UPDATE TO RETURN TO LEARN PLAN

When I announced the Return to Learn plan in late July, part of the plan was to revisit how the district should deliver instruction for second quarter (October 26 –December 22).  This reflection involves looking at how the current plan is working, what is not working, and the best path of the next academic quarter. As I have solicited input from staff, students, and parents, these are some patterns that have become apparent:

  • Overall the district has been successful implementing social distancing, required face coverings, and sanitation routines. 
  • Up to this point, the district has minimized major disruption with the number of quarantined staff and students.  We may be lucky or our procedures have helped, or a combination of both.
  • Some students in grades 6-12 are not engaging on the online day.  This is magnified at the high school given the fact that semester credit will be given on October 23.
  • Some CHS honors and AP students struggling with 100% online learning are asking for some in-person delivery component.
  • Attendance, particularly K-5 has been very good. 
  • Smaller class sizes across the district have helped teachers develop closer relationships and better meet student needs.
  • Overall student discipline is down due to fewer students and new procedures.
  •  The students are getting into established routines and there is concern about change this early in the school year disrupting it.

Although we have minimized major disruptions, our district has been affected by positive COVID cases during the first six weeks of the school year. We have had an average of 3-4 positive cases of staff and students per week so far. The district is averaging 65 students and 8 staff members per week being quarantined due to testing positive or identified as a close contact by Clinton County Public Health. Compare this to the situation recently experienced at North Scott where their district was averaging between 200-280 students quarantined per day eventually closing their high school. We believe our procedures of social distancing, required face coverings, and sanitation routines have helped minimize the number of close contacts and positive cases.

With the Governor’s new proclamation this past Tuesday, it is my hope that it may reduce the number of close contacts identified. According to Clinton County Public Health, social distancing and fidelity to wearing face masks over the nose and mouth will determine if we can keep more students in school.

Here will be the Return to Learn plan until December 22:

Elementary: The current delivery system will remain the same for grades PK-5.  These students will continue to attend every day at their current building sites. 

Clinton Middle School: CMS students will continue a hybrid Day 1/Day 2 cycle. For students who are not being successful on their online day, please reach out to your child’s teachers. I am aware of several interventions that have been implemented already.

Clinton High School: We realize some Honors and AP students need more in-person instructional support. Although teachers are reaching out to students and parents to schedule individual or small group work sessions, we understand the current student schedules do not line up with the available teacher times. The CHS Administration team has been reviewing teacher and student schedules to remove as many obstacles as possible so Honors and AP students could meet their teacher at least once a week. The CHS staff is relying heavily on the district’s Professional Learning Communities philosophy and sharing the best techniques to engage not only AP and Honors students, but all students.  We realize that some of our students are not engaging during the online day, which makes them behind their peers during their onsite learning day. More information will be shared from the CHS Administrative team shortly on how student schedules may look differently, as well as how they will support all students who may be struggling.

This is a challenging time for all of us. I want to educate as many students in-person as possible and follow the health guidance on social distancing and required face coverings. We need to work together for the benefit of all students.

We will revisit this plan in December to decide how we will deliver instruction for third quarter.

RETURN TO LEARN UPDATE: PLANS FOR DISRUPTION

The first two days of school have been an overall great experience for students and staff. Over 82% of our families have elected for face to face instruction. Many have expressed that the opportunity to teach and learn onsite is a privilege.

I want to recognize the cooperative and respectful attitudes of our students so far! It will be critical for all of us to maintain fidelity with the health procedures that are in place so we can continue to meet onsite. Temperature checks at home, required face coverings, and participation in sanitation routines are critical for the health of all.

Here is a link of a flow chart developed by the school district and Clinton County Public Health to help families make decisions regarding student health:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ZFuNLuN0t18aXFGbNMBOVHCHHMVYH5GE/view?usp=sharing

The most recent Governor’s proclamation defines that a school district must receive approval from the Iowa Department of Education if conditions favor a move to all online learning. The Iowa Department of Public Health will be involved and communication with the school district with any testing results and contact tracing.

