Learn-from-Home Phase II

Learn-from-Home Phase II
Posted on 04/03/2020
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Note: The following is our continuity of instruction plan for the remainder of the school year, or Learn-from-Home Phase II. Due to its length and the importance of the information it contains, we ask that you please read this message very carefully. Please also keep this document handy as a reference to help address any questions you may have in the future.

Dear Families,

We believe that the continuity of instruction is important for our students, both now and for future learning. As a result, our team has worked tirelessly to develop a more robust, individualized instructional plan to serve our students since Governor Northam’s announcement last week that all schools in Virginia are closed for the remainder of the school year, as well as his recent stay-at-home order.

We have developed our plan with our families in mind. More specifically, we acknowledge that these are difficult times for many of our families as they cope with the ongoing impact of the coronavirus in our state. While we want to provide opportunities for our students, we do not want to overburden our parents and families. We understand and respect that each family’s situation is unique, and we promise to be supportive, compassionate, and flexible.

LEARN-FROM-HOME PHASE II: WHAT TO EXPECT

Our teachers, school counselors, administrators, and others will continue to work with their students on a regular basis to support their learning and other needs using the Learn-from-Home Phase II materials. The focus will be on the essential skills and content, especially those necessary for future learning. Teachers will be engaging with their students to monitor academic progress, support learning, and maintain a sense of community. Teachers will also work to provide a more tailored approach to their individual classes to enhance the learning experience for students.

For elementary students, the emphasis will still be on supporting growth in reading and math, engaging in play for learning content, and strengthening readiness skills for the next grade level. For middle and high school students, the focus will be on course completion in order to move to the next level of instruction in the fall.

For seniors, the focus will be on meeting graduation requirements. We will also continue to work with the College Board, the International Baccalaureate Organization, and Reynolds Community College for students enrolled in Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), Dual-Enrollment (DE), or Advance College Academy (ACA) courses. Additionally, we will work with all seniors to ensure that they are well-prepared for life after high school.

The Learn-from-Home curriculum is designed to provide students with a reasonable amount of work that will allow them to reach mastery of the content. Please communicate directly with your child’s teacher if your child needs assistance or more support for any of the Learn-from-Home materials.

To stay on track, all students are required to complete three “Meets Expectations/Does Not Meet Expectations” assignments for each course between April 13 and May 29. Teachers will clearly identify these assignments for students. Specific details are included in the “GRADING” section below. Students should expect to spend an average of the following time overall (not individually) for all courses/classes combined each week:

  • Elementary: 5 - 10 hours, depending upon grade level
  • Middle: 10 - 12 hours
  • High: 12 - 15 hours

Students will have the opportunity to enhance their learning throughout this Learn-from-Home period and may choose to engage in enrichment opportunities or activities for deeper learning. High school students involved in ACA, IB, and AP may find that their time on learning activities is greater than those given above.

HOW TO ACCESS LEARN-FROM-HOME PHASE II RESOURCES

The initial resources we previously developed and distributed were intended to serve your student(s) through April 3, just prior to Spring Break. We intend for the new materials to serve our students’ instructional needs from April 13 (post-Spring Break) until the end of the school year. We encourage all families to enjoy a much-needed break from schoolwork during Spring Break. We will make the new instructional materials available on Monday, April 13 as outlined below.

We understand that this may feel overwhelming at first. Please note that this work is not intended to be completed all at once. We want to assure you that our teachers will be breaking the work down into manageable pieces for our students as we move through the next few months. Normally, we would not present all of this information at once, but in order to provide print materials to those who need them, we had to create packets for a longer period of time.

Digital

Students with internet access and a device can continue to access our Learn-from-Home digital resources on our website starting on April 13. Teachers will be communicating with their students how to engage digitally using a variety of platforms, such as Schoology, Google Suite tools, and SeeSaw beginning April 13. Within these platforms, enhancements can be used to make the learning more robust. Teachers will also work closely with students who cannot engage digitally via alternative methods to support their learning.

NEW: We have expanded our Wi-Fi strength at select schools across the division to provide greater access to our students and families. Additional details are included in the “EXPANDED INTERNET ACCESS” section below. More specific information will be shared in a separate communication.

Paper Packets

Although a stay-at-home order is in place, state officials have indicated that travel to and from educational institutions is permitted to allow families to access instructional materials and resources. As a result, we will provide paper packets for those with no other options for accessing them. This option is subject to change based upon the latest guidance from state and federal officials. Please only use this option if you are unable to access these resources digitally to help limit in-person contact and preserve valuable resources.

The packets will include the essential learning materials and assignments required to finish the course/grade level. They have been condensed based upon feedback from the first round of distribution.

As an alternative, the packets can be downloaded as a single file/pdf from our website to any device wherever Wi-Fi is available, including some school parking lots (please see “EXPANDED INTERNET ACCESS” section below). Parents are encouraged to view these online, if possible, before determining whether a print copy is needed.

We understand that packet pick-up may be difficult or impossible for some families. If you are unable to do so, please contact your student’s school directly to make other arrangements. Schools will provide the appropriate contact information in their messaging.

