Monroe schools have two back-to-school options
MONROE – In a 90-page ‘restart and recovery plan’ first presented to the Board of Education in July, the district offers two plans for the 2020-21 school year – entirely virtual, known as eFalcon and an optional hybrid plan that requires in-person instruction two or three consecutive days per week for each student.
In presentations to parents during the week of August 4, Schools Superintendent Dori Alvich presented the options for the new school year in three evenings, one for high school, one for middle school, and one for preschool and elementary schools. .
“This challenge definitely showed the creativity of educators across the country and here in Monroe Township,” Alvich said. “Although the school year is not supposed to go as usual, I have no doubts that our staff will do everything in their power to provide an exemplary education to all of our students while ensuring the safety of everyone.”
The draft plan was shared with the school board on July 22, and the updated version will be submitted for board approval on August 26.
The updated plan is subject to change upon approval from the state Department of Education.
The district has 6,921 students in eight schools – six elementary schools, one middle school and one high school – and more than 1,000 staff, who are expected to return on September 5.
For all schools, students will be placed in two cohorts – Gold and Purple – based on the alphabetical order of last names.
The district will use Google Suites, Microsoft 365, Schoology, in addition to other technologies approved by the district for all levels. Google Classroom is used for grades K to 8 as a virtual learning platform and Schoology, Learning Management System is used in high school. The platforms provide a common place for teachers, students and parents to locate learning resources and homework. All online instructions will be done using these platforms, Alvich said.
In addition, the district will ensure that every student has access to a device and internet connectivity, and will prioritize the provision of technology or, failing that, in-person instruction, to students who would not otherwise have access.
While there isn’t enough for every student, Chromebooks were purchased to help students who need a dedicated device as part of their virtual learning experience. These devices will be loaned by the schools, and when the schools are once again open to full capacity, these devices will be stored in carts inside the buildings.
For special education students, Alvich said the district will continue to educate according to each child’s individualized education program (IEP) and provide related services in person where possible while adhering to guidelines. health and safety department as well as virtually.
The eFalcon model will differ from models that were in place from mid-March to June, Alvich said. With the expansion of the district’s technology distribution, students will be able to participate in live, real-time interactions with teachers, participate in instructional videos, and follow a structured schedule that allows for virtual interactions with entire classes, groups of students. students and individualized support.
Teachers in the fully virtual model will be certified staff members of the Township of Monroe School District.
Parents can ask their children to participate in the fully virtual model through the Parent Portal in Genesis.
In elementary schools, students in grades one through five are split into two cohorts and will attend a four hour morning session with eight periods either Monday / Tuesday or Thursday / Friday with a one hour virtual session afterward. a lunch break. The cohorts will alternate at school on Wednesdays each week.
For children whose parents choose to have 100% distance schooling, the district provides a structured schedule that will run parallel to the school cohort.
Students will participate in related arts and receive additional education in all areas, including ESL support.
Kindergarten students will also participate in one of two models.
Children in the Kindergarten blended learning model will be in school for two specific days for four hours and participate in distance learning when not in the school building. Kindergarten eFalcon model children will participate in distance and virtual learning activities five days a week for 2.5 hours a day.
In college, students in grades six to eight will attend a four-hour morning session with six periods in two cohorts, either Monday / Tuesday or Thursday / Friday with two-hour virtual sessions after a lunch break. Wednesdays will alternate cohorts for teaching at school.
As in elementary schools, students in both cohorts will participate in related arts and receive additional instruction in all subject areas, including English as a second language.
Extracurricular activities will be offered virtually for 90 minutes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Monroe Township High School students in Grades 9 to 12 will all learn virtually to begin with, Alvich said. Some cohorts will be in school to learn virtually during a four hour morning session following an A / B block schedule. Students will then take a lunch break, return home, and then attend a 75-minute virtual session in the afternoon.
Extracurricular activities will be offered virtually for 60 minutes.
For high school, the plan is to bring between 500 and 600 students on Day 1 to school. This group of students will be in the building every day. These students will come from all different student populations, including special education and regular education groups. All other students will learn from home.
All students will learn virtually from their teachers using Schoology. Students in the building will have access to modifications and support which they cannot get at home but which are necessary for an optimal learning opportunity. Students at school will receive the same instruction as students learning virtually at home.
After the first three weeks – around the last week of September or the first week of October – the remaining students who wish to be part of one of the four cohorts of approximately 475 students to return to the building will take turns. . All students will continue to learn remotely, but students in these cohorts will be able to experience socialization once or twice a week depending on the schedule.
The total number of students in the building each day will not exceed 1,100 students. Any student or parent who wishes to remain in full distance learning can do so.
email: [email protected]
Cheryl Makin is a trade journalist for MyCentralJersey.com. To gain unlimited access to his award-winning work, please register or activate your digital account today.