Fall Learning Update, July 30

Fall Learning Update, July 30
Posted on 07/30/2020
Fall Learning Update, July 30

Dear Farmington Area Families,


We appreciate your patience and understanding as we, too, have waited for a clear direction on how to organize learning this fall. Today Governor Walz announced school district operations for the 2020-21 school year will be driven by county-level COVID-19 virus metrics provided by the Minnesota Department of Health. It is clear that our local collective effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 will determine whether or not learners can attend school in-person.


We were hoping to have a final answer from the Governor, the Minnesota Department of Health, and the Minnesota Department of Education on what the fall would look like. Based on today’s direction from the Governor, we anticipate needing additional time to analyze how we apply, implement and adapt these parameters in Farmington Area Public Schools. I understand the challenge this uncertainty causes for families and staff and I want you to know that I will communicate as quickly as possible when decisions are made. We will provide an update by the middle of next week at the latest.


Even though a decision about the fall has not been made at this time, the Governor’s announcement earlier today did provide some guidance on how we will begin school this fall and move between models. Districts will use COVID-19 data — the number of cases per 10,000 over 14 days by residence of the county —  to determine the appropriate model of learning: -- 0-9, In-person learning for all students -- 10-19, In-person learning for elementary students and hybrid secondary students -- 20-29, Hybrid learning for all students -- 30-49, Hybrid learning for elementary students and distance learning for secondary students -- 50+, Distance Learning for all students

We are working with MDH to get timelines for decision making and baseline data for Dakota County. A decision will be announced no later than August 17th. 


Transportation Information

Transportation information for hybrid or in person learning situations will be available in Campus Portal on Wednesday, August 19. If your learner is eligible for transportation services but you are planning to self transport instead in a hybrid model or in-person model, please opt out of district provided transportation using this Transportation Opt-Out Form by Wednesday, August 5. This information is critical as we plan for transportation this fall.


Classroom Assignments and Class Schedules

Buildings spend a significant amount of time in the spring and over the summer to organize classrooms and sections based on the individual needs of each learner. Buildings and staff will be working over the next two weeks to ensure we will provide the proper level of support for each learner at all times regardless of what model we are in. To that end, teacher assignments and class schedules will be available on Monday, August 17 in Campus Portal.


The First Week of School 

(Back-To-School Nights, Assessment Days, Open Houses, etc.)

The foundation of any learning is relationships. Due to COVID-19 related restrictions, this year we’re not able to have back-to-school nights, open houses, or assessment days. To facilitate the learner/family/staff partnership that is vital to the success of each learner, our first week of school (August 31-September 4) will look different. Assessments will be conducted during the first week of school along with a variety of relationship building opportunities. More specific information on the first week of school activities (in person and otherwise) will come from your learner’s building in the next few weeks.


Face Coverings

As per the Governor’s Executive Order and Minnesota Department of Health requirements, all staff, learners, and visitors will be required to wear face covering while in district buildings and on buses. Each learner will be provided a cloth face covering.


Farmington Academy 

(Full Time Distance Learning Option)

As we have previously shared with families, you may opt into Farmington Academy if you would prefer a full time distance learning option, regardless of what other learning model may be in place.

 

Learners who opt into the Academy will: -- Be organized by grade level and when possible by building/class -- Engage in synchronous (real-time) and asynchronous (flexible) learning activities -- Participate in meetings with teachers in the appropriate licensure area -- Opportunities to interact with other students the same age and when possible from the same building/class -- Meet all grade learning objectives and FHS graduation requirements -- Demonstrate learning through multiple pathways

 

If you would like to opt your learner into the Farmington Academy, please complete this form as soon as possible. For planning purposes we are asking families to opt in for at least the first trimester (through November 24). In order to complete our planning process this registration form will close Sunday, August 2, at 11:59 p.m. Any enrollment requests into the Farmington Academy after this date and time will need to be submitted directly to your learner’s building.


Our Hybrid Model

We wanted to give families a picture of what the hybrid model would entail should any of our learning levels move to the scenario. Within the hybrid model we will follow MDH guidance and the MDE guidance including, but not limited to the following:

 

 Limit building occupancy to no more that 50% with sufficient room for social distancing

  • Signage to reinforce social distancing used throughout the building
  •  Flow of traffic into and through the building will be designed around social distancing
  •  No visitors/parents will be allowed in the building without an appointment

Limit room occupancy to no more than 50% with sufficient room for social distancing

  •  High frequency touch points will be sanitized throughout the day
  •  Spaces will be sanitized each night
  •  Rooms will be organized for social distancing

Limit transportation occupancy to no more than 50%

  •  High frequency touch points will be sanitized between routes
  •  Cleaning will take place between morning and afternoon routes and again at night
  •  Students from the same family will be seated together

Based on the feedback from community, staff, and learners, the following schedule would be used if we need to move to a hybrid learning model at any of our learning levels (with a few adjustments due to the school calendar):



Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Cohort 1

In-person

In-person

Distance

Distance

Flex

Cohort 2

Distance

Distance

In-person

In-person

Flex


Cohort Assignments

We are finalizing the members for each cohort. Cohorts have been designed around the health and safety of learners and staff, keeping families/households on the same schedule, individual learning needs, and transportation. We will not be able to accommodate requests to change cohorts. Regardless of which learning model we begin with, families will be able to access their cohort designation on Wednesday, August 5 through Campus Portal. If you don’t have access to Campus Portal please see the following link for more information to set up an Infinite Campus account: https://www.farmington.k12.mn.us/for_parents/infinite_campus


Hybrid Learning Experiences

The learning experiences in the hybrid model will vary by level and evolve over time. We have tried to capture the essence of the experience at each level to give families and the learner an idea of what to expect. The Flexible Days, at all levels, will serve as time for learners to continue to progress in their learning. This will also provide a time for staff to check-in with learners and families.


