Recovery Plan Update

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At the September Board of Education Work Session, an update to the 2020 Recovery Plan was reviewed.

With regard to distance and in-person learning, Superintendent Patty Saelens reported:

  • Most students began school with distance learning on September 8th, with some special populations returning to the school for in-person instruction on that date.
  • Student without connectivity came into schools on September 14th, and specified Career Technology Education (CTE) students on September 21st.
  • Based on current conditions, CCPS will move into Phase 3 of the Recovery Plan with PreKindergarten (age 4) and Kindergarten students having the option to return to buildings on October 5, and first and second grade students on October 8.

Dr. Saelens and staff updated the Board on various components of the Recovery Plan.

Instruction:

  • Rate of attendance is at 90% which is typical of previous years.
  • Four synchronous days – Teachers have engaged students through Google Classroom and Zoom, including Zoom breakout rooms, annotations and the chat feature.
  • One asynchronous day – Students receive directions to their assignment for each class on their Google Classroom. Teachers are setting classroom expectations and establishing routines.
  • Teachers received professional development for curriculum, content and technology.
  • Students with no/low connectivity will be learning how to download their assignment or view it offline.
  • Diagnostic Assessments will be given in the next few weeks. The data will show students’ strengths and knowledge gaps.

Attendance: 

  • On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, attendance is based on students being present for their online learning by logging into Zoom and doing the work assigned during the class period.
  • On Wednesdays, students do not have online learning. However, teachers are assigning all students one or more assignments to complete. Evidence of trying to do an assignment will be used to track their attendance for the day.
  • Because assignments have to be turned in and recorded, student attendance may not show correctly until the following Monday.
  • Families have been instructed to notify the teacher or school a technology issue is not able to be resolved quickly, so alternate steps can be taken to help access learning.

Special Programs:

  • Many Special Education and English Learner students were in school buildings for in-person learning on September 8th. Data was provided in the Recovery Plan update.
  • Teachers at all levels have been provided with professional development on using Google Classroom, Zoom, digital tools to engage students.
  • PreK3 and 4 students were provided special tote bags with back to school supplies.
  • For Gifted & Talented students, weekly check-ins have been established to address any concerns or questions
    William & Mary Units that focus on engineering, science, math and ELA are being used. Collaborative planning time is taking place virtually among G&T teachers.

Social-Emotional Support:

  • Teachers have implemented Morning Meetings/check-in time to reconnect with students. This time is used to re-establish expectations and build relationships.
  • Professional development for teachers during the month of October will be on Adverse Childhood Experiences.
  • Google Voice has been added for all school counselors for communicating with parents and students via text, as well as translating texts.
  • Student Support Teams have been re-implemented with regards to attendance, behavior, and grades.
  • All School-based Health Centers and all school-based behavioral health providers are open.

Technology Assistance:

  • Students without connectivity have been provided a space in the school building to enable participation in distance learning.
  • Families and caregivers have been in contact with CCPS technology support through a dedicated help desk by either phone and email.
  • How-to videos are continuously being provided on the website and to staff to share with families.

Technology:

  • Approximately 5,345 devices were prepared and distributed since the middle of August (date when all of the required software was finalized)
  • Eight permanent staff members and 18 temporary employees performed this work which included countless evening hours and some weekends to meet the distribution dates
  • Some temporary employees remain to assist with daily issues (new enrollments, withdraws, etc.) until the early influx of needs are met
  • Network: Bandwidth coming from three sources – Sailor (public library system), Network Maryland and Comcast. Total network capacity was 500 mbps which was not sufficient for all staff on Zoom at the same time. Current capacity is 1,000 mbps., with two of the three networks doubling their bandwidth, and the third to double within the next few weeks. Final capacity should be closer to 1,300 mbps
  • Select hardware in all locations had to be upgraded – work performed after hours by tech staff to minimize downtime.
  • Kajeet (Mobile HotSpots) – 225 30 GB units on hand – preparing distribution schedule and instructions for schools to hand out to any student(s) that has to be quarantined. Additional 608 30GB units waiting to be received – will also be distributed to schools

Transportation:

  • 57 buses are in use; eight are strictly for special education students
  • 52 buses are transporting students the week of Sept. 14th. Those not transporting students are assisting food services with the delivery of meals to homes.
  • The average number of students on a bus is low. However, some buses are near COVID capacity at 24.

Facilities:

  • A high touch area checklist was created for each school. Every school custodian has their own cleaning zone in each building to ensure buildings are kept clean and sanitary.
  • A cleaning schedule was created which parallels the daily instructional schedule. (Example: bathrooms will be cleaned after each 15-minute break between classes.)
  • Custodial work schedules have been adjusted to ensure that cleaning takes place throughout the staff work day.
  • Occupied temperatures have been maintained in all schools, including weekends and holidays, in order to minimize air quality issues, especially during periods of high humidity.
  • Schools have been thoroughly cleaned as custodians have been on the job every day since mid-April.
  • Over 450 signs have been distributed to the schools to advise visitors, staff, and students about various protocols.

Food Services:

  • Food Service operations have been dispersed throughout the school kitchens.
  • On average 1,100 remote students (8,866 total meals) were served last week.
  • All kitchens are staffed.
  • Food service staff delivers breakfast and receives individual lunch orders.
  • USDA announced an extension of the summer meals program through September. This allows all students to receive free breakfast and lunch regardless of income.
  • Methods for transporting food:
    Four MRDC buses for Greensboro, Marydel, Goldsboro
    Five school buses
    Nine county bus drivers for delivery
    Seven food service staff are assisting with delivery and also working in the kitchens

Employee Support:

  • Professional Development – Staff has been and will continue to be provided meaningful opportunities related to Google Classroom, distance learning and online instructional tools, information, and guidance to support all models of instruction.
  • Counseling Services – All employees have access to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which offers face-to-face and virtual counseling services.
  • Teachers are expected to work from their classrooms. Telework requests, based on qualifying circumstances, have been approved through Human Resources.
  • With approval, school-aged children of employees have been accompanying their parents to the workplace in order to engage in their own distance learning. Specific policy and procedures apply.

Communication:

  • News posts: 56 posts since the beginning of summer, 50 of them dealing directly or indirectly with the 2020-2021 school year; news posts shared on CCPS social media pages
  • All principals now using Smore newsletters and the news post feature on new websites; Facebook pages active, some also using other social media
  • A Back-to-School section was created on the district and new school websites with up-to-date information and resources
  • Contact email for the Public Information Office and Public Comment available
  • Collaboration with stakeholder groups: Citizens Advisory Committee and School System Improvement Council begin meetings in October and Equity Initiatives Committee virtual community event scheduled for Sept. 29.
  • Communication available to all families: Continuing use of a translation company for documents and print materials;  surveys are able to be translated by the user; all new websites, newsletters, and flyers are able to be translated and ADA accessible
  • More direction and direct support for school websites, newsletters and flyer tools, with a specific focus on areas that share information most needed by families. Multiple channels of communication are being encouraged.