Reimagine Learning Update Part 3: Teaching and Learning - 10/14/20
Transcript of Reimagine Learning Update Part 3
Superintendent Jeanice Swift:
I want to welcome, Ms. Parks, Assistant Superintendent of School Leadership. She oversees the day to Day operations of our schools Ms. Dawn Linden Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning. She oversees all the activities around teaching and learning and Dr. Marianne Fidishin, Executive Director of Student Intervention and Support Services, she oversees all of the work with regard to our students with specialized needs that are documented in an IEP. So they are here to really share.
We're moving into, it is the fifth week of full day instruction. We had two warm up weeks that were Shorter weeks that oriented our students and everyone to the process of virtual learning. So we're now in the fifth week, and it's an exciting time always in the district because this is a time when we hope to have achieved a sense of the school year. And so I've asked them to share an update on the extended continuity of learning plan from that heart of our teaching and learning and the educational mission.
Thank you so much, Dr. Swift, Vice President Kelly and Trustees. It's our pleasure to be with you today, Ms. Parks and I have prepared just a very brief highlights reel of some things going on this fall. Some timely pieces, would be happy to share lots more. We could take up most of the evening with all the great things that are going on in response to the challenges that we have all faced. So I think I speak for Ms. Parks when I say how proud we are of our teaching team and our leadership team and the way they have come together to problem solve daily, dealing with the urgent and keeping the focus on students. So what I will do is share with you our brief presentation. So here's a quick overview of just three areas that Ms. Parks and Dr. Fidishin and I are going to share.
As dr. Swift mentioned, we're five weeks in, Dr. Kellstrom already highlighted this, that we are finding a rhythm. The data shows us that with the logins in Schoology and the regularity with which we now have people logging in a lot fewer calls on the help desk. And we also have some pieces that are now required by state legislation. So we thought we'd start with that stuff first and end with the really fun stuff.
So, we're going to start with student engagement requirements and legislation. Um, we are required in this virtual environment to follow some regulations and rules in order to receive our funding. And so this is a highlights reel, a few slides later, you're going to get the actual legal language from the law, but this comes from PA 165. And the requirements to receive our funding are that we must prove we have had two way interaction, meaning the teacher shared a question or an assignment or a lesson, and the students logged in and received it two times a week. And for that, we also have to hit the threshold of 75% of students meeting those requirements, that communication, or two way interaction must be between a teacher or a district employee whose responsibility has to do with learning their grade progression or their academic progress. So it could be a counselor, the initial communication needs to be followed by a response. So that has to be an active thing, and it does have to be relevant to the course or their overall academic progress of grade progression. If the interaction is not live, meaning in a zoom or a Google meet, then there must be a record of an email conversation that has gone back and forth. A telephone conversation could also be an instant message or later when we're able to be face to face could be a face to face interaction.
What we're finding is that the email telephone and instant message are not being used frequently to meet this requirement. We are meeting that two way requirement through our daily instruction. And so the next slide is a table. For each week of instruction, we have been monitoring very closely. We obviously don't want our funding to be in jeopardy, but more importantly, we want our students engaged in daily learning. That's where our heart is. And so what we're looking at is the letter of the law requirement. This means that these percentages reflect the percent of students on average each week who have met two or more two way communications each week. And we have hit as you can see, well, beyond our 75% threshold by being above 94%. In most cases that first week you'll see was our lowest, not surprising our first week in launching, but you can see now we've reached a consistency of about 94% all across the levels.
Here in Ann Arbor Public Schools, we know that it's important for our students to attend school daily. And so we want to make sure that we have a measure and a record of the daily learning that our students are engaged in. And so unlike the state legislative measure of two times per week, we're recording attendance daily here in Ann Arbor, public schools. And we count present as a student who's logged in at any point during their learning block. If a student does not log in during their learning block, they are marked not present or unverified. That's our code that we use in Power School. And as it has always been our practice in real time, our school teams are following up with families on those absences so that we can see if there's anything that we can do in real time to assist with getting students logged in and attending classrooms.
And so the next slide to that end, our average daily attendance rates are a little bit lower than the student two way interaction rates. Because again, this is the daily attendance of our students. As opposed to that two times per week, two way interaction that was on that slide that Ms. Linden shared with you. And so, again, they're a little lower percentages, but still 90% or more in most of our levels as the weeks have progressed. And as we also talk about in the next slide, how to support students who are not engaging or are not attending, what are some of the ways that that looks like, what are some of our school teams doing in order to get our students connected? We're engaging with parents very directly in real time. Just had a recent conversation with an intervention specialist who saw, he popped in to check in on a student in the class, the student wasn't there. He called the parent parents, said I got 'em up about 30 minutes ago for class. She went into check, he'd fallen back asleep. She got him up and he was able to log into class right then and there.
