I hope that each of you continues to remain safe and healthy. As we prepare now for the remainder of the school year, I want to thank you for all you are doing to support each other and our students in a time of monumental change. We would all prefer to be face-to-face, but this is where we are at the present time with everyone striving to do their best. We have amazing teachers, and I am incredibly proud of the work they are doing with students and families to provide the best learning experience possible given the circumstances.
As you may know, we released our division-wide plan for continuous learning last week, and we continue to make decisions that align with our Strategic Plan. During this public health emergency, our commitment is to engage students in learning activities that reinforce mastery of topics for the current school year, while lessening the impact of learning loss for our most vulnerable students.
Based on Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) guidance, we focused on delivering an equitable plan that:
- Addresses students’ academic, social and emotional needs at each grade level;
- Provides students a solid foundational knowledge of concepts introduced but not mastered in the first three quarters of the year;
- Includes new learning activities in multiple formats – paper, online and video – as well as accommodations for our English Learners and Special Education students;
- Aligns with our commitment to equity by ensuring all students have access to resources and new learning opportunities; and
- Offers extension and enrichment opportunities designed to challenge and engage students at every grade level.
We have received questions and comments about the plans over the last few days and greatly appreciate your input. We ask that you review the materials posted on ParentVUE, connect with your child’s teachers, set expectations for school work, and allow a week or two to observe your child’s experience so that we can respond appropriately to individual needs.
Principals have shared additional details regarding how these plans will guide instruction for each school. Teachers will be able to guide families on specifics, including relevant extensions for each student, and can point to additional resources that can supplement the plans and expectations. They should be the first point of contact with questions you may have about your student’s learning.
We will continue to reflect on the plan and adjust as necessary, based on how students are responding. Many of the questions we have received are addressed in the FAQ on our website, and we will continue to update that section. Please visit the continuous learning webpage for additional information. General questions about APS operations during the closure can be sent to email@example.com.
We know this is a challenging time for us all. To be a student, a parent, or a teacher—many of whom are playing several roles—during a worldwide health emergency is not something any of us have ever experienced. Thank you for all you continue to do to ensure our students stay healthy and engaged, and know that we are here to support you. We will work through this together.
Cintia Z. Johnson