Introduction

The purpose of the Continuity of Learning staff guide is to provide a comprehensive look at the district’s Continuity of Learning plan; clarify roles, responsibilities and expectations; and outline what to expect in Phase II and Phase III of remote learning. The staff guide was developed in partnership with the Montgomery County Education Association, SEIU Local 500 and the Montgomery County Association of Administrators and Principals, and will be updated regularly to reflect enhancements based on feedback and data analysis.


Phase III - What You Need to Know

On May 6, State Superintendent Karen Salmon announced that all Maryland schools are to remain closed for the rest of the school year. As a result, Phase III of Continuity of Learning will begin May 18 and continue to June 15. In Phase III, we will build on previous phases and continue to focus on providing instruction to all students and ensure they can successfully meet learning objectives and have the social-emotional support they need.

Learning Process:

  • Lessons and instructional activities will continue to be delivered in both recorded/asynchronous and live/synchronous formats.
  • Elementary teachers will continue with established schedules and processes for engaging their students.
  • In an effort to enhance science learning, a staff member will engage students in elementary science resources beginning the week of May 18. The staff member will record the lesson in the event that students are not available at the time of instruction. Schools will be in contact with families about the time of the science lessons. Elementary social studies resources will also be introduced the week of May 18. These activities are intended for families to use for additional enrichment. It is important to note that elementary science and social studies are optional learning opportunities. Elementary Science COL
  • Elementary social studies resources will be introduced the week of May 18th. Students will engage independently with these resources as classroom teachers will continue to focus on Reading and Mathematics.
  • On May 8, 2020, teachers received two ELA lessons (including two centrally produced ELA videos for students to view independently) for use the week of May 18, 2020. This allows for teachers to have a full week to review the content in advance. For the week of May 11th there will not be ELA content that is pushed out centrally, however the Tuesday and Thursday Zooms should still be held. Teachers can use the zoom times to review prior ELA lessons or use the time for SEL lessons.
  • Beginning the week of May 25th, there will be centrally pushed out content, materials and resources to continue supporting the planning and delivery of the two live ELA sessions per week led by the teacher via zoom.  These resources will include one video (a change from the two previously provided videos) for students to view independently in preparation for a live session with the teacher. Teachers will also receive one detailed lesson plan per week that includes links to all of the resources as well as print materials for the other live session.
  • Schools will continue to enable paraeducators and other appropriate support-professionals access to directly facilitate and support relevant elements of the continuity of learning program through web conferencing and other available remote learning platforms.
  • Continue to refer to the staff roles and responsibilities guidance to engage in conversations about how best to support students’ needs.

Student Engagement:

  • Teachers and schools should continue to use available calendar functions to help students stay organized with assignments and check-in schedules and make every effort to also provide this information to parents/guardians as they support the learning at home.
  • Continue to provide regular live check-in times to enable  teachers and students to engage meaningfully; while also not penalizing students who cannot attend at a specified time.
  • Scheduled live check-ins (in addition to the regular morning Zoom sessions) should engage students in  additional instruction, re-teaching, and support.  
  • Teachers will make every effort to provide students (and parents/guardians, as necessary) with ongoing connection, support, and feedback.
  • Virtual sign-in or other teacher designed methods should be maintained to track levels of student participation during check-ins.
  • Students who use the weekly paper packet should take a  picture of one assignment that best represents their work for the week and submit it to the teacher via  email. Teachers should save these assignments.
  • Teachers will continue to support students in closing out incompletes from MP3.

Professional Learning:

Social Emotional Learning:

  • Social emotional learning opportunities will continue to be provided for staff and students.

Student Learning:

  • All remaining district Progress Checks in English, ESOL, and Mathematics for MP4 will not be administered.
  • MCPS provided a final determination regarding grading and reporting for MP4 https://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/publicinfo/community/school-year-2019-2020/grading-mp4-20200512.html
  • For the purposes of identifying students for recovery and preparing for the 2020–2021 school year, teachers and other school staff will be provided with a pre-populated summary of student performance where teachers will be able to reflect on the progress of each student for the 2019–2020 school year.

