Instructional Plan - FCPS 2020-21 School Reopening Plan

  1. Introduction

    Virginia Governor Ralph Northam ended the school year for all Virginia public and private schools by issuing an order closing schools on March 13, 2020. During that time, as was the case with many Virginia school divisions, Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) offered distance learning as a means to support students during the extended closure. With nearly no preparation, very little experience offering distance learning at any scale, and the inability to gather key staff together for professional learning, FCPS offered students learning opportunities using both digital and paper resources. Division instructional staff knew at the time that it was insufficient, but recognized that it was the best that could be offered given the circumstances.

    The instructional team committed to preparing for something better in the event the 2020-21 school year required additional opportunities for distance/online learning. A survey was distributed to students, teachers, and families seeking feedback and input in early June 2020. The feedback received from the nearly 4000 participants in the survey has been invaluable, and has informed the work of the FCPS leadership team in planning not only for the possibility of a return to distance learning, but in-person instruction as well.

    Planning for reopening was focused on five key areas:

    • Learning Experiences
    • Addressing and Closing Learning Gaps
    • Social/Emotional Support
    • Family and Community Engagement
    • Equity

    Work began June 15, 2020 and continued to July 20, 2020. Teams of school and division-level leaders, as well as teacher leaders, collaborated to plan for a reopening that was unknown throughout the entire planning process. To be prepared for any scenario, plans were made for a reopening that included full in-person learning, full online learning, and a hybrid model of some in-person and some online learning.

    A separate group made up of principals and division-level executive staff considered reopening schedule scenarios. Throughout both the instructional planning and the reopening schedule planning, the division focused first and foremost on the health and well-being of students, families, and staff. Additionally, guidelines from Virginia's Recover, Redesign, Restart plan, the Centers for Disease Control, the Lord Fairfax Health District, and the American Academy of Pediatrics were considered.

    Throughout the process, feedback was sought from parents, teachers, and students on the tenets of the plan. Adjustments were made based on the feedback, and weekly (virtual) meetings were held among the focus group leaders, as well as the full teams. All teams had access to each other’s work to provide the best opportunity for a consistent message throughout the document.

    The Frederick County Public Schools Reopening Instructional Plan described below explicitly addresses four of the five focus areas. The concepts developed by the Equity work group are integrated throughout the other four areas for appropriate context. Additionally a communication plan has been developed to ensure effective communication of the schedule, the Health Plan, and the Instructional Plan.

  2. Three Instructional Models:

    • Hybrid (A blend of in-person and distance learning)
    • In-Person (Students are physically present in school)
    • Distance Learning (Online)

    1. Hybrid Model

      In a hybrid model, instruction will be delivered in person or through online learning experiences on days designated as school days. Instruction will not be delivered on school holidays, other student days off as designated in the 2020-21 school calendar, and school closures. Students spend part of their week attending school in person with approximately half of their peers in the classroom and a teacher physically present. The part of the week they are not in person, learning opportunities are provided online. Students keep their normal daily schedule when they are in school, and their schedule during the online learning days is more flexible based on their needs as well as the needs of their families.

      A predictable weekly schedule will enable families to plan for child care and student supervision on the distance learning days. Students in Pre-K, kindergarten, and first grade will attend school Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Students in grades 2-12 will be served in two groups to provide optimum physical distancing in classrooms and common areas. Groups will be developed in an effort to balance classes and grade levels. Student Group A will attend school in person on Mondays and Thursdays, and will complete assignments provided online on Tuesdays and Fridays. Student Group B will attend school in person on Tuesdays and Fridays, and will complete assignments provided online on Monday and Thursday. To the greatest extent possible, students living in the same household will have schedule alignment so they attend school and are home on the same days. Figure A represents the weekly schedule in a graphic.

      All students will engage in learning and assignment completion online on Wednesdays, but teachers will be present and accessible at school. Teachers will use these days for collaborative planning and additional student/family outreach.

