The Edmonds School District Thursday announced its plans to move forward with remote teaching starting next week while schools remain closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Starting March 30, teachers across the district will begin the process of introducing students to online learning while schools are closed through at least April 24. The district’s board of directors previously discussed the option to teach students remotely at its March 23 meeting.
Also during the Tuesday meeting, the board and district staff discussed planning in the event that remote teaching became the next step toward continuing to educate students. Earlier this week, the district issued more than 5,200 Chromebooks to its students in grades K-6 (students in grades 8-12 were already given Chromebooks).
While schools have been closed, district teachers have been preparing to teach students online, Superintendent Kris McDuffy said Thursday in a districtwide statement.
“Our teachers and student learning team have been working diligently this week to get our students ready for remote learning,” she said.
While teaching remotely, teachers will have active engagement with students and families on district-approved platforms, which may include Google Classroom, Canvas, Seesaw, Zoom, email and Skyward. As teaching is being done remotely, teachers are encouraging families to set aside time during the weekdays to engage in learning activities.
The district is recommending the following times for families to set aside for learning:
- Pre-K and kindergarten: 30-60 minutes
- 1st -6th grade: 60-90 minutes
- 7th-8th grade: 100-120 minutes
- 9th-12th grade: 120-180 minutes (This equals about 30 minutes spent on learning for each of your student’s subjects)
In addition to remote teaching, the district is encouraging families to use its weekly timeline. Starting Monday, all teachers will be providing more information about their weekly learning expectations for students. Tuesday through Thursday, teachers will employ check-ins and connections with students and may also consider setting office hours. Teachers are also being encouraged to set aside class times to support student-to-student interaction. On Fridays, teachers will work with students on turning in assignments — if need be — or continue the week’s activities. Teachers will also provide feedback on student work.
McDuffy said plans for the district are subject to change while staff continues to work out the details. However, teachers will assign credit or no credit to assignments while teaching remotely. Students will also be given opportunities to revise and improve their work, McDuffy added.
“We don’t have everything figured out about grades just yet and are working with the state on those expectations,” she said.
Third-quarter grades for students in grades 7-12 will be based on work completed up to March 13 — the day schools closed.
District staff have also said they are working to ensure that the plans to teach students online are inclusive and that all students have access to necessary materials to continue their education. The district has also partnered with local internet service providers to offer free WiFi hotspots to families in need.
At the school board’s March 23 meeting, Executive Director of Student Learning Rob Baumgartner said teachers at schools with students from low-income families would be following up with those families.
“We know not all students have access to materials, but staff is working with the families,” he said.
Flexibility for students will also be allowed while teaching is being done remotely. Student attendance will not be taken and remote learning days do not currently count as official school days. Additionally, if remote learning is not the best educational path for a student at this time, families are encouraged to use the Supplemental Learning Resources website.
The district is also providing technical support for students with district-issued services, like Chromebooks. Technology support can be reached by phone at 425-431-1211, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tech support is available Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
–By Cody Sexton