Learning Process:

  • Lesson activities will continue to be both recorded/asynchronous and live/synchronous instruction opportunities.
  • Middle and high school teachers will continue with established schedules for asynchronous instruction and live check-ins to engage their students.
  • Secondary teachers will continue to follow guidance issued for Marking Period 4.
  • Secondary teachers should continue to use centrally developed courses in myMCPS Classroom as lesson guides, and may adapt the materials and/or create their own lessons in collaboration with their PLC/course team. While these courses offer a variety of practice assignments for students, teachers should focus on one to two graded assignments per week per class for students, allowing opportunities for reteaching and for students to re-do assignments to demonstrate proficiency. 
  • Secondary teachers will align their grading with the updated guidance for grading for Marking Period 4.
  • Schools will continue to enable paraeducators and other appropriate support professionals’ access to directly facilitate and support relevant elements of the continuity of learning program through web conferencing and other available remote learning platforms.
  • Continue to refer to the staff roles and responsibilities guidance to engage in conversations about how best to support students’ needs.

Student Engagement:

  • Teachers and schools should continue to use available calendar functions in myMCPS or Google Classroom to help students stay organized with assignments and check-in schedules and make every effort to also provide this information to parents/guardians as they support the learning at home.
  • Continue to provide regular live check-in times to enable secondary teachers and students to engage meaningfully; while also not penalizing students who cannot attend at a specified time.
  • Scheduled live check-ins should engage secondary students for additional instruction, re-teaching, and support through web conferences, email, or other digital platforms.
  • Live check-ins also should be scheduled to make every effort to answer students’ specific questions, address gaps in understanding, and refine guidance on assignments.
  • Teachers will make every effort to provide students (and parents/guardians, as necessary) with ongoing connection, support, and feedback.
  • Virtual sign-in or other teacher directed means should be maintained to track levels of student participation during check-ins.
  • Students who use the weekly paper packet should take one picture of a page that best represents their work for the week and submit it to the teacher through email.   Teachers should save these assignments.
  • Teachers will continue to support students in closing out incompletes from MP3.

Professional Learning:

Social Emotional Learning:

  • Social emotional learning opportunities will continue to be provided for staff and students.

Student Learning:

  • All remaining district Progress Checks in English, ESOL, and Mathematics for MP4 will not be administered.
  • MCPS provided a final determination regarding grading and reporting for MP4 https://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/publicinfo/community/school-year-2019-2020/grading-mp4-20200512.html
  • For the purposes of identifying students for recovery and preparing for the 2020–2021 school year, teachers and other school staff will be provided with a pre-populated summary of student performance where teachers will be able to reflect on the progress of each student for the 2019–2020 school year.
  • Interim progress reports will only be issued to students that are in danger of receiving an Incomplete.

Supporting Special Education Services:

  • We acknowledge the increased workload for special educators in the online learning environment. Work will continue collaboratively with school, central services leaders, and our union partners to organize ongoing coordination and discussion around special education issues; enhance support for teachers to manage caseloads; provision for students; balance compliance and teacher engagement with students; and problem-solve additional issues.
  • We will act on the caseload data analysis to support schools that show a larger caseload than their peer schools.

Timeline of Continuity of Learning in MCPS

timeline of learning


Phase II: What You Need to Know

During Phase II, teachers will begin exposing students to new content, with learning objectives that reflect the most essential standards within the curriculum. As students engage with the new learning, the scheduled check-ins become a very important time for teachers and students in the learning process. The learning experiences are meant to maintain a continuity of learning; facilitate and track progress; and encourage students to challenge themselves and grow in their knowledge.

Agreements Supporting Transition to Marking Period 4

In transitioning to Marking Period 4 (MP4) during Phase II (April 20–May 15, 2020), teachers will begin exposing students to new content, with learning objectives that reflect the most essential standards within the curriculum. As students engage with the new learning, the scheduled check-ins will become a very important time for teachers and students in the learning process. Each phase of the Continuity of Learning program builds on the preceding phase. We have collaboratively committed to build upon this work in phases as—students, families and staff—become familiar with a new remote learning environment. We remain committed to easing the stress on students so they can successfully finish the school year in a fair, manageable way. We remain committed to engaging stakeholders and gathering feedback to better meet the needs of our students, staff, and families. The learning experiences during the 4th Marking Period are meant to maintain a continuity of learning; facilitate and track progress; and encourage students to challenge themselves and grow in their knowledge. The following are key agreements supporting the expectations for learning process during Phase II:

Learning Process:

  • Elementary teachers will continue with established schedules and processes for engaging their students.
  • For Phase II, elementary science resources will be introduced on May 4, 2020. Student engagement with these resources will occur independently in order to allow classroom teachers to continue to focus on literacy and mathematics instruction. Additional guidance will be shared for Phase III as we build out ways to have students engage with the science resources.
  • Lesson activities will continue to be both recorded and live instruction opportunities.
  • Guidance will be reinforced with school staff to enable paraeducators and other appropriate support professionals to access, directly facilitate and support relevant elements of the continuity of learning program through web conferencing and other available remote learning platforms.

