After much deliberation and consultation with the Snohomish County Health District and collaboration with our labor unions, we have decided that Monroe School District will start the 2020-21 school year with a distance learning model, with the ultimate goal to have all students in our buildings as soon as it can be safely done. This was not an easy decision and was made after a thorough review of available reports, local models, and guidance from the Snohomish County Health District.
Here are some of the changes that are being made to MSD distance learning for the fall:
- The use of Canvas as the sole district-wide online Learning Management System (LMS)
- Daily attendance and typical grading practices
- Essential standards to be identified for each subject area and used to focus deep and lasting learning
- A mix of synchronous (using Zoom for live class discussions, read-alouds, some instruction, and assessment) and asynchronous (at home, independent, at times that work for you - examples: video-recorded reading and lessons, physical education, enrichment, etc.) learning working to meet the needs of students and families
As we prepare to begin school in a distance model, we are continuing to work to further develop our systems, provide training for staff, and ensure that all students and families are connected to their school, their classroom, and their teacher to begin learning on the first day of school.
We recognize that distance learning cannot fully meet the needs of some students and we will continue to focus on supporting students and families with unique needs, including special education services, English language learners, students experiencing homelessness, and others. The most recent Health Department guidance recognizes this need and recommends groups of no more than five meet at any given time. We will work through this recommendation and determine safe protocols for serving our students within this recommendation.
We will continue to collaborate with Snohomish County Health District and Washington State Department of Health to help guide our next steps and decisions. Our goal is to continuously review the return to school benchmarks set by the Snohomish County Health District. We anticipate planning around a quarterly (11/13/20, 1/29/21 and 4/2/21) determination if school will continue as distance learning, move to a hybrid model (some days of in-person learning and some days of distance learning each week) or fully return to school in-person. We believe this provides a predictable time frame for our families to coordinate their schedules and childcare while our system can prepare for the potential return to classrooms for our students.
I am incredibly proud of our MSD staff, leaders and community for the work they have done since March to learn more about best practices for distance and online learning. I am confident that the distance learning and teaching students will experience this fall will allow them to continue to learn and grow. The Monroe School District is committed to providing your child with a positive and meaningful school experience. We appreciate your patience as we move forward together.
Stay safe and stay healthy.
Dr. Justin Blasko