When Seattle Public Schools closed 2+ weeks ago, district leadership said online learning was not an option because of inequity in technology access. Many taachers have been getting learning materials to their students anyway – like these we spotted recently at a Junction location, placed by an Alki Elementary teacher, for families to pick up:
The district has formalized a plan with its teachers, and it rolls out this week. While SPS families already have seen this message (sent Friday), other community members might be interested:
The district and Seattle Education Association have agreed to a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). This joint MOA makes clear our collective support for continuous student learning during school closures and our commitment to staff during these difficult times. This agreement came on the heels of new guidance from OSPI, that shifts learning expectations from supplemental during the statewide school closures to providing continuity of learning, in grades PreK-12 through April 24, or beyond if necessary.
While ongoing, remote learning cannot fully replace students’ experiences in schools with their teachers, administrators, and support staff, this approach will help ensure our students are prepared for the next step in their educational journey.
What can families expect?
Remote learning will take place in a multitude of ways. While instruction or lessons online will likely be an option for many students and families in the coming weeks, teachers will also suggest activities that do not require technology, consider home language (25% of our students speak more than one language), specialized services, developmental readiness, and resource access. More details will be provided in next week’s emails, and will be posted to the COVID-19 FAQ.
All instruction will be aligned to academic standards and focus on key concepts, skills, and knowledge that students need to make growth.
Are educators ready for this shift?
Many teachers have already been providing remote learning and some teachers will be trying out new techniques and technology solutions for the very first time. There will be some initial bumps, but remote instruction and supports will improve over time. Please be patient and also remember that many teachers are parents of SPS students. Everyone is balancing a lot right now.
Today, educators received guiding documents to support their planning. In addition, Microsoft Teams, an online conferencing and collaboration tool, was integrated with Schoology and over 500 teachers participated in training yesterday.
What can my child expect?
The best learning happens as a result of the close relationship between teachers and their students. Teachers know their content, learning standards, and they know most precisely where individual students need support or acceleration. Students will be supported in growing academically, with a strong focus on individualized instruction and consistent communication and feedback.
How will my child’s teacher or teachers communicate with our family?
Family engagement is always important to student learning, but even more so with schools being closed. Educators will communicate directly with families and students at least twice a week throughout the school closure period. These conversations will help ensure that parents and students understand the learning goals and expected progress. Communication will be coordinated and provided on a regular schedule.
What about students without technology access at home?
Enhanced computer access has been prioritized for high school seniors to support on-time graduation. Computers originally purchased to support elementary state assessments have been repurposed and will be deployed to high school students who need them. More information will be provided in the coming days.
How is the class of 2020 going to be supported?
A separate communication will be provided to the class of 2020 and their families. High School counselors have been asked to conduct senior “check-ins” starting on Monday as the first step in developing individualized graduation plans. Additional information about high school student and senior supports will be added to the COVID-19 FAQ.
High-school students are even trying to keep up the school spirit while apart – we saw this on Instagram: