April 21, 2020
So it is official. On Friday, April 17, 2020 the Governor closed schools for in-person instruction for the remainder of the school year. However, that doesn’t mean we do not still have a lot of work to do. As I explained in my last correspondence, by the Governor’s order, the days beginning March 31 through the end of the school year will be Remote Learning Days. Remote Learning Days are considered to be attendance days as well as instructional days. Schools and teachers are mandated to provide a variety of engaging educational lessons to students and families to work on while at home. Schools adopted the Pass/Incomplete policy on assessing the work teachers provide and students complete and turn in. In essence, Remote Learning Days are school days! Participation by schools, teachers, and students is required.
While a vast majority of Brownstown students and/or parents are communicating with teachers regularly, working hard to complete activities, and turning in quality completed work, whether online or in person, some are not. I wanted to take this opportunity to reiterate the importance of communicating with teachers and completing the work that is being sent home. The intent is not to be repetitive or to lecture, but this is very important information. Below are two key pieces of information that parents and students must understand as we enter the final stretch of the 2019-2020 school year. Please take time to read them completely. If you need clarification you can call your building Principals, they will be happy to help you.
Communicating with Teachers and Student Attendance
Brownstown schools obviously cannot keep a traditional record of student attendance. Attendance will be taken based on the level of feedback teachers are getting from students/families. Teachers will be contacting students several different ways throughout this process, including emails, video conferencing, and even assigning work to be completed. To determine attendance, they are mainly depending on a high level of student/family participation in the Remote Learning process. Principals will then make follow up calls and even home visits to ensure that students are getting teacher messages and have all they need to be successful during this difficult time. To be clear, it is not anyone’s intention to punish students. As school leaders, teachers and Principals have a responsibility to make sure that no student is left behind or is allowed to “fall through the cracks”. Students have a responsibility to complete and return the work provided and communicate with the teachers about their experience.
Students are accountable for not only turning in the work, but also the quality of work they turn in. As always, the teachers will determine what work is worthy of a passing effort. If the teacher is not satisfied with the effort or quality of responses on the work they will be providing feedback to the student, clarify expectations, and could issue an incomplete. This would require the student to re-do the work to produce a more quality final product in order to earn a PASS.
As I stated in an earlier letter, in most cases, students who were doing fine before the mandated closure and who continue to complete and return work under Remote Learning will be fine and will pass their respective classes or grade levels. However, there are cases in which parents/students should still be concerned with whether a student will be passed or promoted.
In the case of a student not completing the work provided, thus receiving a high number of incompletes in the grade book during the Remote Learning period, that student will be required to go through a “remediation” process in order to pass a class or be promoted to the next grade level once school resumes. This could mean some form of Summer School! Further, any student who was failing prior to the March 17 mandated closure is still failing. A student who was failing prior to the mandated closure and does little or no work under Remote Learning will have a very high likelihood of failing. The pass/incomplete opportunities offered under Remote Learning is a key factor in whether or not that student has a chance to pass the quarter, semester, or year. Students need to be active during this time and take advantage of every opportunity provided to them.
Attached with this letter you will find a list of frequently asked questions. We have done our best to provide the best answers possible with the information we currently have. Hopefully this will help. As always, we will continue to update you when information is available. Once again, thank you for your patience and understanding during this uncertain time. Please do not hesitate to contact us with your questions or concerns.
Thank you and please be safe.
Mike Shackelford, Superintendent