Each school will communicate a more specific plan for paper pick-up. These pick-up times will be:

  • Monday, April 13, 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, April 14, 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Please note that school offices will not be open for other public business, only instructional packet pick-up. Distribution efforts will follow CDC guidance.

GRADING AND YEAR-END ASSIGNMENTS

Third Quarter (January 27—March 13)

  • Grades for the third quarter will include assignments given from January 27 to March 13.
  • Students will have until May 15, 2020 to complete assignments for grading.
  • Learning material provided during Phase I will not contribute to student grades, as communicated during that time.

Fourth Quarter (April 13—June 11)

What are students required to do in order to advance to the next grade level or earn credit for a class?

  • All students must complete three assignments for each course between April 13 and May 29.
  • The three assignments will be evaluated as Meets Expectations/Does Not Meet Expectations. No grade for the fourth quarter will be calculated.
  • Students must be assessed as Meeting Expectations on these assignments so that teachers can best evaluate a child’s readiness for promotion. In secondary courses, these assignments will be used to certify completion of a credit-bearing course.

What are the deadlines for submitting assignments?

  • Seniors should plan to complete all required activities by May 22.
  • All other students will have until May 29 to complete Learn-from-Home activities for an evaluation of Meets Expectations/Does Not Meet Expectations.
  • Students should submit assignments as they complete them, rather than waiting to submit everything at the end.
  • These due dates will allow teachers to address incomplete or insufficient work with students in June before yearly grades are calculated.

How do students submit their assignments?

  • Students are encouraged to submit these activities digitally when possible. For those without reliable internet or a device, activities can also be photographed on a cell phone and uploaded or sent to a teacher’s email directly.
  • We have expanded our Wi-Fi strength at select schools across the division to provide greater access to our students and families. Additional details are included in the “EXPANDED INTERNET ACCESS” section below.
  • Instructions for turning in paper versions of the activities will be provided later. Only those activities not submitted by phone, email, or digitally must be turned in on paper.

Year-End Grades

How will students’ end-of-year grades be calculated?

  • Grades for the year will be calculated by averaging first, second, and third quarter grades. This will require an adjustment to be made in PowerSchool. We will keep you updated on this.
  • No grade for the fourth quarter will be calculated.
  • All students must complete the three required Meets Expectations/Does Not Meet Expectations assignments for each class between April 13 and May 29 so that teachers can best evaluate a child’s readiness for promotion. In secondary courses, these assignments will be used to certify completion of a credit-bearing course.

How will teachers handle grading?

  • We have provided teachers with the guidelines for grading.
  • We understand that in these difficult times, teachers will need to use their professional decision-making to consider students’ overall grades, and we are encouraging teachers to work with students.
  • Teachers are permitted to use additional Learn-from-Home assignments to bolster a student’s grade, but no assignment given after March 13 can be used to lower a student’s grade.

SPECIAL EDUCATION, 504 PLANS, AND ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS

  • Due to the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and related school closures, Hanover County Public Schools will be following Special Education Regulation (8VAC 20-81-110 (B)(9) by sending home IEP addendums to outline the provision of services during the school closure. Your student's special education case manager will contact the family no later than April 17, 2020.
  • If your student has a 504 plan and you have concerns regarding its implementation during this school closure, please contact your school's assistant principal.
  • Hanover County Public Schools’ teachers of English Learners will assess the division-wide resources and provide an individualized learning plan for identified Level 1 and Level 2 English learners. Teachers will maintain close contact with English Learner students and their families to provide support.

SCHOOL COUNSELING

  • School counselors will be engaging and connecting with students via Schoology, email, and phone calls to provide mental health support and identify resources for students in need.
  • School counselors will provide support for seniors in order to ensure graduation requirements are met and to support post-graduation planning.
  • School counselors will continue to counsel students regarding plans and course selections for the 20-21 school year, and to provide academic support and resources for all students.

EXPANDED INTERNET ACCESS

Although a stay-at-home order is in place, state and federal officials have indicated that travel to and from educational institutions is permitted to allow families to access instructional materials and resources, such as Wi-Fi. We recently completed work to increase the signal strength of the Wi-Fi at our four high schools in an effort to provide students and staff with moderate Wi-Fi access in areas outside of these locations. We have also identified eleven additional schools across the division where moderate Wi-Fi access is possible. The signal strength varies by building and depends upon many factors. We will communicate more specific details in a separate message, including locations, hours of operation, and access instructions. Students and families should utilize these resources for accessing instructional materials instead of requesting paper packets to help limit in-person contact and preserve valuable resources.

I understand this is a significant amount of information to digest at once. This is truly ground-breaking work, and I am grateful for your patience, understanding, and support of our efforts through these unprecedented times. Our team invested significant thought, time, and effort into providing you with as many details and resources as possible under extraordinary circumstances. As always, our primary goal is to make decisions that we believe are in the best interest of all students to support their academic and personal growth. I believe our plan will accomplish this, both to serve students for the remainder of the school year, as well as prepare them for success next school year. Understandably, you will have questions, and we will continue to support you and your student(s) as we engage in this important work together. Please contact your student’s school with any specific questions you may have.

Sincerely,

Dr. Michael Gill
Superintendent of Schools

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