What students, families and staff members experienced between mid-March and the end of the school year was not true virtual learning. Like all school divisions, Chesterfield County Public Schools was doing all that was possible to pivot in an unexpected new learning landscape while remaining in compliance with state recommendations at that time (i.e. no grades).
School division leaders have been working diligently to plan for a variety of instructional options in advance of the start of the 2020-21 school year. Chesterfield County Public Schools has a long-standing investment in and commitment to the infrastructure, device access, instructional resources, and sustained teacher training required for blended and online learning.
Since mid-March, the Superintendent’s leadership team has acted deliberately to “future-proof” the school division so that it is able to serve families whether students are learning from within our buildings or learning from home. The school division has increased device and Internet access, acquired key instructional applications, and provided a multitude of professional learning opportunities for our teachers to make sure they are comfortable and confident with best practices in virtual learning
With different expectations, the fall learning environment will look significantly different from the spring. Attendance will be taken, participation will be expected, assignments will be submitted and graded, assessments will be given and teacher check-ins with students will be required and monitored. Schedules will be developed at the elementary and secondary levels that are age appropriate, yet learning will remain flexible for families who will not have the ability to support their children during normal school hours. The school division also has been in touch with licensed daycare providers throughout Chesterfield County to determine their ability to support virtual classwork from their facilities.
Based on the various scenarios discussed, here are some definitions to help explain what learning opportunities might look like in various phases:
Virtual learning: Learning is delivered entirely online to students, with Chesterfield County classroom teachers assigned to support students through 100 percent virtual lessons. Students do not physically attend school. Beyond instruction, teachers will support student success in a multitude of ways including scheduled virtual meetings, taking attendance, and grading work. Also, the elementary and secondary experience is different in virtual learning, due to the difference in independence and maturity levels of students.
CCPSOnline: This established Chesterfield County program offers all courses necessary for high school graduation completely online and is being expanded to include middle school courses required for grade level promotion. This virtual structure gives students the opportunity to accelerate through courses and gives maximum schedule flexibility for the student. Through this program, Chesterfield County online teachers facilitate courses, provide instruction, and monitor student progress by leveraging our Canvas learning management system, as well as courseware aligned to the Virginia Department of Education Standards of Learning.
Hybrid plan: Students return to school for in-person learning within the classroom on defined days, changing classes at the secondary level. During the days when they are not present for in-person instruction, they are given assignments to reinforce the learning from the in-person days. Students are assigned to work with classroom teachers while in school, but would not have access to a teacher during the school day on days when the student is working from home. In the hybrid model, on distance learning days, students will independently work on engaging learning applications like MyOn, Lexia, and DreamBox at the elementary level to build literacy and math skills. At the secondary level, they will be working in courseware like ALEKS, Edgenuity and teacher-designed online work.
In-person learning: Students return to school for instruction within the classroom. Students are assigned to work with a classroom teacher(s). Students at the elementary level would not change classrooms, and resource classes may be held within the homeroom. Students at the secondary level, would change classes.
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