With remote learning set to begin Monday, April 6, Cape students have an extra few days to complete assignments from the third marking period, which was extended to Thursday, April 9.
Cape Assistant Superintendent Jenny Nauman said students can submit any work that was assigned up to and including March 12, the last student day before Gov. John Carney closed public schools, to count toward third-marking period grades. Teachers are also giving students extra-credit opportunities to boost their grades.
The fourth marking period begins Friday, April 10, with a mixture of new and reinforced learning, Nauman said. For the time being, fourth-quarter assessments will not include official grades; rather, assignments will be assessed on a pass/fail basis with feedback from teachers, Nauman said.
Cape Superintendent Bob Fulton said district officials hope to learn more from the state in early May or sooner as far as opening Delaware schools. Carney has ordered schools closed until Friday, May 15.
Fulton said before Carney announced school closures, Cape posted online, optional learning activities while simultaneously planning for a possible meal distribution service for students.
“Not knowing when the governor’s decision would be, we worked behind the scenes to get things started,” Fulton said. “It was important to get Virtual Vikings up and running, and roll out the grab-and-go meals.”
Planning Started Early
In the two-week period after Carney announced school closure, Fulton said, administrators, teachers and technology specialists planned the roll-out of a consistent curriculum with grade-level expectations across all schools.
Reading, math and technology specialists in each school trained teachers on online platforms and helped plan schedules so teachers can virtually interact with students, Fulton said. Remote learning schedules were created for all grade levels.
At middle and high school levels, students will use Schoology to attend two or three classes a day, Monday through Thursday. On Fridays, students will spend two class periods completing assignments and connecting with teachers during virtual office hours. All live instruction will be recorded and available to watch later.
Elementary students will use ClassDojo or Seesaw platforms in a graduated schedule. For the first week, students will have reading and writing conferences, and attend math class. Beginning Tuesday, April 14, science will be added, and Monday, April 20, social studies will be added. Daily announcements can be viewed on the school website or Facebook page.
Little Vikings Pre-K students will have math and reading activities and lessons two to three days per week.
Students with special needs will receive virtual therapies, and special education IEPs will be conducted through Zoom, Nauman said. Students will have additional support and accommodations from special education teachers.
“It’s a different kind of instruction combining online learning plus work and activities to equal a full day,” Nauman said. “It may be harder for some students, because it will be self-directed and independent.”
Staff now prepared for future
Fulton said it was a challenge to coordinate remote learning for each grade level, but he said school officials learned a lot through the process to be prepared for any future incidents.
“It took two weeks to plan and part of another week to make sure the transition is as seamless as possible,” he said. “It’s a very fluid situation. As we proceed with remote learning, we will learn more about what’s working and make changes as needed.”
Nauman said seventh-through 12th-graders have school-issued iPads, and a survey identified other students and teachers in need of devices such as iPads as well as internet/Wi-Fi access.
Fulton said families needing a device were contacted, and a drive-by, pick-up by appointment was made at each student’s school. Staff members wearing gloves waited outside to hand families iPads in plastic bags to ensure as little contact as possible, he said.
Designated hot spots for Wi-Fi access are at Cape High, and H.O. Brittingham, Love Creek and Rehoboth elementaries, where students without access at home can sit in cars in the parking lot to view recorded lessons.
Fulton said the district already condensed spring break to make up missed days. He said the school board will meet virtually at 4 p.m., Tuesday, April 7, to possibly vote on revisions to the 2019-20 calendar. A Zoom link is available at the online meeting agenda under the Board of Education tab at capehenlopenschools.com.
Nauman said the district was fortunate to have a solid team and supportive community during this unprecedented time.
“We are so proud of our staff, parents, the community, and of course our students,” Nauman said. “We are certainly in this together and that means everything!”