Student Engagement:

  • Teachers and schools will make every effort to use available calendar functions to help students stay organized with assignments and check-in schedules, and also provide this information to parents/guardians as they support learning at home.
  • Regular live check-in times (previously referred to as “office hours”) should be scheduled to enable secondary teachers and students to engage meaningfully; while also not penalizing students who cannot attend at a specified time.
  • Scheduled live check-ins should engage elementary and secondary students for additional instruction, re-teaching and support through web conferences, email or other digital platforms.
  • Live check-ins also should be scheduled to make every effort to answer students’ specific questions, address gaps in understanding and refine guidance on assignments.
  • Teachers will make every effort to provide students (and parents/guardians, as necessary) with ongoing connection, support and feedback.
  • Virtual sign-in or other teacher-directed means should be maintained to track levels of student participation during check-ins.
  • Teachers will support students in closing out incomplete grades from Marking Period 3.

Professional Learning:

  • For the week of May 4, teachers will implement elementary literacy and mathematics learning resources they receive on May 1, according to the current schedule. Starting May 8, new elementary literacy resources will be made available so that teachers can implement in their classes the week of May 18. On subsequent Fridays, teachers will receive these resources one week prior to implementing them in their classes. 
  • A comprehensive menu of new and previously presented instructional and technology integration professional learning opportunities will be developed and published for teachers, administrators and support professionals.
  • Social-emotional learning opportunities will continue to be provided for staff and students.

Assessing Student Learning:

  • All remaining district progress checks in English, ESOL and Mathematics for MP4 will not be administered.
  • MCPS will provide a final determination regarding grading and reporting for MP4 following Board of Education action on May 12, 2020.

Supporting Special Education Services:

  • We have a moral and legal obligation to our students receiving special education services, and we acknowledge the increased workload for special educators in the online learning environment. Work will continue collaboratively with school, central services leaders, our and union partners to organize ongoing coordination and discussion around special education issues; enhance supports for teachers to manage caseloads; balance compliance and teacher engagement with students; and problem-solve additional issues. Central services staff is examining caseload data that will inform central services leaders as they work directly with schools that have larger caseloads than peer schools.

Undoubtedly, a successful transition to future phases of the continuity of learning plan requires timely, clear coordinated communication to staff, students and families. During Phase II, we will move quickly to provide any additional enhancements or requirements for Phase III (May 18–June 15, 2020) for the closeout of remote learning for the current school year.

We have a shared commitment to focus on providing instruction to all students and strengthening systems in place to ensure they are successfully meeting learning objectives; and to use the tools and resources students can access to provide academic and social-emotional support. Critical to the work for Phase IIIwill be finalizing plans for the continuity of learning that accounts for whether school closures remain in place through the end of the school year, and setting the stage for the district’s summer and learning recovery efforts.

The following are key expectations for educators at all levels in the learning process during Phase II:

Elementary

  • Provide a balance of structure and flexibility for teachers and students
  • Ensure maximum flexibility, fairness and equity
  • Hold students harmless, as well as avoid any systems or unintended practices that could negatively impact a student’s academic standing
  • Protect the most vulnerable students, and students who historically have not benefited from traditional grading practices
  • Engage students in the curriculum during class lessons and provide meaningful feedback
  • Focus on student well-being by understanding the anxiety of the current situation, and help students find ways to reduce stress
  • Support students in ways that help promote a growth mindset andprogress in learning
  • Provide maximum flexibility in assignment expectations.
  • Remember schedules and instruction will not look like a regular school day
  • Engage in collaborative planning with colleagues
 

It is important to remember that the core instructional videos, the work students complete, and the feedback teachers provide during this time is not meant to replace the day-to-day instruction that students would have received at school. The learning experiences are meant to maintain a continuity of learning; facilitate and track progress; and foster a growth mindset for students in the learning process. Remote learning plans do not follow the schedule of a typical school day.

Students will receive instruction and guidance from their teacher to move forward in learning activities and assignments, with opportunities to check-in and receive support along the way. The total time students are engaged in learning will range from 1.5-3.5 hours per day, depending on the level. Centrally developed courses will be published in myMCPS Classroom. Curriculum developers will do their best to publish content each Friday.

