The AAPS Board of Education held a Planning Meeting on October 21. There is a full board study session tonight about the preparations of the buildings for return to school.
The meeting was focused on the 9 Assurances that the state requires the board to reconfirm every month along with updates to these items. These 9 Assurances will be presented for approval at the Board meeting on October 28.
The district has made some changes to the assessment testing plan. The changes are for grades K-2 due to difficulties of the NWEA being administered via audio and not allowing another open window for a connection to the teacher in case of technical difficulties.
The district renewed its commitment to students with disabilities. They are fulfilling IEPs everywhere they can with virtual services. When hybrid starts, these students may receive additional face to face in person days.
There was discussion on what the two way interaction required by the state was vs student engagement. Two way interaction replaces saying present at roll call. Engagement is measured through regular interaction – class discussion threads, submitting assignments, check out tickets, class interaction, etc.
They are working to address screentime and workload issues. Today as the first asynchronous Wednesday that the K-8s did not start with a synchronous meeting. They do have parents providing feedback from both camps – longer school days and more work vs. less screentime/work and shorter days. It is particularly an issue with hyper-competitive high schoolers who are worried about GPAs and building their resume of classes.
The AAPS website lists the meeting as starting at 11:30a. I had a moment of panic at 11:20a when I realized the agenda on Board Docs listed it as starting at 11am. But the Zoom link confirmed the 11:30a start time.
Board: Kelly, Gaynor, Johnson
AAPS: Osinski (Board Secretary), Swift, Linden
There was no public commentary at this meeting.
At last week’s board meeting, I found it best to just provide a link to full public commentary once it is added to Board Docs. The comments read aloud at the meeting are typically truncated due to time and read very quickly making it hard to take notes. Sharing the link to the full to the full comments provides a more accurate capture of the public commentary.
AAPS Extended Continuity of Learning Updates
Every month the district must present the Extended Continuity of Learning Updates and monthly the Board now needs to confirm the delivery of the instruction. It is on the agenda for October 28 full board meeting. There are 9 assurances that have to be walked through each month.
Today they are providing updates to the plan. For example, this is the first Wednesday that K-=8 don’t have a synchronous meeting t o start the day. This was based on parent feedback. For example, we were concerned about NWEA especially for K & 1. An adjustment has been made.
1 – District Continuity of Learning Plan is Public
The district has it available on the website.
2 – Assessments Data Posted
Commitment to post results of assessments by 2/1 and by the end of the year. No update, it hasn’t been administered yet.
3 – Benchmark Assessments.
These are required by legislation in the first 9 weeks of school. It is not an option for AAPS. AAPS plans to use NWEA.
Update: K-2 reading assessment is delivered via audio and can only be done by a locked down browser – so students couldn’t also be in live Zoom with teacher. And if a tech glitch happened they couldn’t get help. Exit, and get back in to a Zoom/meet with teacher. K2 reading assessments will be made using locally identified and standards-aligned benchmark. They will use the Lexia Placement Test. It is embedded in existing systems and takes 10-15 minutes in the traditional reading learning block.
For K-1 math, students will be assessed with a locally created assessment aligned to standards and Everyday Mathematics program. This can happen in the traditional math learning block in small groups.
Second grade math will use NWEA which is not audio and doesn’t require the locked down browser.
Gaynor: Is there any way to prevent kids getting help from parents.
Linden: No, we can’t prevent it. We can advise families to not help with answers – just tech issues.
Gaynor: So if we are in person for spirng assessemnts it won’t be comparing apples to apples.
4 – Equitable Access & Academic Standards at Each Grade Level
Update: 348 hotspots have been delivered to families and 18 families have received direct assistance in Comcast Essential Sponsorship connections. AAPS is covering the $10/month cost for qualified families. Reach out to 734-997-1222, Jason Kitchen is the Comcast Specialist. He is answering from 1-7:30p M-Th & 1-5p on Friday. Leave a message at other times.
Devices: 16,650 devices distributed to students and continue to distribute as needed.
Swift: Principals meetings the last two days and while we hear about surges in infection rates we also hear about late surge of families who thought their tech plan was robust, but are realizing they need more. Better device, more internet, etc to make sure a child can truly participate in class
5 – Health Department and District developing metrics for return to school.