      In order to accommodate those students and families for whom health and safety concerns restrict participation in this model, an alternative option for full time distance learning is being made available. Those families electing the online learning option are committed to that choice until the end of the first semester unless a change in circumstances is announced by FCPS.

      Figure A

      Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
      Group A Group B Teacher Planning Group A Group B

    2. In-Person Model

      In an in-person model, all students are physically present in school with their peers and teachers physically present. Instruction will be delivered in person or through online learning experiences on days designated as school days. In a distance learning model, instruction will be delivered on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. All students will engage in learning and assignment completion online on Wednesdays. Teachers will be accessible on Wednesdays, but will use these days for collaborative planning and additional student/family outreach.

    3. Distance Learning Model

      In a distance learning model, students learn online in both a synchronous and asynchronous system. Synchronous learning occurs when the teacher schedules a virtual meeting for all students, and a concept is taught and practiced together. Asynchronous learning occurs when assignments are available online, and students may access those assignments at their convenience, and complete them based on the timeline provided for the specific assignment. Instruction will be delivered in person or through online learning experiences on days designated as school days. In a distance learning model, instruction will be delivered on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. All students will engage in learning and assignment completion online on Wednesdays. Teachers will be accessible on Wednesdays, but will use these days for collaborative planning and additional student/family outreach.

  3. Focus Areas for All Instructional Models

    1. Learning Experiences

      Many familiar aspects of learning will be in place whether students are served in-person, online, or a blend of the two. Our strategic plan, Inspire 2025: A Promise for Progress, will serve as the foundation of student success. Content will be new and based on the grade/course level of the student. Depending on the course and grade level, the pace of the learning may be adjusted. However, students will learn new content just as they would in a normal year. Learning experiences will be dynamic, engaging, and relevant. Students will receive frequent feedback on their work and they will have opportunities to reflect on their learning. Assessments and grading will be one way to communicate student progress, just as it always has been.

      Regardless of the instructional model (hybrid, in-person, or distance learning), students will be required to complete daily learning experiences according to the schedule set by their instructor(s). Some learning experiences will include “same-time” learning, during which teachers deliver instruction in a “live” (virtual or in-person, depending on the model) setting and all students practice and apply content together. Other learning experiences will provide content in which students work on their own within the time constraints set by their teacher. These lessons may involve reading, viewing or listening to content, and responding individually. Students in grades K-12 will be issued a Chromebook that enables them to access online content. In the Hybrid Model, use of the Chromebook for K-1 students will be limited to the classroom, while students in grades 2-12 will have the ability to take their Chromebooks home. In the In-Person Model, use of the Chromebook for K-5 students will be limited to the classroom, while students in grades 6-12 will have the ability to take their Chromebooks home. In the Distance Learning Model, students in grades K-12 will be issued a Chromebook for home use. To address weak or non-existent Internet service, students will learn how to access digital content offline so they can continue their learning while at home. Digital citizenship and how to engage in online learning will be explicitly taught to students so they have a clear understanding of expectations, procedures, and norms when they are participating in learning away from the school building. For consistency and ease of use, a single, online portal will enable students to access materials and resources in the same place (Google Classroom) regardless of their school, grade level, or course. Additionally, parents will have a different single online portal (Parent/Student 360 through the Tyler Student Information System) to access information such as grades, weekly student assignments, and upcoming assessments.

      During the days they are learning in-person, students will follow a daily schedule and attend all classes. Participation in the arts, career and technical education, world languages, physical education, and other resource/elective classes is essential for students. To the extent possible, efforts will be made to implement procedures to minimize transitions and reduce mixing of student groups. However, those procedures should not impact students’ abilities to participate in their classes.

      In order to accommodate those students and families for whom health and safety concerns restrict participation in in-person learning, an alternative option for full-time distance learning will be made available. Those families electing the online learning option are committed to that choice until the end of the first semester unless a change in circumstances is announced by FCPS.