Below are the instructional responsibilities by subject area:

The procedure below outlines the Eureka Math session, which takes place on Monday, Wednesday and Friday:

Teacher: Schedules a live debrief and assigns the centrally assigned video, problem set and discussion board question for students to complete

Student: Watches the video, completes the problem set and responds to the discussion board

Teacher: Leads live debrief using the provided questions and data from the discussion board responses, and assigns exit ticket

Student: Completes exit ticket

Expectations for kindergarten are different from those in grades 1-5.

Kindergarten students WILL:

  • Watch a centrally assigned instructional video
  • Complete a problem set
  • Engage in a live debrief with their teacher

Kindergarten students WILL NOT:

  • Respond to a discussion board question
  • Complete an exit ticket

The daily exit ticket(s) will be given to students in grades 1-5 at the end of the live follow-up sessions. Exit tickets provide the teacher information about what the student understands and informs the planning of follow-up sessions.

Students can receive feedback on their exit tickets to clarify learning. However, a grade is not permitted.

Refer to ELD guidance for mathematics.

The procedure below outlines the Benchmark Advance/Adelante session, which happens on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Currently, literacy videos are provided twice a week as a part of the independent learning time.

Small group instruction is not required; however, teachers may meet with individual or small groups of students after reviewing exit card data.

On Tuesdays:

Teacher:

  • Uses instructional time to review centrally provided lessons that students were assigned on Thursday of the prior week (e.g., address misconceptions, revisit/share examples of the student task, model responding to student tasks from the centrally assigned lesson).
  • Plans for and delivers additional reading instruction aligned to the centrally designed lesson or specifically designed to address reading instructional needs for students.
    • Lessons can be developed using resources from Benchmark Advance/Adelante: whole class foundational skills lessons, close reading lessons, the teacher guides and text evidence cards that accompany leveled texts, and interactive read alouds. Teachers have the autonomy to create targeted activities for students of concern.
  • Refer to English Language Development (ELD) guidance for literacy below. ELD lessons are critical for students receiving ESOL services, but can benefit all students and are available to all students.

Student:

  • Completes tasks assigned by the teacher
  • Reads books assigned by the teacher in Benchmark Universe daily
    • Grades K and 1 read for 20-30 minutes daily and complete reading log.
    • Grades 2-5 read for 30-40 minutes daily and complete reading log.
    • Grades 2-5 may also complete a book review once per week.

Teacher: Provides feedback on assigned tasks

On Thursdays:

Teacher:

  • Prior to the delivery of the lesson, reviews centrally produced video recording, assigns the text from Benchmark Universe that correlates to the lesson, assigns the lesson video and independent learning task via Canvas.

Student:

  • Watches the video, completes the independent learning task at a later time during the day.

Teacher:

  • Plans for and delivers additional reading instruction aligned to the centrally designed lesson or specifically designed to address reading instructional needs for students. Lessons can be developed using resources from Benchmark Advance/Adelante: whole class foundational skills lessons, close reading lessons, use of teacher guides and text evidence cards that accompany leveled texts, or interactive read alouds and small group instruction.

Student:

  • Completes additional tasks assigned by the teacher,
  • Reads books assigned by the teacher in Benchmark Universe
    • Grades K and 1 read for 20-30 minutes daily and complete reading log
    • Grades 2-5 read for 30-40 minutes daily and complete reading log
    • Grades 2-5 may also complete a book review once per week.

Teacher:

  • Provides feedback on assigned tasks.

All students should read and complete their independent reading log each day. Grades PreK-2 (20 min.) and Grades 3-5 (30-40 min.). Reading logs are available in myMCPS Classroom.

  • Science lessons will be available for students beginning on May 4, 2020. A lesson will be available once a week. Lessons are for students and parents who want to do extensions of learning.
  • Similar to mathematics, centrally provided science lessons and videos for grades K-5 will be available to students.
  • Teachers are not expected to offer science instruction between May 4-15.
 

Teachers are not expected to offer social studies instruction between May 4-15.

  • English Language Development Language ​(ELD) lessons are aligned to extend the weekly Benchmark Advance and Eureka Math lessons.
  • These lessons are housed within core lesson modules within the homeroom teacher’s Reading and Math myMCPS courses. They can also be found in the same way on Commons.
  • As these are designated ELD lessons for the week, all students receiving ESOL services should view the literacy and the math lessons in addition to the core content lessons.
  • Students should view the ELD lessons on their own prior to meeting with their ESOL teachers. They can be viewed before or after the first content lesson of the week.

