Letter from Director of Early Childhood Programs

March 30, 2020

Dear Families:

I hope this finds you well and in good health during this unexpected and unprecedented time. Governor Wolf announced this afternoon that schools are now closed indefinitely. We miss our students terribly and wish, more than anything, that we were back in our classrooms. Today started the first day of distance learning for the programs of WPSD. All of you should have received information from the classroom teacher about weekly expectations and logging into Seesaw, our distance learning platform. The lessons and activities provided will allow for continuity of education, including learning of essential skills and early learning standards. These activities should be spaced throughout the day and are not intended to take more than 1.5 to 2 hours, collectively. Keep in mind that young children learn best when they are actively engaged – developmentally, their bodies are not made to sit for long periods of time. Remember, everything you do with your young child is a learning experience, so take advantage of these precious moments to take a walk, bake cookies together, go on a scavenger hunt… or snuggle up and read a book.

Our teachers have been hard at work developing activities for the students. You can expect that there will be a few live classes on Zoom or Google Meet each week as well as videos, resources and ideas for you to do together at home. In addition, the teacher will connect with you individually to address the unique learning needs of your child. Each teacher will have office hours daily during which time you can contact them through email, text, phone calls or video conferencing. Please keep in mind that this is new for all of us – we truly appreciate your patience as we navigate these uncharted waters together. We are truly excited to reconnect this week, we have missed you all!

Thank you for your continued support. Please stay safe and healthy!

Take care,

Carrie Rain
Director of Early Childhood Programs
Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf
crain@wpsd.org

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Guidelines

  • Instruction
    • Daily, teachers will issue 2-3 academic activities/assignments as well as resources to support learning at home
      Weekly, 1-2 activities/assignments will be issued to address Special courses (e.g., American Sign Language, Art, Computers, Drama, PE)
    • Instruction will be provided through a combination of asynchronous and synchronous methods
      Each issued activity/assignment should take no more than 20 minutes to complete.
    • Collectively, all activities/assignments should take approximately 1.5-2 hours to complete each day.
    • Teachers will develop activities/assignments that are aligned with the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards and support the use of the Creative Curriculum at home.
    • Regular attendance is vital to each child’s educational success. Daily student attendance will be monitored and recorded. The Programs of WPSD will continue to follow the requirements of the Pennsylvania Compulsory Attendance Law and the Pennsylvania Truancy Law.
  • Technology
    • Students are not provided with devices to access and complete activities/assignments from home.
    • Printed packets of activities/assignments will be provided to students who cannot access online classrooms in Class Dojo or Seesaw.
  • Online Platform
    • Activities/assignments will be provided to students primarily using platforms such as Google Classroom, Class Dojo, and Seesaw.
    • Printed materials will be mailed to students who cannot access online classrooms in Class Dojo or Seesaw.
    • Communication with parents/guardians and students will occur using telephone calls, emails, text messages, Class Dojo, and video conferencing technology, such as FaceTime, Google Meet, and Zoom.
  • Office Hours
    • Mondays-Thursdays: Teachers will provide at least two daily hours of office hours.
    • During this time, parents/guardians and students can contact the teacher using telephone calls, emails, text messages, and video conferencing technology, such as Google Meet and Zoom, to ask questions and to receive support to complete activities/assignments.
    • Fridays: Teachers will spend the day reaching out to parents/guardians and students to offer more individualized support.
  • Student Support
    • Related Service (e.g., Occupational Therapy, Orientation and Mobility, Physical Therapy, Speech/Language Therapy) will provide activities and resources for students to use during the week.
    • School counselors will be available for parents/guardians and students to contact with concerns.
      • Communication with parents/guardians and students will occur using telephone calls, emails, text messages, online platforms, such as Google Classroom, and video conferencing technology, such as Google Meet and Zoom.
      • Contact information:
    • Teachers will be provided with information about how to respond if a student were to make a comment or display behavior of concern.
    • Administrators will continue to monitor and respond to any tips reported through the Safe2Say Something program.
    • Printed and electronic information will be shared with parents/guardians in their primary language. In addition, live telephone call interpreting is available to support communication between parents/guardians and the school.
    • The Programs of WPSD will ensure that, to the greatest extent possible, each student be provided the special education and related services identified in his/her Individualized Education Program (IEP) plan.
©2010 Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (WPSD) All Rights Reserved.