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Remote Learning Program FAQ

At its public meeting on June 23, 2020, the Alameda Unified School District voted on the parameters for what instruction will look like for AUSD students in the 2020-21 school year. 

 

We know our families, students, and staff have many questions about the goals and logistics of these programs. We have tried to answer as many questions as we can here, but will be adding to this FAQ frequently throughout the summer  and fall as we adjust and adapt to changing health conditions and instructional needs. 

 

AUSD'S INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAMS FOR 2020-21

 

What are the two options for school in 2020-21? 

Families have a choice between a Flexible Learning Program and a Remote Learning Program. The Flexible Learning Program is designed to provide either in-person or distance learning, depending on public health conditions. In either mode the Flexible Learning Program will entail half-day, on-campus, in-person instruction and asynchronous (at home) self-paced learning for the other half of the day. The Remote Learning Program will be an entirely on-line program with which students will engage from home. (A separate FAQ on the Flexible Learning Program is available here.)

 

What is AUSD’s Remote Learning Program?

In light of the ongoing pandemic, AUSD is offering a Remote Learning Program for students who may not be able to return to in-class instruction in the fall. This program was  designed to be more engaging than the Distance Learning Opportunities offered last spring and also includes more rigorous and grade-specific coursework and more formal assessments, as well as social and emotional learning experiences and enrichment opportunities. Attendance at the virtual class meetings will also be mandated. 

 

How will the Remote Learning Program work?

It’s important to understand that the remote program will not be modeled after a traditional school day program with a schedule of class periods. Teachers will serve as “Learning Coordinators ” of students’ instruction and will meet one-to-one and in small groups in order to support both their instructional needs and social and emotional learning.  Students in this program will do much of their work “asynchronously” (meaning independently and at their own pace). Parents/guardians will work collaboratively with the teachers to support and coach their students and also actively their children in following the online platform work. 

 

Students in the Remote Learning Program will also have access to supports and services for mental health, English Language Development, and Special Education. 

 

Who qualifies for AUSD’s Remote Learning Program?

The Remote Learning Program was designed to support students including those who:

  1. Have or live with someone who has an underlying medical condition that makes them particularly susceptible to COVID-19

  2. Have a caretaker (non-household member) who is vulnerable to COVID-19

  3. Are students in Alameda

AUSD will try to accept as many students as possible into the Remote Learning Program. Preference will be given to students who are or who live with people who are medically fragile, however.

 

What medical documentation do I need to provide to show that my student is eligible for this program? 

Please provide a letter from a physician that explains why your student should receive priority consideration for our remote program.

 

How did families apply to  the Remote Learning Program? 

A letter describing the programs, with a link to the registration form, was sent to all families on June 26. The form had a deadline of July 5. Acceptance notices were sent to families on July 9 and July 10.  Families who applied for the remote program had until July 19 to decide if they truly wanted their student to be enrolled in that program, to submit their medical documentation, submit a confirmation form.

 

Please note: Families who did not submit an Instructional Program Choice form were automatically enrolled in our Flexible Learning Program.

 

How will students in the Remote Learning Program access meals?

Students in the Remote Learning Program can pick up meals at any of our eight distribution sites between 11 am and 1 pm on Tuesdays and Fridays. 

 Does each school have its own Remote Learning Program?

No, we set up  one K-12 Remote Learning Program, and classes are comprised of students and teachers from a variety of school sites.  Teachers in this program are certificated educators who work for AUSD. Families will continue to have access to information and  events at their home schools, and secondary students will continue to work with their home school counselors for academic counseling.

 

Does a student enrolled into the Remote Learning Program lose his/her spot at their home school?

Students enrolled into the Remote Learning Program will still be enrolled in his/her home school and can return the following school year (2021-22) if schools are able to provide in-person instruction at that time.

 

What if a student enrolled in the Remote Learning Program ends up wanting to join the Flexible Learning Program? 

While we understand that circumstances can change, our current policy is that once accepted into the Remote Learning Program, a student needs to remain in the program for the entire year.  

 

What if a student enrolled in the Flexible Learning Program ends up wanting to join the Remote  Learning Program? 

We will try to accommodate these requests, but it will depend on whether or not we have space in a remote class. 

 

Can a student with an IEP be enrolled in the Remote Learning Program?

Yes, there are teachers available to support students who have IEPs.

 

How can I get more information? 

If you have questions about enrollment that are not answered here, please email student.services@alamedaunified.org. If you have questions about the program itself, please check this FAQ regularly or contact Principal Ben Washofsky at bwashofsky@alamedaunified.org

 

THE ONLINE PROGRAM

 

 What curriculum will be used in the Remote Learning Program? 

Our Teaching and Learning staff originally chose  “Acellus” an online K-12 program. Due to concerns about some of the Acellus content, we have now replaced it with Edmentum curriculum, specifically:

  • Exact Path K-5 (with supplements for science, social studies, and TK) 

  • Courseware 6-12 (with supplements for some AP and language courses)

  • Study Island K-12 (an intervention and acceleration program)

Our team chose Edmentum from among several options because it  is a self-paced K-12 program that is relatively easy to implement and use, is aligned with Common Core, NGSS, and UC’s A-G requirements, and offers AP courses.

