to the implementation of remote learning as well as any material with which a sizeable percentage has struggled.
Our Deanery has discussed plans for teachers to meet, when it is deemed safe and acceptable to re-open our school buildings and have gatherings of appropriate size while maintaining safety, to discuss these gaps. There will be specific meetings for receiving grade-level teachers to meet with the sending teachers to discuss this directly so plans can be adjusted for the 2020-2021 school year.
Section Three: Staff Development
10. Describe your professional development plan for continuous learning.
First and foremost, all staff have been reminded of security and safety for all students, including the Archdiocesan Safe and Sacred requirements for the protection of children, as well as social media guidelines and Archdiocesan recommendations on online interaction in an academic setting to maintain the safety of all children. Parents are being sent all of the information to pass along to their students so they are also aware of when students should be online with a teacher or staff member.
All grade levels continue to collaborate with one another in formal and informal means. Administration is attending Zoom meetings at least weekly with each grade level/PLC to ensure ongoing communication and support. Administrators have provided multiple resources on digital and remote learning and shared that continuously with all staff. The 52-Page Continuous Learning Guidance provided by the DOE was a key resource shared.
In addition, staff collaborate among themselves, with more technologically-savvy staff members helping others to get up to speed more with the remote learning. Furthermore, webinars and training resources through vendors with whom we already had a standing relationship, such as Jupiter and others, have been used with staff. Staff on their own initiative, as has always been encouraged through our Professional Development Plan, have sought out and participated in other webinars and remote trainings to enhance their own particular classroom and shared that information with the other members of the staff.