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    Remote Learning Teaching and Learning FAQ

    What will remote learning look like?

    Students will be learning five days a week from their homes with a combination of:

    1. Live instruction and small group instruction
    2. Independent learning activities.

    Live class and small group instruction: Students will meet with educators and other students live using Microsoft Teams.

    • Educator facilitates a discussion about a shared text with the whole class over video conference
    • Students work together on a group project in a breakout room over video conference
    • Students work independently while on video conference; educator monitors work and uses the chat for individual feedback or pulls a small group into a breakout room to share feedback with the group

    Independent learning activities: Students will learn independently and offline, on their own timeline.

    • Students watch a pre-recorded video lesson on their own schedule
    • Students complete assignments posted on Schoology or Seesaw on their own schedule
    • Educators provide feedback on completed assignments over email or within Schoology or Seesaw.

    Will students receive live, remote classroom instruction? How many hours of instruction per day will be provided?

    The district is recommending live, remote classroom instruction in grades preK-12. Schedules and "school hours" will be consistent across the district and predictable for families, students, and staff. For students receiving special education services, in alignment with their IEP, some students may receive small group, in-person instruction if it is determined that services can be provided safely, and services cannot be accessed successfully through remote learning.

    Will family members need to sit with K-1 students during live lessons?

    We expect that parents or caregivers will need to support young students, especially at the beginning of the school year. As students become accustomed to routines, we expect that less caregiver support will be required for live lessons.

    What does independent reading look like?

    Students pick a book of their own choice, read it, and complete an exercise (this will look different for schools — e.g., complete a reading log) to demonstrate their progress in reading.

    How will SPS ensure consistency of instruction across schools?

    SEA and SPS have agreed to support a strong start to the school year by increasing professional development by two days.

    How long will remote/online learning go on? Will it be all school year?

    Seattle Public Schools continues to monitor COVID-19 transmission rates and is in regular contact with Public Health Seattle & King County. We know that students do best when they are in a physical school community and have direct connection with educators and supports. Our local context remains dynamic and there are lots of unknowns. What we know is that transmission rates of COVID-19 must decrease significantly to provide in-person learning to all students. We each have a part to play in reducing transmission rates. Please continue to and encourage others to follow the guidance of public health, wear a mask, and social distance.

    Will there be supplemental, hard copy packets at the school or meal sites for pick up?

    No. The current recommendation is that all educators will be providing live, remote classroom instruction and we are working towards a 1:1 computer/technology device model for all SPS students. 

    Is there a focus on social-emotional learning in the suggested remote learning plans?

    Yes. We know, and families and students continually stressed, that our students miss connection and social emotional supports when learning at home. Our recommended schedules include daily time for students to connect with peers and educators and focus on their social-emotional wellbeing.

    Do students have to attend all live, online classes? Can some of the classes be recorded for students to view at a time that accommodates working families' schedules?

    We are working to balance flexibility for students and families during this uncertain time, while ensuring consistency and predictably districtwide, as our communities have asked for. We have heard that families would like educators to record the live sessions and post on Schoology.

    How is SPS ensuring the amount of screen time is developmentally appropriate?

    We have worked to build learning schedules and approaches that are responsive to what students and families’ have told us they need and that meet the state requirements of 1,027 instructional hours and 180 days. Those requirements require us to build schedules that get us to the point of counting time down to minutes. These are example schedules and we want to be transparent and offer our best thinking given our legal requirements so far. The schedules allow for students to have access to learning with the educator. However, the time dedicated for live instruction includes time for small group instruction, 1:1 feedback, live chat with educators, as well as whole class instruction.

    Will extracurricular classes like band, PE, theater, etc. still be offered in live, online classrooms?

    Yes. There will also be some recorded classes available in these subject areas for students to watch at a time that works best for their schedules.

    Is there any consideration being given to outdoor learning?