      Students with significant disabilities who receive instruction through the Aligned Standards of Learning curriculum, or who participate in one of the following self-contained classroom programs: Northwestern Regional Education Programs (“NREP”), behavior-based learning centers located at Apple Pie Ridge Elementary School and James Wood Middle School, and all other learning centers located at Evendale Elementary, Gainesboro Elementary, Jordan Springs Elementary, Middletown Elementary, Orchard View Elementary, Redbud Run Elementary, Stonewall Elementary, Admiral Richard E. Byrd Middle, Frederick County Middle, James Wood Middle, James Wood High, Millbrook High, and Sherando High schools, for students with significant cognitive impairments will be permitted to attend school in person up to 4 days per full school week and participate in distance learning, as determined to be appropriate by the student’s IEP team, except for school holidays, other student days off as designated in the 2020-21 school calendar, and school closures.

      IEP teams for all eligible students will be meeting as needed to discuss plans for the respective student’s education for the upcoming school year. IEPs will be developed to meet each student's unique needs and individual circumstances. IEPs will be implemented consistent with the School Board’s Instructional and Health Plans, and IEPs will consider both in-person and distance learning.

    2. Addressing and Closing Learning Gaps

      The Spring 2020 extended closure of schools may have created learning gaps of the previous years’ content for some students. Using data is essential to knowing what those gaps are and making a plan to address them. However, the collection of that data from students must be reasonable. School teams and key central office instructional leaders will work collaboratively to implement effective means of determining student learning and the need for remediation and intervention. The emphasis shall be on teaching, not assessing, our students. Ongoing, formative assessment, combined with minimal formal assessments if needed, shall provide the data needed to identify learning needs.

      Frederick County Public Schools follows a Multi-Tiered Systems of Support approach to ensure student needs are met. This approach will remain in place. Student learning needs are best met through research-based, high quality (“Tier 1”) instructional practices. Students requiring additional Tier 2 or Tier 3 supports will follow a plan as outlined by the Intervention Team.

      Intervention and remediation will be provided in a variety of ways and will be student-specific based on individual needs. Remediation may be offered during the school day, embedded into current learning experiences, or provided outside the normal learning day. School teams will determine the best approach to remediation based on student needs and resources available within their school community.

    3. Social/Emotional Supports

      In addition to having impacts on the physical health and well-being of students, teachers, and families, the COVID-19 Pandemic may also have had an impact on the emotional well-being, behavior, and/or mental health of some students and adults.

      FCPS is committed to making social-emotional well-being, behavioral supports, and mental health our top priority regardless of how we reopen our schools. An intentional and systematic approach to establishing and maintaining meaningful relationships between and among students, staff, and families will be essential to the success of any reopening plan. Practices such as morning meetings/messages, consistent schedules and structures that are explicitly taught and reinforced, the identification of a single point of contact to ensure all students have an adult with whom they can connect, and building a sense of community within schools and classrooms will be paramount. Additionally, school counselors and key central office team members will ensure referrals to appropriate community resources as needed.

      Some structures and approaches, such as Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports as well as tiered behavioral supports, are familiar to the FCPS community. Other approaches, such as Social/Emotional Learning curricula, are familiar to some but may be new to others. Implementation will be appropriate to the knowledge base of the school community, with appropriate professional learning for staff, students, and families based on individual need.

      Age-appropriate explicit instruction for students on safety procedures and precautions (as outlined in the Health and Safety Plan portion of this School Reopening Plan), as well as respectful interactions with peers and adults, will be implemented and consistently reinforced.

    4. Family and Community Engagement

      To maximize student learning and safety, families, and the larger community must be involved and engaged. Based on feedback provided through the Distance Learning survey administered in June 2020, a common learning platform for students has been identified (Google Classroom). Additional learning tools may be used, but the access of those tools should be through the single entry point.

      For parents, the common access point for information on student learning will be Parent/Student 360 through our Tyler Student Information System. Teachers will provide general information regarding topics to be taught and weekly assignments and assessments. Information posted shall be in the home language of the students. This single portal of information will assist parents in helping their students, and will allow for more effective communication between home and school. Additionally, teachers will set up office hours as their teaching schedule permits throughout the week, including on their planning day (Wednesday).

