Reopening Schools Plan - Elements in Both Models
Details on the elements of the reopening schools plan that are found in both operational models
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Elements Present in All Reopening Options
However reopening looks on the first day of school and throughout the fall, some elements will be universally needed to support continuity of learning across FCPS.
Technology and Connectivity
In May, the School Board approved expanding the FCPSOn initiative to include all middle schools. This expansion is on top of current implementation at all high schools and means that every FCPS student in grades 7-12 will have access to a personally assigned FCPS-provided laptop for use at home and at school. New and redeployed laptops will also be available for elementary school students in grades PreK-6, as needed. Additionally, the division has purchased additional MiFi devices for distribution to families, when reliable home internet access is not available.
With guidance and support from the Superintendent’s Technology Advisory Council, FCPS is reviewing video-conference contracts and service level agreements. Priority is to ensure reliable vendor performance and a safe and secure virtual learning platform to support enhanced online instruction in 2020-21. FCPS also continues to partner with internet service providers to expand free and low-cost home service options in communities.
The focus for student assessments within all reopening plans will be to help staff identify students’ learning needs and plan for upcoming instruction. Assessments geared to this purpose will be prioritized in the division assessment program. This includes use of measures for division-level analysis of learning loss that can be attributed to extended school closures.
Resources and professional development will be provided for staff to support effective and appropriate assessment practices in an online learning environment, including limitations tied to test security in some cases. A new system of assessment by appointment will be implemented to ensure students participating in full-time online instruction can still access standardized assessments, such as federally required Standards of Learning (SOL) and English language proficiency exams.
Recognizing the challenges and limitations many students may have experienced with learning during spring 2020, FCPS is revising curriculum guides at elementary, middle, and high school levels to highlight essential standards for the grade level or course, as well as the prerequisite knowledge and skills learners need in order to be successful with new content. Updated curriculum guides and resources will offer strategies for staff to support learners with differing needs.
Whether learning takes place primarily in an online environment or face-to-face, expanded digital resources will ensure students have consistent access to high quality learning tools. Staff will continue to receive training and support in applying blended learning strategies, which involve a mix of teacher-directed and self-directed learning. Expanded digital reading materials and intervention supports at the elementary levels will enable students at these grades to benefit from supplemental learning tools beyond what their teachers provide on a daily basis.
Social Emotional Learning and Mental Health
The direct and indirect impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic are expected to have a lasting effect on students and staff. FCPS will reinforce and enhance curriculum and supports focused on social-emotional learning, relationship-building, and successful transitions to new schools, classrooms, and environments, whether in-person or through distance learning. Instructional staff will participate in a series of professional learning modules on social-emotional learning and mental health supports within reopening. A new wellness screener and improvements to mental health resources and partnerships within schools and the county will offer another critical layer of support for students, families, and staff.
Specific strategies will include:
- Morning meetings or check-ins, intervention blocks, and advisory periods used to provide instruction in social-emotional learning and relationship building.
- Clinical and counseling staff providing mental health support and resources, including group or individual counseling and consultation for students and families, as needed.
- Behavior intervention teachers, applied behavior analysis coaches, and school psychologists supporting students and caregivers with additional interventions and resources.
All learners will continue to require flexible and responsive support for their academic, behavioral, and wellness needs. FCPS has committed significant resources to support ongoing intervention services across 2020-21. Classroom teachers and support staff will receive professional development to plan and implement a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) reaching across synchronous and asynchronous instruction, in-person and online. Academic supports will provide focus and review of essential standards through whole-group and small-group instruction (Tier 1) and individual student intervention (Tiers 2 and 3). Schools will leverage resources and tools for systematic data collection, ongoing progress monitoring, and timely intervention. Support staff and resource teachers, including school counselors, psychologists, and social workers, will work flexibly across the school to address student needs.
Supports for Special Populations
Students with disabilities and English learners will be given special consideration to ensure appropriate instruction while complying with federal and state requirements.
- Students with Disabilities: Special education services for students with disabilities will include increased time for synchronous instruction and explicit expectations for greater consistency. Instructional delivery will be designed to ensure the least restrictive environment (LRE) as required by their IEP. As needed based on IEP goals, this will include in-person specialized instruction. Students will continue to receive access to instructional materials for use at home, as needed, including assistive technology tools. The student support model will be complemented by enhanced professional development for staff and training for caregivers. When necessary, virtual meetings will be used to convene special education procedural meetings, such as local screening committee, reevaluation, eligibility, IEP teams, etc.
- English Learners (ELs): English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) services for English learners will include a defined minimum time allocation for English language development (ELD) instruction within the student’s schedule, with opportunities for extended instructional time provided to recently arrived ELs, students with limited or interrupted formal education (SLIFE), and ELs identified for interventions. Formative ELD assessments will be created to assist monitoring of student progress in development of reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. Bilingual counseling, social work services, and psychology services will be available to support students’ social-emotional needs and academic advising. Family outreach and education will be provided to support families’ understanding of distance learning models and how to support their children’s learning.