Are you wondering how Ann Arbor Public Schools will return to school in Fall 2020? We are sharing some notes from the district’s planning session with the trustees on May 20. We will update as more updates are provided through the school year..
I took a few notes during the Zoom presentation. My Zoom connection dropped a few times and I lost audio. Note: the meeting has gone on over 2 hours. I am publishing now with important information (and will be updating the last part later – it is dinner time). The full session will be available on the CTN site after the meeting.
The meeting started with a check-in to current situation – learning progress, meal distribution, technology supports, A few that I remember there have been over 250,000 meals distributed, 3000 devices distributed, and 10,000 technology support calls. I did not start taking notes until after this
Beginning Monday, August 31!. This was just announced at today’s meeting. Check out the full AAPS School Calendar for 2020-2021 (or at least what we know so far).
Spectrum of Learning
They are working on a plan that will be a spectrum from Modified Face to Face -> Blended – >Virtual.
Blended would be a combination of students in classroom and some children joining virtually at the same time.
A key element will be family choice. Families can pick the option that works for them (unless health conditions dictate otherwise). There will be the ability to quickly shift between options overnight. For example if a class or family has an exposure and needs to switch to virtual, the system will be in place to make the switch overnight.
I like that they are giving the family the option to select what works for them. However, a key to me is limiting the circle. I would be most comfortable sending my daughter back to school in a half-class on alternating days.
The district will continue all programming including visual/performing arts, PLTW/STEAM, Environmental Education, Career & Vocational Education.
Grade Level Standards
Are there expected to be changes to grade level expectations with the new learning method? They do expect the review period typical at the beginning of the school year will be longer in 2020-2021. They will redesign what needs to move from 2019-2020 to 2020-2021. They expect a 2 year process to catch up.
This is why they are looking to nimble support models since different kids will have different needs to catch up. The state of Michigan has not yet published adjusted reequirements
The district has assured that no model will mean 6-7 hours of screen time for students.
The district will be rolling out 1:1 Technology District Wide. With synchronous virtual learning siblings will not be able to share devices. (As an aside, this is also better for in-school use to not have children sharing devices).
Looking to purchase 12,000-12,500 Chromebooks from the 2018 Bond ($3.5 million). These would be new units that would have a 4-5 year life. They are looking at insurance options or warranties. But in at home use, they look at 10% breakage per year with a $50/$20/$0 based on income level.
Cyber Security & Support
They will be ensuring student privacy and system security. They are also moving to single sign-on so students don’t need different logins for each program being used.
Since online learning began, the district has fielded 10,000 support calls.
They discussed the new Schoology platform which will bring together multiple learning platforms in one system. I know the use of multiple systems has been a complaint of many parents, especially of early elementary students.
Use of both synchronous and asynchronous learning. Also the option for breakouts or whiteboard functionality.
They will be sharing best practices in online instruction across the district. Teachers are sharing with each other and what is working for their students.
Online Academic Skills Support
All students can have live online access to academic skills support like Dreambox and Lexia. This is a way to stay up to date over the summer and prevent summer learning loss.
Also, looking at providing lists of books that are available online through district accounts and Ann Arbor District Library.
Interventions & Tech-Based Support
With virtual platforms interventions can potentially be on-demand instead of scheduled to be more in demand. With previous in school model, these interventions were often scheduled
It is a priority to figure out how to provide child care. What the district provides will be bound by space and social distancing requirement. They are reimagining child care. Extensive documentation on child care is small groups with no mixing. With the numbers that AAPS has served over the years, this can be difficult, but they are striving to provide this in the fall.
Upcoming Sponsored Events
Extra Curricular & Travel
Extra-Curricular like sports, performing arts, and other clubs and social events are important experiences for classes. However, they will likely be deeply impacted by social distancing safeguards.
Student travel and field trips will likely be restricted through the 2020-2021 school year.
There will be no new foreign exchange students for the 2020-2021 school year. Those students on multi-year programs will remain.
Notes from May 20 Study Session
- Modified Face to Face -> Blended -> Virtual
- Learning in the fall will be synchronous whether modified face to face or virtual
- Key is family choice. You can choose which setting works for you up to state recommendations.
- Dial to be turned, not an on-off
- Ability to switch setting overnight – ie if a case at a school/class or a single family has exposure and needs to stay home
- 1:1 Technology District Wide
- Continue programming including:
- Visual/Performing Arts
- Environmental Education
- Career & Vocational Education
- Their own contact tracing within school communities. Allow real time updates
- Stacking Best Practices – different layers of safeguards
- Public Health
- School Day Processes
- Caring for students/staff who become symptomatic during the day
- Monitoring disease and exposure risk at both building and district levels
- Training & health education
They hope to the public health department on contact tracing. They have not yet committed. Even redeploying some AAPS staff to be trained as contact tracers when a case/exposure is discovered in the school.
Summer Learning Plans
Ann Arbor Public Schools held a Townhall meeting on Thursday, May 21 about summer plans. I know my daughter is wondering what she is going to do once school is over. The elementary game sounds great. I’d be signing her up if she was young enough. Instead as a high schooler she is taking a class with A2Virtual+