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    Upper Merion Area School District
    Continuity of Education Plan

    School District: Upper Merion Area School District 
    Superintendent: Dr. John Toleno 

    Address: 435 Crossfield Road, King of Prussia, PA 19406 
    Email/Phone: jtoleno@umasd.org/610-205-6400 
    Website: www.umasd.org


    Goal of Plan 

    The overarching goal of the Upper Merion Area School Distance Learning Plan is continuity of education and the preservation of academic growth and progress.


    Overview of Plan 

    The District will provide “Distance Learning,” with the support of School Administrators and classroom teachers and in collaboration with students and parents. During Distance Learning days, students engage remotely in meaningful learning activities that support and continue current classroom learning. Using curriculum tools and technology, our teachers provide opportunities for students to both ask questions and receive feedback on their learning.


    Expectations for Teaching and Learning 

    The District implemented teaching and learning using the distance learning plan effective Monday, March 30th. From March 30th through April 3rd, this means engaging in only “enrichment and review,” as that term is defined by PA Department of Education. If the District remains closed beyond Spring Break, we will be shifting to “planned instruction,” as that term is also defined by the PA Department of Education, effective April 14th through the remainder of the COVID-19 closure (pending any emergent changes to the school calendar.) 

    Teacher expectations: 

    • Using instructional planning and development resources provided for their use. 
    • Participate in a group professional learning provided by our District Coaches and Curriculum and Instruction Team. 
    • Responding to student and parent inquiry. 
    • Monitoring and facilitating learning activities with their classes. 

  • Communication Tools and Strategies 

    UMASD Communication: Phone, Email, and Device via School Messenger: schoolmessenger.com
    District Webpage: www.umasd.org
    Social Media via Twitter: @UpperMerionSD 
    Teacher/Parent Interface via Schoology (Secondary) - Daily 
    Teacher/Parent Interface via email (Secondary and Elementary) – Daily 

    Daily Responsibilities for Elementary Teachers: The expectation for daily responsibilities includes: 

    • Teachers are required to prepare and email daily lessons to parents by 8:00am daily. 
    • Communication with students will occur through email. If sending an email to more than one family, please be sure to BCC (Blind Copy) for privacy reasons. 
    • Teachers must communicate to their students a minimum of 90 minutes per day (Office Hours, see below) that they will be available to answer emails and respond to student questions or concerns with immediacy. Communicate your office hours. All other emails should be answered within 24 hours. 

    Daily Responsibilities for Secondary Teachers:

    • As noted above, teachers are required to inform students of their assignments by posting them to Schoology no later than 8:00 AM on the first day of the week.
    • Communication with any students individually must be through email. 
    • While teachers should respond to student questions received via email within 24 hours at the latest, they must also set aside Office Hours (one and a half hours per day in accordance with the schedule set forth below) to address more immediate concerns raised by their students via either email or Schoology. 
    • Communicate your office hours, which are designated by department and set forth below.

    Access (Devices, Platforms, Handouts) 

    Access for Enrichment and Review as well as Planned Instruction: 
    Secondary – 9-12: 1:1 Apple Laptops 
    Secondary – 5-9: 1:1 Apple iPADS 
    Elementary (K-4): Distribution of iPADS to every K-4 student complete 

    Alternative Access Options K-4 Instructional Packets distributed to parents without devices and/or internet access. (iPAD distribution plan in place.) 
    Assisting parents in obtaining free internet. 
    Materials and directions for activities translated: Spanish and Arabic 


  • Staff General Expectations

    Elementary: Planning and Preparation  

    • Week 1 plans have been completed and are good-to-go as designed for Enrichment and Review. 
    • If Week 2 plans need to be updated, according to guidance from PDE, plans should be a mixture of Enrichment and Review and Planned Instruction (new concepts). With regard to incorporating new concepts, building-level teacher teams should utilize the Week 2 district-level plans as a foundation in order to integrate new learning. 
    • Beyond Week 2 individual school-based teacher teams will design plans for Planned Instruction (new concepts.) 
    • Teachers will craft lessons that are driven by essential learnings, linked to PA core standards and will engage students for the prescribed number of minutes using a variety of methods, tools and activities. 
    • Teachers are encouraged to create a short welcome video for your students and families at the start of each week.
    • Synchronous Plan: Student Services is utilizing Google Meet and/or Zoom to work with the students and parents on their caseloads. The general education staff will be utilizing Google Meet to provide connectedness and social/emotional learning opportunities for their students 
    • Asynchronous Plan: Lessons are be presented using one-way presentations and will be asynchronous (not live). If you choose a one-way presentation, the district suggests the following tools: Screencastify, Screen-o-matic, Google Slides or other tools with which students are familiar. You will receive more information about each of these options. 
      • We strongly encourage everyone to continue to use what you have already been using this school year.
      • Recorded lessons, video examples, or voiceover slides used to communicate the content are all acceptable methods. Teachers can record themselves presenting lessons and leave adequate pauses for students to answer questions at home. Tutorial videos will be shared for each of the recommended options below. Here are tools you can use to record lessons:
        • Screencastify: (recommended) More information to come
        • Screencast-o-matic: (advanced) More information to come
        • Voice Over for Google Slides
    • When crafting lessons and responses to student questions, keep in mind the requirement to meet Special Education and English Language Learners’ needs and implement SDIs and necessary supports to the best of your ability. Please contact the Learning Support teachers for guidance. Become familiar with the supports and tools that online textbooks and resources offer to assist students with special needs and leverage them for students who require them. 
    • Assignments must have due dates and will be graded with the understanding of the extraordinary circumstances in which we are working. The grading of assignments can begin after the first week of distance learning instruction. Students must have a minimum of 3 days for assignment submission. 
    • Provide students with an explanation of how assignments and make-ups will be handled during a student absence. 

