Oswego School District 308 Board of Education was presented with detailed information on the district’s developing plan for both in-person and remote learning students for the 2021-2022 school year during a meeting Monday evening, May 10 at Oswego East High School.
The plan has been drafted by four district committees comprised of administrators and staff.
Superintendent Dr. John Sparlin, Associate Superintendent for Educational Services Faith Dahlquist, Director of Elementary Education Dr. Lindsay Allen, Executive Director of Accountability and High School Education Heather Kincaid, Director of English Learners Renee Sartore, Director of Social Emotional Learning Dr. Heidi Podjasek and Executive Director of Special Education Dr. Denise Hildebrand presented the plan to the board.
District officials have released portions of the plan in recent weeks, including a recent announcement that remote learning amid the continuing pandemic will be limited by “documented heightened medical risk to either a student or someone with whom a student lives, as related to COVID-19.” For a student to be considered for remote learning in the upcoming school year, a medical exemption request form must be signed by a medical provider and accompany a parent/guardian request.
Students who do qualify for remote learning must remain remote for one grading period, a semester at the junior high and high school level, and a trimester at the elementary level. Due to capacity limits, students switching from remote to in-person learning may not be able to attend their home school.
According to the plan, early childhood teachers, depending on how many students qualify for in-person exemption, will be assigned to teach remote-only.
At the elementary level, the district will have separate teachers for remote learning.
“The remote day will be a full day, similar in length and curricular areas as the in-person day,” the plan states, adding that the schedule will include time for breaks and snacks or lunch.
Junior high classes will have separate sections for remote students. “Remote students will have core classes only, as double periods of English/Language Arts and single periods of Math, Science and Social Studies,” the plan states.
Due to the number of classes available at Oswego High School and Oswego East High School, not all classes will be available to remote-learning students.
A form to request exemption from in-person instruction was shared with all parents April 30. A video describing the remote learning and in-person learning plans will be shared by May 14. Parents will need to have a medical professional complete the in-person exemption form and returned to the district by June 4.
At a public forum early this year, Sparlin confirmed that the district is making plans to return to school for five days a week, full days of learning at the start of the school year in August.
The curtain was pulled back further at Monday’s meeting, where it was announced that those five, full days of school will include lunch.
Sparlin explained during the presentation that the beginning of the school year will include “increased time...for establishing a safe and nurturing climate for all learners.”
There will also be increased time for teaching to behavioral and social/emotional skills and standards, as well as differentiated instruction and student support time. Increased support for teacher training on equity, mental wellness, technology, and differentiation will also be provided.
The school day will allocate additional time at all grade levels “to teach and reinforce safe and nurturing learning environments for all, fostering trusting relationships between students, staff and families.”
Student support time, something encouraged by the district during the current school year, will increase and adapt in 2021-2022.
In junior high schools, five minutes will be moved from the end of the day and added to the current 14-minute homeroom period, dedicated to social-emotional learning instruction and student support time.
In the district’s two high schools, an alternate schedule with shortened periods, similar to an “assembly” schedule, will occur twice a month, allowing students to have dedicated support time. Students will either be assigned support, or choose the intervention or enrichment session that they want to attend.
The district’s plans for the 2021-2022 school year also include continued work on social-emotional learning, as well as support for teachers.
“New materials are being purchased for K-8 to support SEL,” according to the presentation. “Daily time has been allocated to SEL instruction” in early childhood through fifth grade.
Student support time will also include weekly SEL instruction in junior high schools, while standards will be embedded within high school classes throughout the day.
The entire proposed plan is available through the district’s BoardDocs website. The plan was not presented for a vote at the May 10 meeting, but will be voted on at an upcoming meeting of the board.