Edmond releases FAQs regarding ‘distance learning plan’

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EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – As the situation regarding the novel coronavirus continues to change, many Americans are left with questions.

After the Oklahoma State Board of Education announced its plan to continue ‘distance learning’ for the remainder of the school year, school districts are now working to develop plans moving forward.

Edmond released the following information after Wednesday’s announcement:

 Because we are unable to safely gather together, these lessons and activities will primarily be delivered and communicated via our new EPS Learning Dashboard, which is now a quick link on www.edmondschools.net. Each week, we will be adding important lessons that align with the curriculum for the specific content areas your child(ren) would normally be learning each week of the 4th quarter (elementary) or second semester (high school). As you can imagine, this is a significant transition for our students and our teachers. However, our staff is committed to doing everything possible to assist you and your children during this time.  

Thank you for your questions sent to Covid19@edmondschools.net. What follows are answers to the most frequently asked questions:

What is the time-line for distance learning?

Our plan, pending Oklahoma State Department of Education (SDE) approval, is that from now until April 6th, we will provide resources for parents and students to utilize through the dashboard mentioned above. We are only providing resources (no lessons) through April 6th due to the state mandate to cease instruction until then. Beginning April 6th, new content lessons will go live every Monday on the Learning Dashboard. These lessons will become available a week at a time. Again, you don’t have to teach these lessons, just facilitate them. The lessons are based on the most essential skills that would have been taught to your child during the fourth quarter/second semester.  Again, this is our plan and what we are submitting to the SDE for approval.

Does my student need a login to access the new EPS Learning Dashboard? 

No, the dashboard is website based.  There are some resources that will require a login and password.  For those specific accounts, the login and password have been included.

How much time each day should be spent on distance learning?

Every family is different, but there is no expectation that a student should spend 5 to 6 hours on a device or watching lessons daily.  We are trying to keep every lesson to about a 30-minute time frame.  We suggest two or three lessons a day for elementary students and 4 or 5 lessons a day for secondary students.  We have included sample daily schedules on the EPS Learning Dashboard as well.

What if I don’t have a device for my elementary student?

We are working on the feasibility of checking out devices to elementary households (one per home), but due to several logistical issues, such as content filters, we are not able to do that immediately.

What if my child doesn’t learn well on a device?

While until April 6th most resources are digital resources, some have printable options as well.  After April 6th, when the district starts putting out weekly lessons, some of the activities will be non-digital; for example, a younger student might have counting activity where the child counts as many red objects as he/she can find; and an upper level class lesson might include converting a recipe made for a family of four to a family of six. 

How do I work from home and teach at home?

This is an incredibly hard task that even our own educators are facing as they try to attend to their school responsibilities while watching their own children at the same time.  While there is no simple answer to this, we first suggest that you focus on what is realistic and what works for your family. If you are working from home, you cannot do two roles at once.  Schedule time that you work and then time that you spend with your children.  The content that we are developing for learning is based on resources and makes lessons available.  You don’t have to be the teacher.  You just need to facilitate.  This might include giving your child a choice of three or four activities and getting them started. Then, you can spend some time on your work.  This is uncharted territory, and we are empathetic to the plight of many parents.

What if I can’t afford wifi in my home?

Many internet providers are offering free internet at this time specifically for families who qualify for free and reduced lunches.  To see if you qualify for free and reduced lunch status, thus qualifying your family for discounted services, apply by contacting Cox Cable, AT&T, Verizon, etc. 

I am getting emails from various programs offering our family free learning products.  How do I know which ones are good?

Some vendors are offering free resources that are actually only free for a short time.  We suggest you stick with the programs that we have included on the EPS Learning Dashboard.  These programs have been vetted and are currently used in our schools. 

Why should my children participate in distance learning if they are not going to receive a grade for participating?  To stop learning now would likely mean a regression in skills that would have to be relearned next year. By participating in distance learning, students will continue to learn and grow academically and will be better prepared for the start of the 2020-2021 school year. 

Since state testing is waived, how will my third-grade student meet the requirements of the Reading Sufficiency Act (RSA)? 

