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ANDOVER PUBLIC SCHOOLS
AT HOME LEARNING PLAN FOR APS FAMILIES
April 3, 2020
On March 25, 2020 Governor Baker announced that public and private schools in Massachusetts must remain closed for in-person instruction until Monday, May 4 in order to prevent further spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). On Monday, March 30th, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) commissioner distributed a message to all district families in Massachusetts public schools. To view this message in Spanish, please click here.
In his message, DESE Commissioner Riley shared his guidance to districts in supporting our students during the closure. DESE’s recommendations are guided by three core beliefs: 1) Health, safety, and wellness are top priorities, 2) Districts should be mindful of equity concerns and work to reduce the potential disproportionate impact on our most vulnerable populations, 3) Districts’ commitment to maintain connections between school staff and students and help all students continue their learning.
With these beliefs in mind, the guidance from DESE recommended a remote learning model that was characterized by the following:
In Andover Public Schools, we have separated the phases of closure by the Governor into phase 1 and phase 2.
At all levels, PK-12, a student’s engagement and learning are strongly encouraged. At the elementary and middle school levels, learning will not be graded during the phase 1 and phase 2 periods of district closure. At the high school level, course work during quarter 4 will be evaluated on a pass/pass incomplete basis and students will receive comments of Pass/Exceeds Expectations, Pass/Meets Expectations, or Pass/Incomplete. Please see section Andover High School: Quarter 3 & 4 for more detail.
APS cares deeply about equitable learning opportunities for all students. To support our students, the district is making devices available to families upon their request. Teachers are designing learning activities that include teacher instruction, as well as independent learning activities that students can accomplish on their own. During phase 2, the At-Home Learning Activities page will remain available, offering PK-12 enrichment learning opportunities that are updated regularly. We are inviting and welcoming family feedback on how we can support students’ academic and social-emotional needs at home throughout the closure.
WHAT CAN APS FAMILIES ANTICIPATE FROM THEIR TEACHERS DURING PHASE 2?
SUPPORTING AT-HOME LEARNING THROUGH TECHNOLOGY
The APS Digital Learning team has curated a collection of applications and learning platforms to help teachers share, connect, and engage with content with students at home. Although there are many ways to accomplish remote learning, the most common tools APS teachers will use are Flipgrid, Google Classroom, Google Sites, Google Slides, Google Meet, Padlet, and Seesaw. Students can access online learning resources through the APS ClassLink Portal, which connects students with our suite of learning applications. How-to instructions have been made available for parents on the At-Home Learning Website, under parent resources. If you need additional help, you can contact your building’s Digital Learning Specialist or email email@example.com.
VIDEO PERMISSION FOR STUDENTS
Andover Public Schools will utilize online resources to provide educational support to students. These resources include, where appropriate, video conferencing between educators and classes, as well as with small groups and individual students.
APS has asked families to log onto the Family Connection portal accessible through ASPEN, in order to review a video permission form that allows teachers to connect with students. In ASPEN, this form will be in the same portal parents and guardians use to register new students or complete “back to school” forms. Teachers will be able to view these permissions in ASPEN.
While we encourage our staff to use live conferencing when they find it appropriate, as we enter phase 2 of our At-Home learning plan, faculty members will now have the option to not record these sessions.
Additionally, if a student does not have permission to participate in live-interactive video class, other methods will be determined by the student’s teacher to provide access to activities.
THE OFFICE OF STUDENT SERVICES
The Office of Student Services is committed to doing everything possible to overcome the barriers presented by this situation. Much in the same way the educational experience and time on learning has changed for regular education students, time on learning and services have had to change for students with special needs as well. Over the next few days, student services staff will be contacting every family to get your input on the most critical goals and services on which to target an individualized home learning plan. Services on the at-home learning plan cannot replicate services provided in a full day of school by direct intervention from a team of specialists, but we will provide a combination of supports carefully targeted toward maintaining critical skills and advancing new learning as is feasible.
Student services teachers will provide some interventions via adaptive software, some through virtual class activities, and some through the at-home learning digital content sent home every week (with accommodations or multiple entry points). Some students may continue to receive specialized contracted services through teletherapy or phone consultation, and other students may need individualized learning materials sent home for more hands-on applications. The student services team has prepared a District remote learning plan as a companion to this document. The plan is on a website so that families can translate the pages and view some of the learning applications and tools described in the plan. Student Services’ families are invited to visit the Andover Student Services At-Home Learning Plan website to view the District plan.
Shawsheen Preschool will follow the Student Services At-Home Learning Plan. Shawsheen families will be contacted for input into the development of individualized at home learning plans. Families with children receiving clinic-only services will also be contacted to determine a time for consultative services from our speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists. Shawsheen School families are invited to visit the Student Services PreK and Andover Student Services At-Home Learning Plan website.
ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS (K-5)
Elementary teachers will provide up to three hours each day of teacher-directed and student self-selected learning activities. This is equivalent to approximately 30-minutes of learning in each content area daily. A teacher-directed activity may include a posted activity such as a reading task or problem-solving that the teacher would like all students to complete, whereas a student self-selected activity is when a student chooses learning activities from a choice board or menu.
Priority standards across all content standards have been determined from the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. These select standards will be the common instructional focus for all K-5 students during the period of district closure.
Each Friday at 3:00 p.m., an elementary APS At-Home Learning Template will be e-mailed by the student’s classroom teacher home to students’ families. This template will list the priority standards for the week, as well as the corresponding instructional activities. Resources and web links will be provided on the template.
Teachers will continue to utilize online means of connecting with their students, which may include applications such as SeeSaw, Google Classroom, Google Sites, Google Chat and Google Meet, as examples. A sample schedule will be provided to parents/guardians as only one suggestion of how a student’s learning day could be organized. This schedule will be distributed with Friday’s weekly email.
To support students, teachers may integrate video class meet-up opportunities and outdoor activities, for example, to help promote connection and wellness.
Student work that is completed and submitted to the teacher will be acknowledged and given feedback. At this time elementary student grades will reflect student progress only up until March 13, 2020.
Parent/teacher conferences that were originally scheduled for March/April 2020 will no longer take place. Instead, elementary teachers will reach out to parents by telephone or e-mail to be of support during this district closure period.
MIDDLE SCHOOLS (6-8)
Middle school teachers will provide up to three hours each day of teacher-directed and student self-selected learning activities. This is equivalent to approximately 30-minutes of learning in each content area daily. A teacher-directed activity may include a teacher posted activity such as a reading task or problem-solving that the teacher would like all students to complete, whereas a student self-selected activity is when a student chooses learning activities from a choice board or menu.
Priority standards across all content standards have been determined from the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. These select standards will be the common instructional focus for all students in grades 6-8 during the period of district closure.
Teachers will continue to utilize online means of connecting with their students, which may include applications such as Google Classroom, Google Sites, Google Chat, Google Meet, and Padlet, as examples. On Monday morning of each week, middle school teachers will provide learning and a suggested schedule for the week that integrates the priority standards.
Similar to the elementary school, middle school teachers may integrate video class meet-up opportunities and outdoor activities, for example, to help promote connection and wellness.
Term 2 for all middle schools closed on March 13, 2020. Teachers will enter grades in ASPEN through April 6, and grades will be available to students on April 8. IEP progress reports will be mailed home. In Term 3, all student learning activities are voluntary, but strongly encouraged. Student work that is completed and submitted to the teacher will be acknowledged and given feedback. Middle school teachers will be available to parents/guardians for questions through APS e-mail.
ANDOVER HIGH SCHOOL (9-12)
At-Home Learning Schedule: