Elementary School (K-4) Continuity of Education plan

Letter from Principal Mendenhall.

March 30, 2020

Dear Families of our Elementary Students:

I hope this finds you are doing well and are in good health during this unexpected period. I’d like to share some updates regarding instruction and expectations in terms of distance learning. Governor Wolf announced this afternoon that schools are closed indefinitely. Thus, schools will need to move forward with distance learning or online learning. Today starts the first day of distance learning at WPSD. All of you should have received information as to what to expect with distance learning. The lessons and activities provided will allow for continuity of education, including learning of essential skills and standards. While your child is working on activities provided by their classroom teachers, please do know they should not be working more than 2 hours per day on these activities. It is recommended that breaks are given in between activities to allow students to decompress and transition from one activity to the next. We understand that this is an adjustment period for families, staff, and the students themselves. We will do all we can to ensure every student is successful in completing expectations set forth by classroom teachers.

Our teachers have worked extremely hard, have been creative, and have taken risks in developing lessons and activities for students all while keeping in mind the unique learning needs of each individual student. Lessons and activities developed for this week will provide students with the opportunity to review prior course content so students can be refreshed and get acquainted with the online format.

Beginning on Monday, April 6th, we will begin planned instruction, which aligns with the state standards and will allow for your child to continue to learn and master skills and standards. More information about the new schedule will be shared later this week. Distance learning is new to all of us, and we will learn and grow together. Please do not hesitate to contact either myself or our teachers to provide feedback as we work to customize plans and activities to meet the needs of our students. Our teachers are generally available for you anytime between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. You are instrumental in your child’s learning, and we look forward to taking advantage of this opportunity by strengthening our collaboration with one another.

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

Always Remember, Never Forget, WPSD Is #1!

Greg Mendenhall
Principal
Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf
gmendenhall@wpsd.org

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  • Guidelines
    • Instruction
      • Daily, teachers will issue 2-3 core academic activities/assignments (i.e., English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies).
      • Daily, 1-2 activities/assignments will be issued to address Special courses (e.g., American Sign Language, Digital Literacy, Drama, Library, 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.
      • Beginning on March 30th, teachers will develop enrichment and review activities/assignments that allow parents/guardians and students to become comfortable with the distance learning format.
        • Beginning the week of April 6th, teachers will begin developing planned instructional activities/assignments that are aligned with the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s standards. However, if it is determined that parents/guardians and students require more time to adjust to the distance learning model and online components, then activities/assignments assigned during the week of April 6th-13th may also be enrichment/review.
      • Some assignments will be submitted electronically. Some assignments/activities will be collected once school reopens. Some assignments/activities will be “collected” via the parents/guardian or student sending a picture or video. Some assignments/activities will be “collected” during conversations between the teacher(s), parents/guardians, and students.
      • Activities/assignments assigned between March 30th and April 6th will not be graded. Beginning April 6th, all activities/assignments assigned will be graded. However, if it is determined that parents/guardians and students require more time to adjust to the distance learning model and online components, then activities/assignments assigned during the week of April 6th-13th may also not be graded.
      • 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 in grades 3 and 4 are provided with a Chromebook to access and complete activities/assignments from home.
      • Alternate methods, such as printed packets of activities/assignments, will be provided to students in grades K-2, students who do not have access to internet services at home, and/or students for whom completing activities/assignments using a Chromebook is deemed inappropriate.
      • Online Platform
        • Activities/assignments will be provided to students primarily using Google Classroom. Printed materials may still need to be mailed to a student’s home.
        • Communication with parents/guardians and students will occur using telephone calls, emails, text messages, and video conferencing technology, such as 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.
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