CCPS Reopening Plans for the Fall
Posted July 30, 2020
At last night’s Board of Education meeting, the Board decided that Carroll County Public Schools will open for the 2020-2021 school year on Tuesday, September 8, using the Enhanced Virtual Learning Model for instruction. After months of planning, gathering input and feedback from a wide variety of community stakeholders, and the input and guidance of our state and local health department, this action is being taken as Carroll County, our state, and our country continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The school system will continuously work to reach a hybrid model as conditions allow. Unless the state reverts to Stage I, a full review and revisit of this decision will take place no later than the October 14th Board meeting.
The school system will continue to find opportunities to bring in small groups of special education students for in-person instruction, whose parents wish for them to attend, and as we are able. In addition, we will work to provide in-person learning opportunities for Career and Technology Center students. This is another program where in-person learning is especially critical, and where successful mastery, earned credentials, and certifications are dependent upon actual hands-on learning opportunities.
This incremental approach of opening virtually for all, but focusing on a few small groups, can allow us to implement and evaluate our processes for in-person instruction as safely as possible. It can further inform and support our efforts of expanding small groups and lead us to our overall goal of returning as many students as we are safely able to our classrooms and schools. We will continue to safely work through the various logistical details that we know are so important, while also staying in close collaboration with our health department and keeping an eye on local conditions.
During last year’s school closure, CCPS collected feedback regarding virtual learning from students, parents, and educators and has worked to improve the virtual learning experience we will be offering students this fall. In the CCPS Enhanced Virtual Learning Model, students access learning online instead of face-to-face in a school building. They will engage in a combination of real-time virtual instruction, instruction on an individual schedule, and completion of assigned tasks. In addition to regularly scheduled virtual instruction, blocks of student support time will be made available for students and teachers to meet virtually.
The Enhanced Virtual Learning Model differs from the Continuity of Learning format in effect last spring when grades were either Pass or Incomplete. In the 2020-21 school year, CCPS expects rigorous coursework with our standard grading system.
Additional improvements to this model of instruction for the fall include:
- Increased live virtual interactions between students and educators
- A single digital platform for students and parents to access instruction, communication, and feedback
- Robust professional learning opportunities for educators to increase their skill set for teaching in a virtual environment, which includes on-demand professional learning videos and courses for educators
- Ongoing communication and support for students and families in a distance learning environment
- Continued efforts to ensure every child can connect digitally.
Anything short of returning to our traditional way of full in-person teaching and learning will continue to be a disappointment and challenge for all of us. However, CCPS will do everything possible to support our students and families in a virtual environment and hope that we are able to transition to a hybrid in-person model as soon as possible. We will continue to communicate and provide more specific details, and individual schools will begin communicating directly in the coming weeks.