Continuity of Education Plan

REVISED APRIL 10, 2020

Thank you for being patient and supportive as we seek to provide the best learning opportunities for the district’s 1,287 students.  I recognize that this is a difficult time period for many of our families as we all learn to accept social distancing, business and school closures, and the associated challenges of COVID-19.  Yet in the midst of this crisis, I have also witnessed incredible generosity as neighbors reach out to help neighbors.  Like many challenges we have endured as a community and a nation, we will overcome and emerge stronger and more united.

This revised letter invites you as parent or caregiver to partner with us to ensure we can continue to provide learning opportunities to your student through the end of this academic year.  The teachers are eagerly seeking new opportunities and innovative ways to teach your child.  However, for this to be fully successful we need your assistance too.

Governor Wolf announced on April 9, 2020 that school buildings are closed for the remainder of the academic year and in-person instruction will not resume. This order was anticipated and the district worked under this assumption since late March.  Our Continuity of Education Plan has two distinct parts and will continue until June 5, 2020.

  • PART I calls for daily PLANNED INSTRUCTION for Mountie Academy students.
  • PART II calls for weekly ENRICHMENT activities for students enrolled at Central Elementary, Rommelt Elementary, and the JR/SR High School.

Families should carefully review the Continuity of Education Plan below as it pertains to their student.  Due to equipment limitations and equity, we are unable to take new enrollments into Mountie Academy after March 13, 2020.  Mountie Academy students may return to regular school if they choose.

CONTINUITY OF EDUCATION PLAN OVERVIEW

PART I – PLANNED INSTRUCTION

MOUNTIE ACADEMY (mountieacademy.org)

Students enrolled in Mountie Academy as of March 13, 2020 may finish the school year in that program.   Since Mountie Academy is a separate and stand-alone program that functions fully on-line, students in this program will operate on PLANNED INSTRUCTION.   In this case, the school year continues as prior to March 13 and through the remainder of the academic year.

The following guidelines will be used for students in completion of Mountie Academy work this school year:

  1. Lessons needing completed has been shortened to 20 for each fourth quarter class
  2. If your class is less than 20 total lessons, you will need to complete the class in its entirety
  3. Semester courses require that you complete the total indicated on your third quarter Timeline and an additional 20 lessons
    1. Example: If a semester course is 70 lessons, there are 35 lessons needing completed for the third quarter plus 20 for the fourth quarter. This equals 55 total lessons completed.
  4. Minimum passing grade is 65% instead of 70% for full-year and second semester courses
  5. The deadline to complete this work is May 29th for all students EXCEPT SENIORS (deadline for seniors is May 22nd)
  6. Teachers are being notified of these changes and will adjust their content appropriately, if applicable
  7. If you are not satisfied with your grade after 20 lessons, you can redo assignments as usual or complete additional lessons, so long as it is before the May 22nd/29th deadline

Grades, Promotion, and Graduation

Course completion, grade promotion, and if applicable, graduation, will be determined based on final grades.  Reasonable understanding will be used considering students prior performance in the school year and the unanticipated school closure.  Questions should be directed to your student’s school counselor.

All other questions regarding Mountie Academy should be directed to your student’s grade level counselor.

PART II – REVIEW AND ENRICHMENT

Central Elementary, Rommelt Elementary, and JR/SR High School

REVIEW will focus on what students were engaged in when schools were last in session on March 13, 2020.  These activities will last through the week of April 9, 2020.  Beginning, April 9, students began the ENRICHMENT phase.  This phase will last until the end of the academic school year.

Grades, Promotion, and Graduation

While in this phase, course completion, grade promotion, and if applicable, graduation, will be based on work completed on March 13, 2020.  Final course grades will be applied with reasonable understanding considering students prior performance in the school year and the unanticipated school closure.  Questions should be directed to your student’s school counselor.

Expectations

In alignment with the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s guidance for continuity of education, South Williamsport teachers are working in teams to develop ongoing ENRICHMENT activities for students.  These activities are optional for students.  While they may receive teacher feedback, students will not receive a grade towards any course completion.   We do however, strongly encourage all students to work with their teachers and stay engaged with learning.

ENRICHMENT is intended to reach every child, but it cannot be considered planned instruction.  Although teachers can provide feedback, comment on student work, answer questions, and engage students in discussions, their work will not be graded.

After reviewing the internet and device survey that was completed by parents and evaluating the access of teachers, there are currently too many barriers to reaching all students equally in order to provide daily planned instruction to every student for the remainder of the school year.   The administration and teachers are as frustrated as you are that this cannot occur.  This will be a larger conversation with the school board regarding educational investments as we adjust to a new normal in our communities and school system.

With that being said, I do believe that in partnership with parents, the activities the staff are producing will be powerful learning opportunities for students.   There is no less creativity, no less opportunity, and no less learning, provided that students choose to engage with the materials.  Your assistance to promote this with your child will greatly improve its effectiveness.

ENRICHMENT phase is more flexible for teachers to create learning activities and opportunities for students.  As part of ENRICHMENT, some teachers may use more developed programs for connecting with their students.  Every student will continue to have access to simplified PDF documents on the district web site through Mountie Learning Moments.

Accessing activities

All ENRICHMENT activities will be posted to the Mountie Learning Moments web site at www.swasd.org.  Look for the pop-up window or follow the channel Mountie Learning Moments at the top of the web site.  These activities are designed by your child’s teachers for them.

Special considerations for diverse learners

Special consideration is given to students with specific learning needs including IEP, GIEP, and English Language Learners.  If you have a child with specialized learning needs, you will be contacted by their teacher for more detailed directions or specific activities if appropriate.

PARTS I AND II

Structure at home

It will be extremely important to establish structure and routine in the upcoming weeks. Structure will contribute toward attaining a routine and normalcy for your child. It will be important to establish that structure as soon as possible. Some guidelines that we recommend include:

  • Identify a space that could become the study space.
  • Develop a schedule for school work (e.g., 8:00 – 11:00 a. and 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.). This structure will begin to form a routine.
  • Eliminate other distractions, such as cell phones and television, from the
  • Ensure some “brain breaks” and exercise opportunities within the work times. The balance of mind and body will be especially important given the stress and anxiety of this global Reinforce the importance of consistency in sleep patterns. We want to avoid “summer mode”.

Building contacts

If you have questions, please reach out to your child’s teacher or their school counselor through email.  School counselors are also available by phone through the school building main number and the counselor’s extension.

All South Williamsport Area School District teachers and staff are available via email during the school day.  Please remind your student to check their email daily for updates and announcements.

Keep Looking – Keep Learning

Although there is considerable uncertainty around us, your child’s learning is priority.  The entire district staff is eager to work with you in this new environment for learning.  Together we will make this work.  We will KEEP LOOKING and KEEP LEARNING.  Our future with COVID-19 will be different and so too will our learning environment.

Sincerely,

Dr. Mark Stamm

Superintendent of Schools