Elementary Hybrid Learning

Learners will focus on connections, social emotional needs, small group instruction of core content material utilizing investigation and hands-on exploratory opportunities. In addition teachers will provide opportunities for guided practice and support. Similar to a typical onsite day, students will receive their special services and necessary accommodations based on their learning team decisions. Learners will also participate in rotating specialists opportunities.


During the distance learning portion learners will complete independent practice, read, research, investigate and engage in check-ins with staff.


Learners will have opportunities to engage with staff on a daily basis to support learning.


Middle School Hybrid Learning

Learners will engage in a variety of experiences as this is a critical component of the middle school experience. The middle level learning structure will provide flexibility for interdisciplinary learning through a team model that allows learners to collaborate, create, and think critically with peers and teachers. Students will be placed on a team with 4 to 6 teachers that will focus on relationship building, social emotional learning, and personalized learning. During any given week, each student will be asked to demonstrate their learning in six courses. While in-person, learners will work directly with staff and peers to engage in the learning. Learners will continue to be connected with a Tiger Connection teacher.


During the distance learning portion, learners will engage through schoology, email, and Google Meets to connect with peers and staff to continue developing evidence of their learning. 


Learners will have opportunities to engage with staff on a daily basis to support learning.


High School Hybrid Learning

Learners will continue to engage in their regularly scheduled classes. Learners will attend classes 1,3,5 on one day and then 0,2,4 on the other day they are in the building. Learners will also participate in Tiger Connections (academic support) everyday and CCR (College Career Readiness) once a week. Teachers will provide learners with a wide range of opportunities to participate and demonstrate their learning.


During the distance learning portion, learners will engage through Schoology, email, and Google Meets to connect with peers and staff to continue developing evidence of their learning. 


Learners will have opportunities to engage with staff on a daily basis to support learning.


Community Education


Kid Connection will offer our families a program that fits the health and safety guidelines, the staff to student ratios, and the classroom space mandates provided by MDH and MDE. We are asking families to sign up for all three options, In-Person, Hybrid,and the Distance Learning, starting August 5th, so that we have the ability to seamlessly switch between models when needed with minimal disruption. In a Hybrid model participants may register for the before, after, and midday for their assigned cohort distance learning days, flex learning days, and non-school days that fit their family’s schedule. In a Distance Learning model, participants may register for before, midday, or after school options, as well as the non-school days, that best fits their family’s schedule. Different fees for each section will apply. Registration will be available at: www.farmingtonkidconnection.com starting August 5th.

Stepping Stones preschool care program will offer childcare Mon-Fri, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Meadowview, North Trail, Riverview, and TLLC (Tiger Legacy & Learning Center).  Registration is currently open at www.farmingtonsteppingstones.com

Youth Enrichment opportunities will be available to support youth. Staff are working on creative and innovative classes and experiences to support youth this fall. Classes will be continuously added and shared via digital newsletters, social media and our website at www.farmingtonCE.com. Watch for flex day opportunities as well as other days when needs may arise. If you have any questions please reach out to youthenrichment@farmington.k12.mn.us and our youth enrichment team would be happy to help.

Wee Tigers Preschool will be in the same model as elementary schools. During Hybrid Model classrooms will be limited to 50%. Cohorts will be assigned to families with 50% of the time spent in the classroom and 50% distance learning. If directed these students will participate in Distance Learning. For families looking for consistency a remote learning option is also available for families that want their Pre-K learner to have a preschool experience without leaving their home. Learners that participate in the Wee Tigers Online Academy will have 100% distance learning. Registration is available at  www.WeeTigers.com.

Dakota Prairie Adult Basic Education offers free classes taught by talented, licensed teachers for adults looking to earn their GED or improve their English language skills. Evening classes are held in the TLLC. Distance learning opportunities are also available. Go to dakotaprairieabe.com for more information. 

Important Dates to Remember

August 2 — If you plan to opt into Farmington Academy (full time distance learning option), the form closes at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, August 2.
August 5 — If you plan to opt out of transportation services, please use this Transportation Opt-Out Form by Wednesday, August 5
August 17 — Teacher assignments and class schedules will be available on Monday, August 17 in Campus Portal.
August 19 — Transportation information for hybrid or in person learning situations will be available in Campus Portal on Wednesday, August 19.
August 31 — Regardless of learning model, the first day of the 2020-2021 school year will be August 31. 

The goal of this message was to provide as much information as possible to our community following the governor’s announcement. Thank you once again for your patience and understanding as we prepare to serve your families in ever changing and unknown circumstances. We ask for your continued patience and grace as we continue to do things that have never been done before in our education system. 

Once again, please look for an update by the middle of next week and know that a decision on the learning model for the fall will be announced no later than August 17th. I will communicate as quickly as possible when decisions are made. 

Sincerely, 

Jason Berg

Superintendent of Schools

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