This was updated at October 14
6 – When it is safe to return, it must prioritize return to K-5.
They showed a similar graphic of the staged return plan. To recap Stage 1 return is PreK, Y5-K-1-2 plus students with special needs in grades K-12.
7 – Assurances of Review
Board will meet regularly to review the assurances monthly.
8 – Students with Disabilities
Ensure that students with disabilities are provided with equitable access. But in a virtual environments there are some needs we can’t meet. But we are working to provide every possible virtual support available. They are working to implement IEP and Good Faith Effort Continuity of Learning Plan.
Swift: We are enhancing delivery of virtual right now. Making sure that i as strong as it can be. Even though skills like scissoring can’t really be delivered virtually, all IEPs are being attended to at the greatest extent possible.
Small groups will be provided when we can. We are concerned with current data on cases. Students who are most impacted will get additional in person face to face time. They may get 3-4 days during hybrid which calls for 2 days for most students.
Gaynor: I was told Good Faith option expired in June, does it matter as you’re assuring us you are doing everything possible. Second, parents of studenst with IEP who feel it is not beign met, what should they do?
Swift: They should do exactly what we do during school. Communicate directly (phone, email) with their case manager at their school. We do want to hear about it. Next steps is Principal, assisatnt direcgor of SpEd, Dr Fidician, and Ms Linden if needed. When I get the email I send itt ot he person closest tot he issue to make sure it is addressed.
Linden: On the first question, the GFECLP during March-June was a particular period of time. We started this fall with the intent of delivering as written and only when they can’t b e implemented as written would we switch to a new version of GFECLP. It’s not our first choice to use it.
Johnson: Which services do we offer outside of AAPS – ie private schools and to what extent is it being delviered there vs. AAPS.
Swift: We are rquired to offer special eduation services to every tchild who lives in our service area – charters and private school students as well.
Linden: Just as in brick & mortar, we have AAPS staff assigned to work at non-AAPS those services remain virtual because AAPS is virtual.
Kelly: I appreciate it is IEP first and GFECLP is only when IEP is literally impossible
PA306 (3rd grade reading law) rquires assessemnts off an approved list. Is the Lexia placement test an approved assessemnt or at least do as good a job.
Linden: There are other assessments there that are approved. I would say it is as good. The challenge for us is making good decisions based on assessment delivered virtually. We will not make decisions based on these
Third grade reading law we are using our most recent information when we left school in March. Challenge is new students & K since we don’t have that data and are using various assessments.
Kelly: With the littlest ones that we hope to catch with early assessments, we aren’t making decisions about retention but can we make decision on differentiated literacy efforts. I don’t want them to get lost.
Linden: We are proceeding with caution and desire not to lose students. The board approved MyOn system is a big part of that. We can assess and monitor how students are approaching reading. That allows more differentiated instruction. At the elementary level we have reading specialist at every school who are providing support.
Kelly: Parents are there every day now and can see that their child is struggling. Parents can also bring to teacher and request additional help or evaluations.
Linden: We don’t want any family to feel their child is falling behind or not able to keep out. In addition to reading specialists there are other support members in the school to help parents. Professional development is weekly in virtual to help teachers work better with the virtual environment.
Kelly: These two questions are more about the district than the students? Does the state know what it is going to do with evaluation results this year? Do we know what we’re going to do when we know it won’t be apples to apples. How will we use that as it relates to student growth for staff evaluations.
Swift: I want to note that the MyOn is academic reading materials that students engage in with classroom and teacher. It is on the student’s device.
Linden: MyOn gives students access to books at certain levels or letter combination, or other reading focus area. 8009 students logged in last time I checked. That’s most of Y5-5th. There were 12000 books read.
Swift: We were grateful that state superintendent and Gov Whitmer asked federal authorities for reprieve, but it was denied by secretary of education. That is why we are administering them. We have not had clarification on how the state will use these results. We know in the district that the best assessment is the watchful eye of the teacher and parent. Our teachers will continue to use classrooms strategies for seeing exactly where kids are in literacy development. They’ll use that along with the blunt instrument of the assessment tool.
9 – Ensure 2 Way interactions
The state requires meeting 75% of students having a two way interaction between teacher and student.
