April 1, 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians,
I hope this letter finds you all staying healthy during this difficult time. Over the past several weeks I have come to understand, and expect, that guidance coming from the Oregon Department of Education and the governor changes rapidly. It really hit home last Monday night when they issued, without warning, the new 29-page guidance on distance learning. The shift from supplemental learning to a more structured distance learning program was done as the state prepares to possibly have to close schools through the remainder of the year. This has not happened yet, but we need to prepare for if it does happen. Like most superintendents around the state, I initially went through a series of emotions from anger to anxiousness. Then after spending some time reading and re-reading the document, I realized that it is not asking us to drastically alter our plans but that it provides some better guidance to continue and expand on our current plans. My take is that this guidance, and ultimately our district plan that is to be completed by April 13 will do the following:
- Build on our current plan of providing supplemental education and learning supports
- Add accountability to the student for working on the materials sent out
- Add regular teacher contact and feedback on the work the students are doing
- Provide parents, guardians, and caretakers with guidance and structure for their child during the day
- Provide creative options for High School students to earn credit towards graduation
- Focus primarily on caring for our students needs, connecting our students and families to their teachers, and continue learning for our students.
Our plan moving forward has four components:
1. Needs assessment
- Teachers communicating with families to determine internet capabilities and how they wish to receive the instructional materials. (Online, printed packets, or a combination of both
- Checking out devices if needed, setting up pickup sites, and determining drop off bus routes to reach every families need.
- Practice using the resources provided and making sure the expectations are clear for each student and family.
- Once we are comfortable with the process, we will begin to provide instructional materials and support to every student according to their needs and capacity to receive those materials.
During the rest of this week we will complete phase 1 of our plan. Next week we will begin with phase 2 while supplying some supplemental resources for families to get started with. April 13 we will begin to roll out some basic curriculum to get things started. To give you an idea of basic expectations the following chart is what we are going to base the amount of materials to be provided. This chart was developed by the Oregon Department of Education in collaboration with other states.
Recommended maximum daily time spent on teacher directed instructional materials (You will note that this is a fraction of the time kids spend in school)
- Grades K-1: 45 minutes
- Grades 2-3: 60 minutes
- Grades 4-5: 90 minutes
- Grades 6-12: 30 minutes per teacher emphasizing the core content classes (Maximum 3 hours in a day)
I know High School parents are concerned about grades, credits, and graduation. We will provide that specific information when we have it. High School credit and graduation guidance is due to come out from the Oregon Department of Education by early next week. We will be using this guidance to finalize our plans for credits and graduation. Our seniors are a priority for us, and we are going to consistently communicate with each member of the class of 2020 to make their pathway to graduation clear.
We will begin to roll this information out to parents as we finalize it. The important thing right now is to take care of yourselves and your families. Please provide as much information to your teachers this week as you can related to your desire and capacity for receiving the instructional materials. Our administrative team has been working really hard on the base for this plan and we will be working with our staff to develop it and get it ready to meet the needs of every child and family to the best of our ability during this unprecedented time.
Coos Bay Public Schools