      Parents requested help and support in navigating the tools their students need for instruction. To meet this need, FCPS is developing support systems to help parents understand and assist their children with the various digital instructional tools students use to access, practice, and demonstrate understanding of the content they are learning.

      Partnerships with businesses and organizations within each local community are being established in an effort to better serve our students and families, and ensure relevant, meaningful learning experiences.

  4. Members of the Reopening Instruction Plan Work Groups

    Dr. Kelley Aitken, Supervisor of Science and Visual Arts
    Joanne Altendorf, Principal, Millbrook High School
    Sheryl Anderson, Teacher, Senseny Road School/NREP
    Shelly Andrews, Assistant Principal, James Wood High School
    Dr. James Angelo, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction
    Craig Archer, Supervisor of Special Instructional Services, Elementary
    Dave Arnoldy, Assistant Principal, Admiral Richard E. Byrd Middle School
    Jan Ball-Brooks, Principal, Dowell J. Howard Learning Center
    Patricia Black, Principal, Gainesboro Elementary School
    Michael Bolin, Assistant Principal, James Wood High School
    Lisa Boothe, Dean, Frederick County Middle School
    Sue Boyce, Transition Behavior Specialist
    Susan Brinkmeier, Supervisor of Operations
    Patty Camery, Executive Director of Finance
    Tanessa Carter, Assistant Principal, Indian Hollow Elementary School
    Gina Carty, Teacher, Evendale Elementary School
    Dominick Cavalier, Supervisor of Social Sciences and Health and Wellness Education
    Kylan Coffman, Assistant Principal, Evendale Elementary School
    Dr. Kellie Conlan, Assistant Principal, Middletown Elementary School
    Falon Cooke, Assistant Principal, Orchard View Elementary School
    Sharon Cooley, Principal, Indian Hollow Elementary School
    Sharon Clark, Supervisor of Improvement, Induction and Intervention
    Bret Clovis, Instructional Technology Coach, Admiral Richard E. Byrd Middle School
    Traci Comstock, Assistant Principal, Armel Elementary School
    Dr. Deborah Crawford, Supervisor of Mathematics and World Languages
    Dr. Michael Daddario, Principal, Evendale Elementary School
    William Daniel, Coordinator of Data Management
    Kristi Diminuco, Principal, Middletown Elementary School
    Megan Dodd, Principal, Apple Pie Ridge Elementary School
    Jennifer Duckworth, Assistant Principal, Apple Pie Ridge Elementary School
    Mary Beth Echeverria, Supervisor of Career and Technical Education
    Dr. Roy Echeverria, Director of Reporting and Program Evaluation
    Steve Edwards, Coordinator of Policy and Communications
    Linda Farringer, Supervisor of Elementary Instructional Services
    Jonathan Farringer, Student Support Specialist
    Melissa Ferrebee, School Psychologist
    Elizabeth Fout, Assistant Principal, James Wood High School
    John Fox, Coordinator of Assessment
    Jennifer Ghafoori, School Psychologist
    David Glasscock, Assistant Principal, Millbrook High School
    Dr. Judi Greathouse, Supervisor of Gifted Services and Libraries
    Samuel Gross, Principal, James Wood High School
    Debbie Grumbacher, Teacher, James Wood High School
    Stephanie Grzywacz, Assistant Principal, Frederick County Middle School
    Amy Hall, Supervisor of English, Reading and Performing Arts
    Rita Hart, Assistant Principal, James Wood Middle School
    Mark Hawkins, Assistant Principal, Millbrook High School
    Heather Hess, Assistant Principal, Bass-Hoover Elementary School
    Kristine Hickey, Assistant Principal, Sherando High School
    Wendy Houser, Lead Teacher, James Wood Middle School
    Grant Javersak, Principal, James Wood Middle School
    Deborah Kimball, School Psychologist
    Corey Kite, Supervisor of Juvenile Detention Center