    Secondary: Planning and Preparation 

    • Instructional Plans 
      • Week 1 plans have been completed and are good-to-go as designed for Enrichment and Review. 
      • Week 2 plans need to be updated, according to guidance from PDE, to be a mixture of Enrichment and Review and Planned Instruction (new concepts). 
      • Beyond Week 2, if necessary, teacher teams will design plans for Planned Instruction (new concepts). 
    • Teachers will craft lessons that are driven by essential learnings, linked to PA core standards and will engage students for the prescribed number of minutes using a variety of methods, tools and activities. 
    • Lessons should follow the scope and sequence of the course. Due to the change in the days of instruction, modify the pacing guide and class assignments based on the prioritization of standards. 
    • Lessons may be in the following formats: 
      • Links to teacher created materials 
      • Links to videos, articles, etc. 
      • One-way presentations by teachers (see below
    • Teachers are encouraged to create a short welcome video for your students and families at the start of each week. 
    • Synchronous Plan: Student Services is utilizing Google Meet and/or Zoom to work with the students and parents on their caseloads. The general education staff will be utilizing Google Meet to provide connectedness and social/emotional learning opportunities for their students 
    • Asynchronous Plan: Lessons can be presented using one-way presentations and will be asynchronous (not live). If you choose a one-way presentation, the district suggests the following tools: Screencastify, Screen-o-Matic, Google Slides or other tools with which students are familiar. 
      • We strongly encourage everyone to continue to use what you have already been using this school year. 
      • Recorded lessons, video examples, or voiceover slides used to communicate the content are all acceptable methods. Teachers can record themselves presenting lessons and leave adequate pauses for students to answer questions at home. Tutorial videos will be shared for each of the recommended options below. Here are tools you can use to record lessons: 
        • Screencastify: (recommended) More information to come 
        • Screencast-o-Matic: (advanced) More information to come 
        • Voice Over for Google Slides: More information to come 
        • Here is the link to the video that will walk you through using Quicktime on your laptop. 
    • When crafting lessons and responses to student questions, keep in mind the requirement to meet Special Education and English Language Learners’ needs and implement SDIs and necessary supports to the best of your ability. Please contact the Learning Support teachers for guidance. Become familiar with the supports and tools that online textbooks and resources offer to assist students with special needs and leverage them for students who require them. 
    • Assignments must have due dates and will be graded with the understanding of the extraordinary circumstances in which we are working. Students must have a minimum of 2 days for assignment submission. While you should clearly state the assignment due dates, you should also be as flexible as possible with late assignments. 
    • We are exploring using Google Voice, which would give you the opportunity to have a different phone number show up using your personal phone, if you choose to contact families via telephone. We will have more information shortly.

    Professional Development 

    • The Curriculum and Instruction Department along with the district instructional coaches will provide daily opportunities to participate in professional learning with regard to online teaching and distance learning curriculum. 
      • Weekly schedule - Topics may include: FlipGrid, Schoology, Nearpod, Screencastify, Screencast-o-matic, EPIC 
    • Future Topics 
      • Online assessments 
    • MCIU Office of Learning - https://learn.mciu.org/ - Providing remote sessions in the following formats: 
      • Office Hours: Drop in for Q & A around a focused topic (one hour) 
      • Collaborative Zoom Conversations: Talk about problems of practice and share ideas about a focused topic. 
      • Webinar: Learn about a focused topic facilitated by a MCIU Consultant 
      • On Demand: Short, face-paced, asynchronous learning modules 

    Student Expectations 

    STUDENTS:

    • Establish a daily routine to support your learning 
    • Identify a comfortable, quiet space so you can work effectively and successfully 
    • Check online communication daily 
    • Complete assignment with integrity and academic honesty that demonstrates your learning 
    • Communicate with your teachers regularly 
    • Take breaks, go outside, and be active 
    • Read a book and spend time with your family 
    • Speak with adults at home or from school if you need support or help 
    • For middle and high school students, write a schedule identifying when each of your teachers is available for help and reach out when you need it 
    • For middle and high school students, communicate and support your classmates regularly and in a positive manner 

    PARENTS/FAMILIES:

    • Reviewing communications and materials sent to them. 
    • Understanding their role on such days. 
    • Encouraging their students’ participation. 

