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Remote Learning in MSAD #1: 2020-2021
MSAD #1 wants to acknowledge that some families may be concerned about a return to schools in the Fall of 2020. Although we want to assure the students, families, and staff of the district that we are taking the health and safety of our community seriously, we also understand that some parents may be wondering about their options.
For the 2020-2021 school year, MSAD #1 will offer remote learning as an option for parents who are concerned about their children returning to school. We hope this document will help you to make the best decision for your child.
Remote Learning Defined
Remote learning is an educational program that is structured by a classroom teacher in MSAD #1 for MSAD #1 students. The program is designed to be as similar to the in-person, classroom learning experience as possible. Students are expected to keep up with the timelines, activities, due dates, and assessments developed by the teacher for the class. Teachers will expect students to join the in-person class through Google Meet at specific times throughout the week. Teachers will keep attendance for remote students and will give traditional grades for homework, quizzes, papers, and tests.
Remote learning in MSAD #1 is not the same thing as virtual school or homeschooling. Remote learning maintains the standards of the curriculum and academic rigor of our in-person classrooms. It is designed and taught by certified teachers who work in our MSAD #1 schools.
Remote learning is structured like in-person classrooms. Teachers will take attendance (although that may look slightly different for remote students), teach lessons, give homework, tests, and projects for students to complete as evidence of learning, and teachers will record grades as they normally have in the past. Students will need to engage in learning activities (often through video) and complete work on time, just as they would in the regular classroom.
Families who choose remote learning make that choice for the student’s entire school day and for a period of a grading quarter (approximately 8 weeks). Parents can opt their child back into in-person learning if they find remote learning is not working for their student, but must contact the teacher and the building principal to make that change.
Education is never the sole responsibility of a single person, but is the shared responsibility of the student, teacher, and parents/guardians. The following are examples of some of the important responsibilities for remote learning:
Commit to engaging in school learning activities through remote learning
Take (age-appropriate) responsibility for keeping up with their school work calendar -- join classes when scheduled by video, access work on Google Classroom, communicate with teachers through email or similar, and complete work on time
Maintain regular communication with classroom teacher
Support their student in remote learning by ensuring the student has access to the Internet
Help their student organize his/her school work by using a notebook, paper calendar, small whiteboard/chalkboard, or use a digital calendar
Develop routines and schedules to help students engage and complete school work
Encourage students (age-appropriate) to contact teachers for additional help
Regularly pick up and drop off student work for those students who will have paper packets (mostly elementary students)
Check PowerSchool gradebooks every two weeks to establish how students are progressing in academics
Maintain updated resources, lesson plans, schedules on Google Classroom
Respond to student or parent emails within 24 hours, consider scheduling weekly office hours for virtual student support
Update PowerSchool gradebooks regularly
Communicate with students, parents, and building administrators when students “disappear” from the remote learning environment
Period of Commitment to Remote Learning
We will ask parents to sign a contract of understanding with the school if they decide to request remote learning. Students and families should plan to commit to remote learning for a full grading period (a quarter) which is about eight weeks. Parents can call the building administrator to request in-person learning if remote learning is not working for their child.
Remote Learning FAQ
How is this different from remote learning in March-June 2020?
The emergency remote learning was just that -- emergency -- and so in order to manage the emergency situation for students, teachers, and families, the district chose to reduce the number of content areas taught in k-8, reduced the number and difficulty of learning goals, and changed the grading system to a version of a pass/fail system. The remote learning we will be offering this year is NOT going to look like that. Overall, the remote learning expectations for academics, attendance, due dates, work/tests/projects, and grading will be the same for remote students as it is for in-person students.
Isn’t remote learning the same as homeschooling?
No, they are very different. Homeschooling is an option in which the parent designs a curriculum and is responsible for teaching and assessing that curriculum. The MSAD #1 teachers play no role in virtual schools or in homeschooling.
Families who homeschool must create the curriculum, teach their children, and create and grade assignments. The local school district is not responsible for the academic instruction or grading of those students. In remote learning, the parents support their students in engaging in learning activities planned by a certified teacher in MSAD #1. The teacher is responsible for the structure of the academic program while the parent is responsible for supporting their student in keeping up with the classwork.
How will attendance be taken?
If your child is enrolled in school -- either in-person or remotely -- we must track attendance. Although we are still working on the details of attendance for remote students, we will be using a combination of engagement in learning activities, completion of assigned work, and attendance by video of scheduled class time.
Will grades be Pass/Fail?
No, remote learning grades will be the same as in-person grades. We will go back to the regular grading system we had before the emergency remote period.
Does my child have to attend class by video?
We are trying to figure out the balance of connection to the classroom and real-time teacher instruction while not wanting students sitting in front of a screen for hours at a time. We plan to have specific times of the day for students to plan to attend their classrooms by video.
Do I need Internet access?
In order to make remote learning work, students do need regular access to the Internet. The district provides devices (iPads) for students to access remote learning resources, activities, and to link to the regular classroom. If you do not have Internet available, please contact the building administrator to discuss options.
What about high school credits?
The high school awards credits toward graduation and students who choose remote learning must complete the work required in a course in order to receive credit for that course. Their evidence of learning must demonstrate at least a numerical average of 65 or more in order to earn a credit. These are not pass/fail courses.
Can I change my mind if it isn’t working?
Yes. If you decide that remote learning is not working out for your family or your child, you can call or email the building administrator to discuss a change to in-person learning.