ESOL teachers will then meet to debrief math and literacy lessons during their office hours and/or during the classroom debrief with the teachers.

  • Art, Music and P.E. modified continuity of learning content is centrally developed. Teachers can adapt to meet the needs of the students, but should adhere to the modified scope sequence.
  • Content modules are released weekly via myMCPS Canvas and are linked to the sectioned courses.
  • Additional linking for PreK courses may follow additional steps to access content as these courses are not sectioned for grading and reporting.
 
  • During this time, it is important to ensure our students are emotionally well. Please use the SEL lessons during class meeting time.
  • Social-emotional supports will continue to be developed and available for students and staff.
 
  • All library media programs will have a public facing website, Destiny Discover, and a virtual classroom presence on myMCPS Canvas or Google Classroom, updated to reflect Continuity of Learning in a virtual space. Training is provided to all staff.
  • Information literacy lessons are available to students via myMCPS classroom or Google Classroom.
  • Information Literacy Standards are integrated into content instruction, in collaboration with classroom teachers.
  • Lessons are released according to the determined scheduling options for library media that week.
  • Media specialists may use office hours to follow up with students and respond to questions from students. Given that the library media specialist supports teaching and learning, as well as technology integration, the office hours need to provide for just-in-time support (i.e., access and use of online resources, support students with minor Chromebook issues, support the use of eBooks, etc.)
 
 
ELEMENTARY STUDENT DAY

es schedule

Letter grades will not be assigned for the 4th Marking Period. The emphasis will be on engaging students in learning experiences outlined in the Continuity of Learning schedule, with a focus on connecting with and engaging as many students as possible. If an area of concern is identified, teachers should follow up with the student and parent/guardian as soon as possible.

Although daily student attendance will not be taken in traditional ways, it will be important to monitor and track student engagement and participation. This can take the form of:

  • Tracking assignment completion in the Gradebook or myMCPS Classroom
  • Students attending check-ins. Teachers should have a virtual sign-in or other means of tracking levels of student participation.
  • Email or phone calls with students/parents/guardians.
 

Secondary

  • Focus on student and staff well-being and reducing stress.
  • Provide a balance of structure and flexibility for teachers and students.
  • Ensure maximum flexibility, fairness and equity.
  • Hold students harmless. Avoid any systems or unintended practices that could negatively impact a student’s academic standing,
  • Protect the most vulnerable students, and students who historically have not benefited from traditional grading practices.
  • Engage students in the curriculum, provide meaningful feedback and track their progress.
  • Ensure that any senior on track to graduate will graduate on time, and others will be given flexibility and support in meeting their remaining graduation requirements.
  • Support students in ways that promote a growth mindset andprogress in learning.
  • Provide maximum flexibility in assignment expectations.
  • Assign clear, manageable workload for students (no more than two assignments per week turned in), keeping in mind that students will typically be managing seven different courses and teacher expectations, in addition to competing family demands.
  • Remember schedules and instruction will not look like a regular class period or a regular school day.
  • Collaborate with colleagues, course-alike teams, and Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) for weekly planning.

For middle and high schools, the Continuity of Learning framework engages students in a cycle of learning experiences that include recorded instruction, combined with live check-ins (previously referred to as "Office Hours") to provide students with ongoing connection, support and feedback. In transitioning to the 4th Marking Period, teachers will begin exposing students to new content, with learning objectives that reflect the most essential standards within the curriculum. As students engage with the new learning, the scheduled check-ins become an important time for teachers and students. The term “office hours” might have signaled an optional opportunity for students as they reviewed and wrapped up the 3rd Marking Period. In the 4th Marking Period, check-ins should be engaging and meaningful, while also not penalizing students who may not be able to attend at a specified time.

framework

Students may be facing many challenges at home and may arrive late to live check-ins as a result. It’s important that teachers remain available for the entire scheduled live check-in time, and enable students to access the virtual classrooms at any time during the session.At a time of so much isolation, a teacher's welcoming tone and presence can make a real difference for students.

It is important to remember that the work students complete and the feedback teachers provide during this time is not meant to replace the day-to-day instruction that students would have received at school. The learning experiences are meant to maintain a continuity of learning; facilitate and track progress; and foster a growth mindset for students in the learning process. As a result, remote learning plans do not follow the schedule of a typical school day.

Students will receive instruction and guidance from their teacher to move forward in learning activities and assignments, with opportunities to check in and receive additional support along the way. The total time students are engaged in learning activities will be determined by the full range of assignments that students receive in all of their subjects. Actual time spent may also vary depending on course level, such as more time in Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses or less time in other electives.

