ANDOVER — Superintendent John Lavoie reports that GLTS students will follow a remote learning model for the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year.
The Greater Lawrence Tech School Committee voted to adopt the district’s remote learning model at its Aug. 5 meeting, and students will participate in remote learning until local and regional public health data is put forth supporting a transition to the district’s hybrid learning model.
All stakeholders will be notified as soon as more information is available about the transition to the hybrid learning model. The district will also keep students, families, faculty and staff informed about the district’s reopening through regular ConnectEd calls, website posts, email and social media.
“Nothing is more important than the health and wellbeing of our students and staff, and we have arrived as a district at this decision only after critically and comprehensively researching and evaluating the options before us,” Superintendent Lavoie said. “Many of our students live in high risk areas that have been significantly affected by this virus, and that is a reality we must account for and will continue to monitor closely. We are prepared to provide valuable, high quality instruction to students remotely, until public health data indicates we can safely move to a hybrid model.”
Following guidance issued by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) the district has created plans for remote, hybrid and in-person learning, contingent on the status of the pandemic locally and regionally and the needs of the district. To view the full reopening plan, click here.
The remote, hybrid and in-person learning plans were crafted with input from numerous stakeholders, including an athletics, clubs, and activities committee; facilities and operations committee; food services committee; health and safety committee; learning committee; technology committee; transportation committee; translation support group; and students and families who took part in focus groups and surveys. Faculty, staff and administrators also gave feedback through surveys and virtual meetings.
Students will be separated into cohorts by grade and career/technical area of study. Cohorts will work with a cluster of academic and career/technical educators as well as support staff. This means students will take all of their classes only with students and teachers in their cohort.
The district has decided to create cohorts to support strong peer and teacher relationships and promote cross-disciplinary learning across academic and career/technical areas. If and when the district transitions to a hybrid learning model, students would also remain in their cohorts to reduce contact within the student body and minimize the risk of virus transmission.
While students learn remotely, educators will hold their classes from their classrooms. Educators will communicate with their classes via Zoom and students will primarily follow a synchronous schedule with their teachers, although individual and small group work may be assigned under the discretion of individual educators. Learning kits with materials to support hands-on learning will also be sent home to students as needed.
The district is additionally providing students and staff with technology devices and supports including the following to facilitate remote learning:
- Each student will be provided a new Google Chromebook by the district
- All district teachers have received new Microsoft Surface 3 Laptops
- Teachers will have access to in-classroom cameras, document cameras and go-pros to support various lessons and assessments
- The District has increased its network bandwidth to improve the speed and quality of its technology services
- Director of Technology William Jakubec has built a cloud system to support the use of all software apps students and educators may need for remote learning on Google Chromebooks
The district has adjusted it’s assessment and grading system to ensure expectations for student learning and growth are clearly defined and supported amid COVID-19. This will include an emphasis on rubric informed performance-based assessments and projects, as well as the development of a separate success skills grade focusing on communication, collaboration, critical thinking, online literacy and other 21st century skills. Greater Lawrence Tech will also consider the cultural and equity implications of its grading practices and their impact on students as the year progresses.
The remote learning model also incorporates physical fitness and wellness into student’s daily schedules.
For more updates, follow Greater Lawrence Tech on Facebook at @officialglts.