Return to Learn Plan for Academy
Dear Central Academy students and families,
Welcome or welcome back to Academy!
RETURN TO LEARN PLAN: ACADEMY CLASSES WILL USE 100% VIRTUAL LEARNING MODEL
DMPS filed a Return to Learning plan with the Iowa Department of Education today. The plan requires Academy to use 100% Virtual learning model for the fall semester. That means Academy classes will not have an in-person component but will be taught 100% online instead.
Because Academy students attend 17 different DMPS schools and about 12 out of district schools every day, if Academy held in-person classes, we could become a hot spot in the event of an outbreak. The decision was not made lightly and places the health and safety of students and staff first.
COMPREHENSIVE (“HOME”) SCHOOLS: CHOICE OF VIRTUAL OR HYBRID SCHEDULE
For classes at the home school, DMPS students and families will be able to choose between a Virtual or Hybrid schedule for the first term (August 26 – October 28) of classes when online registration opens July 13.
A hybrid class has some in-person meeting times and some online meeting times. A virtual class only meets online. No classes will be all in-person. See page 14 of the DMPS Return to Learn Document for more information.
However, all of your Academy classes will automatically be virtual. So, if you choose hybrid model for your home school classes, you will have hybrid classes at your home school and virtual classes at Academy.
HOW IS ACADEMY PREPARING FOR VIRTUAL LEARNING?
“Justice is in the details of teaching and learning.” – Dr. Lacey Robinson.
The Central Academy faculty and staff have been actively preparing since April for the possibility of virtual classes in the fall. Now that it has been decided we can put our energy and resources fully behind that work.
We are strategically developing our curricula, technical processes, and the scheduling structure that would support a virtual semester with equity, safety, and achievement. I’ve been meeting with middle school and high school principals to discuss how comprehensive and Central schedules might work in concert and to plan our systems of support for our students experiencing incredible levels of ongoing trauma stemming from racial injustice, economic uncertainty, and, of course, the pandemic.
We will maintain rigorous, engaging, and effective instruction in a virtual classroom. We will provide structure and support to maximize student learning. We will help our students to go well beyond finding the answer to creating their answer and finding their voice in accordance with the highest academic standards.
WHAT WILL VIRTUAL LEARNING AT ACADEMY BE LIKE?
Students will take a total of 3 – 4 classes each 9-week term– 1 or 2 at Academy and the rest at their home school. There will be a daily schedule so that class meetings (either in-person or virtually) will be at different times. In a virtual class, there will be whole class discussions, small group meetings, one-on-one sessions with the teacher, as well as asynchronous work that is completed individually and independently (such as reading, watching assigned videos, review and practice, or composition). Attendance will be taken.
At the end of the first term, students will have completed a semester of work in those 3 – 4 classes. During the second term, which starts in early November, students will take a different set of 3 – 4 classes.
When will you know your schedule?
We can’t set your schedule until we know how many people are choosing the hybrid and virtual options at home schools so we can strategically place courses into periods for each term. We are developing the master schedule now based on your course requests and will have your schedule ready by mid-August. We will not accept schedule change requests until mid-August because we are actively building a new master schedule and need our schedulers to prioritize building the master schedule first.
You can help us speed up the scheduling process by completing your online registration at your home school as soon as possible after it opens on July 13.
COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS
I know this situation is not ideal. All of us would much rather be in-person with our students especially in this time of great stress. Although I’m proud of Academy’s incredibly strong instructional team and the work they are doing to prepare for this unprecedented semester, I am not happy with the choices we must make. I look forward to a time when it will be safe to resume in-person classes on our dynamic and vibrant campus that brings people together from all over the metro area.
There will be a lot of comments and questions. Please submit your comments and questions HERE. Starting next week DMPS is hosting community forums about our Return to Learn Plan.
The purpose of the forums are:
- To understand the rationale and priorities for the DMPS Return to Learn plan.
- To understand the DMPS Return to Learn Plan at a high level.
- To help us identify what we may have missed or perspectives that were not considered in the planning process.
- To learn from our employees and community what questions they have and where they would like us to land in response to those questions. We
won’t be able to make everyone happy, but we do want to craft the myriad
additional details that the complete plan will require with the input
from these groups.
I appreciate your ongoing support. We’re going to rise to this challenge to get the best possible outcome for our students!
Director of Advanced Learning and Central Academy