April 8, 2020
Dear Parents, Faculty, and Staff:
Yesterday (Tuesday, April 7th) the district received approval from the Iowa Department of Education to transition from providing content review to supporting new learning for students. This is an essential step as the district strives to do everything possible to prepare students to succeed at the next grade/course level.
Below you will see a distinction that the high school (and 8th-grade students taking HS courses) is designated as receiving required educational services while PK-8 remains with voluntary services. The only reason for this distinction is that credits become a proxy for learning at the secondary level and, of course, credit accumulation matters greatly for graduation. Within that distinction, it is important to emphasize the district is utilizing the same level of support and intervention at each grade level.
To follow is a brief summary from each level of instruction:
Grade level teams will continue to determine priority standards that will drive student learning through the remainder of the school closure. While the primary focus for learning is literacy and mathematics, science and social studies materials are also incorporated to support literacy. Student activities are presented in the form of Learning Boards with five activities within each subject area. These are offered as printed packets and online for those families with access to technology at home. Printed packets include a variety of activities, projects, and materials, and are provided weekly to students. Paper packets are printed at the district office and distributed to parents through a pickup location at each elementary school or delivered as necessary. Pick up locations follow CDC guidelines and social distancing expectations. Additionally, teachers will continue communicating and providing feedback to students via phone calls, video conferencing, Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Google classroom. Starting on April 20, 2020, these meetings will emphasize support for the new learning while maintaining social-emotional supports.
At the start of each week, students will receive 5 instructional lessons and activities in language arts, math, science, social studies, and their specials (art, CTE, PE, music) that are aligned to 4th quarter priority standards. These instructional activities will be shared out through student emails and Google Classroom. Students who do not have internet access will be able to pick up paper versions in the main entryway of BMS or you may contact BMS at (563) 359-3686 ext 5000 to make an alternative plan for obtaining the material. Students are strongly encouraged to share their completed work with their content area teachers so that teachers can provide specific feedback. Most grade-level content areas are also providing the students and families with proficiency rubrics that students can use as a self-assessment and teachers will use to provide specific feedback. Additionally, teachers will continue communicating and providing feedback to students via phone calls, video conferencing, Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Google classroom. Teachers will also use these virtual methods to meet in small groups to help with skill remediation.
High School (9-12):
As noted above, Bettendorf High School will shift from a voluntary model to a required educational services model effective Wednesday, April 15. The secondary level has 1:1 technology and every BHS student has access to a school-issued Chromebook. BHS has conducted an internet accessibility audit and continues to work to close any access gaps. Much more specific guidance related to student expectations will follow from Principal Kelly.
The district will maintain this model, adjusting as needed and as experience dictates until such time that the standard schedule resumes.
Thank you for your on-going support and cooperation as we work together to advance the learning of your child(ren). While challenging, I am certain that we can accomplish many positive outcomes together. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your teachers and principal with specific questions and concerns.
Jim Spelhaug, Ph.D.