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    Fall 2020 Planning Update August 7
    Posted on 08/07/2020
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    Fall Planning 2020 Updates

    Dear Families:

    We hope you were able to take some time off this summer, rejuvenate, and find joy in these uncertain times. Science and data continue to ground our response to COVID-19. While Superintendent Juneau, along with Seattle Education Association and the Principals Association of Seattle Schools, already recommended reopening remotely for this fall, Governor Inslee confirmed on Wednesday that the transmission rates in King County are too high to return to school in a districtwide hybrid model (part in-person/part remote). Governor Inslee, along with OSPI and the Department of Health, provided guidelines to help school districts make the decision of when and how to reopen schools for in-person instruction.

    Reopening plan recommendations

    As we continue to bargain fall working conditions with Seattle Education Association (SEA), staff, including SEA educators and school leaders, have been working hard to develop operational frameworks and recommendations for the 2020-21 start of school.

    At the August 5 Board Work Session, district staff presented teaching and learning recommendations to the School Board, including draft remote learning schedules, special education services, and grading policies. Read these recommendations on board meeting agenda document.

    The schedules are working drafts and provide an example of what remote learning can look like. Thank you to the educators and district staff, parents and students, and community members who spent over 1,000 collective hours participating on engagement teams to develop these proposals. The recommended schedules include daily time for students to connect for social-emotional supports, provide consistent and predictable schedules — also ensuring the amount of screen time is developmentally appropriate, while balancing classroom instruction with all students, small groups, and individualized learning throughout the week.

    The proposals also meet the state required 1,027 hours of instruction over 180 days. The Remote Learning team will continue to refine and edit the recommendations in partnership with educators and in response to family, student, and School Board feedback.

    Special Education and English Learner Services

    The departments of English Learners and Special Education are committed to centering our multilingual students and students with disabilities in our instructional model so they can succeed and thrive in both their services and general education settings.

    Special Education: In alignment with a student's IEP, and if the student's IEP team determines that services cannot be accessed remotely and can be provided safely, some special education services may be provided in person. The IEP & Referral Guidance document is being updated to support IEP teams in this process. The department is also collaborating with the Professional Development office to ensure supports and trainings are in place for school leaders, staff, and case managers.

    Our goal is to provide general education support for FAPE (free appropriate public education) and ensure our students are successful in the least restrictive environment.

    Students and families furthest from educational justice will be prioritized so their voices are centered as we continue to support student success. The department will be hosting several community forums in August and September to hear from our African American, LatinX, Asian, Native American/American Indian, and Pacific Islander families so that we can strengthen and ensure that we are providing culturally responsive practices for our students with disabilities. We will post these events on our website when schedules are finalized.

    English Learners: Educators will have guidance on remote instructional approaches to assist students in developing academic language so that they can engage with grade level content. Collaboration between EL staff and classroom teachers as to how core instruction is planned and delivered will be vital to the success of our students.

    School Board Votes August 12

    The School Board will vote on the OSPI reopening requirements at the August 12 Board Meeting. These requirements must be approved through board resolution. OSPI has provided 24 requirements that must be met. Behind each requirement in the document are more details which are still under development to get our schools and families ready for the new school year. For example, one question is if the district developed and provided summer learning opportunities for students who needed additional supports to be ready for fall. This summer, we were fortunate to be able to provide 15,000 students with access to robust summer learning including on-demand education, live-instruction, and 1 to 1 supports. The full plan for student instruction and family involvement will continue to be built and adapt to the changing context.

    Also, at the August 12 meeting, a resolution, Resolution No. 2020/21-4 proposed by School Board Directors Hampson, Hersey, and Rankin will be formally introduced. The resolution was presented at the August 5 Board Work Session. The resolution is included in the School Board meeting agenda document on page 49 of the presentation.


    The Curriculum, Assessment, and Instructional Department (CAI) has recommended to the school board a pilot for new materials in English Language Arts (ELA) middle school classes. SPS has not updated middle school ELA materials since 1994. Staff recommends the purchase of a high-quality, standards-aligned, culturally responsive ELA curriculum that includes training for educators as well as options for a remote learning setting.

    Technology supports

    Technology access has been a primary focus of our planning for fall. Fifty percent of SPS students received a device last spring. SPS has also ordered a device for every student, moving our district to a “one-to-one" device model. In addition, the team is offering a “bring your own device” program for students who would like to use their personal device for remote learning. Staff who need a district issued laptop to support students, including Instructional Assistants, will be provided one. As devices arrive, the Department of Technology (DoTS) will work with school leaders to deliver technology supports to staff and families. Training for families, students, and staff will be provided on common platforms and translated "how to" videos will be produced to support students while learning at home.

    Child care for educators and essential staff

    In partnership with the city and community-based organizations, SPS will provide a minimum of 35 child care sites in our school buildings. These are the same locations that we safely hosted child care throughout the summer. Facilities staff recently audited our buildings and we have enough space to increase to 68 sites. We will continue to work with our city partners to expand access to child care. Child care will be prioritized for essential staff, including SPS educators.

    Upcoming communications

    Tune in to our Virtual Town Hall Meeting via Facebook Live next week. Kirk Mead, SPS director of stakeholder engagement, and Anita Koyier-Mwamba, our family partnership manager, will join Superintendent Juneau to share SPS' work to support family engagement throughout the district. Join the conversation on our Facebook page on Tuesday, August 11 at 4:30 p.m. You do not need a Facebook account to view.

    We are working to streamline and improve our communications to ensure consistent and predictable updates for our families.

    Starting next Thursday, we will send weekly newsletters with the latest planning updates, including a message from Superintendent Juneau. Families and staff will be automatically added to the newsletter distribution list, unless you have previously opted out of our School Beat newsletter.

    Please sign up to receive our newsletters

    This work is dynamic and complex. We are committed to being transparent about our efforts and plans as we determine solutions to help all students succeed.

    Office of Public Affairs



    Next Steps

    The School Board will vote on Superintendent Juneau's recommendation and an associated plan for Fall 2020 on August 12. Go to the meeting agenda webpage.

    Learn More About Fall 2020 Planning

    Read Frequently Asked Questions Fall 2020

    Read more about the engagement details, including planning team membership and charter: Fall Student Reentry Planning webpage for more information.

    District Announcements

    Questions or Input for Fall 2020 Planning

    Please use our Let's Talk contact form to send Seattle Public Schools questions or input about fall planning. This FAQ will be updated as new information becomes available.

    Comments will be compiled and shared with staff and the School Board as we move through the recommendation and decision process for Fall 2020. As a reminder, the School Board will vote on recommendations and the start of school plan on August 12.