  • Attendance / Accountability

    Attendance:

    Elementary: Student attendance will be recorded daily through a Google Form. Teachers are to check student attendance daily and assist those who need to make-up work.

    Secondary: Student attendance will be recorded daily via Schoology through the students’ English classes. The teachers will check student attendance and assist those who need to make-up work.

    Accountability: 

    Elementary: Assignments and Assessments (After April 13, 2020) 

    • Frequency of assignments should be in line with previously established practice in your class. 
    • Grading of material and feedback to students should occur in a timely fashion. 
    • Grades and scores on assignments/assessments should be tracked by each teacher. 
    • Students hand-written responses should be photographed or scanned and turned in for teacher review or completed on a collaborative platform. 

    Grading and Report Cards If we transition to new learning, special care should be taken when preparing lessons to provide robust opportunities for students to practice skills and concepts reflected on the progress report. 

    Secondary: Assignments and Assessments 

    • Student assignments are expected to be posted, collected and graded with regularity. 
    • Frequency of assignments should be in line with previously established practice in your class. 
    • Grading of material and feedback to students should occur in a timely fashion. 
    • Grades and scores on assignments/assessments should be recorded in teacher grade books/Sapphire. 
    • Grading policies in regard to weighting of assignments can be adjusted as needed. 

    Grading and Report Cards 

    • The end of the 3rd Marking Period will be extended until Friday, April 3rd. Grades are no longer “frozen” on March 12th. As a result, the following may now be included in 3rd Marking Period grades: assignments completed prior to March 12th but not yet entered into Sapphire, assignments due after March 12th, makeups of tests taken by the class prior to March 12th, and assignments during the week of March 30th. Previously submitted plans can be modified to include graded materials if necessary. 
    • Grades will be due April 15th. 
    • Report cards will be distributed April 17th. 
    • The start of the 4th Marking Period will now be April 14th. 

    Good Faith Efforts for Access and Equity for All Students 

    • UMASD is a 1:1 Laptop/iPAD District. Students in grades K-8 have access to District-issued iPADs at home and students in grades 9-12 have access to District-issued laptops at home. 
    • A survey was completed before the school closure to identify families with and without Internet access. Staff reached out to the families without access and guided them through the process to obtain Internet. https://www.internetessentials.com/ 
    • Packets mirroring the online lessons and assignments were prepared for students without access and distributed. 
    • All teachers provide daily office hours to answer immediate questions and/or concerns from parents and students. Teachers are required to answer emails within 24 hours. 
    • Professional Development for all teachers includes: Online learning platforms and Curriculum (Essential Learning.) 
     
    Department Office Hours
Department Office Hours

  • Special Education Supports 

    • Special Education Teachers and related service providers prepared individualized materials, resources, and learning activities to maintain skills and continue to support educational progress for students with special education needs. Distance learning activities are available through the District online learning platform (Schoology.) 
    • Special Education Teachers/Case managers and Related Service providers have been in communication with parents/students to identify office hours for immediate email access, provide guidance in managing the resources for distance learning, and where requested; schedule video conferencing for individualized consultation and direct instruction. 
    • IEP meetings are being held as needed and can be held via video conferencing. 

    EL Supports 

    • K-12 ESL teachers providing lessons and support for general education teachers. 
    • K-12 ESL teachers determined students’ access to devices and internet. 
    • K-12 ESL Teachers have prepared remedial and alternative activities to support students’ strengths and provide opportunities for deeper engagement with the curriculum. These activities are made available for parents/students to access through the online learning platform (Schoology) or emailed directly to parents. 
    • All communication translated in their home language. 

    Gifted Education 

    • Gifted Education Teachers have prepared enrichment and alternative activities to support students’ strengths and provide opportunities for deeper engagement with the curriculum. These activities are made available for parents/students to access through the online learning platform (Schoology). 
    • Gifted Education Teachers have communicated their availability for email communication in daily office hours to support students and parents in full engagement with assigned distance learning activities. 
    • GIEP meetings are being scheduled as needed and can be held via video conferencing.