Reopening: Academics

Peggy Yin Reopening Sep 07, 2020

Over the course of these last few months, the district has been working hard to develop hybrid/remote learning models for this school year. This article breaks down the key components of these plans into a "What you need to know" before heading back to school tomorrow!

This post is part of our coverage on PJSD reopening. For more, visit pjcurrent.com/reopening

I’m excited. I’m excited to go back, I’m excited to see how this all pans out, and I have real faith in all of us—students and teachers and community alike to try and make this work in a really cool way that we can sustain beyond the pandemic —Mrs. Grasso

In this article:

  1. Overview of all models
  2. The Hybrid Model
  3. The Full Remote Model

Overview

What to expect (all models)

  • Mondays reserved for asynchronous work with no new instruction; also serve as "catch up days"
  • Extensive use of GSuite (e.g. Google Classroom, Meet, Calendar)
  • Daily period-by-period attendance check-ins with the first one at 7:30am
  • A blend of synchronous (real-time) and asynchronous (independent) work, e.g. a live class discussion followed by a worksheet
  • Clear expectations from all teachers about work and due dates

Other points to note:

  • All electives are still being offered, and schedules can still be changed
  • The January Regents has not yet been canceled
  • The grading system is still split into quarters and out of 100

One big change will be the increased use of technology in learning. Students were all given a Chromebook for the year, and teachers have been taught a variety of different softwares and tools to help with the remote aspect of their teaching.

That exposure through professional development makes sure that I have been exposed to all the various different opportunities and then I can use my professionalism and my experience and say that’s the resource or the material that I need at this moment and be able to quickly learn how to use it —Mr. Snow.

All reopening plans will be reevaluated and modified to address any concerns that arise once first quarter is over. As Mrs. Grasso puts it, “We’re establishing routines that remain flexible.”

For more on how plans were developed:

Watch Superintendent Schmettan answer your questions on how plans were developed

Hybrid

For this model, A-E days are now replaced with Purple/Grey days. Attendance will be taken daily.

If your last name begins with:

  • A-L = Purple cohort = In-School Tuesdays & Thursdays
  • M-Z = Grey cohort = In-School Wednesdays & Fridays

On Mondays, all students will be remote

First day of in-school is Sept. 8 for A-L and Sept. 9 for M-Z

What to expect

The first week of school will be dedicated to easing students into new routines and class structures (see pjcurrent.com/reopening-facilities for more information on in-school safety policies).

"I know as an English department we have been talking a great length about very much using those first few weeks to acclimate students to that class’ routine," Mrs. Grasso said, outlining plans for trial runs and sample assignments. "Just like you would during a regular opening to a school year."

Of course, not everything will be the same. Science labs will exist in paper format only, with teachers performing demos for their classes to watch. In English, teachers are looking at working more short stories and poetry into their plans. And though the shared summer reading tradition couldn't happen this year, collaboration across classrooms is still a goal.

"Instead of all reading the same Shakespeare, maybe we’ll be collaborating with other classes reading another Shakespeare," Mrs. Grasso says.

On remote learning days, students will still sign in as if they were in school, and depending on the class, they may be required to participate in live online instruction. Synchronous assignments include Do Nows, Exit Tickets, and the like. Asynchronous assignments include projects, worksheets, and required readings.

Remote

What to expect

Remote students will be expected to participate in synchronous learning (e.g. doing work alongside in-school students in a video call)

  • Attendance taken daily, period-by-period (that means waking up by 7:30am)
  • Synchronous instruction (e.g. class discussions, small group work) 3 days/week
  • Asynchronous instruction (e.g. assignments, recorded videos) 2 days/week
  • Camera ON during video calls (videotaping of lessons is PROHIBITED)

For the students wondering whether they'll be able to connect with their teachers, Mrs. Grasso isn't worried.

"Some of my favorite moments from the spring are my Google Meets with students...they were informative and instructive but also just fun and I would leave those Google Meets totally filled up with enthusiasm because I just got to chat with those students. So I think it's a misunderstanding to think that just because you're not physically in the classroom you can't connect," she says. "I'm looking forward to connecting with the remote students in the same way I'm looking forward to connecting with the grey cohort when they're home and the purple cohort when they're in."


A successful reopening is contingent upon us staying open-minded while we test these changes.

"We might sit in our in class cohort and it’s taking a little bit longer for the remote students to log in, and the remote students might need to realize that it takes a little while for teachers to get to their answers but it will all be done, it just requires a little patience. I think that’s the main thing—as long as we understand that everyone’s trying, as teachers we know that students are trying, as students we know that teachers are trying—that’s all we can hope for, just patience with one another," Mrs. Grasso advises.

"Just know that you’re in good hands," Mr. Snow adds. "Everybody understands the pressures and everything that you’re going...we’re looking to create that support and that environment and we’re going to do the best we can by you.”

Quick links:

Peggy Yin

Peggy Yin is The Current’s founder. In addition to being an aspiring cognitive neuroscientist, she's an award-winning writer, vocalist, flutist, and kazooist! She is currently attending Harvard.

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