So, our school teams are following up with parents in real time when students are not present, we are also serving as a bridge to remedy the technology needs and concerns that some of our families experienced that provide or cause a barrier to attendance and engagement. We're working with our community centers and our community partners to help wrap around and support and partnership within the families who live in a reside in their communities to see if there's things that we can do collectively to get students engaged in school and attending school.
We are also holding virtual small group supports for students. So our school teams, our building literacy experts, our title, one staff, our intervention specialists, our counselors, social workers, administrators. And of course our teachers are how they're holding small group supports that range from tutoring sessions, so that students feel comfortable and confident engaging in class and attending class to other groups like some executive functioning to build skills, to stay organized. We also have at one of our schools right now, next week there'll be starting the Lego lunch because the thinking there is if we get kids connected and engaged around something fun, we can keep them for the academic and content, that we want them to stay and remain engaged in. So we're trying to really think about lots of creative ways, many ways that we can get our students engaged, not just in the classroom settings, but also in some of our small group support settings as well.
And when we get to our hybrid phase of learning when it's safe to do so, we will certainly have more frequent in-person supports for our students who are the most at risk. So I'll hop to this slide. This is that wonderfully entertaining state legislation side. We wanted to include the actual language here for the public. And of course for the board, just some highlights of one, two and three. So part one is talking about counseling. That's the official week where we have to record our attendance. And so for count week and every consecutive week for three weeks, we need to make sure there is at least one, two way interaction during the week. So that's, that's the requirement during count week.
Number two talks about during every day of the year, we have to hit that threshold of 75%, which we talked about and part three issues us a little bit of leeway on one, two way interaction versus two. So if we're not hitting the mark with two, two way interactions, there is some leeway to use the count, weak guidance and record one, two way interaction and still meet our threshold of 75%. But as you can see from the previous tables, we're in no danger of missing our 75% target.
Dr. Marianne Fidishin:
As I talk about student intervention and support services, the first area that I would like to focus on is student and family services and support. We all know since March, Dr. Swift has been extremely adamant about the need to spend extra time and attention to our students with special needs. Well, we know that our specialized services have been provided since we came back to school September 8th. Our students have been receiving those services from either self-contained teachers, teacher consultants and resource teachers they've have been involved in that since all students return, as far as ancillary related services, we have begun at the very latest September 21st and in many cases prior to that.
So your students have been receiving their speech, social work, OT and physical therapy services. Since the beginning of the school year, our IEP meetings continue to be convened. And the focus is addressing students specialized services in the virtual environment. Additionally, our paraprofessionals are supporting students with access to both technology and curriculum. What is new this year is that our care professionals have complete access to district devices. And so their tech, their access to technology and support to students has been of paramount importance so that they can continue the support for their staff, for your students and our students.
Two really important aspects that student intervention support services has been focusing on is first of all, our parents support groups, this is something that we initiated in the spring, and we will be continuing through this school year. Our parents support groups are designed to be two times per month. You can access additional information. Both on the website are built in, principals have shared that. And also your classroom teacher teachers have shared that information. And really it's an opportunity for parents who have been struggling at this point in time. And I, and I know a lot of our parents have been struggling to help our students access the virtual environment. It's an ability for parents to meet with each other, to share the, those things that are successful, to share things that are challenging for them, and to have our professionals provide you resources and support to help your child access virtual environment.
The other important resource that we have in place is our SISS resources. This is on our website, and it's an excellent opportunity for parents and teachers to access supports that you need for your students. We've heard since March. And we continue to hear that there are parents that are struggling to help their children engage or to help their children develop a concise schedule for their learning. This particular resource site will help you in a wide variety of areas varying from academics to social, emotional support, to even behavioral supports, including scheduling for your child, help you throughout the day. It's an excellent resource for both parents and students, and we increasingly support that and support your access to that. We are here to support you in the students.
The other aspect of student intervention and support services is staff support. So one of the things that we have ongoing every single week since we began the school year, and we continue throughout the month of October, is our ongoing paraprofessional technology trainings. This is occurring weekly. So we want to make sure that our paraprofessionals are able to fully support students in the virtual environment. We want them to be able to help students access, not only the technology, but also the curriculum to be able to, in a sense, in a virtual environment, do what they have done in the face to face, which has helped them access the learning and, and support them in a way that's above and beyond. With both our teachers, our self contained teachers, our special education instructors and our general education instructors have been able to do for them. We also want to ensure that we have ongoing paraprofessional sessions to support them in meeting student needs. We're working with our para professionals to make sure that we're doing the best that we can to help them help your children in the most supportive, encouraging environment.
It's a good time to pause and recognize the hard work of our student intervention support services staff. I have to tell you amazing teams all across the district, working hard to serve students. We know the challenges in virtual environments and meeting student needs. They're coming up with creative ways to do this every single day, proud of their collaboration every week, coming together and talking about what works and what doesn't work and sharing best practice and these pieces around professional sessions and collaboration that's going on all across the district. So while we don't have a slide highlighting it, I do want to thank our teaching and learning network facilitators who are leading teacher teams all across the district, putting in countless hours to make sure that those meetings are productive, that that teams can collaborate fully in the development of lessons.
