e-Learning Pilot

    • District 300 has been exploring the option of incorporating a progressive e-Learning opportunity into the school schedule as a means to recapture instructional time lost to emergency closures. On Tuesday, February 26, the Board of Education directed the district to begin messaging the options that we are exploring for the 2018-19 school year.

      The district’s e-Learning pilot seeks to:

      • Gather feedback to help the district determine if e-Learning could be an option in future years and assist us in developing high-quality activities that support student learning.

      • Ensure that lessons and activities are relevant to the current subjects and standards being taught.

      • Minimize disruptions to end-of-the-year activities/events (e.g., final exam schedules, promotion ceremonies, field trips and more).

      School districts are required to make up the first five days of school resulting from emergency closures. Traditionally, we have added these days to the end of the school year calendar. However, in many instances, this often falls short of our expectations. To find a better solution, District 300 will look to implement a pilot e-Learning program during the second semester.

      The e-Learning pilot will focus on utilizing existing Board-approved non-student attendance dates (e.g., in-service dates, holidays, or last day of school) as remote learning days to support continuity of instruction and to serve as makeup dates for the emergency closure days that have already occurred.

      Proposed e-Learning Dates:

      • March 25th, 2019 (spring break)

      • April 5th, 2019 – May 1, 2019 (Assigned April 5th due on May 1st)

      • April 22nd, 2019 (in-service day)

      Please know that students will attend school on Friday, May 24th, 2019. This will be the last day of school for the 2018-19 academic year.

      Knowing that each of you will have questions regarding the e-Learning proposal, I have included a FAQ for you to review. I hope that we have been able to capture most of your questions and have helped address any initial concerns you may have. However, click here to submit additional questions that you may have regarding the e-Learning pilot. I will continue to post responses on our website and Facebook pages to address the most frequent questions.

      Thank You,

      Fred Heid

       

      e-Learning Pilot F.A.Q.

      1. What is the District 300 e-Learning pilot?
        The District 300 e-Learning pilot is a series of three non-student attendance days when students will work on assignments remotely from home (or from another location outside the school).

      2. Why is District 300 implementing an e-Learning pilot?
        As you are aware, District 300 has implemented five emergency school closures this year due to inclement weather. In Illinois, school districts are required to make up their first five emergency closures per academic year. Historically, District 300 has added these makeup days to the end of our school calendar. Implementing e-Learning days allows District 300 to gather information regarding the effectiveness of e-Learning, recapture lost instructional time, limit disruptions to end of the year activities, and ensure that the last day of school will be on May 24th.

      3. When will e-Learning days occur?
        The e-Learning pilot days are tentatively scheduled for:

        • March 25, 2019 (Spring Break)

        • April 5th, 2019 – May 1, 2019 (Assigned April 5th due by May 1)

        • April 22, 2019 (In-Service Day)

      4. What will assignments look like?
        We are very focused on ensuring that our students have a high quality learning experience. Assignments will mirror activities commonly utilized in daily classroom instruction. Assignments will also align with the scope and sequence of the courses to promote relevance to the topics being taught. The content areas assigned have been divided to help support overall assignment quality and reduce the possibility of excessive overload. The district has recommended that content areas be split as follows:

        • Elementary School

          • Day 1 March 25 – English language Arts/Writing, Social Studies, PE, and Art

          • Day 2 April 5th due May 1 – District Assigned

          • Day 3 April 22 – Science, Mathematics, STEM, Music, Media

        • Middle School

          • Day 1 March 25 – English Language Arts/Writing, Social Sciences, PE/Health, AVID, and Art

          • Day 2 April 5th due May 1 – District Assigned

          • Day 3 April 22 – Science, Mathematics, Music, Foreign Language, Digital Learning

        • High School

          • Day 1 March 25 – English Language Arts/Writing, Mathematics, PE/Health, Family Consumer Sciences, and Industrial Arts

          • Day 2 April 5th due May 1 – District Assigned

          • Day 3 April 22 – Science, Social Sciences, Art, Foreign Language, Performing Arts (Music/Dance), and Business Education

          • Note: It is important to point out that while the calendar splits the content areas to be addressed on each e-Learning day, teachers may use their discretion to implement cross-curricular activities.  Also, teachers who have courses not specifically outlined may assign work to students for their respective class. We acknowledge that some classes cannot be readily supported through e-Learning as the required equipment or hands-on nature of the course limit our ability to replicate experiences online (e.g., automotive, carpentry, electrical, cooking, theatre, driver’s education, and fashion).

