Program Would Be Available for K-8 Students
PETERBOROUGH — Superintendent Kimberly Rizzo Saunders announces the ConVal School District is continuing to explore a competency-based remote learning program for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
After the success of the Universal Remote Learning program this school year and the interest expressed by participating families, the district is exploring the possibility of creating this remote program for students in the district. As preparation for the 2021-22 school year begins, the district has determined that remote learning will likely be needed. This program would meet that need by developing and implementing learning competencies and progressions for each curricular area in K-8 so that teachers, students and parents would be able to monitor a student’s progress.
This program also aligns with the district’s mission to evolve and provide alternative, innovative learning pathways for students amidst changing times, challenging circumstances and shifting demographics.
Remote learning programs currently available to ConVal families are limited. While the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School does offer remote learning programs, at this time elementary students must withdraw from the ConVal School District in order to participate. Middle and high school students are able to take specific VLACS courses to supplement their learning at their respective schools, but must also withdraw from the district in order to participate in full-time remote learning through that program. Additionally, these courses have traditionally been asynchronous, whereas the ConVal program would be both synchronous and asynchronous, allowing for strong student-to-teacher remote interactions as well as student-to-student remote interactions.
“Over the course of the last year, we’ve learned significant lessons in how to innovate our learning models in ways that align with our Strategic Plan,” Superintendent Rizzo Saunders said. “Based on the success and feedback regarding our current remote learning program, we are excited to explore the possibility of providing this opportunity to help meet the ever changing needs of our students and their families while maintaining and growing our enrollment numbers.”
Students would participate in multi-age groups rather than a more traditional graded structure, which allows for a more personalized and flexible experience for the child. Students are able to naturally progress socially and cognitively when learning in multi-age groups, and this can be an effective way to develop leadership and problem-solving skills. Multi-age models can lead to class size stability, teacher assignment stability, greater levels of teacher collaboration, and stronger teacher-student and teacher-family relationships as well.
This program would also provide a flexible, personalized learning experience for students who may be unable to attend school in person for an extended period of time for reasons such as a chronic illness.
The estimated financial impact of this program would be $780,000, the total of which would be used for staffing the program. This includes positions such as teachers, special educators, a school counselor, media/technology specialist, technology support, and a director/administrator to oversee the program and ensure that it aligns with the requirements established by local, state, and federal statutes and guidelines. Based on the staffing proposed, the program would be able to serve approximately 200 students.
There are currently 250 students in kindergarten through eighth grade participating in fully remote learning at this time.
The funding is included in the proposed operating budget residents will consider at the upcoming district wide vote on March 9. More information about the budget can be found here.
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