Superintendent update on plans for Fall 2020

Dear Students, Staff, and Families,

As we notified you last week, at its special meeting on Thursday, July 9, the Board of Education held a discussion about our draft plans for returning to school in the fall. The presentation my team gave to the Board is attached; click here to see it. Video of the full meeting is available by clicking here, with the discussion about fall plans beginning just after the 1:40 mark.

The administration’s draft plans call for remote learning for most students; some on-site instruction and/or services may be provided for our most vulnerable students. Staff and students for on-site services have not yet been identified. 

The plan is not finalized, and Board members had a variety of questions and suggestions. The Board’s voice indicated confidence in the administration's decision-making on this issue. The state requires only superintendent approval of the plan. Nevertheless, we will be returning to the Board in early August with a revised plan and requesting Board approval of a resolution of support, with direction to implement the plan.

To be clear, the remote learning plans we are developing will NOT be what students experienced this last spring. There are a number of significant differences, which include: 

  • Set schedule of class periods
  • Mandatory student attendance
  • A requirement for each class to meet via videoconference (such as Google Meet or Zoom) for 30-100 minutes per class per week.
  • Letter grades
  • Academic support services

Our summer school classes have already incorporated some of these elements; for instance, we require that at least 40% of the time for summer courses be whole-class instruction via Google Meet or Zoom. We’ve received significant positive feedback on how much better students are doing with summer courses than the spring experience.

Next steps
We have received an enormous volume of email with questions about the plans for fall. We are developing an FAQ that will be posted on our website soon to address these questions and will send the school community a link when that is ready.

We also are preparing a report on the results of the Thoughtexchange survey, which garnered a tremendous amount of input. Thank you to all of you who participated. Our aim is to have that report for you in the next few days.

We will let you know the date and time of the next Board presentation once that has been established. We also plan to hold a virtual town hall on a date to be determined, to go over the plan and answer questions.

Thank you for your patience as we work to finalize a plan for fall that balances our communities' physical safety with our students' academic and social-emotional needs. Regardless of the variety of opinions on how we achieve that balance, I am confident that we all share a common goal: to safely deliver the best education possible to our students.

Take care and be well.

Sincerely,

Dr. Joylynn Pruitt-Adams
Superintendent