How is this remote plan different from the one that was shared with families on August 4?
- Every class will meet on the Lion Day schedule for the first day of the week for 35 minute periods. This will give teachers the opportunity to lay out the structure for the week.
- Classes for the remainder of the week will alternate between a Gold 4th-1st period or Blue 5th-8th period block schedule.
- Block class periods on blue and gold days were increased from 60 minutes to 75 minutes.
- Students should expect additional work outside of synchronous class periods. We anticipate a student workload to be similar to what they experienced in a “normal” week with 8 periods a day.
- The morning VP Time, or Vita Plena Time, on blue and gold days will allow students to connect with support staff and teachers.
- Lunch periods were kept on blue and gold days to provide scheduled time to for students to get work done during the day, to get help from their teachers, and allow us to develop a means to get students on campus safely, in small groups, from 7:45 to 9:30 to have access to lab and elective spaces.
- The morning of Lion days gives teachers the time they need to develop engaging synchronous lessons and coordinate the supports for the week.
How is this remote plan different from the one we used in the spring?
The 2020-21 Remote Learning Plan has changed considerably from the spring. Synchronous sessions are required for each scheduled period. Teachers have been given access to additional technology tools and will receive training on how to facilitate interactive Zoom sessions. Training is also scheduled to coordinate how Canvas is used for ease of access. Since grades will count this fall, we have also put forward clear guidelines on how grading takes place. In electives, unique software, supply kits, and other classrooms materials will be distributed to support remote learning. Computers and internet access will be available to anyone who needs them.
What does synchronous learning look like for students?
Synchronous sessions are live online sessions. Some classes will create additional asynchronous activities, but those will usually be posted in Canvas and assigned as homework. Teachers are scheduled for 35 minute sessions on Lion Days and 75 minute sessions on gold and blue days where they have many options that can be tailored to the learning outcomes of the course. Teachers can lecture, provide guided instruction, share PowerPoints and documents, set up breakout rooms and chat rooms, provide demonstrations, and check for understanding using technology tools. While teachers will connect with all students synchronously for each scheduled period, how that instruction looks and feels will vary depending on the course.
For families that do not have a computer that will allow for synchronous learning or do not have wifi access at home, please see the last question of this FAQ for information on how to borrow a computer from the school.
Why is there only an equivalent of four days of scheduled instructional time instead of five? What are teachers doing to bridge this gap?
The structure of the week will combine the Lion Day, which is more like a typical high school day, with the gold and blue days which are more like a college class structure.
Thinking of lessons in two-day “chunks,” teachers can introduce a topic, provide time for practice, reflection and feedback, and then touch base with everyone again on the next synchronous session. Time for teachers to provide individual feedback via email or Canvas chatrooms will occur before and after school, during the unscheduled lunch period, and during teacher planning periods. Research on remote learning also encourages providing more time for practice, feedback and communication rather than keeping students in front of a screen.
How will the LT plan meet the remote learning expectations put forth by the Illinois State Board of Education?¹
The ISBE guidelines recommend 2.5 hours of synchronous remote instruction daily, or the equivalent of 12.5 hours a week. Our remote learning schedule includes 21.6 hours of synchronous remote instruction weekly for a student who takes 7 classes. Other guidance emphasizes flexibility and use of technology which is embedded in our plan.
How are lab courses going to be completed remotely?
Science labs, food labs, furniture and cabinetmaking, driver education, automotive classes, SCUBA, and really any course that is heavily dependent on hands-on experience will be approached, when possible, with specialized software that can replicate some of the activities. Teachers may also demonstrate a lab during a synchronous session with students collecting data during the demonstration. We are also working to determine how to get students into the school in small groups to have a chance to use our facilities in Phase IV and Phase III since, unlike the spring, we can have students in the building. Driver Education behind-the-wheel can also be made available in the format we used to get students from the spring to finish their driving time.
How are teachers going to provide fair assessments?
Assessments, like the delivery model, will have to change. Multiple choice and true/false tests have always been less effective as a measure of student learning. Shifting to performance assessments by using the tools in Zoom and Canvas and focusing more on process and feedback rather than a single hour-long test will improve fairness.
How will the social and emotional needs of students be addressed?
We understand that beginning the year in a remote learning environment is difficult for many students who miss socializing with their peers and participating in activities at school. Our remote learning plan incorporates many more synchronous learning experiences than it did in the spring and teachers have been participating in training to increase social connections in a virtual environment. We are hopeful that these improvements will help students to feel more connected to one another and to their teachers.
As a district, our prevention and mental health education work will continue in the remote environment with every student having time available to connect with the staff of the Student Services Division before school on blue and gold days as well as during their unscheduled 4th or 5th period. Monthly topics, such as managing stress, grief and loss, substance abuse prevention, and healthy relationships, will be addressed by our Student Support Counselors. Our school counselors and social workers will continue to work with students via Zoom appointments to address social emotional concerns and to provide strategies and tools for recognizing and managing feelings of depression and anxiety – students are encouraged to reach out to their school counselor, grade-level social worker, or any trusted adult at LT if they are feeling overwhelmed with feelings of depression or anxiety so that support can be provided.
The Speak Up Line will continue to be monitored for any student to anonymously report unsafe behaviors or concerns (708-588-7326 or email@example.com) and the Student Services Division will continue to provide resources for all students and families on the website.
As a district, we are committed to learning more about meeting our students’ social and emotional needs and we will continue to learn through our partnerships with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and the IncludED Dignity Framework
How are teachers going to personalize their instruction to keep students engaged?
We purchased a professional Zoom account that allows for break-out rooms. Canvas has tools for monitored chat rooms. Additional software we have purchased provides interactivity that will make a synchronous session more than just a teacher providing a PowerPoint while also providing students virtual spaces to collaborate in-between synchronous sessions.
How will students eligible for special education receive the services indicated in the IEP?
For those students who receive special education services via an IEP, case managers and IEP team members will communicate with families regarding how those services will be delivered in a remote format. Priority will be given to students’ participation in classes during scheduled class time. Additional services may be provided during class time if intended to support the student’s progress in that class or outside of scheduled class time if separate from a particular class. Independent student learning time before and after students’ scheduled classes and on those Wednesdays when direct instruction is not occurring will be utilized to provide services outside of students’ classes.
While all students will start the school year in a remote learning format, we are actively working towards a goal of identifying if and when it may be feasible to bring small groups of students to campus for on-site instruction while maintaining the health and safety of all members of the school community. Because of the experiential nature of the LIFE and Transition programs, these programs will be specific areas of emphasis with respect to bringing small groups of students to campus.
Will dual credit opportunities be honored?
We have been in touch with all of our dual credit college and university partners. They are working with hundreds of schools going through the same issues of remote learning. Teachers have been provided the support they need to deliver the course content. Keep in mind that college courses usually only meet 2-3 times per week, so a remote schedule is something that can easily fit college expectations of content delivery and student independent work.
What do I do if my student needs a computer?
If families indicated during online registration that they needed a computer, it can be picked up when they get their books.
Students who did not indicate a need for a computer during online registration should alert the staff member checking them in at Book Pick-Up that they need to borrow a laptop.
If you did not get one during your scheduled book pickup time; simply return to your campus during a book pickup time and tell them you need to borrow a laptop.
For specific technology or access issues, please call or email our Technology Department Help Desk: 708-579-6559, HelpDesk@d204.lths.net.
Are webcams necessary for students to participate in Remote Learning?
To participate in a better learning experience, students are encouraged to have working webcams for Remote Learning. A student may borrow a laptop from the district, if they do not have a webcam or theirs fails.