Report by Paula Antolini, March 23, 2020, 3:18PM EDT
Message about “Distance Learning” from Bethel Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Christine Carver, March 17, 2020:
As the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold, the Bethel Public Schools will now be instituting a distance learning program, as new guidance from the State Department of Education does not require a waiver and expects districts to get a program up and running as soon as possible. What this means is that the days will count as learning days for our students, days we will not have to make up in June. buy already written essays
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Effective Monday, March 23rd, the Bethel Public Schools will use the distance learning model to continue the education of our students. Ensuring the safety of our students
and staff, maintaining a routine for our learning community, and sustaining learning for all is paramount. In terms of equity, the State is working with cable and phone companies to assist families in accessing the internet at home. You can find more information about that here.
We understand that it is not possible to replicate what would be occurring if classes were in session. However, distance learning activities and lessons can be effective in reinforcing previous learning, introducing new content, and providing continuity while schools are closed. Below are guidelines to help provide clarity around expectations for distance learning.
Attendance: Classroom teachers will be taking attendance each day. As you normally would, you should call the school attendance line if your child is unable to complete work due to an illness. If a teacher is absent due to an illness, they will put up substitute plans on Google Classroom.
Grading/Criteria: Work that is completed by students will count. Teachers will report their grades in a manner consistent with the district’s current grading practice.
Technical Assistance: If students are having technical issues with accessing district resources or district supplied Chromebooks, please complete the Digital Learning Support form on our Digital Learning website. Please include in the form, the student’s full name, school, grade, an email address, and phone number we may contact you at. If students are having technical issues with their district supplied Chromebook, please power down the device and restart it. Please note, we cannot help diagnose issues with your home wireless networks or personal devices. The parent form responses will be monitored between 8:00 am – 4:00 pm Monday-Friday. Technical issues will be routed to the best qualified person to respond, be that a technician, library media specialist, or classroom teacher. A response should be received within 24 hours based on volume. If one of the district’s technicians needs to speak to you, they will arrange a specific time to call, and they will contact you via a blocked phone number.
Distance Learning Guidelines
Each teacher will be posting daily assignments on Google Classroom. Students in grades 2 – 12 already know how to access their Google Classroom account. In grades PreK-1, parents will need to download the Google Classroom App or use the web based version. For assistance in joining a class or using Google Classroom please see this parent information sheet. The goal of the work is to reinforce, extend, and introduce new concepts/content when appropriate. Teachers will be providing screencasts with direct instruction and assignments to be completed with deadlines. Obviously, given the age of the children, feedback will look differently.
Student passwords for their Google accounts are in the Parent Portal. It is possible that your child changed the password and/or the password was not put in the Parent Portal. If you need the password reset, please submit your request using the Digital Learning Support Form. Someone from our IT department will get back to you with a temporary password your student
will use until we return to school. Please note that you could only access Google account information using the web-based version of the Parent Portal and not the app.
The specials/unified arts teachers will be providing assignments to groups they see on their assigned days through Google Classroom in the same format as classroom teachers.
Classroom & Special Area Teachers
All teachers will send a morning message to students via the Google Classroom at the start of the regular school day. This might be a video, screencast or written morning message. The purpose of the message is to greet students and to provide additional directions or clarification of
assignments based on the needs of the teacher’s class.
Teachers will be available during regular school hours to respond and communicate with students and parents for the purpose of clarifying assignments, providing student feedback, and instructional support. When appropriate and necessary, teachers will also provide phone calls to parents or caregivers.
Special Education Teachers & Related Service Providers
Special Education teachers will work in conjunction with classroom teachers throughout the duration of the closure to determine additional modifications and adjustments to instruction, resources, and assessments. Special Education teachers will also provide alternative or additional online assignments, when appropriate, and monitor student progress.
Related Services staff will provide weekly assignments, provide email and phone support to parents and students, and when appropriate and possible, provide direct instruction via video conferencing.
We are waiting for guidance from the State Department of Education regarding holding Planning and Placement Team Meetings. If you have any questions regarding the status of your child’s PPT, please contact your child’s case manager.
504 meetings will not be held at this time and will be rescheduled upon our return to school.
Reading and Math Specialists
Reading and Math specialists will make work available through Google Classroom that aligns with individual student goals.
Report Cards and Conferences
K-8 report cards will open in PowerSchool on March 25th. You will receive an email from your child’s school regarding this. All parent-teacher conferences are cancelled. If you have any questions about your child’s progress, you can always reach out to your child’s teacher through email.
We know that families received K-8 supplemental work last Thursday, prior to us moving towards a distance learning model. The supplemental work is not required, but is strongly encouraged to assist with routines and sustained learning. As we work towards getting ready for distance learning, you can have your child engage in several of the opportunities our staff put together. These supplemental materials are posted on our Digital Learning website. Please note, the Bethel Public Library is closed and can no longer provide hard copies to families.
This is an unprecedented time for all of us. This is when we must work together, in partnership, as we navigate these unchartered waters. We are grateful for your support and understanding as we work to provide sustained learning experiences for your child.
Christine L. Carver, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools