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Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District

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Fall 2020 Distance Learning

 
The Mountain View Los Altos High School District (MVLA) is continuing with distance learning until the end of the first semester, which ends December 18, 2020.  Prior to the start of the second semester on January 5, 2021, we will provide information on our plans for a physical return.
 
The decision to continue distance learning through the remainder of the fall semester is made with the health and safety of our staff and students at the forefront.  The toll of the pandemic continues to impact our friends, families, colleagues, and community, and while Santa Clara County is at a point where more businesses and activities are being opened, experts advise caution to returning to ‘normal’ too quickly.
 
The decision to continue distance learning for the remainder of the fall semester is also based on the following:
 
Instruction
When and if we need to rotate students on campus for teaching and learning, any transitional combination of in-person and distance instruction needs to balance instructional time and student access.  We have carefully coordinated so-called ‘learning pods’ – small groups of students who learn together outside the classroom but still in person – and are looking at county guidelines as to how we may carefully expand these groups.  We are moving forward with plans to bring back limited cohorts of students who face the toughest time with distance learning. 
 
Facility Constraints
Current guidelines for the reopening of high schools call for social distancing of six feet between students in classrooms, and including physical barriers and other equipment intended to assure the health and safety of students and staff, and minimize the risk of spreading any virus. We are still considering how we can safely support the interaction of students and staff as they use campus resources. We are working now to equip our campuses in alignment with both state and county regulatory requirements. 
 
Monitoring
We continue to monitor county, state, national and international trends related to closures and reopenings, and spikes in coronavirus cases occurring on school campuses across the nation. We are learning from positive examples as well as working to avoid mistakes made elsewhere.  Once we have our physical environments in place to support a return to campus, we will then monitor and track self-reporting of symptoms by students and staff consistent with the state's guidelines for the reopening of schools and directives and orders issued by Santa Clara County Public Health and the State of California.
 
 

WEEKLY SCHEDULE AND INSTRUCTION ACTIVITIES

Students and staff will use what is known as the “ABCAB” schedule.  This is designed to provide time for meaningful teaching and learning, office hours for student support and a collaboration day for staff to work together to continue reflection and development of rich learning experience and for professional learning.
 
Teachers will engage students in learning experiences for 270 minutes per class per week. This will be scheduled through a weekly “slate” that will be provided to students no later than 3 p.m. on Wednesdays. The slate will include the learning expectation and assignments for the next day Thursday through Wednesday of the following week.
 

DISTANCE LEARNING  BLOCK SCHEDULE

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Student wake up routine
Student wake up routine
Student Asynchronous Workday (suggested schedule for independent work in classes):
  • 1P- 9:30-10:00
  • 2P- 10:10-10:40
  • 3P- 10:50-11:20
  • 4P- 11:30-12:00
  • 5P- 1:00-1:30
  • 6P- 1:40-2:10
  • 7P- 2:20-2:50
 
→ Tutorial Center Open
 
→ Enrichment opportunities for students:
  • Speaker series
  • Social Emotional Learning (SEL) modules
 
Student wake up routine
Student wake up routine
1: 9:30-10:45
2: 9:30-10:45
1: 9:30-10:45
2: 9:30-10:45
3: 11:00-12:15
4: 11:00-12:15
3: 11:00-12:15
4: 11:00-12:15
Lunch Break
Lunch Break
Lunch Break
Lunch Break
5: 1:05-2:20
6: 1:05-2:20
5: 1:05-2:20
6: 1:05-2:20
7: 2:30-3:45
 
 
 
Office Hours/Tutorial: 2:30-3:45
7: 2:30-3:45
Office Hours/Tutorial: 2:30-3:45
 
 
Wednesday will be a day for students to work asynchronously on their lessons (which will include modules to support Social Emotional Learning (SEL), visit Tutorial Centers, and take advantage of enrichment activities and guest speaker opportunities. Wednesday will serve as the day for teachers to have professional learning time and collaborate with other teachers.
 
During virtual office hours, teachers will be available to provide immediate assistance to support students and be available for live feedback via Zoom or chat tools.
 
As part of the weekly schedule, teachers will have both synchronous and asynchronous activities:
 

Synchronous Activities:

Synchronous learning refers to real-time instruction, where all students are engaging in a learning experience at the same time. A live lesson using a video conferencing platform is an example of a synchronous learning experience.  Examples of synchronous activities include:
  • Zoom/Google Meets classes, including break out rooms
  • Actively Learn lessons, with teacher giving “live” feedback while students work
  • Quizlet Live session during the slotted class schedules where all students are engaged, and the teacher is guiding and giving “live” feedback while students work
  • Kahoot Live session during the slotted class schedules where all students are engaged, and the teacher is guiding and giving “live” feedback while students work
 
Teachers are required to hold a minimum of 75-minutes synchronous learning per class per week, holding classes during the slotted time on the schedule to avoid overlapping with other classes and helping students create a routine.
 
Asynchronous Activities:
Asynchronous refers to learning experiences that do not occur at the same time or place. Asynchronous learning provides more flexibility for students. In an asynchronous learning environment, participation in courses is monitored through students submitting assignments online within the teacher designated timeframe. Teachers may post learning activities for students to complete at their own pace (although completed by the due date set by the teacher).  Examples include:
  • Pre-recorded videos posted
  • Reading material and questions
  • A discussion question on Google Classroom that allows students to respond to each other
  • Actively Learn lessons
  • Newsela lessons
  • Quizlet link
  • Reading book and taking Focused Notes
  • Video/demo and assignment
  • Lab/ simulation
  • Concept mapping, building, painting, making video, reading, practicing
  • A screencast lesson
 
Teachers will be considering the amount of potential screen time involved in asynchronous activities and will be offering alternatives to online material, such as reading a hard-copy book/textbook, solving problems or taking notes in a written format on paper, or completing projects with physical materials instead of virtually.
 
Students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and 504 Plans will receive accommodations and modifications appropriate to support their access to this unique learning platform and guaranteed to them through their individualized plans. 
 
 

ATTENDANCE AND GRADES

For Option A, attendance will be taken each day, each class period. For Option B, taking daily attendance is not required since students are setting the pace of the program themselves; however, engagement will be monitored.
For students in Option A, attendance will be documented if the student was present or not in a synchronous class.
 
For asynchronous attendance, teachers can use assessment submissions, ask a content-related question on the LMS to see which students are checking in online, or another method that proves that a student has completed some work or “logged into” the class. This process can be repeated for each class as a form of attendance.
Teachers will be noting which students are not accessing assignments and classes and will contact the student or their family if a student does not participate in lessons/assignments during an instructional week.
Letter grades will be given for the 2020-2021 school year. Grades will be inputted into Aries in a timely manner. This is extremely helpful for the students and parents. During this unprecedented time, having grades updated helps to ensure students do not fall too far behind before getting noticed.  For students in Option B, grades will be inputted into the content provider’s gradebook regularly and into Aeries at quarter marks.
 
 

STUDENT, PARENT, AND TEACHER RESPONSIBILITIES

 
Student Responsibilities
Parent/Guardian Responsibilities
Teacher Responsibilities
Academic Success
Your learning matters! While we know this is a new environment for all of us, helping you learn and grow as students and citizens during this period of digital learning is as important as ever.
Transitioning to digital learning is a huge shift for all of us – teachers, students, and parents. While we recognize that we cannot replicate the experience students would have in school, we believe learning can continue if we all work together.
 
You are a vital part of students’ academic success and their social-emotional well-being. Creating and maintaining class norms that support diversity and inclusiveness alongside engaging and robust curriculum will ensure that your students thrive in Distance Learning.
The Weekly Schedule and Connecting with Others
Follow the Student Schedule (to the extent possible) to create a schedule that balances your schoolwork with personal life and family obligations. In other words, take care of yourself.
Creating routine is a way to stay healthy and grounded.
Work with your child to set up a routine to distinguish “school time” from being at home time,
being mindful of the Student schedule.
Foster community and connection while also teaching the subject area standards.
Learning Organization
Create an organized workspace that is free of distractions to the extent possible.
Support your student in creating an organized workspace that is free of distractions to the extent
possible.
Use professional expertise to deliver online learning experiences to benefit all students.
 
Communication
Check your email and your teachers’ Canvas classes on a daily basis.
 
Check Canvas with your student. How often you check in is up to you! This will vary by student. As we begin this new learning environment, check infrequently, and then ease up when you feel you are able to.
Use Canvas and email to communicate information.
 
Respond to emails on a timely basis, to the extent possible.
 
The Weekly Slate
Use the weekly slates to determine when your teachers are offering virtual office hours. This is a great time to check in with your teachers and classmates.
Recognize that students are not used to learning in a completely online environment. Check-in with your student about what they are finding challenging or confusing. Encourage them to reach out to teachers and counselors if they are struggling.
Post your slates every Wednesday by 3pm. This will communicate to the student the learning objectives and assignments that will take place over the next 5 school days so they can organize and have big picture understanding.
Technology Usage and Norms
When using technology, follow the school’s Code of Conduct and the MVLA Technology Acceptable Use Policy. Be sure to understand Virtual Meeting Etiquette.
Check-in with your child regularly to engage them in a discussion of their coursework. Work with your child to help them understand the
virtual learning environment.
Provide weekly communication regarding expectations, assignments, due dates, and virtual office hours.
 
Keeping Up with Assignments
Complete tasks and assignments with the highest level of effort possible.
Help maintain student motivation by noting their successes and accomplishments. Encourage them to be prepared each day for learning and acknowledge at the end of their day the students work.
Assess student learning and communicate information to students and parents. 
Attendance
Attendance is taken every day for every class.
For synchronous classes, your attendance will be based on class for the fill time and on time.
For Asynchronous classes, your attendance will be based on completing the task assigned.
 
If your student is sick, please email your student’s teachers AND contact the Attendance
Office. Provide the following information:
● Student name
● Student ID#
● Date of absence
● Reason for absence
● Parent/guardian contact information
Teachers will mark attendance in Aeries each day for their classes.
Attendance will be marked as
“P” - present
“A” Absent
“T” Tardy
The tardy is most applicable for synchronous classes.
Synchronous Participation
Teachers will hold synchronous lessons during some of their normally scheduled classes. Students are expected to attend these lessons unless they are unable to do so.
 
Make sure your student is dressed and ready to participate in the synchronous classes
Hold synchronous sessions at least 75 minutes per class per week. This time can be used creatively to build community, use breakout rooms for various small group work,  support students’ connectedness, and support the curriculum and academics.
Attendance
Attend office hours for questions and support
Help your student reach out to teachers for support if needed. Students should use posted office hours first and rely on email as a secondary support. We anticipate that teachers will receive an unusually high volume of email through this transition, and we encourage everyone to be as efficient as possible.
Hold established office hours when students can check-in and receive support. Students are responsible for contacting teachers if they need additional assistance to successfully complete digital lessons.
Behavior, Norms and Expectations
Students will follow the behavior expectations and norms outlined in our Student Handbook and established in each classroom.
Support your child in following the behavior expectations and norms outlined in our Student Handbook and established in each classroom.
Set and maintain classroom norms and culture that follow the Student Code of Conduct and support inclusiveness and diversity.
 

BACKGROUND

As schools closed down this past spring and distance learning began, MVLA began to concurrently start planning for the reopening of schools for the Fall of 2020, exploring and preparing for a variety of scenarios:
  • Full distance learning, ensuring instructional and academic equivalence with a traditional in-person education experience
  • Blended model combining distance learning with in-school experiences
  • Return to campus for in-person instruction, adhering to all restrictions and directives in place at the time
 
MVLA established a reopening task force to develop and plan for the various scenarios. The task force began meeting in May, and moved quickly to establish advisory teams to begin working with a variety of stakeholders to brainstorm the answers to three key questions:
 
  • What worked well in our Spring 2020 experiences for students and staff?
      • What needs improvement?
      • How do we measure the impact of our work?
 
The stakeholders included teachers, administrators, and staff representing numerous district and school operational areas:
  • Facilities
  • Curriculum, instruction, and assessment
  • Student support and training
  • Teacher support and training
  • Counseling and therapeutic services
  • Technology
  • Health and safety
  • Adult and alternative education
  • Special education
  • Administrative support
 
More than 150 people – teachers, administrators, other staff, and parents – were involved in developing the reopening plan. The plan was influenced, in part, by the feedback provided by stakeholders in our recent ThoughtExchange forum, asking for information about preferences for the school reopening scenarios. The majority of respondents (35%) expressed a preference for a hybrid model; respondents were split over a second choice of full distance learning or an in-campus return.  We thank all of those who participated and provided input.
 
As the Fall 2020 semester began, students and families were asked to select one of two distance learning options.

DISTANCE LEARNING OPTIONS 

Option A

Option A provides distance learning with your regular teachers at your resident school - featuring MVLA standards-based coursework with classes of students and MVLA direct instruction. It includes a community of learners and may turn to in-person teaching and learning when/if allowable under state and local guidelines. Course offerings include all traditional classes, including Advanced Placement (AP), college preparatory, Honors, and electives, and meets rigorous University of California A-G requirements
 

Option B

Option B provides a full semester to full school year option that uses an online learning platform that provides a high quality, consistent remote learning experience with content that meets University of California A-G requirements. This option is provided in conjunction with MVLA teacher support and Zoom meetings while also allowing students to remain connected to their resident school. Course offerings for Option B include Advanced Placement (AP), and college preparatory coursework. Students would be able to transfer to Option A at the end of the semester if they so choose or stay with Option B for the remainder of the school year.  Electives and programs offered at resident campuses (choir, dance, etc.) or at Freestyle Academy are not available for students selecting this option.
 
All students will have ongoing access to academic counseling, school-based mental health services, college advising, and tutoring support.  As conditions permit, students will also be able to participate in clubs and extracurricular activities.
 
 

Comparison Category

Option A

(Students will be enrolled in Option A automatically. There is no form to fill out.)

Option B

(Enrollment is not automatic. Students must fill out this form to select Option B.)
Teacher
Since Option A is a virtual version of your resident school, the teachers are those students would have for each course as if they attended in person.
A credentialed MVLA teacher-facilitator will oversee multiple courses through an online learning platform a student is enrolled in.
Schedule
There will be a set MVLA class schedule.
There will not be a set weekly schedule; students will be able to pace themselves independently but with guidance and support from the teacher.
Curriculum
The curriculum will continue to be MVLA standards-based coursework that is team/teacher created, curated, and designed, and which is A-G approved.  Classes will include Advanced Placement (AP), Honors, and college prep coursework.
The online learning platform will be provided solely by the content provider, such as UC Scout and Edgenuity. All coursework will be A-G approved. Advanced Placement (AP) and Honors options will be available.
 
Grades
Letter grades will be assigned.
Letter grades will be assigned.
Attendance
Attendance will be recorded daily.
Daily attendance is not required;
engagement will be monitored.
Gradebook
Aeries
Aeries/Content Provider Gradebook
Pacing
The pace of the class will be set by the teacher.
Students will set pace with teacher support to ensure student understanding and completion.
Extracurricular Activities
Extracurricular activities, clubs, etc. will be made available online and, when safe, in person. Students will be encouraged to participate.
Extracurricular activities, clubs, etc. will be made available online and, when safe, in person. Students will be encouraged to participate where they are comfortable doing so.
Support
Students will have access to tutorial center, teachers, school counselors, mental health support, and social/emotional learning modules.
Students will have access to tutorial center, teachers, school counselors, mental health support, and social/emotional learning modules.
 

View Distance Learning Options Flyer:  English | Spanish

Read Distance Learning Options FAQs

 
 
 
 
 

IN CONCLUSION:

As we embark into a new school year during a historic time of challenges and new learning experiences ahead, we encourage you to look for the positive, embrace the challenges of having to rethink and reimagine how to do what we have always taken for granted, and reach out to friends, family, teachers and counselors for support and connection. Remember, TEAMWORK makes the dream work.