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Clarkston Community School District

From Superintendent Ryan: Learning Options for Fall 2020

From Superintendent Ryan: Learning Options for Fall 2020

The content provided in this letter can be found on our website at www.clarkston.k12.mi.us/Fall2020, our new Fall 2020 Return to School hub. This website will be updated frequently with more information regarding the 2020-2021 school year.

Dear Clarkston Community Schools Families,

We are moving forward in our plans for our August 31 return to school at an intense pace. In looking forward to the 2020-2021 school year, our Return to School task forces are developing a comprehensive plan which prioritizes the health and safety of our students and employees. We are currently evaluating district capabilities and resources, working through the MI Safe Schools Roadmap created by the Return to School Advisory Council, and analyzing community feedback from our recent survey to develop a comprehensive district plan to present to our Board of Education in early August.

Fall 2020 Learning Options (Phase 4)

I can tell you that as of today, we plan to begin the school year with two learning options for families (should Michigan remain in Phase 4 of the state's reopening plan.)

Face-to-Face Instruction: Clarkston Community Schools plans to go back to school in as much of a traditional school setting as possible. We are also considering the needs of our students, staff, and families and our first priority for returning to school is ensuring the physical and mental well-being of our school community. According to the Governor's plan, in-person teaching and learning will occur five full-days of instruction a week if we are in Phase 4 or 5 of the MI Safe Start Plan. While this will look different from traditional school in order to meet safety standards, it is our intention to return students to classroom routines that are as close to the traditional model as possible.

  • As mandated in the MI Safe Schools Roadmap, face coverings will be required for all staff district-wide and students in Grades 6-12 at all times. Masks are required for K-5 students on school buses and during passing periods only, at this time.
  • Two Oakland County public health nurses will be designated to serve our district.
  • Furniture will be spaced as far apart as possible.
  • Daily schedules will be altered to minimize mixing of students.
  • Classrooms will be cleaned and sanitized frequently.
  • Opportunities for frequent handwashing will be provided. Education and training will be provided to ensure healthy hygiene habits for our students.
  • Hand sanitizer will be made available in buildings and on buses.
  • Signage will encourage distancing.
  • Employees will self-screen each day prior to coming to school.
  • Visitors will be limited and screened upon arrival.

Clarkston Virtual 100% Online Learning: Knowing not all families will be comfortable returning to school in-person, Clarkston Community Schools proudly offers Clarkston Virtual, a 100% virtual online learning program for students in Grades K-12. The Clarkston Virtual program is a standards-based curriculum that is delivered in a flexible learning environment. This free program is supported by Clarkston teachers and Clarkston teacher mentors who are working specifically with students in this optional virtual program. Clarkston Virtual is a well-established, comprehensive program that looks and feels very different from the district-wide "crisis schooling" we experienced this Spring and it is a strong option for families who are not comfortable returning to school buildings.

  • Students can opt to enroll in the Clarkston Virtual program.
  • Any in-district Clarkston Community Schools' resident will be admitted to Clarkston Virtual.
  • Clarkston Virtual students would stay enrolled in Clarkston Community Schools.
  • Classes will be taught by highly-skilled, thoughtful, and caring Clarkston Community Schools teachers utilizing the same academic standards and assessment goals.
  • Small group and individuals supports and lessons will be available.
  • Clarkston students will be supported with curriculum to meet their individual needs.
  • Clarkston teachers will be monitoring student progress and pace and will be available daily to support students.
  • Clarkston students will not have daily attendance or login times, but learning will be flexible and self paced supported by Clarkston mentors.
  • Both in person and virtual meetings will be conducted to support both students and family needs.
  • Parent and student resources will be shared at the start of the year with continued support throughout the school year to ensure students and families are successful.
  • The same rigorous and engaging teaching and learning families expect from Clarkston Community Schools.
  • Students and families will have access to class resources, progress, and grades.
  • Students maintain relationships with peers and teachers while learning fully from home.
  • Clarkston Virtual students may participate in educational and extracurricular opportunities, though their schooling would be entirely at home.
  • Clarkston Virtual students may transition back to traditional face-to-face classroom instruction at semester.
  • Clarkston Virtual students will graduate with a Clarkston Community Schools diploma.