    Members of the Seattle School Board have approved resolutions to explore outdoor learning. The resolution is included in the School Board meeting agenda document on page 49 of the presentation.



    Grading and Priority Standards

    What is the grading policy and practice for remote learning?

    Elementary (K-5) grading recommendations: Elementary school students will receive traditional standards marking (1-4) with detailed comments and feedback from educators

    Middle School and High School (6-12) grading recommendations: "A – C-" or "Incomplete" are the Board-approved grading options. Grades will be aligned to content standards and communicate student progress towards those standards. If a student earns an "Incomplete," they will be able to make up that grade by completing a learning plan, completing a credit retrieval course, or appealing their Incomplete. These grading options ensure supports meet the needs of our students to graduate on time and ready for college and career, especially those furthest from educational justice.

    Read more about the Incomplete Grade Process for secondary students (grads 6th - 12th)

    Read more about grading and progress reports.

    What are the learning standards for students?

    In a typical year when students are learning in a physical classroom and school building, student learning is aligned to the Washington State Learning Standards. This year, educators across the district, state, and country need to prioritize some of these learning standards to address disruption to instruction in Spring 2020 and the constraints of the remote learning schedule in 2020-21.

    Even during remote instruction, our staff have high expectations for all students, and are committed to providing a high-quality education no matter the circumstances or learning environment. Staff will work to address unfinished learning and tap into students’ strengths to create joyful learning experiences. Content must be strategically prioritized to meet these expectations.

    The SPS Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction team has selected priority standards from the Washington State Learning Standards for each grade-level and course. Read more about the Priority Learning Standards.



    Will educators be taking attendance? How?

    For the 2020-21 school year, we will be accommodating the varied needs and schedules of families and students using a traditional attendance check at the beginning of class as well as a more flexible approach by considering student engagement with learning tasks and posted lessons. Excused absences will also be extended to families experiencing illness, parent/guardian conflicting work schedules, and online connectivity issues.

    What is the definition of attendance during remote learning?

    Students' participation in live classes as well as working 'asynchronously,' or independently on planned learning activities and assignments, will count as a student being present for attendance.

    The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) has provided examples of what student participation could look like in order to be counted as present, including, but not limited to:

    • Daily logins to learning management systems and completion of meaningful learning activities;
    • Daily interactions with teacher(s) to acknowledge attendance (including messages, emails, phone calls, or video chats); or
    • Evidence of participation in a task or assignment. Student presence is determined by engaging in planned synchronous or asynchronous activities.

    For full guidance regarding attendance during remote learning, please visit OSPI's website.

    What types of absences are there during remote learning?

    Students will either be recorded as "present" or "absent." Students will not be marked late or tardy during this period of 100% online learning. There are excused and unexcused absences.

    Absences due to the following COVID-19 causes will be considered excused:

    • Student or family health issues
    • Caring for a family member
    • Student's employment or other family obligations during scheduled school hours
    • Lack of necessary instructional tools (e.g., internet connectivity)
    • Parent work schedule

    For the full list of what qualifies as an excused absence, open the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) document.

    What is the process if a student is believed to be absent?

    Absences should not be recorded until staff has taken action to reach out and connect with the student and family to better understand the student's learning experience and ensure that the student has not participated in planned asynchronous, or independent learning activities during the school day or during off-schedule school hours.

    The school must apply OSPI requirements and district guidelines to determine excused and unexcused absences. Schools will take several different steps, summarized below, if they believe a student was absent.

    If a student is believed to have an unexcused absence, school staff will work to:

    • Determine if planned asynchronous learning activities occurred by checking Schoology activity, emailing or having a phone call with the family, checking for completed assignments, etc.
    • Follow district guidelines to determine if the absence is excused or unexcused.
    • Ensure attendance, once verified, is updated.
    • Notify the family of an unexcused absence.
    • Collaborate with the student and family to develop a plan of support, if necessary.
    • Monitor results and adjust the support plan when needed.