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Group is determining best options for flexible learning during the 2020-21 school year amid the COVID-19 outbreak

COURTESY PHOTO: ESTACADA SCHOOL DISTRICT - Learning will likely look different during the 2020-21 school year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Estacada School District leaders are in the process of determining what the upcoming school year will look like, in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

A steering committee consisting of school district staff and community members is working on a plan for learning during the 2020-21 school year. The group began their work Monday, June 1, will seek community feedback later this month and present the plan to the school board for consideration during a meeting in July.

Earlier this month, the district announced that they are planning for three possible scenarios for the 2020-21 school year: remote learning, modified on-campus learning and a hybrid of the two.

Though the plan is not finalized, district leaders shared several priorities on Facebook and during a virtual school board meeting on Thursday, June 11.

Tenets of the plan will include operating on a four-day school week, transitioning to one learning management system for all grade levels and allowing families to choose between in-person and virtual learning.

During the school board meeting, Estacada School District Superintendent Ryan Carpenter noted that the four-day school week will be temporary.

"This is not something we plan to do for a five or 10 year period," he said, citing the importance of providing teachers time to analyze student learning during the unusual circumstances presented by the COVID-19 outbreak. "(We need) the opportunity for our (professional learning communities) to look at and analyze student learning data, so we can make adjustments throughout the following weeks to meet the needs of all kids regardless of what circumstance they're in, in terms of on campus or not on campus."

Carpenter added that all school schedules will include intervention time to support students who did not meet essential learning standards during the previous year.

"It allows us to catch kids up where we need to, and so that's going to be a major priority," he said.

The plan will also provide flexibility for students and parents.

"We are in complete understanding that there will be some families who choose not to send their kids to our buildings due to health and safety concerns, and it is going to be our responsibility to serve those kids as well," he said. "Whatever plan we build is going to need that fluidity where we can serve our families and our kids while still offering high quality education."

An additional goal of the plan is to allow students and teachers to move between different types of learning easily.

"If we have to slide back to virtual learning like we were doing this spring, this plan that we're in the process of developing should be able to allow us to do that seamlessly without disrupting education, to the best of our ability," he said.

Carpenter noted that "we're building a vision, regardless of COVID (and) regardless of the circumstances."

"What does (the) 21st century look like in this brand new world of teaching and learning?" he continued. "That's the mark we want to hit as we try to become a more competitive school district throughout the state and offer that to our kids."

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