The first couple weeks of our Virtual Schoolhouse have provided time to better understand this new platform for delivering instruction. Every single person has risen to the challenge and we have not missed a beat with our curriculum. The Governor has recently announced that he will not even consider assessing the reopening of school until April 17th at the earliest, so we should look at settling into this routine for a while longer.
I have been soliciting input on our Virtual Schoolhouse from various stakeholder groups and discussed strategies with both the Board of Education and the MEA to mitigate some concerns moving forward. Our teachers, students and parents have all reported that the time spent with virtual lessons tends to exceed the time for traditional school work. Also reported is the concern of how to balance parents working from home and assisting children with school work; whether it is our students and their parents, or our own teachers working from home and their own children.
One solution that the Board of Education has approved to help mitigate some of these concerns is the redesign of the district calendar. Attached is a new calendar for the 2019-2020 school year, which is effective immediately. This calendar change reflects an effort to reduce screen time for our students, reduce schoolwork support so parents can dedicate uninterrupted time to their own work, and allow more time for our teachers to regroup and prepare.
The new calendar continues remote learning during the week of April 6th, which was previously scheduled as Spring Break. Those days are then recaptured to create 4-day instructional weeks that run through the end of May. Full weeks begin on June 1st, and the last day of school is June 17th. If we are able to return to on-site learning sooner than the end of May, then we will readjust the calendar to hold full 5-day school weeks, and the last day of school will be earlier. You will notice that Friday, April 10th is an early dismissal day for our Virtual Schoolhouse, and details will follow which will explain how that will work.
As a school community we have pulled together and supported each other tremendously. And, we are ALL doing a GREAT JOB!
Dr. Stephanie Brown