The specific protocols and expectations for both learning environments are still being defined according to public health information available at this time.

Based on our Fall 2020 Return to School survey, nearly 30% of parents indicated that our fully online program works best for their family. If you are one of them, we invite you to complete the Clarkston Virtual Enrollment Form today. If you would like to learn more about the program, please visit our website or email Director of Special Programs Ken Janczarek kpjanczarek@clarkston.k12.mi.us with questions. For staffing purposes, Clarkston Virtual Enrollment Forms are requested by Friday, August 7.

1:1 Technology for All Staff & Students

Whether your family chooses face-to-face in-person instruction or the Clarkston Virtual program, I am thrilled to share that the Clarkston Board of Education recently approved a 1:1 technology program in which all Clarkston Community Schools students and teachers will be provided a district-owned device for the 2020-2021 school year.

District-Wide Contingency Plan (Phases 1-3)

Distance Learning: Please keep in mind, that should Michigan move from Phase 4 back to Phase 1, 2 or 3 due to a resurgence of the virus, it is possible that the governor will direct all Michigan schools to move to district-wide Distance Learning for all students for a period of time. Distance Learning is not the same as our opt-in Clarkston Virtual program (which parents select for a semester or year), and it is not the "crisis schooling" model that we experienced in the Spring. Phase 3 Distance Learning in Clarkston will be a temporary, robust replacement for a traditional face-to-face school environment in which classroom teachers would take attendance and lead instruction with students fully engaged at home for a specific period of time. With additional requirements provided by the state and in response to feedback from students, staff, and families, the Fall 2020 district-wide distance learning model will include the following elements:
  • Our new 1:1 technology model (in which every student and teacher has use of a device), along with staff professional development and training, will ensure that a remote learning shift can happen swiftly and efficiently to maintain continuity of learning.
  • Pacing, assessment, grading, daily attendance, and curriculum progress would remain consistent with in-person learning expectations.
  • More daily, interactive, live/direct (synchronous) instruction and frequent contact with students' established classroom teachers.
  • Activities, tasks, and assessments will be scheduled and required.
  • Access to materials and progress/grades for both students and parents/guardians will be provided.
  • Revised daily schedule that provides a structured learning plan for students and families.
Blended (Hybrid) Learning: Clarkston Community Schools also explored a blended learning model in which all students would attend school all day on some days of the week, and learn from home on other days of the week. After fully evaluating this model and taking feedback from our community, we have determined that a blended learning model is not the best option for our district at this time.

Obviously, all plans will be contingent on the realities we are facing when we reopen school. We will continue to take guidance from the State of Michigan, Oakland County Health Division, and the Centers for Disease Control to best support the health and safety of our students and employees.

As a district, we are preparing for a variety of scenarios and we are committed to keeping you informed every step of the way. All updates will be posted on the Clarkston Community Schools website and shared with our families and employees. I am also exploring ways to offer students, staff, and families a platform for Q&A before the start of school, and I will continue to send weekly email updates. In the meantime, please send any questions or concerns to Fall2020@clarkston.k12.mi.us.

Sincerely,
Shawn Ryan, Ed.D.
Superintendent


About Clarkston Community Schools: Clarkston is a highly regarded school district with an enrollment of nearly 7,100 students. We have seven elementary schools (K-5), one middle school serving grades 6-7, one junior high for grades 8-9, and Clarkston High School, which serves students in grades 10-12. We also have an Early Childhood Center serving children ages 3-5, and an alternative high school/community education facility. Clarkston Community Schools students are well-prepared for a future that excites them, and believe that they can achieve their dreams. The mission of Clarkston Community Schools is to create a learning environment where students, staff, and families are challenged, healthy, engaged, safe, and supported.


Read more Clarkston Community Schools News at www.clarkston.k12.mi.us/news.

Media Contact: Mary Ellen Rowe, Marketing Director (248) 623-5460.