A detailed update was shared at the October 14. We are above 90% every day.
Continuity of Learning Plan
Dr Swift reminded that the full 250+ page is on the district’s website. The August extension requires this extended continuity learning plan to be approved by the board each month. The confirmation vote is not necessarily on the entirety of the plan, but the continuance of instruction int he model that is described for that particular month.
Johnson: Clarification on the 2 way interaction. For the public, what does that constitute? Does logging in count? As an extension, I have heard ocmplaints abou thte lenght of the school day or screen time. Can you speak to requirements.
Swift: Two way communication and data reported is ensuring connection. It is attendance. That represents only one point of spectrum when we talk about engagement. We are doing class activities in Zoom. Did they go into the discussion group, answer in white board, did they complete a checkout ticket. All the things you do in class, we are monitoring to see student is participating. We have gotten email that folks are concerned that we think 2 way communication is the entire task. But it isn’t. That’s equal to saying Present to attendance. Beyond that we have artifacts of work submitted, evidence of participation, ongoing grades for work submitted, etc. That all continues and we look forward to providing evidence of participation.
Some folks are concerned we don’t require cameras on at all times. That is an equity and privacy issue. Some worry it means student isn’t engaging, but there are ways to see students are engaging even when they are not visible.
Johnson: About the lenght of school day and screntime. A parent cabout the tension who says it is toomuch screen time vs parents who if they aren’t on the full day they aren’t learning. But there are efficientices in virtual that you can cover more in less time.Can you prvide more detail on what state rquires.
Linden: We’ve detailed how our virtual content will be delivered. That’s what is required by the state. We set up learning blocks so students only had to attend 3 classes at secondary level a day. Within blocks of learning there is some flexibility based on the lesson itself. One class period might bye heavy on direct instruction because a unit launches, but the second and third might be less direct instruction and more teamwork.
We are shearing similar things. Families feel work is pretty heavy especially on asynchronous Wednesday. We are hearing that. And trying to provide patience and grace and flexibility to teachers. It’s ok if you need to slow down and give families and students a break.
Kelly: Building off that, there is is a high school question. They are a competitive group and many are concerned about GPA and post-high school plans. What can we say to these students who are in the competitive experience, and want high GPA, robust transcript, and this is really hard. It seems more of a tension this year. What do we say about GPAs & self-care.
Swift: It’s a challenging balance. I got a lengthy email from a high school junior who it is just too much. I’m seeing number of high school students now taking an additional course to A2Virtual in addition tot he 6. I understand their commitment to use COVID time to make sure they’re moving forwards. But we’re concerned how it takes more effort.
It is encouraging to see universities offering admission without test submissions. What can we do with high school students struggling with balance?
Kelly: Maybe assurances to students when you’re looking at a 14 hour Wednesday. How can we adjust to a 12 hour day instead of a 14 hour. I think the more clarity we can get around grading and what it means to our competitive students.
Johnson: Even at collegiate level, they are learning to flex with this. Not just in admission but also in learning process.I personally encourage students and teachers to breakdown traditional hierarchy. It’s ok to talk to teacher or principal. Be willing to speak up. If everyone is willing to speak up a little, we have a better picture at the top to make it better.
Linden: Our secondary teams are working on that. What grading looks like in virtual world, Also maintaining our exceptional standards, and finding balance between what students and teachers can handle right now. Just as we’re adjusting scope and sequence, it is a 3-4 year continuous process not just this year.
Swift: In some situations with the College Board and administration of AP tests, what we hear from students, families, and teachers, is College Board isn’t relaxing that assessments.
Kelly: There are ripple effects down the road. For example you used to need SAT as a junior to graduate in Michigan. That has been relaxed.
Swift: Next step is this will move to October 28 board meeting for confirmation. And we will reiterate this is continuation of virtual learning or transition to hybrid. We don’t know where we will be next week.
Kelly: Tonight’s study session will be looking at building work to ensure buildings are ready when we move to hybrid.
Gaynor: I know we can’t predict, but any sense on how long study session presentations are tonight?
Swift: We went through last night and we try to finish our part in 30-45 minutes and figure to double with questions and discussions. I would guess 90 minutes-2 hours.
Gaynor: How do we look for public comments toight?
Osinski: We have 3.