Learning Options 20/21
As we draw closer to the 20-21 school year beginning, we would like to share some additional information, which we hope will provide greater clarification during these unprecedented times. Please be aware that we will continue to monitor academic programming during this period of time. We will modify and adjust this plan as needed.
- When can we expect teachers to be sending out the Discovery at Home lesson and Enrichment schedule for those families choosing this option?
- If On-Campus Learning is still taking place for a child's class, will this schedule change each week significantly, or will there be some consistency to Google Meet lesson times, breaks, etc?
- If the whole class is doing Responsive Remote Learning, will this schedule look similar to what was set up for learners on the Discovery at Home plan?
- If we intend to remain remote for the whole year, can we simply communicate that per semester rather than every week?
- How would an Enrichment class work?
- What additional assessments will be done for children who engage in remote learning?
- What will the daily schedule look like for Discovery at Home? Will students interact with teachers and students throughout the entire school day?
- Why can't my child just have all of his/her classes back-to-back and the same schedule each day?
- How will students who have a documented need for accommodations receive services?
- Will there be a hybrid option available with perhaps a half-day on campus per week with virtual learning the rest of the time?
- Will a Discovery at Home learners keep school supplies at home until they transfer to at-school learning and when will be pick up of materials such as Chromebooks, etc?
- Are students engaged at Discovery at Home allowed to come back to on-site schooling at any time?
- If we select Discovery at Home, can we change our minds, and if so how often?
- Can we start remote and then change to in-person in September?
- Will students engaged in Discovery at Home be required to wear their uniforms?
- Will Discovery provide financial relief or handle a voluntary withdrawal when students will be required to learn remotely?
- Are you considering grouping children by grade for this school year?
- Will there be options to live stream classroom activities?
- With the current plan you have proposed, it seems we will all be remote within two weeks, do you plan to pay teacher's internet and medical bills when they or their families come down with COVID-19?
We are still building our schedule, which will be based on the families’ interest in participating in Discovery at Home. We are currently planning on a trimester model for three of our Enrichments: Art, Music, and STEM. The other Enrichments (Japanese, Library, Physical Education, and Spanish) will meet over the course of the year. The schedule will be communicated on the first day. For the first two weeks of school (August 12- August 21), the teachers feel that it is particularly important to build community, allow our on-campus students to learn the new routines, and begin practicing the new transitions required. Students in Discovery at Home will not participate in those in-class routine activities that will be practiced. Still, they will join in Enrichments during those two weeks and connect with the Remote Learning Coordinator.
The schedule for the child who is engaged in Responsive Remote Learning will be similar to the schedule set up for Discovery at Home, as long as the student is engaging with his or her assigned class. The schedule may be different if the child is working with a different class from the same grade band. For example, Enrichment times and lesson times could vary. We believe that during this period, your child will have a greater opportunity to engage with other students.
For Enrichment classes, Discovery at Home students would be joining in remotely for the lesson demonstration and instructions. Depending on the Enrichment class, this may look different for each subject due to our at home students not having all of the same materials as our in-class students. Teachers will provide lessons/instruction/demonstrations, but the students in the classroom setting may be spending more time experiencing the Enrichments than students would at home.
The standardized testing that we currently use (DIBELS and MAP Growth) has offered recommendations for students testing at home, but we have not had an opportunity to test these options. These assessments are generally given three times a year in the classroom. All students, whether learning on campus or at home, will have a variety of assessments that will be communicated through Altitude Learning.
The Discovery at Home schedule will be modeled after the schedule of the on-campus class. Students and teachers will be interacting with one another at various times throughout the day. However, your child will not be online the entire school day.
For our elementary classes, students will complete activities specific to IB, Language Arts, and Math that will be posted in Altitude Learning and communicated by the teacher. For our middle school classes, students will complete activities specific to Big History Project, English, and Math that will be posted in Altitude Learning and communicated by the teacher. Students will also participate in Enrichments according to the class schedule.
Please realize that our Enrichment teachers meet with a variety of classes throughout their day. They are unable to meet at different times to condense the class schedule. The classroom schedule also needs to adjust daily based on the schedules of the Enrichment teachers who meet with students in our Primary, Elementary, Middle School, and sometimes even our Toddler programs.
There is an option for students to come to campus for a full day of in-person learning each week. The teacher will communicate the best day for this to occur, and this will be communicated in advance. Your child’s participation in this on-campus experience needs to be communicated at least seven days prior with the Lead Teacher.
If a family needs to voluntarily withdraw from school, they will need to contact the Admissions Office and the Finance Department to notify them of withdrawing from school. The Finance Department will submit your claim to the insurance company and Admissions will handle the remainder of the process.
While we cannot predict the future with any certainty during this time of the pandemic, we have taken every step to mitigate against the impact of COVID-19 to both students and teachers. If a teacher becomes infected, we can assure you that we will follow all existing employment laws and work to help support such a person however possible.
- What does a typical day look like in a primary classroom this year (shared work, outside time, snacks/lunch)?
- What if we commit to in-person but I only send my child when I feel it's safe, will we be asked to withdraw?
- Why are you not staggering the classes, so there are fewer students in the room?
- How can children work on shared Montessori materials safely?
- Why have you chosen this approach?
- If we start in person and change our minds, can we switch to virtual, or are we forced to withdraw?
The schedule is similar to our regular Primary schedule, with a morning work cycle, recess, and an afternoon work cycle for the 4-year-olds and Kindergarten students. Primary teachers are planning to incorporate outside learning time during the day. Recess will look different this year, as there will not be a mixing of classrooms. Only one class will have access to one playground area at a time. Snacks will also be different this year. We are asking parents to provide individual snacks from home. There will not be “family style” snacks like usual. Primary teachers are working to provide visual cues for the children to practice physical distancing; this will include less chairs per table and marks on the floor for distanced workspaces.
We want to safely provide a full-day experience for families that have chosen this option, and our Kindergarten program is a full-day experience. It is also an important component of the Montessori classroom to have a blend of students at each of the ages, and we want to remain true to the philosophy.
The safety of our community is of utmost importance. We have gotten DCF licensed for our Primary and Toddler buildings so we can keep our toddler and primary classes open if it is safe to do so, in the event, there is a mandatory shutdown of classes for our K-8 students by the state or some other order. Additionally, we are providing remote learning opportunities at the Primary, Elementary, and Middle School levels to ensure that families who do not feel safe returning to campus have an option that works for them.