Through all phases of re-entry, our instructional model is rooted in ACSD’s Strategic Plan goals, our International Baccalaureate (IB) teaching and learning framework, the vision established by our Continuity of Learning (COL) team over this past summer, and our ACSD Fall Planning Survey. Based on those four pillars, the key concepts for learning across the ACSD include:
- A learning framework based on our ‘International Baccalaureate’ curriculum
- Clear learning goals
- Critical thinking
- Strengths-based instruction
- Collaboration between educators within and across disciplines
These concepts and goals inform our approach to teaching both on-site and in a remote learning environment.
A Few Basics
Students have been assigned to their classes and teachers regardless of whether they are participating in the hybrid learning model (two days on site and three days remote per week) or have opted for the 100% remote model. This means students have classmates who attend school in person on different days of the week and - in some cases - students who do not come to school at all. These classes and connections will remain in place through any and all phases of ACSD’s reentry models (fully remote, fully onsite, and hybrid).
Teachers collaborate with one another to define essential learning goals for each class. They plan first for remote instruction, ensuring that new content and learning engagements are accessible to off-site students; and second for on-site instruction, ensuring that time at school is maximized for personalized support, skill development, checking for understanding, and promoting relationships. They are encouraged to look for opportunities to move learning outside whenever possible. To that end, students should dress for the weather.
Teachers have dedicated blocks of time to connect on a regular basis with students who have elected to participate in our fully remote model.
Every effort is being made to balance the learning that happens online with the learning and activities that can take place away from a computer screen. While requirements for real-time connections between students, teachers, and classmates vary across contexts, in the hybrid model (Phase 3) our focus is less on work completed during virtual class meetings and more on work completed flexibly, as timing works for students and families. We do expect to incorporate more real-time virtual meetings if we transition to Phase 1 (fully remote) or 2 (mostly remote) instruction. Through all phases, we aim to provide students with more paper-based and other off-line learning materials than we were able to provide last spring.
This past spring, learning time and expectations for student participation were significantly reduced in response to the COVID-19 crisis. This year, however, it is our goal to provide all ACSD students with a robust educational experience. To that end, we worked to develop appropriate learning times guidelines for various grade levels. These guidelines are based on requirements connected to Vermont Act 166 (Universal PreK), Vermont State Board of Education Rule 2312.1, and the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program (MYP) and Diploma Program (DP). You can find more details on page 16 of ACSD's Reentry Plan.
Importantly, in a proficiency-based teaching and learning system, learning time is a variable. Both remote and hybrid models of instruction allow us to embrace this concept. Students should be able to move quickly through classwork that comes easily to them and focus longer where they need more time. Rather than counting minutes or hours of remote learning, students and families are encouraged to focus on learning goals and outcomes and to communicate frequently with teachers to adjust pacing as needed.
Virtual Learning Platforms
Whether students are on site or off, most of their school work will be communicated through Toddle (PreK-6) and ManageBac (grades 7-12). Teachers will phase these tools in over the first several weeks of school. Look for more information about both of these in school communication.