I've heard stories and I talk to colleagues who are from other districts, and I could not be more proud of the quality of the online learning lessons that these teachers are creating every single day. And just need to acknowledge our teaching and learning council who are supporting all those TLM facilitators and working countless hours also. So, this teaching and learning team with Ms. Parks and these amazing administrators, Dr. Swift mentioned it, but, we all I know want to thank our teams and they are working around the clock and they do care so much about our kids. So, they are going to do right by our kids and they do so every day and we'll keep working.
This next piece is about our digital library Trustees and Dr. Swift, you will recall, we talked about this a few weeks ago, and we very much appreciate your support in purchasing both the Sora system and the Renaissance my On system. And so this is a progress update. I'm starting with the good stuff upfront and for the public. I'm just going to go through exactly what these are. One more time, just so everybody knows what we're talking about. Sora is a digital library that is accessible to all students, PK 12 in our district. And it is essentially just like going into a school library and checking out a book only you get to do this from the comfort of your home and at any time of day or night.
Our librarians and our English language arts teachers have been putting in countless hours, curating this collection, identifying, diverse authors, diverse representations of students, making sure that this collection is the very best we can put in front of our students that we possibly can, and they're making great headway, but it's an incredible amount of work, as you can imagine, filling an entire library with content.
And so I'm proud again, of this collaboration of the amazing work of Jennifer Colby and the librarian team and in collaboration with the English language arts department. And the great news is we began using this tool in a small scale rollout with the middle school students in their ELA coursework. So they are selecting books from a range and they're working together in teams reading the same book, essentially a book group connected to the course content. And so they've gone in, they've checked out the books, we've worked out any glitches of which there were very few and it looks like things are rolling along beautifully. And so what we did I anticipate is by the end of the month, November 2nd, probably at the latest that collection will be curated enough so that if students log in, they can all check out a ook that they want to check out. So that's our goal. We're proud of the work.
And then on the Renaissance myOn side, you'll recall, this is pre K through five. This is also a digital library, but it's connected to instruction in the classroom. So what we have missed being virtual, along with many other things, is having access to these classroom libraries, these sets of materials that teachers regularly use with their students in small groups. And so this was a major priority for our district to get this up running quickly.
And what you're looking at now are the metrics for the full scale rollout, which happened just a week ago today. So in one week we have had 8,005 students logging in 674 faculty members using it, finished books at account of 4,386 and the hours 1,138 hours and 35 minutes spent reading at the time we pulled this data. So it's gone up since then.
That's the great news. And we're really, really happy about that. So for the public, we just want to review again, that Sora is our digital library. We're excited about this for a lot of equity reasons in particular, but for this one which means that oftentimes when a student checks out really a hard copy paper book and they may lose it or not be able to find it or return it, and it prevents them from checking out another one, which is the last thing we would want when it's a digital book, it gets automatically returned. And so a student doesn't have to keep track of that. And it's a really important piece along with many other elements that are going into curating this collection so that our students can see themselves in these books. These were, as you recall, trustees, the criteria that we use to select the system, that it was equitably accessed, that we had diverse authors and culturally representative texts available to us. This had the largest selection that it was personalized, that students could be independent in their choice, that it could also be used instructionally in small groups or with whole classes. It was easy. And that it had interoperability with Schoology, which it does. And just a quick snapshot of some of the other tools that we can access, because it is digital that can assist students who may have reading challenges like dyslexia, some way to text here. And some examples of things that can be turned on and used regularly while reading a book for pleasure.
And then the Renaissance, myOn system, again, similar criteria. In this case, we really wanted the digital content to be leveled so that a teacher could pull the content he or she needed in order to meet the needs of specific students and teams of students. We wanted these to be designed, particularly for reading instruction and we wanted nonfiction and fiction. That balance is really, really important along with all the same pieces that we just talked about. And so we included a quick snapshot again of the interface with myOn Renaissance. So we hope trustees that you'll be hearing from our public about how fun using these tools are over the coming weeks.
And then to wrap up, Dr. Fidishin and Ms. Parks. And I just want to speak directly to our community and make sure that our families know that even though we are in this virtual environment and we have a specified schedule, we really want families to understand that we want to work with you, our administrators and our teachers want to work with you. So if the schedule is not working for you, if your student is disengaged, if anything is going on that gets in the way of your student engaging and connecting, we want to know about it. So we invite you to please stay in close communication. Teachers want to hear from you. I know the administrators want to hear from you. We would like to hear from you, please talk to us because we will be able to create flexible learning paths for you. And thank you very much for allowing us to share this with you tonight.
Thank you so much. This is always so incredible. The scale at which you're able to bring these things together, those reading numbers, I mean, that was just the pilot start numbers.