Authored by Laura Lewis, ESOL teacher in Albemarle County and VATESOL Secretary.
Albemarle County Public Schools
We closed abruptly Friday, March 13th. The principal got on the loudspeaker and told everyone that school was closed for the next two weeks. Our spring break is April 6 to 10.
By the end of the next week, we had our first Zoom faculty meeting at which our principal shared the county plan: check and connect, a program based out of Wisconsin. Each teacher took their homeroom as their "case load." We contacted each family to check on their status - how were they, did they have enough food, did their student have a charger and school computer, do they have Internet access, etc. We were told that the two weeks leading up to spring break would be a time to post enrichment and review activities that could be downloaded or worked on offline. Some teachers had the foresight to send home packets with students.
Last week, the Superintendent revealed the instructional support plan for after our spring break. We will have "online" school for 6 weeks from April 13 to May 22. During this time, teachers are to create learning modules and choose two to five key concepts to build these modules around. All work will be pass/fail. The idea is to look at what standards you have covered and what standards you have not covered and then choose two to five of these standards. All work will be posted on Schoology. Content area teachers are to create two hours of instruction per week. This should be reflected in the modules so that students can work at their own pace and schedule to take into consideration family constraints. Exploratory teachers (art, music, drama, technology, Spanish, band) can post one hour of work per week.
We are now pulling into PLC (professional learning community) groups and using Zoom to meet weekly as a PLC to build these modules in addition to a weekly faculty meeting to check-in. We are responsible for contacting our homeroom families once a week via email, text, or phone call as part of the continuation of the check and connect program.
What is your district doing to support students, especially English learners, during this unprecedented time?
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