SCS shares electronic learning, graduation plans for students

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

Shelby County Schools leaders have shared the district’s eLearning Instructional Plan for students and updates for seniors preparing to graduate this school year.

After Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced on March 26 that all schools would remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, SCS leadership and instructional teams started developing a new electronic learning plan for students to follow at home over the next two months.

The plan was shared with families in an email sent through each school’s ListServ on April 1, and maintains that “the instructional goal for all of Shelby County Schools is to keep students engaged in enrichment activities and facilitate learning for the remaining weeks of this school year,” according to an SCS press release.

Instruction is set to begin April 6 and to conclude on May 21. Teachers will provide academic opportunities through eLearning based on critical state standards identified for each subject and grade level.

“Instruction for the remainder of this school year will not look like traditional classroom instruction,” Deputy Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Dr. Lynn Carroll wrote in the release. “eLearning serves the purpose of enrichment, engagement and continuation of learning on critical standards for each subject and grade.”

According to Carroll, teaching and learning will focus mostly on the four core subjects: English Language Arts (reading and writing), math, science and social studies. Enrichment opportunities in elective subjects such as art, music and physical education will be provided on a less frequent basis.

“Instructional assignments will be delivered through online learning platforms that students are familiar with and have been using this school year,” Carroll wrote. “Instructional activities can be done at any time of day, so students in the same family can share a device.”

The plan calls for Google Classroom to serve as the instructional platform for students in all grades. Students in kindergarten through fifth grade will log in and utilize programs through the Clever app.

Carroll said lessons will be posted by Monday morning, and students will have until Thursday to complete assignments, unless otherwise specified by their teacher. Friday will be designated as time for teachers to collaboratively plan and give feedback to students.

Students are expected to participate in eLearning assignments to reinforce core academic standards and prepare students for the next school year, the release read. Pre-recorded videos of teachers providing instruction on critical standards will be available.

Students with failing grades at the end of the third reporting period will be enrolled in an intervention program in addition to classroom assignments.

Teachers will check their emails periodically throughout the week and will be available to answer students’ and parents’ questions.

All elementary students will receive their math workbooks, Studies Weekly Magazines, and kindergarten through third grade students will also receive handwriting workbooks.

Activity packets will be available by request for students in secondary grades.

Families with internet issues or no computers at home should contact their school principal via email, as SCS is providing MiFi devices and Chromebooks to students in need.

Anyone who was unable to fill out the technology survey and request a Chromebook should contact the school principal via email.

Chromebook distribution will begin Monday, April 6, in most areas. MiFi devices will be distributed by the middle of next week, if not sooner.

“The COVID-19 crisis continues to evolve, but one thing that remains unchanged is the district’s dedication to providing quality instructional opportunities for students in Shelby County Schools,” SCS Superintendent Dr. Lewis Brooks wrote. “The health and welfare of students and staff is of utmost importance. At a time when many things are uncertain, we want to ensure that schoolwork does not cause additional hardship. Instruction will look vastly different for the remainder of this school year. We will work with families and will be flexible during this challenging time.”

Regarding senior students, Brooks said the goal is, now and always, for seniors to graduate on time.

Seniors who were on track to graduate and in good standing as of March 13 will be deemed to have met all graduation requirements for the state of Alabama and may be finished with all coursework. Their third-quarter grades will entirely comprise their second-semester course averages.

Any senior who wishes to improve his or her third-quarter grade(s) will be given the opportunity to do so through online assignments. Seniors who were not on track and not in good standing as of March 13 will be allowed to pursue credit recovery as directed by local school administration.

Seniors who graduate but have not completed the requirements for a Career Technical Education credential will be allowed to do so at a later date when physical return to school is possible. The lack of a credential will not prevent or delay graduation.

Seniors enrolled in dual enrollment courses should adhere to guidance from the sponsoring college or university with regards to course completion.

Brooks said he is hopeful high schools will be able to hold graduation ceremonies in June, but cannot guarantee anything as school and state officials wait to see how the novel coronavirus situation unfolds.

“We are planning some social media campaigns to honor (seniors),” SCS Public Relations and Community Education Supervisor Cindy Warner said. “One will be our #ShelbySeniorShoutOut where we are asking parents and students to post Senior Portrait photos using this hashtag. Our counseling department is also putting some things to honor them for a social media campaign that will be spread out over a few weeks.”

For future updates from Shelby County Schools, visit Shelbyed.k12.al.us or @shelbyalschools on Facebook.