by Terry Rogers
Starting Thursday, April 2, Milford School District will move to a hybrid distance learning method designed to serve students at all grade levels. The hybrid version means that distance learning will be designed for the best engagement of students at each grade level.
“We are truly excited to be reconnecting with and reengaging our students into the school year,” Dr. Kevin Dickerson, Superintendent of Milford School District, said. “I am so proud of our staff across the district s they are embracing the challenge of providing remote student learning opportunities and remote support services for our students. We believe we have a great plan to best serve our students during the school closures. We will provide our best efforts and are confident that we will provide excellent remote learning opportunities and support services for our students, families and communities.”
Students in Evelyn Morris Early Childhood, Benjamin Banneker, Lulu Ross and Mispillion Elementary, which include grades Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 5, will use a weekly planning template so that staff can frequently engage remotely with students and families through virtual meetings, phone calls, apps, including Remind and Class Dojo, mailings and other methods. Grade level folders with documents will be available online as well as in printed packets. Weekly remote learning opportunities will be provided through links uploaded on the district website as well as learning packets printed and available for family pick-up grab and go meal distribution sites during each week and delivered to homes, as necessary, for some students. Wraparound services, including counseling and therapeutic services, will be available to support students.
“The focus of the remote learning opportunities for elementary students are practice and engagement in learning opportunities aligned with essential content standards,” Dr. Dickerson said. “The district scope and sequence will be followed as closely as possible and learning opportunities will be provided within a hybrid approach to student learning with multiple methods for students to engage in and much support for the diverse needs of our students. Feedback will be provided to student engagement and completion of learning opportunities, student progress will be monitored and plans will include frequent teacher and support staff check-ins.”
Students who attend Milford Central Academy and Milford High School will receive their remote learning options through Schoolology, Clever and other online sources. Students are already familiar with these learning management systems and, each week, there will be an agenda of remote learning opportunities for each course communicated with students and families. All content areas, including expressive arts and career-technical, will enable students to practice and engage in learning opportunities aligned with essential content standards. Students without technology devices will be able to sign-out a Chromebook. Access to paper copies of learning opportunities will be made available to students without internet connectivity. There will be packet pick-up opportunities during grab and go meal distribution during the week, mailings home and packet drop-off at homes, as necessary.
“Teachers will hold office hours during the workday and maintain a consistent communication line with students and families through Schoolology, Clever, email, phone calls, the Remind app and other methods,” Dr. Dickerson said. “Teachers will provide feedback throughout remote learning opportunities. There will be an emphasis in providing much support for best servicing and meeting the diverse needs of our students. Wraparound services, including counseling and therapeutic services, will be available to support students.”
Milford High school students will also be provided credit recovery opportunities through Apex coursework for seniors and graduating juniors to earn the credits necessary for graduation. Supplementing the remote learning plan are Buccaneer Brain Boosters, a comprehensive list of free educational enrichment and support resources available on the district website for students of all grade levels. These are activities shared daily with district-community stakeholders to help students and families remain active and engaged in learning opportunities. Activities will continue to be offered through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Families who need Chromebooks will be required to sign them out using a standard technology loan form. Distribution dates and times for each grade level can be found on the district website.
“From initial surveying, we expect a significant number to be distributed but we also have many students and families who own devices which they can utilize to engage in the remote learning experience,” Dr. Dickerson said. “Our technology staff has spent much time preparing Chromebooks for student use in remote learning opportunities and is ready to distribute as many to MCA and MHS students who need the devices. We are further assessing our student and family technology and internet needs early this week as part of the communications and outreach from our teachers to our students and families.”
According to Dr. Dickerson, the focus is on student engagement and learning as the plan leans heavily on teacher feedback and monitoring of student progress and successful completion rather than a specific grade. Regular engagement in and completion of the learning opportunities will enhance the student’s final grade for the second semester. District staff is working together and connecting with student and families to prioritize a hierarchy of student needs aligned with a diverse approach to addressing the needs of students with special education needs as well as in-place IEPs.
“We do as a district want to wish our families and communities the best in health and well-being as we face significant challenges relative to COVID-19,” Dr. Dickerson said. “We advocate for everyone to consistently practice social distancing so we keep members and families of the communities we serve safe, healthy and well. Also, we sincerely thank our communities’ healthcare professionals and first responders for the exceptional care and services they are providing for all of us.”
Parents or students who have questions about remote learning can contact the district office at 302-422-1600 or contact their specific school.