Remote Learning Plan
Subject to Change as Circumstances Require
Revised March 31, 2020
The following plan is still developing, and we anticipate it will further evolve as the CMS staff begin collaborating and modifying their initial plans to meet the needs of our students and families.
CMS will be back in session remotely (online-only) starting March 23. Neither students nor teachers will be present in the CMS building during this extended period; all learning will happen from home. After the initial supply pick up day on Monday, March 23, our building will be closed, and given Governor Pritzker’s “stay at home” order (COVID-19 Executive Order No. 8), which extends through April 30, no access to the building will be granted except in cases of urgent need until at least that date. We do not know how long this period of remote learning will last, but we should prepare for the possibility that school will be online for the foreseeable future, understanding that more clarity will emerge in the coming weeks.
Evolving guidelines from the Illinois State Board of Education for the period of COVID-19 school closure encourage schools to give students as much educational engagement as is possible, given the circumstances (“School districts are strongly encouraged to provide instruction to students during these Act of God Days through whatever means possible”). But it’s also clear from ISBE messaging that: 1. The goal is to support student development and mental health, not to meet standards and assess student achievement, 2. There is an awareness that schools can’t expect the same level of engagement from every student, and 3. Most important, schools can’t grade students in the traditional sense. In essence, schools have a mandate not to put the pressure of grades on our students during this extraordinary crisis. Here’s the language that ISBE uses (full document here):
Student work completed during the mandated statewide school closure must not negatively impact a student’s grades or otherwise impact a student’s academic standing. As we do not yet know the full extent of the closure and want to minimize any negative effects on students, schools may allow student work to count during the closure only to increase a student’s academic standing.
Our students may be experiencing varying mental and physical health challenges at this time and may have very different access to supports and technology at home. Our goal is that no student is negatively impacted by the closure and that no school district’s policies or procedures should widen the equity gap.
During this remote learning period:
We will not be asking teachers or students to maintain our usual school-day schedule.
We will not be taking attendance.
Students will receive feedback and input, but will not be graded using traditional grading (per ISBE guidance, see above). Some classes may go to a pass/incomplete format, others may grade based on work turned in only. This will be very flexible and will change to meet the needs of our students in various classes. While our goal is to prepare our students for next year, whether here at CMS or in high school, we do not want this period of remote learning to negatively affect our students.
Students need not keep a daily log of their work, unless directed to do so by their teacher.
"School day" hours will be from 9:00 AM–3:00 PM. This means that we will have all assignments, lessons, activities posted for the day by 9 am each day and we will not require students to log in for group discussion, message boarding, etc. beyond 3:00 pm. Staff members are able to set up check in times beyond 3 pm if it works best for the student and her family schedule. The school day hours do not mean students are expected to be online for that entire window of time.
Teachers should plan for fewer hours of total work for each class than is typical in a normal school week (ISBE guidance above is also relevant here).
Teachers have flexibility in terms of what work for their class will look like, but all teachers will be checking in with students, offering regular feedback and interaction. Some teachers have planned synchronous (real time) activities and others may still schedule some. Teachers will plan said check-ins or live classes during the regular class period at the new time listed below. Again these will not be mandatory, but can help create a more engaging learning experience as well as encourage social interaction for our students during this time of isolation.
The Illinois State Board of Education has created a list of Frequently Asked Questions for Families. You may access that document here.