EXTENDED CLOSURE REMOTE LEARNING PLAN - PHASE 2
We know that absolutely nothing we can do remotely could possibly replace the rich work our teachers, counselors, and related service providers do face to face with students every day at school.
Phase 2 of the extended closure learning model reflects the best thinking of the Dedham Public Schools staff on how best to structure meaningful learning opportunities for students within the context of a global health crisis that has interrupted all norms of teaching and learning.
This new, revised Remote Learning plan will begin implementation on Monday, April 13, 2020
PHILOSOPHY ON REMOTE LEARNING
“Remote learning is not synonymous with online learning. Remote learning can take place in a multitude of ways, including by helping students engage with resources in their everyday lives and in the natural world around them.” - Education Commissioner Jeff Riley’s letter to school districts and families
We cannot expect our families to fully “replace” what would happen during a regular school day, and we have not prepared our students to engage in entirely self-directed learning. Furthermore, all of our families are experiencing hardships because of the current situation, and we do not want to further burden families with unrealistic expectations. The primary approach for all our Dedham educators will be an “enrichment” of student learning as opposed to a “replacement” of student learning during this closure period.
That said, moving forward, we do expect the following:
All students are expected to engage in our educator-designed learning activities for approximately one-half of the length of time spent during a typical day if school were in session.
- Educators will follow up with students who do not engage in remote learning to see if they or their families need additional resources or are experiencing challenges that make accessing schoolwork exceedingly difficult for them at this time, and we will grant exceptions to these expectations in those instances.
Academic content at the secondary level will be graded as “credit/no credit”
- This is to incentivize continuous learning, while still acknowledging the necessary flexibility of the challenging situation we all face.
- Specific grading criteria are outlined in the following pages of this remote learning plan.
- Non-credit bearing courses, such as those for middle school students, will incorporate a grading rubric to determine grades in order to keep students motivated as they continue their learning.
Educators will connect and engage with their students multiple times per week.
- Educators will continue to maintain “office hours” for two hours each day, as they have been doing since the introduction of our preliminary remote learning plan - Resources for Extended School Closure.
- Those students at particular risk for learning loss (English Learners, students with disabilities) will have additional opportunities for connections with multiple educators weekly.
- Educators will now have the option to train on designated technology tools, which they can use to establish live, virtual class meeting times.
Assigned academic work will focus primarily on reinforcing skills already taught this school year and applying and deepening these skills.
- Over time and in some cases when appropriate, teachers and students may continue with new material, particularly at the high school level.
- In all instances, educators will take into consideration equity of access and support for all students.
COMPONENTS OF REMOTE LEARNING
Remote learning in such uncertain times will not take the form that learning has in the past; this time is about building resilience, connection, and empathy, even as we distance ourselves from one another. The approach taken to designing instruction must be as creative as our social solutions to our current situation.
In addition to the variety of PreK-12 curriculum resources currently featured as part of the remote learning plans maintained on the Dedham Community Resources For Extended School Closure website, this new remote learning phase will allow individual departments, schools and educators to expand the use of, and develop opportunities for, additional interactive remote learning technologies.
Before educators can decide to introduce these new tools with students, they will have completed designated training so that they can make the most of their student meetings as well as ensure the safety and privacy of all participants.
DEDHAM GUIDANCE FOR AUDIO/VIDEO CONFERENCING FOR FACULTY AND STUDENTS
Maintaining connections between educators and students is critical during this extended closure period. Introducing online virtual conferencing tools - such as Google Meet - as a tool provides unique opportunities for learning. However, there are significant data and personal privacy concerns when these tools are used with younger children and adolescents in their private homes. In addition, access to technology and reliable internet connections may prevent some students from participating, which challenges our ability to provide an equitable learning experience for all our students. Understanding both the benefits and challenges, Dedham will be encouraging the use of video/audio conferencing as an educational learning tool, with the following parameters in place:
- Online conferencing should be considered only as one tool among many available for students and educators to enhance remote learning, and may not be appropriate or most effective in all situations.
- It is critical that parents/guardians are notified, understand and accept the parameters outlined by Dedham Public School before allowing their student to participate.
- Educators, students, and parents/guardians also need to mutually understand and agree to the general expectations for behavior and responsibilities during any audio/video conferencing.
- Prior to beginning any live interactions with students, educators must have training to understand this technology and how to safely and securely maximize its potential benefit for student learning. Our technology department has developed a series of training videos and supporting documents that educators will be required to review.
- Initial audio/video conferencing will always involve two educators together with one acting as a “facilitator/guide” to support the host educator, helping to minimize possible challenges as everyone becomes more knowledgeable and comfortable with this virtual live environment.
This notice informs students and parents/guardians that audio/video conferences will be recorded and there are limits to controlling who can see and hear these live sessions in the homes of educators and students.
Please take a moment to review the guidelines and share with your students.
- These guidelines are very comprehensive and intended to protect all participants and promote understanding of the many safety and security measures needed to ensure a positive learning experience.
- As our experiences with audio/video conferencing grow, we will continue to update and review these guidelines with students, educators, and parents/guardians.
Thank you for your patience as we have worked to design and refine this guidance. We look forward to many successful audio/video interactions in the weeks ahead.
TEACHER PROFESSIONAL LEARNING
Dedham educators have watched our collective capacity to digitally collaborate with one another and with students skyrocket over the past few weeks, but we know that the above ideas are a major learning curve. We know that our educators want to be in school with their students; it is very challenging for them to be apart from the kids.
To help educators learn how to navigate their new teaching world, Dedham Public Schools will be holding professional learning opportunities designed to learn and share strategies. We ask for families’ patience and partnership as we navigate these challenges together.
With such a rapid, unexpected massive shift to our normal, everyday learning environment, this is all a work-in-progress. Many of our educators are being asked to develop complex skills and familiarity with various technology tools in a very short period of time. We are all learners in this new era, and our educators will certainly have varying degrees of experience and confidence as the next few weeks unfold.