    Buffie Kulton, School Psychologist
    Rhonda Lancaster, Teacher, James Wood High School
    Jessica Lee, Instructional Coach, Evendale Elementary School
    Robert Liero, Assistant Principal, Dowell J. Howard Center
    Scott Lykins, Assistant Principal, Frederick County Middle School
    Nancy Mango, Bright Futures Coordinator
    Karen McCoy, Assistant Principal, Sherando High School
    Melissa McDonald, Work-Based Learning Coordinator
    Alyssa McKee, Teacher, James Wood High School
    Heather Miller, Principal, Armel Elementary School
    Elizabeth Mistretta, Assistant Principal, Jordan Springs Elementary School
    Glenn Moreland, Assistant Director of Information Technology
    Kerry Mueller, Supervisor of Special Instructional Services, Middle School
    Marlies Mulckhuyse, Supervisor of Special Instructional Services, High School
    Jennifer Muldowney, Principal, Greenwood Elementary School
    Dr. Juliette Myers, Director of Middle and Secondary Instructional Services
    Dr. Jessica Nail, Principal, Admiral Richard E. Byrd Middle School
    Kathryn Neal, Supervisor of Professional Learning and Federal Programs
    Maria Neidrick, Assistant Director of Special Instructional Services
    John Nelson, Principal, Sherando High School
    Dr. Suzanne Nichols, Special Instructional Services Eligibility Supervisor
    Crystal Nicola, Principal, Orchard View Elementary School
    René Norman, Assistant Principal, Gainesboro Elementary School
    Dr. Donnie Olajuwon, Assistant Principal, Admiral Richard E. Byrd Middle School
    Dr. Albert Orndorff, Assistant Superintendent for Administration
    Janet Pack, Assistant Principal, Dowell J. Howard Center
    Cathy Plumb, Teacher, Evendale Elementary School
    Jerry Putt, Principal, Frederick County Middle School
    Mark Raines, Student Support Specialist
    Raegan Rangel, Assistant Principal, Millbrook High School
    Justin Raymond, Principal, Jordan Springs Elementary School
    Carrie Redcay, Assistant Principal, James Wood Middle School
    Stephanie Reed, Assistant Principal, Redbud Run Elementary School
    Taylor Reese, Teacher, Evendale Elementary School
    Ralph Reese, Program Administrator, Senseny Road School/NREP
    Tabitha Reeves, Assistant Program Administrator, Senseny Road School/NREP
    Dr. Silvia Restivo, Supervisor of School Counseling Services and English Language Learners
    Robann Riggleman, Assistant Principal, Greenwood Mill Elementary School
    Rachel Rinker, Assistant Principal, Stonewall Elementary School
    Teresa Ritenour, Director of Student Support Services
    David Rudy, Principal, Robert E. Aylor Middle School
    Sue Ellen Rutherford, Supervisor of Elementary Instructional Services
    Jennifer Rydholm, Executive Director of Human Resources
    Logan Sheppard, Assistant Principal, Sherando High School
    Dr. Sharon Shrum, Supervisor of Elementary Instructional Services
    Dr. Marcella Simmons, Assistant Principal, Robert E. Aylor Middle School
    Dr. David Sovine, Superintendent of Schools
    Danielle Stoors, Intervention Resource Teacher, Gainesboro Elementary School
    Joseph Strong, Principal, Redbud Run Elementary School
    Jeri Swogger, Director of Elementary Instructional Services
    Darren Thomas, Principal, Bass-Hoover Elementary School
    Benjamin Thompson, Assistant Director, Student Support Services
    Tyler Thompson, Student Support Specialist
    Wendy Thousand, Supervisor of Special Instructional Services, Elementary
    Chance Varner, Assistant Principal, Admiral Richard E. Byrd Middle School
    Mark Weisbrod, Principal, Stonewall Elementary School
    Kathleen Weiss, Assistant Principal, Redbud Run Elementary School
    Angela White, Supervisor of Early Childhood Programs
    Dr. Michele Williams-Sandy, Director of Special Instructional Services
    Rob Yost, Director of Information Technology