 

In addition, our staff reviewed Edmentum lessons using an equity model developed by the State of Washington. That rubric includes guidelines for checking for stereotypes, tokenism, and other types of implicit or explicit bias.

 

(For more information about the selection process, please see the PowerPoint presentation presented at the September 8 Board of Education meeting here. A recording of that presentation and discussion is also attached to the agenda for that meeting.) 

 

Where can we see what Edmentum looks like? Is there a video demonstration? 

The Edmentum website provides quite a bit of information, including parent resources on how best to support your children, a list of courses offered, and sample schedules.

 

THE LEARNING TEAM

 

Who will be teaching my child in the Edmentum  program? 

Your student will be learning from Edmentum  educators (via video) and will be able to access extra support from  Edmentum if necessary. 

 

In addition, All students in the Remote Learning Program will be supported by an AUSD “Learning Coordinator” (a certificated AUSD teacher) and their families or caregivers, who will serve as “Learning Coaches.”  The Learning Coordinator/AUSD teacher will act as a facilitator, advisor, and academic support provider and will be able to:

  • Monitor your child’s progress in multiple subjects in real time

  • See when your child might be struggling and in need of additional support

  • Organize one-on-one check-ins or small group work to support students in the online curriculum

  • Work closely with you (or another adult in your household) and your student so that your child is fully supported in his/her/NB academic success

The “Learning Coach” in your household will assist the student in the day-to-day activities of school by making sure the student has the necessary tools, space, and equipment to access school daily.  The coach will also make sure the student is attending classes, completing assignments, taking assessments, and communicating effectively with the teachers.

 

As a team, the student, teacher and learning coach/parent/caregiver will meet throughout the year to review your child’s  personal learning plan to meet his/her/NB’s needs and goals.

 

In addition to Edmentum educators, students in middle and high school will belong to a “house” that includes their primary Learning Coordinator and teachers from major subject areas (i.e., Mathematics, English Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, Languages, and Visual and Performing Arts). Those subject teachers will be available to provide extra support as students go through the Acellus program. Parents, guardians, or other adults in the household will also serve as learning coaches for students in the secondary grades.

  

How will students  make course selections within Edmentum and who will assist them?

As a team, the Learning Coordinator, Learning Coach, and student will meet at the beginning of the year to discuss and determine the student’s strengths, previous state assessments, school performance, and learning styles. (AUSD will also be administering assessments at the beginning of the school year to determine student needs.)  This data will allow the team to create the best personal learning goals, learning plan, and teaching approach for each student. The plan will be adjusted throughout the year  to ensure the students’ needs are met.

 

Middle and high school students will also be assigned to academic counselors who will make sure they are taking the courses they need both to graduate and meet their college and career goals.

 

REMOTE LEARNING PROGRAM LOGISTICS

 

How will my student’s work be graded?

Edmentum provides tests at the end of each unit, grades the tests, and tabulates it in an Acellus Gradebook that is available at any time for review. 

 

What will the grade groupings be for the Remote Learning Program?

Students may have a teacher who is providing support to several  grade levels. This will not be like the combined classes (e.g., "4/5 combo class) that we sometimes create to balance staffing for in-person instruction. Instead, in the Remote Learning Program, Zoom check-ins and small groups may be grouped with other students based on their learning needs.

 

What will the schedule for the Remote Learning Program be?

The following table shows the 2020-21 Remote Learning Program schedule. 

 

 

It’s important to understand, however, that the Remote Learning Program provides a tremendous amount of flexibility as to when and how school work gets done. As such, students may have a check-in with their Learning Coordinator (who will be a certificated AUSD teacher) at a certain time every day or may set up a time to virtually meet with one of their teachers for extra support. But the work is largely self-paced, which means families and students can decide together when the best time to do schoolwork is, including how it will work with parents’ work schedules.

 

Will students in the remote program be able to participate in community activities set up for their home/physical school?

 AUSD students enrolled in the Remote Learning Program will still have a connection with their home (physical) school. As such, they will be able to take part in virtual activities such as assemblies, clubs, and school-wide celebrations, as well as district-wide events.

 

Will AUSD teachers and counselors in the Remote Learning Program be trained on how to use Edmentum?

Yes. They will receive professional development on using the program to support and monitor students and coach families. 

 

When will my student be able to start with the Edmentum program?

We are aiming to start training staff the week of September 14. At that time, our counselors will also start aligning course requests with Edmentum course offerings. We hope that during the week of September 21, we can train families and students and start the actual instruction with the program.

 

How will we get our materials and supplies?

Please watch for notifications from your home school for materials such as paper, pencils, and journals. Curriculum for the Remote Learning Program will be provided online from Edmentum. If there is additional curriculum that your Learning Coordinator thinks students need, we will contact you when that is available.