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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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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:
Kindergarten students WILL NOT:
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.
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.
Teachers are not expected to offer social studies instruction between May 4-15.
ESOL teachers will then meet to debrief math and literacy lessons during their office hours and/or during the classroom debrief with the teachers.
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:
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.
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.
All courses for which student is enrolled
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.
Enrichments and Supports
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.
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.
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.
To support teachers with implementing check-ins, there are weekly and ongoing professional development opportunities that highlight strategies and best practices.
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):
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.
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:
Paraeducators work under the direction and guidance of the special educator. Paraeducators can:
Students who previously received reading and mathematics interventions should continue receiving the interventions outlined in the intervention chart virtually: Intervention chart.docx
Click on the link, log into myMCPS, enroll in the course, and select relevant modules.
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:
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.
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.
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.
For tech support, contact the help desk at https://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/helpdesk/.
Department of Elementary Curriculum and Districtwide Programs
Department of Secondary Curriculum and Districtwide Programs