Wednesday, March 25, 2020, 3:30 PM
Parents/Guardians of the Iroquois School District:
The Iroquois School District is committed to providing a quality education to all of our students. The current COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruptions in all of our lives and in our daily routines. The directives and information we have received from both state and federal officials has changed by the minute as the pandemic has spread across the country. Our current plan to provide education to our students has relied on treating this school closure much like a snow day(s) in which we could make up the days by providing live instruction at a later date. Under the school code, school officials must provide 180 days of instruction to all students by June 30, (Note: This requirement may be waived for this year). If we returned to our classrooms on April 9th – the date that the Governor of PA has set as our possible return, we could still provide 180 days of instruction to all of our students.
Most of the area school districts are not going to attempt to make up any of this lost time through live instruction days. They are moving ahead with limited online instruction; some will provide new instruction while others will only be doing review/enrichment activities based on concerns that not all students have equal abilities to access the information provided.
Our School Board and administrative team believe that we provide a quality in-person education and that the District results on state testing and the success of our graduates in the world of work or college confirms our beliefs. At this point, the development of online education has proven to have some roadblocks; however, if it is necessary to move to this platform, we are confident that our teachers can provide students with quality instruction based on their knowledge of the students and their needs. Ultimately, we are committed to returning to normal instruction as soon as possible. We remain hopeful that impact of the pandemic will dissipate and that our students will be able to return to the normalcy of a regular school day.
Currently, our District is finalizing what our plan to provide education for the rest of this year looks like. If we are able to return after April 6th, we will begin with regular in-person instruction in our school buildings on April 14th. I encourage students to access our online resources, which contain daily math and reading lessons.
Starting Next week: We will be offering online mini lessons with our teachers that will be comprised of review and enrichment activities. Our teachers will be using an online video platform to communicate with their students. They will also have standardized virtual office hours for students to connect directly with their teachers for help with assignments or help navigating the other online services that are available. Additionally, we will produce packets for families that currently do not have access to online resources at this point. Packet distribution will be handed at the building level. Our teachers and principals will be touch with our roll out efforts with this initiative.
If this closure should be extended for the rest of the year, we are also preparing for full online instruction, if necessary.
Per directives from the state, before we can offer new learning online, we must prove the following:
1. All students will have Access to Technologies: As per our recent survey, about 40% of our students do not have access to the internet and/or a device capable of completing online assignments. This is a problem we must overcome.
2. Instructional Needs for All Students must be considered: We are working on this plan, and our teachers will be helping us fulfill this expectation.
3. Students must receive their Special Education services and all parents have to be contacted and informed of their rights and responsibilities during this interruption of the normal school day process.
4. Students must be able to access these lessons in their native language and be provided with their English Language Learner services. We currently have 9 different languages spoken by 20 different students.
5. We must meet the needs of our gifted learners.
Some school districts are only going to offer review and enrichment activities because of the local economic and resource barriers they face. If this closure continues, ISD will do everything in our power to have new learning opportunities as soon as we overcome the barriers our district faces.
If you have any questions about this information, please feel free to contact your building principals or email me at the address listed below.
Shane S. Murray
Iroquois School District