The school district has followed best practice guidelines with clustering students with social distancing guidelines. While every situation will be evaluated separately, we believe that in most scenarios that if a positive case occurs with a staff member or student, the contact tracing may be limited to a classroom or pod of a school going into quarantine. The rest of the district will continue to attend. However, if there is a significant spread throughout the district, we would submit a waiver to the DE to move to online learning. By the Governor’s proclamation, the waiver will be for 14 days before returning onsite.

Thank you for the great start and supporting Clinton Schools!

REVISED CCSD RETURN TO LEARN PLAN

Due to Governor Kim Reynolds proclamation last Friday, the Clinton Community School District is amending its Return to Learn plan to meet the new requirements.

For PK-5 students, there is no change in the plan.  PK-4 with the exception of Whittier 4th grade will attend their neighborhood elementary or preschool center everyday.  Whittier 4th and 5th grade will attend Clinton Middle School in a separate pod.  Fifth grade from Bluff, Eagle Heights, and Jefferson will attend at Clinton High School in a separate part of the building.

The delivery plan for grades 6-12 will change to an A/B hybrid.  That means every student in these grades will alternate an onsite learning day with an online learning day.  There will be further communication from Clinton Middle and High School administrations on the expectations of students in this hybrid model.

Students served at the Gateway Learning Center will attend onsite every day.

The school district’s Return to Learn plan does allow a family to opt into a full-time online learning option for either medical reasons or choice.

This plan preserves the core values of educating as many students face to face as possible while following Iowa Department of Public Health guidelines.  The district also respects the difficulty of childcare and the belief that younger learners are more dependent on their teacher.

We need your support during this difficult time.  Let’s work together the provide the best educational opportunities for our kids in this challenging pandemic.

Here is a video link with the same information:  https://youtu.be/2PeuRTaiapg

 

HOW THE SCHOOL DISTRICT WILL START ON AUGUST 17

The Clinton Community School District will start the 2020-2021 school year in a hybrid model of onsite and online learning.  This decision is based on the most current guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health, the belief that a face to face model is the best for academic learning, that younger students are more dependent on teachers with their learning, that to meet social distancing guidelines with all students cannot be achieved with our current classroom space, and the current reality of childcare options for families.

The Clinton Community School District will begin August 17 by providing onsite instruction for grades PK-6 and grade 9.  Students in grades PK-4 will attend their selected or assigned neighborhood or PK attendance center with the exception of 4th grade at Whittier.  Grade 5 that attend Bluff, Eagle Heights,  or Jefferson will attend in an isolated pod of classrooms at Clinton High School.  Grade 9 at Clinton High School will be separated from the  5th graders in a different part of the building.  At Clinton Middle School, the 6th grade will occupy a pod while the 4th and 5th grade students from Whittier will occupy a different pod of the building.  Whittier is a smaller building than the other three elementary schools and therefore making it necessary to move both 4th and 5th grade to reach social distancing guidelines.

For grades 7-8 and 10-12, about 70%-80% of the students will be served with an online learning environment.  The other 20%-30% of grades 7-8 will receive face to face instruction at CMS and another 20%-30% of grades 10-12 will receive onsite services at CHS.  These students will be selected by school staff based on lack of participation of required online learning last spring, equity of resources at home like internet access, and providing selected services that are nearly impossible to do online.

The 70%-80% of the students in grades 7-8 and grades 10-12 will receive an online curriculum delivery through Google classroom similar to their experience last spring.  The school district will closely monitor students and may move a student onsite if they are not being successful.

These online students will have opportunities to meet with teachers for check-ins and supports onsite.  Also, certain classes like marching band, welding, auto, building trades, etc, may meet in person due to the nature of those courses.  I want to stress to online students that there will be opportunities to be in the building, perhaps take a class or two onsite, and receive support from teachers.

Students assigned at the Gateway Learning Center (GLC) will report onsite.  The number of students attending  GLC makes social distancing guidelines easier than other buildings in the district.

We are requiring the following health guidelines for students that will engaging in their education onsite:

  • Temperature checks taken every morning from home.  A parent should contact the school if a thermometer is not available in the home.  This is the major area the district needs your support.  A student experiencing a temperature of 100.4 degrees or above should stay home.
  • Participation with sanitation procedures that will be implemented in each classroom and building.
  • Participation with wearing a district-provided face shield.  Best practice guidelines are for social distancing and face coverings.  If a student would prefer his/her PPE, that will be allowed.

