Submitted by Debra McIntyre, Assistant Superintendent for MSAD28/FiveTown CSD
This process began last summer when we convened a group of teachers representing K-12 staff to begin working on the idea. We researched what other school districts across the nation had implemented and tweaked some of their processes and procedures to work for our own specific learning communities. We had to plan for many different implementation aspects including specific grade spans, students’ access to technology, and how the Remote School Day would impact staff members and families. We also needed to determine which students did not have access to internet service in order to provide them with a hotspot device. After full board approval, we forged ahead to discuss the possibility with the MDOE. After contemplation and discussion, it was decided that we would be able to use a Remote School Day this winter, as we have more than the required 175 student days.
Finally, it looked like Mother Nature would assist us with a day that would have normally been a “No School Day” and we called a Remote School Day. Our younger students had individual work that had previously been sent home and our students in grades 7-12 participated via technology through either Google Classroom or Schoology. Staff members held office hours from 10:00 – 4:00 to assist and answer any questions that arose. Technology support was also available.
As you can imagine with anything new, there were successes, challenges, supporters and dissenters. There are still tweaks to be worked out and challenges to overcome, however, the attendance was excellent and the overall feedback was encouraging. Overall, the parent survey indicated 82% felt the Remote School Day was a success. Our next steps will be to review the specific feedback from parents, staff and students to refine our implementation in the hopes that we will be able to use Remote School Days as an option for making up some of our snow days in the future.
We received many pictures from families, sharing their experiences. We believe the picture below captures the spirit of the day.