Distance Learning Plan - Special Considerations for Student Success

Details on the special considerations for student success with distance learning

Special Considerations for Student Success with Distance Learning

The distance learning plan is designed with students’ needs in mind. Special considerations are embedded to support students with disabilities and English Learners, as well as technology access needs and the social-emotional needs of all students. 


Learning Supports for Students with Disabilities

The current reality of school closures has resulted in an unprecedented situation with special impacts for students receiving special education services. The Department of Special Services has published:

Distance learning includes a mix of activities completed online and off the computer. Some students need the support of a caregiver to complete the activities provided each week. When developing activities, teachers are encouraged to keep in mind some of the following principles of universal design for learning that will allow for greater access by all students. 

  • Adaptable – Activities accommodate a wide range of individual preferences and abilities. 
  • Simple and Intuitive – Activities are easy to understand. 
  • Flexible – Activities provide multiple ways for students to demonstrate knowledge. 

Information on strategies to make learning activities accessible, including available technology tools,  was made available in supplemental learning packets mailed to families of students with disabilities and posted to FCPS 24-7 Blackboard. Questions regarding provision of available accommodations during school closure should be directed to the student’s case manager or 504 School-Based Coordinator. 

FCPS is providing weekly learning packets that are distributed by mail and posted electronically for all students, PreK through grade 8, as one part of the Distance Learning Plan. This includes students accessing adapted curriculum and early childhood curriculum. The Office of Special Education Instruction also provided supplemental learning packets for all students with disabilities accessing the general curriculum at the beginning of distance learning. Packets distributed to students with disabilities through the end of the 2019-20 school year are described below. Additional packets will be provided for students with disabilities though the summer months, including students participating in Extended School Year services. 

Students with Disabilities Accessing the Early Childhood Curriculum (Weekly, PreK) 

  • Instructional activities for children ages 2-5 that increase in skill levels and move children toward stronger understanding and greater independence in the learning process 
  • Activities for students to practice and apply skills while supporting their need for engagement, critical thinking, and movement 

Students with Disabilities Accessing an Adapted Curriculum (Weekly, K-12) 

  • Instructional activities for students in grades K-12 include math, reading, movement, and science/social studies activities, along with other important work and home skills 
  • All activities have communication skills embedded within the activity to assist students with learning how to communicate in a variety of settings 

Students with Disabilities Accessing the General Curriculum (Two Supplemental Resource Packets, K-8) 

  • Strategies to support learning for all students, including quick tips for reinforcement, routines, and social skills 
  • Instructional strategies to support reading, writing, and math activities 
  • Students with disabilities accessing the general curriculum in grades K-8 will receive this packet in addition to a packet containing general education activities


Supports for English Learners (ELs)

English Learners receive access to the same high-quality grade-level instruction as all FCPS students. ELs participate in grade-level instruction and activities as well as engage in daily English Language Development (ELD) activities to simultaneously develop English language proficiency, content understandings, and Portrait of a Graduate attributes.

It is important for students to read, write, speak, and listen to English every day. ELD distance learning resources incorporate a variety of reading, writing, listening, and speaking activities. The Office of ESOL Services is collaborating with the subject-area teams to create accessible curriculum materials. A variety of supplemental learning packets for English Learners are also available through the end of the 2019-20 school year, including:

  • Weekly high school English Language Development packets 
  • Weekly Spanish translated content in PreK
  • English Language Development resources for grades 3-12 students identified with limited or interrupted formal education
  • Spanish translated content in grades K-2

Additional packets will be provided to support English Learners through summer months. 

Teachers intentionally scaffold content and amplify language and literacy that link to resources for planning distance learning for ELs. Teachers ensure access and culturally responsive learning that recognizes students’ background knowledge, language, and experiences as assets.

ESOL teachers  are available to provide support and  are reaching out to students and families. English Learners and families also receive support from school-based Parent Liaisons. Additionally, FCPS provides Parent Information Phone Lines for families who speak a language, other than English. Phone responders answer questions and connect families to resources.


Parent Information Phone Lines

አማርኛ (Amharic): 571-423-4957

한국어 (Korean): 571-423-4951

العربية (Arabic ): 571-423-4952

Español (Spanish): 571-423-4950

中文 (Chinese): 571-423-4953

اردو (Urdu): 571-423-4955

فارسی (Farsi): 571-423-4954

Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese): 571-423-4956

Social-Emotional Supports for Student Learning 

School Counselors, School Psychologists, and School Social Workers are available to support students, families, and staff during distance learning. They are supporting students, families, and staff in many of the same ways as they did prior to distance learning but using different strategies to make connections and provide resources and support. 

Schools are also continuing social-emotional learning and mental wellness during distance learning.  

  • Learning activities addressing social and emotional skills and mental wellness topics are embedded in instruction to include school counseling and Health and PE lessons/activities.
  • Consultation for teachers is provided to support students’ social, emotional, and mental health needs in an instructional setting.
  • Individualized student and family support is available at all school levels to address social emotional learning, mental wellness, and access to basic needs.
  • Caregivers may schedule a 30-minute phone consultation with a school psychologist or school social worker, for either themselves or their middle or high school student. This is an opportunity for caregivers to receive guidance on how to support their student’s emotional well-being.  
  • Additional community resources to support mental health are available on the FCPS public webpage.  


 Digital Citizenship Reminders

In a distance learning environment, it is more important than ever to apply practices of good digital citizenship. Students have been learning digital citizenship in their courses all year, but reminders may be needed with the stresses of school closure. Adults and students both share a responsibility to model respect and polite, appropriate communication online. We can do our part to maintain a safe and productive digital community by helping each other recognize when our words or tone are perceived as harmful by others. Resources to support staff and families can be found on the FCPS Digital Citizenship webpage.


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