There will be an online option for students that either themselves or family members are at high risk due to pre-existing health conditions.  Also, if a family prefers online learning, that option is available.  Please contact Trista Bratcher at tbratcher@clintonia.org if you would like to discuss this option.

It is my hope that we will reach a point during the school year where we can serve all students onsite.  This is a very fluid situation and I anticipate changes throughout the year.  I understand there are more questions than answers at this point.

There will be multiple communications in the following weeks with more detail.  This pandemic has created multiple challenges.  Please work with us to best support all students.

JUMP START

The Clinton Community School District will be offering a Jump Start program for identified students at elementary and middle school levels the week of August 3-7.  This is part of the district’s “Return to Learn” plan submitted to the state in response to the pandemic.  Sessions will run morning only for three hours during this week.

The premise of Jump Start is to better position some students to be successful on the first day of school which is August 17.  The focus will be on relearning school routines, do some initial screening in language arts and math, provide some social emotional learning, and begin building relationships with this year’s teachers.

The  administration team and teachers at both the elementary and middle school level will be examining the data from the end of this school year to prioritize the students that will be invited to Jump Start.  High priority will be given to those students that did not actively engage during online learning this spring, those students that have identified learning gaps or were below grade level before COVID-19 caused disruption, and students whose learning styles best fit in a face to face model.

Families will be notified if their child is recommended for Jump Start by mid-July.  Attendance is voluntary, but strongly recommended for the benefit of the student.  Given the disruption of school the last 2.5 months of last school year, we want to hit the ground running this upcoming school year.  Jump Start can help in that regard.

If you have questions about Jump Start, please email Mr. Kenney for elementary questions at brkenney@clintonia.org or for middle school, aprinsen@clintonia.org.

 

 

RETURN TO LEARN PLAN

The Clinton Community School District has submitted its “Return to Learn” plan to the Iowa Department of Education and it has been approved.  The plan addresses a plan for having all students onsite following Iowa Department of Public Health guidelines, a second plan of providing online learning for all students with supports for social-emotional and equity considerations, or a third plan that is a hybrid of the first two.

The hope of the district is to have as many students onsite as possible on August 17.  We have been planning on implementing best practice,  recommendations for personal protective equipment (PPE),  and rigorous sanitation procedures.

The district is currently determining its expectations in terms of face coverings.  The national discussion and the recent research on face coverings along with the state trends of COVID-19 infections is a moving target.  Many of the district discussions with health officials is about the expectation and feasibility of wearing face coverings with the age of the student.

The recommendation of the health professionals is to have families take temperatures of students from home.  Any students or staff with temperatures at 100.4 degrees or higher are required to stay at home.

The school district has invested in a bio-static product that lasts between 60-90 days and kills the coronavirus on contact.  It will be applied on all high contact areas such as keyboards of laptops, desktops, door handles, buses, etc.  The district will also do a daily cleaning of these areas to follow best practice.

Each school will be implementing sanitation routines throughout the day.  The school district has purchased  hand sanitizers at 70% alcohol solution which is the recommendation to kill COVID-19.  These routines will become a systematic part of the day.

When students are physically present at school, each building will be implementing social distancing guidelines to the best of our ability.  One major recommendation is to seat students in one direction to limit face to face situations where one student may cough.  Classroom space will be maximized for the most space available between students.

The district has also planned for families or students that have health factors that place them “high risk” with exposure to COVID-19.  We have entered an agreement with Edgenuity, an online platform that aligns with the district standards and benchmarks that is supported by Iowa licensed teachers.  Please contact me at tbratcher@clintonia.org if you have interest and would like to discuss if this is the best option for your child.

With the situation being so fluid, I will continue to update you as planning for the new school year approaches.

Thank you for your support of Clinton Schools!