      5. What type of assignment will my student receive on e-Learning days?
        The e-Learning assignments provided by teachers will cover the themes and topics that would have been addressed if school were in session, continuing classroom momentum. New topics will only be introduced if a student is able to complete the assignment independently. Assignments will typically reflect one of the following lesson types:

        • Conceptual Understanding: Students engage in a productive challenge to learn a new concept or skill

        • Fluency/Procedural Skills: Teach or provide students with an opportunity to practice and understand why a strategy/skill works

        • Application Lessons: Students apply their understanding and use skills to solve familiar and unfamiliar problems

      6. What type of activities will my child be engaged in?

        • Construct: Teachers may provide materials and ask a student to design and create an original project (a model, a poster, performance or poem)

        • Demonstration: These activities show a student a concept, theme, or topic (for example a link to an informative video)

        • Discussion: Teachers may create structured and purposeful discussion in Haiku Discussions; students will have the ability to contribute

        • Generate: Students will use their critical thinking skills to create their own questions, problems, answers, and solutions

        • Investigation: An inquiry-based lesson that asks students to find and make sense of information

        • Problem-Solving: Students must use their understanding of a subject to solve a problem

        • Reading to Think: Students may read text as a means of introducing a subject or to encourage them to consider an issue from a different perspective

        • Writing to Learn: Students may write (formally or informally) regarding what they know about a particular subject or to summarize their understanding of a topic

      7. How will my students get their assignments?
        Teachers will take class time the day before an e-Learning day to explain the assignments and to provide students with time to download relevant content. For example, if an e-Learning day occurs on a Monday, then students will download content no later than the Friday before the scheduled e-Learning day. We believe that by preplanning e-Learning days and downloading content before activities, the issue of internet access is largely eliminated. However, other options do exist.

      8. How long will students have to complete an assignment?
        Students will have three days to submit assignments following an e-Learning day. If an e-Learning day is scheduled for a Friday, students will receive the materials and instructions on Thursday. Students then have three instructional calendar days to submit their assignments upon returning. For example, if students have an e-Learning day scheduled for a Friday they will have until the following Wednesday to submit their assignments. This provides a considerable amount of flexibility for students to complete their assignments. It also allows for students who may have questions regarding an assignment to meet with their teacher and seek clarification while still having ample time to complete their assignments.

      9. One of the days is over spring break. How will students complete these assignments if they are traveling or have other plans?
        In this specific situation, students will receive their assignments by Wednesday, March 20th (which is before the break). Students will again have three days after they return to submit their assignments or evidence of learning. This means that students will have 15 days to complete their assignments (3 days before spring break plus 9 days of spring break plus 3 days upon returning) which should provide more than enough time for students to complete their assignments.

      10. Will assignments be graded?
        Grading of assignments is at the discretion of the teacher and should be related to the purpose/intention of the lesson activity. Lessons that introduce new concepts or units are vastly different than assignments used to evaluate or provide evidence of learning/mastery. As a result, not all assignments require a grade. Some assignments are used to help students access prior knowledge, set the stage for subsequent learning activities, develop necessary background knowledge, or practice new skills/knowledge.

      11. What will the district assignments focus on? Why does it have a longer timeline to hand in?
        The district assignments will vary by grade level. For elementary (grades 2-5), the assignments will focus on surveys and goal setting to be completed with their parents. Both paper copies and electronic links will be provided.

        At the middle school and high school level, we will focus on Naviance activities (college and career planning), social media awareness, mental health awareness, and other topics.

        The timelines are different as part of the pilot allows us to explore different options for lesson formatting and submissions.

      12. How will students in preschool, kindergarten, and 1st grade complete assignments without a Chromebook?
        Students in preschool through first grade will have assignments sent home by the classroom teacher.

      13. How will students access their assignments?

        • Pre-Kindergarten - 1st Grade: Assignments will be sent home with students (e.g., take home folder).

        • 2nd Grade - 12th Grade: Students will access materials, resources and activities/assignments via their issued Chromebook and Haiku. To prevent issues with connectivity at home, students will download all of the relevant materials (excluding videos, live discussions, or website content) on the last instructional day before a scheduled e-Learning Day.

        • Teachers will take class time the day before an e-Learning day to explain the assignments and to provide students with time to download relevant content. For example, if an e-Learning day occurs on a Monday, then students will download content no later than the Friday before the scheduled e-Learning day. We believe that by preplanning e-Learning days and downloading content before activities, the issue of internet access is largely eliminated. However, other options do exist (see question 17 below).

      14. How will attendance be taken?
        Attendance will be recorded on e-Learning days. Attendance will be determined by a student’s login information and successful completion of their assignments. Incomplete or missing work will result in an unexcused absence.

      15. What about students with an IEP or 504?
        The e-Learning proposal has accommodations outlined as to how students with IEPs or 504s will receive their required supports and have content assigned that aligns to their specific accommodations/modifications. The school will essentially follow the same process currently used to ensure that service minutes are provided in accordance with the IEP. Currently, students instructional service minutes (e.g., reading or mathematics) are written to outline daily supports. These minutes can be met via the teacher so long as they accommodate the needs of these students, as they would in a regular instructional setting. In the case of related services (e.g., speech, OT, PT, Vision, social work/counseling) support minutes remain flexible and are adjusted weekly if the need arises. However, there is an assurance that these are met fully. For students with disabilities who do not use an online platform or for whom an online platform is not appropriate, teachers will provide parents with suitable educational materials and learning activities. To clarify, these students are allowed to receive paper/pencil content or assignments that support students at their respective cognitive ability level. These assignments may also include a focus on community skills or Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s). Also, for students in a general education setting, they will be provided with the necessary accommodations generally provided in the classroom setting.