Centrally developed courses in myMCPS Classroom in core classes across all content areas will be published in myMCPS Commons on a weekly or biweekly basis. Curriculum developers will do their best to publish content approximately one week prior in as many courses as possible. Teachers and PLCs are encouraged to use the centrally developed courses, but may adapt the materials and/or create their own lessons. Teachers and PLCs can use the centrally developed content and other resources provided by curriculum teams to identify essential standards and content. There should be consistency of course content and assignments within the course team or PLC.

Students can expect to receive no more than 1-2 meaningful, graded assignments aligned to state curriculum standards each week (in each course), which culminate a week of learning and are submitted to the teacher for feedback/grading. These assignments may take the form of multiple choice and written response items; essays; projects; and other written or digital products. These assignments may be completed independently or collaboratively in some cases.

As part of the remote learning experience when students are working independently, there may also be practice assignments within the online courses that build student learning and help prepare students for graded assignments. These practice items may take the form of short quizzes, learning checks, or short responses that students experience within digital courses; these are often computer-scored, for practice, and ungraded.

To keep a manageable workload for teachers and students, middle and high school daily schedules will typically alternate so that students can connect with some of their teachers on one day, and the remainder of their teachers on the other. In general, students may be working for up to four hours each day, although specific times may vary. Below is a sample schedule. See the local school schedule for specific hours.

Course/Focus
Area
Daily/Weekly Time Student Activities

All courses for which student is enrolled

  • Up to 4 hours cumulative daily, including independent work.
  • Check-ins for 3-4 classes each day according to each local school schedule
  • Up to 3 hours per course, per week.

Note: The total time students are engaged in learning activities will be determined by course level and the full range of assignments that students receive in all of their subjects.

  • Engaging in pre-recorded lessons sent by teacher in myMCPS Classroom, Google Classroom, email, or other platform.
  • Completing assignments, self-paced.
  • Checking-in with teacher and class during scheduled check-ins. Even if students do not feel that they need “help,” check-ins are an important time to connect and move forward in the learning process.

Enrichments and Supports

Flexible

Special Education

Outlined in the Individualized Special Education Distance Learning Plan

Students receiving special education services through an IEP will be provided specially designed instruction while the Continuity of Learning plan is in effect through an Individual Special Education Distance Learning Plan. Service providers will continue to work with classroom teachers, other service providers and parents to identify specific goals each student will work on throughout this period, in addition to determining the accommodations and supplementary aids and services necessary for the student to access instruction. Each learning plan will reflect the unique needs of each student. The Individual Special Education Distance Learning Plan will be outlined in the prior written notice section of each student’s IEP.

ESOL

According to the local school schedule.

Students will receive these services throughout Continuity of Learning. ESOL teachers who are teachers of record will continue teaching these courses. In addition, ESOL teachers and staff who co-teach and co-plan lessons will continue to work with classroom teachers and other staff to identify language development goals and supports for students during remote learning.

To help students and families, teachers and schools are strongly encouraged to use available calendar options/functions, such as the myMCPS Calendar or Google Calendar to help students stay organized with assignments and office hours in one central place. Additional instructions on using myMCPS Calendar can be found here.

Best Practices for Live Check-In Sessions

At the scheduled times, all teachers are expected to connect with their students through web conferences, email (i.e., that includes access to pre-recorded video, links, and instructions for discussion board or other interactive opportunities), and/or other digital platforms, for additional instruction, support and reteaching. Although the check-ins are not required for student attendance purposes, teachers should convey “key messages” that scheduled times are important in the instructional process and inclusive of all students. Teachers should have a virtual sign-in or other means of tracking levels of student participation in check-ins. It is important that teachers remain available and engaged for the entire scheduled time.

Check-ins are an important time to:

Check in with students, build relationships, and maintain connections.
  • Teachers can employ many of the best practices they use in their physical classrooms to accomplish this goal. Continue to greet students by name, be positive and encourage student engagement and participation. If mindfulness or team building activities are part of the daily routine, these are great to continue. If you have a concern about a student, contact the school counselor or administrator.
Allow students to collaborate with each other, according to established guidelines.
  • In addition to web-conferences, platforms and discussion boards also allow for written collaboration and dialog. In addition, teachers may choose to open a Google Doc or other written modalites to have students “discuss” or work together.
Anticipate or unscramble confusion and provide additional “bite size” instruction to support the learning process.
  • If teachers anticipate confusion or receive common questions from students prior to check-ins, teachers can create a short presentation responding to the specific issue, which can also be recorded for asynchronous access. Communicate with students that specific questions will be answered during the live conference. This is also a good time to explain or refine guidance on assignments.
Facilitate online discussion boards.
  • Ensure that all prompts are clearly articulated, and consider including sentence starters for students to use while they become comfortable with the discussion board process. Explicitly state expectations for student participation and decorum in board posts, and monitor student participation.
Answer questions.
  • Teachers should encourage students to submit questions via email, Google form, or other means in advance of the scheduled check-ins. This will allow teachers to plan the flow of the check-in time.