 

 

CLINTON HIGH SCHOOL SUMMER SCHOOL

With the state required “Return to Learn” plan, the Clinton Community School District is designing multiple opportunities for closing student learning gaps and in the case of high school students, recover credits that have yet to be earned due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Clinton High School, the first opportunity is a summer school session that will be offered from July 27-31.  There is no financial cost to attend.  This will target students that received incomplete grades during the second semester and give them an opportunity to finish the missing work/assessments needed to earn a passing grade.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance for students that have not completed coursework to attend and participate to the best of their ability during this summer school session.  The residual effect of incomplete courses will have a domino effect on courses taken for the 2020-2021 school year and beyond.  This could also extend into students unable to graduate on time with their class.  At the high school level, it is about earning the required credits to graduate.

The high school administration and staff will be putting out additional information about this learning opportunity on Monday.  If you have further questions about Clinton High School’s summer school opportunity, please contact Mr. Kuch at jrkuch@clintonia.org.

I will post a blog on Jump Start for the elementary and middle school students in the near future.

AMENDED SCHOOL CALENDAR FOR RETURN TO LEARN PLAN

As part of the state’s “Return to Learn” plan, the School Board on Monday approved amending next year’s calendar.  Given the challenges of this pandemic, the “Return to Learn” task force that is developing recommendations  looked at how the calendar could support student learning gaps and high school credit recovery.  Here are the major dates of the amended calendar:

July 27-31—High School Summer School

August 3-7—Jump Start for Elementary/Middle School

August 12—First in-service day for the school year.

August 17—First day of school for students.

October 14—End of first quarter

October 15-16—Make-up days for disruption, required learning days for students that are behind with additional compensation for working teachers, or fall break.

December 22—End of first semester

January 4-15— Possible J-term for high school

February 15—President’s Day, possible make-up day

March 9—End of third quarter

March 10-12— Make-up days for disruption, required learning days for students that are behind with additional compensation for working teachers, or extension of spring break.

March 13-21—Spring Break

May 30—Graduation

June 2—Last day for students

June 3—Last day for teachers

June 14-25—Summer School

This calendar gives much more flexibility for make-up days.  It also creates multiple opportunities both inside and outside of the 180 student contact days to address student learning gaps and credit recovery options.

The amended calendar is posted on the district website.

The next major question is how will school start on August 17.  If the school district can meet the Iowa Department of Public Health guidelines, we would like to have all students onsite following established sanitation procedures.  However, the school district is preparing for online learning options as well as a hybrid model of online with onsite learning.  Unfortunately, everything is so fluid it this point that we will probably not receive final guidance until late July or early August.

I will be posting regularly to give you the most accurate and up to date information.

STATE OF IOWA RETURN TO LEARN SURVEY ON TECHNOLOGY SUPPORTS

Dear Clinton Community Parents and Community Members,

The Iowa Department of Education has put out a survey across the state to determine the priorities of supporting a technology infrastructure for online learning.

http://bit.ly/iowatechsurvey

The responses from this survey will help the state prioritize $26.2 million in federal relief through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER), which focuses on providing and expanding broadband access and improving access to technology in other ways.

Thank you for taking a few minutes to complete this survey.

COVID-19 UPDATE SUMMER

With today being the last day for students in this academic calendar, I’d like to update the community, parents, and students on the planning for this summer and the start of the school year in August.

Today is the last day to submit work for grades and credit.  Teachers will submit grades or identify standards completion on June 3.  Given the dramatic change in delivery format, the district has decided to use a pass/incomplete option.

A major change from past practice is that the district is postponing any summer school opportunities (high school/middle school) until mid-July at the earliest.  Jump Start programming (elementary) as part of the state’s required “Return to Learn” plan will not start until late July at the earliest.  Our thinking is that time will hopefully be on our side with the COVID-19 research and intervention.  Also, it is our hope that these programs will meet face-to-face later in the summer.

We will be recommending to the School Board to revise our calendar start date to August 17.  By starting a week earlier, we are able to build in six days for make-up or five days for additional learning opportunities for students that are embedded within the school calendar.  By having this flexibility, we will hopefully be able to better serve student needs  and not extend too far into June next summer.

I will provide more updates as we get closer to the start of school in August.  How the beginning of the next school year will look will depend on the guidance from the Department of Education and the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Thank you for your support of Clinton Community Schools!