March 10, 2021 - SISS Parent Communication

Dear AAPS Families of Students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs)

We look forward to welcoming our students in this transition to hybrid in-school learning options, and we know that as parents/guardians you have many questions about what hybrid instruction will look like. Today, we are sharing  important information about what to expect with services, supports, and evaluations,health and safety during this spring, in-school hybrid learning stage.

AAPS educators and case managers will also remain closely connected with you to address questions about the individual and unique needs of your student.

In addition, to assist you in making the best decisions for your family, we invite you to attend an SISS Community Information Session on Monday, March 15 at 5 PM or available anytime after that on demand here.

During our community meeting you will hear from our SISS leaders and building principals in more detail about the plans for in person hybrid learning.  The session will be recorded and may be viewed on-demand for all those who are unable to attend.  We invite you to share your questions HERE ahead of the community meeting and moving forward. 

A detailed written guide to assist with information regarding the transition of students with special needs during this spring is located HERE

Safety and Mitigation Strategies are important during hybrid instruction.   Please know that teachers, principals, school teams and district leaders have been busy finalizing the details for safe and effective hybrid instruction. During hybrid instruction we will continue to prioritize the health and safety of our students and staff by implementing the Super Six mitigation strategies.  This includes universal masking during the school day and social distancing. 

Students will be supported with care and patience as they learn how to wear and maintain a mask during the school day. Students who are unable to wear masks independently will not be required to according to CDC guidelines. We recognize each student has unique individual needs and we will work closely and collaboratively with parents to address their needs. 

We know that distancing may not always be maintained as our staff work to meet the needs of students.  Staff will be provided with additional PPE such as face masks, gowns and gloves as needed.  More details can be found HERE and we will certainly speak more to this during the community meeting on Monday. 

Whether students participate in-school hybrid learning or continue with virtual learning, full special education services will continue to be delivered, according to IEPs and GFCLPs. Upon return to in-school learning, building teams will review IEPs and assess whether the full extent of the IEP can be implemented during the in-school hybrid instruction phase.   

As students are transitioned to in-school learning, services will also involve a transition period to clarify schedules for service delivery. To ensure that services continue without interruption through the transition, in-school hybrid learning students will, at first, continue to receive these services virtually while service providers work to align schedules based on family choices to participate in person or remain in the remote setting.  Realigning services in the in-school learning setting will be a priority of our capable school teams upon return. We expect this process to go smoothly, and will update parents as needed throughout this time.  

Paraprofessionals will serve students in person at school.  Students remaining in remote instruction will continue to receive paraprofessional supports in much the same way moving forward. 

In addition to ensuring a smooth transition of professional services for students, special education evaluations will begin over the coming days. A team of school psychologists have already begun working to schedule in person evaluations for students. We take this process  very seriously and understand the importance and impact an evaluation can have on a child's life. We will work tirelessly to ensure every student has received the necessary evaluations as soon as possible, will update parents regularly on the process, and will continue the evaluation process into the summer if needed.

In-school hybrid instruction is designed to make the most of in person time, and while students will continue to use their devices from time to time, teachers will be providing many learning experiences for in person students without them.  Your teacher and/or case worker will share more information with you about your student's daily schedule including when services will be provided.  We also hope this video of general hybrid classroom instruction is helpful to you.  

We look forward to spring learning together: welcoming and smoothly transitioning our students whose families choose in-school hybrid learning as well as continuing to serve students who are more comfortable remaining in a virtual learning plan will characterize our work during these spring weeks. Understandably, we will have many questions and will remain in close communication throughout this spring time.  As always, your capable and caring teachers, case managers, related service staff, and paraprofessionals are at the ready to support you.  

In addition, following this pandemic disruption, our work to serve students and families will involve our continued and ongoing connection to ensure our students learn, grow and thrive. We are committed to this ongoing process that will extend over spring, summer, and throughout the 21-22 school year. Our commitment is to continue our communication as we move beyond this COVID time.  Better days are ahead of us. 

We will continue to update you as new information becomes available and look forward to sharing more at our community meetings next week

Your partners in education,

Dawn Linden
Assistant Superintendent, Teaching and Learning

Dr. Marianne Fidishin
Executive Director, Student Intervention and Support Services