Forest Grove School District to provide new learning materials
The Forest Grove School District announced on Friday, March 20, its plans to keep students fed and engaged in learning while schools are closed until April 28 to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Last week, Gov. Kate Brown said schools must deliver supplemental educational materials to all students and provide meals in order to continue receiving state funding as she extended an initial statewide closure of schools.
Questions still remain about how seniors across the state will meet graduation requirements and finish advanced placement courses for college credit, and whether the Oregon Department of Education will extend the current school year — if students return at all.
"Statewide planning is currently underway regarding credit requirements, essential skills, proficiency, meeting in small groups for targeted instruction, etc," said Forest Grove Superintendent Dave Parker in an email to families. "The Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) is participating in this planning, to ensure that graduating seniors wishing to go to college will not be disadvantaged because of this extended school closure and loss of instruction."
Starting April 1, grade-level-specific educational materials will be available digitally and in paper format for all students to pick up at schools. Two staff members will be available at the front entrances of each school during three pickup times.
Students who do not have access to a computer, tablet or smartphone at home will be able to check out Chromebooks from the district to access the materials. Details about where and when students could pick up the Chromebooks were not immediately released.
For students who do not have access to the internet at home, the district highlighted Comcast's Internet Essentials service, which offers wireless internet for $9.99 per month. Internet Essentials has increased its internet speed to 25 Mbps and started offering two free months of service in response to the coronavirus.
Parker encouraged families who might need the service to sign up right away because installation can take several days. On the Internet Essentials website, the service said some applications are experiencing processing delays due to a high volume of requests.
Forest Grove School District spokesperson David Warner said although many teachers at the secondary level already host websites with course materials, the district created a task force made up of the district's curriculum department staff and teachers at different grade levels to develop uniform materials for use districtwide.
"The main focus is to provide students with an opportunity to be engaged, continue learning and have a set of grade-specific activities to get them through the time we're closed," Warner said.
The materials will not be graded and they will not count as instructional time, Warner said, adding that ODE is still discussing whether districts will be able to offer remote learning that counts as class time.
To determine how many students will need access to district Chromebooks, principals at each school have been instructed to ask families what their capabilities are.
"Principals are still working with their students and families to figure that out before April 1," Warner said.
Additionally, on Friday, the district announced it will expand its meal service by offering meal pickup locations at 16 bus stops throughout the district.
FGSD started providing "grab-and-go" breakfast and lunch at three elementary schools and Rose Grove Park last week.
"We wanted to get something up as soon as we could and then we went forward and tried to figure out how we can make things a little bit more accessible as not every family can make it to one of those walk-up locations," Warner said.
Families should continue to check in with the district for additional future updates, Warner said.
"Things are changing pretty rapidly, so as soon as we get more information, we're striving to keep our families and students informed," he said.
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