To support teachers with implementing check-ins, there are weekly and ongoing professional development opportunities that highlight strategies and best practices.

  • An archive of previous training around best practices and tools for effective distance learning be accessed here.
  • An exemplar pre-recorded video can be found here.
  • Live professional development sessions are offered every Wednesday from 11:00-12:00 via Zoom web conference. These live sessions allow teachers to bring questions, receive guidance on implementing their own check-in sessions, and access more support. These are available through PDO, Course # 89290.

Based on the extraordinary circumstances associated with COVID-19 and the transition to remote learning in MCPS, the Montgomery County Board of Education voted on May 12 to suspend its current grading policy and replace it with a temporary grading system for elementary, middle and high school students.

Thousands of MCPS students, staff, parents and community members provided input, sent emails, and generated new ideas about grading options. In response to this feedback, the Board aimed to adopt a system that was fair and equitable for all students.

For the 2019-2020 School Year (which ends on June 15):

High School

  • For the 4th Marking Period (MP4), middle and high schools will continue to use a Pass/Incomplete grading system, based on established criteria. By passing the 4th Marking Period, high school students will be able to earn a semester grade in each course that is one letter grade higher than the grade they received at the end of the 3rd Marking Period (MP3). If a student selects the option of receiving a letter grade, the final semester grade will then be reported on the transcript and factored into the cumulative grade point average (GPA). This grading option aligns with practices built into the current grading system and provides students an opportunity to improve their grade from MP3.
  • In lieu of a letter grade, high school students may also opt to have a “Pass” as a final grade for the semester (if they meet all of the criteria) and may select this option on a course-by-course basis. If opting for a “Pass” in a course, the grade will not be factored into the student’s cumulative GPA.
  • Transcript entries for the second semester of the 2019-2020 school year will be marked with a symbol noting “COVID-19.”
  • Students who do not meet the criteria for passing a course in the 4th Marking Period will be issued an incomplete.

Middle School

  • For middle school students taking full-year courses, the final grade in each course will be based on an average of Marking Periods 1, 2 and 3, with a “Pass” for MP4 counting as one letter grade higher than MP3, similar to high school. Grades for middle school students taking high school level courses will follow the approved high school grading policy.

Based on benchmarking and stakeholder input, MCPS has developed a multiple measures approach to determine whether a student earns a grade of “Pass” for the 4th Marking Period. These multiple measures emphasize overall engagement over scores/grades on assignments, and include items such as completion of assignments, meeting a threshold of performance expectations, engaging with teachers through various opportunities, and teacher professional judgment of benefit to the student.

Although daily student attendance will not be taken in traditional ways, it will be important to monitor and track student engagement and participation. This can take the form of:

  • Tracking assignment completion in the Gradebook or myMCPS Classroom
  • Students attending check-ins. Teachers should have a virtual sign-in or other means of tracking levels of student participation.
  • Email or phone calls with students/parents/guardians.
  • Paper/pencil assignments that students turn in by emaill

Special Education

  • Ensure a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for all students with disabilities
  • Maintain compliance with Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandates, including timelines
  • Develop Individualized Distance Learning Plans (IDLP) in collaboration with families that respect student and family needs
  • Differentiate learning to meet the needs of all students from birth to age 21
  • Ensure that instruction and services are accessible to all students and staff members
  • Provide general and special education staff members with the support, tools and knowledge to serve students equitably

Special education teachers have developed IDLPs by selecting priority goals from each student’s current Individualized Education Program (IEP). These goals should be addressed through the delivery of services outlined in the IDPL. The IDLP should be provided to parents/guardians and reviewed by the student’s special education case manager.

Services for special education students during Continuity of Learning can be provided in a variety of ways depending on the nature of the student’s current IEP and the service delivery schedule agreed upon  by the student, parent/guardian and service provider. For example, services may be provided during live or whole group instruction through consultation with a special education teacher or through the use of curriculum materials that have been adapted to meet the student’s needs. In addition, services may be delivered through small group or individual sessions led by a special education teacher, a general education teacher working with the special education teacher, or a paraeducator under the supervision of a special educator. These sessions may include the delivery of an academic intervention.