      16. When will students have final exams?
        A final comprehensive exam schedule will be provided in the near future. However, final exams will take place on Wednesday, May 22nd, Thursday, May 23rd, and Friday, May 24th.

      17. What about students who do not have Wi-Fi at home?
        While we believe that allowing students to preload content serves to address this issue, we also acknowledge that lessons may require access to the internet to view videos or connect to websites. There are a number of options available to help support planned eLearning days. These include:

        • Families may have internet connectivity using a cell phone as a hotspot or through tethering.

        • Apartment Offices of Clubhouses: Families living in apartments, associations, or condos many have access to Wi-Fi in their clubhouse. It will be important to bring a charged Chromebook and headsets for privacy and the privacy of others.

        • Church and social club internet access: Families may be able to contact their church, house of worship, or social club. It will be important to bring a charged Chromebook and headsets for privacy and the privacy of others.

        • Area Businesses: Local restaurants, coffee houses, or bookstores could be used on occasion for Wi-Fi connection. It will also be important to bring a charged Chromebook and headsets.

        • Libraries: There are several public library branches in the district. Area public libraries offer Wi-Fi access and often times Wi-Fi printing.

        • While we believe we have primarily addressed the issue of connectivity to support planned e-Learning days we acknowledge that some problems may arise. This is also why we have built in a three-day buffer for students to turn in completed assignments. Students may use school Wi-Fi before school, after school, during lunch, or during their ALT, ASP, or ELT as needed to complete assignments.

      18. What are the general expectations?
        Our goal is to provide a quality academic experience. To ensure that e-Learning meets this expectation, we have developed the following guiding principles:

        • Lessons will reflect the appropriate level of rigor and relevance to the content being taught.

        • The volume of work assigned should be reasonable and equate to what would typically be covered in a traditional schedule.

        • Assignments will align with the material being taught at the time.

        • Teachers will post lessons before the school day begins on the day before an e-Learning day.

        • Students will have three days to submit assignments upon return from an e-Learning day.

      19. Is this being done to save money?
        No, there is no cost savings to the district for implementing an e-Learning day. Contractually, staff must still be paid for the number of days outlined in our labor agreements.

      20. Is technology assistance available?
        Students requiring assistance with a lesson activity will have the ability to email teachers for clarification on assignments (at the lower grades parents may fill this role). For technical issues, students may submit tickets through 1:1 helpdesk via Haiku.

      21. Does this mean that we will have e-Learning next year?
        No, the pilot is structured to ensure that we have an opportunity to gather feedback from students, staff, and parents to help inform our decisions regarding the 2019-20 school year. The feedback provided will help us ensure that if e-Learning is implemented in the future that it meets our shared expectations.

      22. Is the District exploring other options for next year?
        Yes, the District will be reviewing the school calendar to possibly identify other dates that can be used as make-up dates. Currently, we have always had a “flex” day in April (typically the Monday after Easter) as a makeup day. Moving forward, we will look for other non-attendance dates to recommend as options for emergency make-up days. The dates we will review and discuss include:

        • January 20, 2020 – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

        • February 17, 2020 – Presidents Day

        • March 6, 2020 – Teacher In-service Day

        • April 10, 2020 – Good Friday

        • April 13, 2020 – Existing Emergency Day

        • April 20, 2020 - Teacher In-service Day

        • May 29, 2020 – Last Day of School

      23. What is the role of a parent/guardian on an e-Learning day?
        This will depend upon your child’s age. At the early grades, parents will need to help facilitate lessons with their child. Parents will receive all of the information and activities to be performed. These may include reading with a child or working with common household items in a math lesson. We will be sure to ensure that none of the activities require special items or equipment. At the middle school and high school levels, parents will simply facilitate as needed.

      24. How can a parent/guardian provide feedback about their e-Learning experience?
        Students, staff, and parents will receive a survey following each e-Learning activity. The questions for parents are straight forward as follows:

        1. What went well? Or rate your experience overall (1-5 with a 5 being fantastic and 1 being poor).

        2. Was your child able to understand what they were being asked to do without a high level of assistance from you?

        3. What issues did you have (e.g., technology, missing content, inactive/bad links)?

        4. Was your student able to complete their assignments in a reasonable amount of time?

        5. What suggestions do you have that can help improve the e-Learning experience for your student?

       

      I would like to thank you in advance for your flexibility and for helping us to improve our e-Learning opportunities.