Decatur's Remote Learning Plan
MS. LUNA'S REMOTE LEARNING PLAN NEWSLETTER
The Governor of IL and the Chicago Public Schools have extended the school closure through April 30th. In light of this extension, CPS has announced that schools must create remote learning plans to be implemented on April 13th. I have conferenced with several principals and watched as schools across the city try to make plans to support learning for their communities. Decatur was fortunate enough to create our online learning plan 3 weeks ago. Teams have been working through your feedback, specific family needs, and adjusting as necessary.
The district has provided some new guidelines such as recommended minutes of work each day and allowing teachers to video conference. Please see your teachers email outlining specifics on how these recommendations will impact your child directly and can be found on each teacher's classroom website. Our online learning plan will remain very similar to what we presented to parents on March 16th and the following will remain the same:
- During school closure the communication practices will remain the same. The primary form of communication has always been email, therefore, questions related to your child's learning, assignments, etc. should be directed to the teacher.
- If you have other questions about school, please contact Ms. Beard email@example.com. Phones are not being answered at Decatur during the school closure.
- Teachers will continue to post weekly instructional videos.
- Teachers will plan lessons that continue learning for Decatur students.
- Parents and students will get a weekly plan for learning every Monday.
- Students should work through the week's assignments as much as possible and focus on the priority tasks each week.
- Teachers will provide feedback to students and be available to answer questions to both students and parents throughout the week.
- At this time we will still not be taking grades, but we encourage you to keep up with your child’s learning through weekly assignments to keep them on track.
Let me be clear: No online learning program will ever replace your child going to school and working with your teachers. As a working mom with two kids, I have personally experienced the frustrations that come with home learning. However, I have found even more appreciation and a deeper respect for my children's’ teachers. I know that the current crisis has been difficult for so many families. I’ve spent a great deal of time researching, listening to parents & teachers, and speaking to other experts about how to make it through this difficult time.
I’d like to offer some helpful tips for you to keep in mind as we move forward with this online model:
- We are not able to recreate school in a few weeks. Online learning cannot meet everyone's needs in the same way that classroom instruction filled needs. Some kids may really enjoy the online activities and some may not... that is okay!
- Prioritize your family's emotional well being. It is okay to step back and give yourselves a break. If you notice your child is struggling or having a bad day, don’t force them to do their work. Of course we want students engaged, but it is also important to have peace in your home.
- Parenting is hard work. Teaching is hard work. Putting both together in a home right now while also balancing whatever outside pressures you have is difficult. Some families are battling illness, loss of income, food shortage, and more. Allow yourself space to grieve, be worried, or upset. Remember that we are here to help and don’t be ashamed or scared to ask for support.
- There is no expectation that students complete every single assignment teachers post. We do not want children sitting in front of a screen all day. We will try to give suggested pacing and offer you ample activities/resources, but you are the parent. Feel free to create a schedule that works for your family.
- Routines are important, but we need to be flexible and it is appropriate for parents to take advantage of this extra time together, if you can. For example, consider letting your child sleep in and having breakfast together.
- This is a great time for passion projects. Let kids explore, create, and feed their curiosity. Follow your child’s lead and find opportunities for learning around their interests. A great podcast I love for kids is ‘But Why?’. Try an episode, have a discussion, and let that be a ‘home learning’ activity. Tell your kids it is ‘Ms. Luna approved’.
- Try to be forgiving and empathic. Extend grace to your kids, yourself, and your teachers. We are all trying our best to navigate parenting, home learning, work, and self care during a pandemic; we aren’t just working from home.
As we kick off our spring break, as much as possible, try not to worry about the future. Be present with your family, love your kids, and let them know everything is going to be okay. Regardless of when this ends, we are all going to work together to help our students and their families. We will find solutions and do what we always try to do: Meet children where they are and help them grow.
Have a safe and happy spring break,