As a result of the cancellation of the third grade ELA test, the district will be using data collected from screening, diagnostic, and progress monitoring assessments prior to March 16, 2020, to make promotion and retention decisions. For students who do not qualify for automatic promotion based on prior assessments or under a good cause exemption, a Student Reading Proficiency Team (SRPT) will be convened virtually to make decisions about promotion or retention. 

I have an 8th-grade student. How will they receive their letter of English proficiency so that they can obtain their driving permit?  

While Oklahoma law requires students to successfully complete the reading portion of the eighth-grade English language arts (ELA) assessment in order to apply for a driver license or permit, the State Board of Education voted on March 25, 2020, to allow the state to provide a medical exemption for this requirement. At this time it is our understanding that this exemption will satisfy the requirements of the law. 

Students wishing to take the driver exam should be aware that the Department of Public Safety (DPS) has instituted the following restrictions: all driving skills tests have been canceled; only 10 customers are allowed in an office at one time, and every customer must have an appointment. For further information, call the DPS at 405-425-2424.  

Will my child be automatically promoted to the next grade or will they have to do their current grade again next year? And how will report card grades be determined?

Pending EPS Board action declaring March 13th as the last day of this academic year, the cumulative grades the students were carrying as of March 13th – or after they have submitted missing, late, or supplementary work – will be their grade for the semester. 

For elementary and middle school, students will be promoted to the next grade unless the teacher and the parent decide together that retention is needed.  Even so, this would be based on past student performance, not because of the school closure. Report card grades will be determined based on the student’s performance in the first nine weeks of the second semester.

For high school students, grade classification and matriculation is determined based on credits earned.  Any course that has a passing grade at the time of the school closure will result in an earned credit. 

Will free meals continue beyond Friday, April 3? 

Yes, carry away meals will continue to be provided at several locations within the district each day.  Breakfast and lunch are available for pick up.  Please check the district website for locations and times for meal drop off.

Will my high school junior be required to take the U.S. History test?

No, the state Education Department has received a federal waiver for state standardized testing.   

Will my child still be able to take the free ACT offered to all juniors?

All state-required testing has been waived for this year.  No state testing including the free ACT is going to be given.  Keep in mind, if you qualify for free and reduced meals, you can qualify for free ACT testing on the National testing dates.  If you need more information on this, email your child’s high school counselor.

Can concurrent enrollment courses continue? 

Possibly, depending on arrangements with the particular higher education partner. Concurrent enrollment classes are primarily designed and operated through the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. The State Board of Education decision prohibits instructional activities conducted by or on the property of an accredited public school. This prohibition does not extend to instructional activities by an institution of higher education that is not conducted on the property of an accredited public high school. Concurrent students should contact their concurrent instructor for directions on continuing the concurrent course.

Will classes continue at Francis Tuttle? 

The Francis Tuttle Board is meeting this week to make decisions as well.  Edmond Public Schools cannot answer questions for Francis Tuttle or tell you how they plan to proceed.  We will forward any communication we receive from Francis Tuttle to our parents.  

What does this mean for my AP Student?

College Board has adjusted the AP tests and is allowing students to test online at home.  College Board is also releasing resources to AP students April 3rd.  All of this information and more can be found on the College Board website.  

AP teachers will be reaching out to AP students directly to guide them to these resources.  

Will graduation ceremonies be held?  

Unfortunately, the traditional graduation ceremony, typically held at the Cox Convention Center, is very unlikely this year due to the predicted lingering dangers of exposure to COVID-19 and current prohibitions against the gathering of large crowds in public venues.  Assuming this situation continues into mid-May, conversations are in progress to arrange a unique opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of the Class of 2020. More information on graduation 2020 will be available soon. 

What happens to students eligible for special education services when school is canceled for all students due to COVID-19? 

The State Department of Education is reviewing issues for students with special education needs and will be providing additional guidance. We will share that when it is available. 

This is an unprecedented situation, and it has required an unprecedented response. We can still take care of our students, though. Edmond is a community that sticks together in challenging times, and we know this experience will be no different. 

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