Moving forward with instruction

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Team Chesterfield families,

Our school buildings may be closed and in-person teaching may have been stopped, but student learning opportunities continue.

We appreciate our families’ patience as we adapt to this temporary new norm and continue to receive updated guidance from the state. The Virginia Department of Education has encouraged local school divisions to identify content that had not been taught prior to school closure and develop a plan to incorporate missing content into learning opportunities for all students.

As such, Chesterfield County Public Schools has developed a continuity of instruction plan that will allow students to continue to be exposed to the scope of the curriculum initially laid out for them in September 2019. Our role now is to see that we continue to prepare students, to the best of our ability, for success in the 2020-21 academic year.

Developing and implementing a long-distance learning plan that will support nearly 63,000 students was a complex task. We acknowledge that there is no way to replicate the regular school day, and that online learning may not replace the outstanding high-quality, in-person instruction offered by our talented teachers.

Understanding that there are working families that may struggle to support student learning at home, students at home who need learning accommodations and students still developing English proficiency, the school division also is making plans for a more robust in-person summer school offering and working to see that critical instructional opportunities are provided early next school year. It is our intention that all students will have access to the same learning content in some manner.

We have considered and will utilize a variety of options to help learning continue throughout this spring, and remind families and students of our communication last night that work assigned from April 14 forward will not be graded. Much of this will occur virtually or via hard-copy packets of learning resources. Our learning plan takes into account the understanding that Team Chesterfield families and staff may face challenges while adapting to this new platform for teaching and learning. We believe that our anytime, anywhere approach to learning, coupled with our approach to allowing students to pace themselves, will help provide the flexibility necessary to meet students’ needs.

Team Chesterfield’s plan for virtual learning encourages teachers to

  • follow reasonable workload expectations for students;
  • take inventory of the curriculum covered to date and what still needs to be taught;
  • take inventory of the wide array of electronic resources that are available for teaching purposes;
  • engage students often;
  • provide meaningful feedback to work submitted (but no grading is allowed); and
  • communicate frequently and effectively.

We do not want this additional learning opportunity to become an additional stressor on our families, so our teachers, support staff and administrators stand ready to support our students’ needs as best as we can. We also have put suggestions forward to staff about the amount of time students should be exposed to learning opportunities; these timeframes are aligned with recommendations from the Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers.

  • Pre-K through second grade: 1-2 hours a day
  • Grades 3-5: 2-3 hours per day
  • Grades 6-12: 3-4 hours per day (50 or 60 minutes every other day for a blocked class)

Our path forward will continue the teaching-and-learning process in developmentally appropriate ways while taking into account our students’ health and wellness needs. New learning materials will be available via Canvas (available via your student’s online backpack), other online learning platforms, open educational resources and hard-copy packets mailed to families’ homes upon request. (Schools will communicate individually how hard-copy packets will be distributed.) Instructional content also is available online https://sites.google.com/ccpsnet.net/ccps-parent-resources/school-resource-sites.

The Central Office instruction team has met virtually with principals and teachers from across the division to collaborate on and review the developed plan. Since Canvas has been available to teachers for two years, it is our hope that this transition to online learning will not be as difficult as it might be for other school divisions. Canvas is available via any electronic device, not just a CCPS-issued Chromebook. Information about Canvas, the school division’s learning management system, can be found online (https://sites.google.com/ccpsnet.net/canvas-parent-resource/home) and is available in Spanish (https://docs.google.com/document/d/19wpr0wn-rXBBF-eTsX1hQx6HnfseMZeXAlLR3vBCMxM/edit).

So … be on the lookout for communication from your child’s teacher(s) between April 14-20 with new learning opportunities. Our teachers and all of Team Chesterfield’s staff members are here to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

Thank you for your continued support and patience as we navigate this rapidly changing time together!

Stay safe. Be well.

Dr. Merv Daugherty
Superintendent, Chesterfield County Public Schools


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