Services provided to students through the IDPL should be documented in the Maryland Online Individualized Education Plan (MOIEP) in the related service log or through the use of a service log that is uploaded in MOIEP. Links to sample service logs that contain all of the appropriate information are below.

Sample Related Services Log Notes can be found here.

Example 1 Online Learning Service Hours Log

Example 2 Online Learning Service Hours Log

Related services providers have collaborated with parents/guardians to identify IEP goals, methodologies and services to be addressed during Continuity of Learning.

The special education teacher/case manager should be focused on the completion of the following key responsibilities during Phase II:

  • Deliver the special education services outlined on the IDLP
  • Consult and collaborate with general education teachers and related service providers to coordinate the delivery of special education services
  • Monitor progress and collect data on the IEP goals being addressed in the IDLP for the 4th quarter
  • Document the IDLP services provided
  • Schedule and conduct required IEP meetings

Paraeducators work under the direction and guidance of the special educator. Paraeducators can:

  • Instruct students individually or in small groups
  • Collect data during virtual learning sessions
  • Create materials for use during virtual lessons
  • Create materials to be sent to parents/guardians to support individual students during instruction at home
  • Provide interventions, if they have been trained to do so
  • Check in with parents/guardians to determine if additional supports are needed
  • Support communication with parents/guardians through translation, if needed

Students who previously received reading and mathematics interventions should continue receiving the interventions outlined in the intervention chart virtually: Intervention chart.docx

Elementary Interventions:

  • Access for paraeducators and teachers to Elementary Reading Intervention Modules for Distance Learning
  • Paraeducators do not have access to Commons; therefore, they have not been able to access the modules. A course that is accessible for paraeducators has been created in myMCPS that contains all of these intervention modules. The link to access this course: https://mcpsmd.instructure.com/enroll/6JYRE4

Click on the link, log into myMCPS, enroll in the course, and select relevant modules.

Secondary Interventions:

  • inspireLiteracy (iLit) reading intervention has been recently added to the Secondary Reading Intervention course on Canvas.
  • Support is available for teachers currently implementing the secondary reading interventions listed on Canvas during weekly office support hours.

The Compliance webpage is updated frequently with answers to questions asked by staff members. Please check the page frequently.

ESY is a mandated service provided to all eligible students. Decisions about how to implement ESY have not yet been determined. Additional information will be shared with staff as soon as it is available.

While engaged in distance learning during this school year, it is important to ensure that students are set up for success in the 2020–2021 school year. Through the IEP process, teams will determine appropriate services, which may include:

  • Conducting IEP team meetings when necessary, including annual reviews and re-evaluations
  • Collaborating with special education staff members and parents/guardians to determine appropriate services for students articulating to a new school level or being considered for a different placement

Professional Development

A number of professional learning opportunities are available to support teachers during Continuity of Learning. This includes recording of the initial professional development sessions, ongoing support opportunities, and new offerings in Phase II and/or Phase III.

Secondary Curriculum

Elementary Curriculum

Technology


Resources

Roles and Responsibilities

The Continuity of Learning Plan acknowledges that this is an unprecedented event for MCPS. We recognize the continued need to lead with empathy and care while maintaining relationships with students and families which will form the foundation upon which learning can take place. This will require all hands on deck to assist teachers of record in reconnecting students to learning and attending to their social and emotional well-being. Teacher roles may be found in the class schedules.

The roles and the responsibilities at this link reflect guidance for non-classroom based and specialty teachers and are intended to provide guidance as MCPS transitions from Phase I of the Continuity of Learning to Phase II. The list is not meant to be exhaustive, but to offer suggestions to support the continuity of learning.

Staff Wellness

With the ongoing global health crisis, many of us are finding ourselves increasingly stressed and worried—about our health, the economy, or everyday activities that we generally wouldn’t think twice about. Please know that in these uncertain times, the MCPS Employee Assistance Program (EAP), is available to support the emotional well-being of you and your family members. Visit the EAP website.

Who to Contact

 

For Tech Support

For tech support, contact the help desk at https://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/helpdesk/.

 

For Curriculum Support

Department of Elementary Curriculum and Districtwide Programs
240-740-3930

Department of Secondary Curriculum and Districtwide Programs
240-740-4000

 

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