Parents and Guardians,
As the situation continues to change, and the August 1, 2020 target date to choose a learning option for your children approaches, there have been several requests from our families for further explanation of the hybrid option identified in our return to school surveys. We want to apologize for any confusion that we caused in our previous communications, and hope that this makes our intentions more clear.
First and foremost, we would like to clarify the use of the word “hybrid” as it has been used in two separate capacities in our planning process. The first instance appeared during the initial survey we sent home in April (see item 1. below) in an attempt to determine the community’s opinion on reopening this fall, and then again in a different capacity in the last survey (2. below), asking parents to choose the best option for their child come this fall.
- The use of the word “hybrid” in the initial survey was used to describe a rotating schedule in which different groups of students would attend school on alternating days. The goal of this model was intended to limit the number of students in any building at one time and to allow for thorough disinfection on the off days. “Hybrid” meaning part-time in school and part time online at home while we were in the yellow phase of Governor Wolf’s plan to reopen. This model will only be used if we are required to do so by the State, if Indiana county returns to the yellow phase of Governor Wolf’s plan, or if the IASD Board of Directors decides to employ the option in response to an emergency.
- In the latest survey, we are asking parents to choose an option for their students now that we are in the green phase. In this case, the word “hybrid” means our online learning program (IDEAL) coupled with some of the benefits of physically going to school. The following is a more detailed explanation of this option.
Our hybrid option for your child’s education is essentially online learning administered in our facilities. The purpose is to accommodate families who are worried that the health precautions in place in the traditional model are inadequate for their child’s needs, but who cannot accommodate online learning at home. The hybrid spaces will follow more strict adherence to the health safety guidelines. All staff and students who are able, will be required to wear a mask, and six feet of social distance will be established and maintained at all times. Students attending the hybrid model should be brought to school by the families. If that is impossible, they will be transported on a separate bus with more space provided between each student (contact Mike Travis at email@example.com for more specifics). Students in the hybrid model will operate on a modified schedule, arriving at a different time, and dismissed early to allow for the complete separation from the other students. Students will have the option to work from home, or to utilize the hybrid rooms when needed. Attendance will be determined through a collaboration between the hybrid room teacher and the parent/guardian.
Instruction will be conducted using CompassLearning grades K-4 or Edgenuity grades 5-12 as the base curriculum tools (these programs are owned by the same company. Click here for their website with demos, research, and more information). We use these award-winning tools because they are customizable to mirror our own IASD curriculum, as well as to accommodate individual student’s needs. In grades K-5, the learning programs designed for your child will be supported by highly qualified, certified teachers, and IEPs will be monitored and implemented by certified special education teachers. At the secondary level, teachers will be in the room, but they might not necessarily be certified in the area in which your child needs assistance at every moment. Regardless of their expertise, the teacher will be very capable at connecting the students with experts in all academic areas. Students will also always have the ability to email, or video chat with content area teachers who are assigned to manage their online course. The response from these teachers might not be immediate in every case, but it will be as quick as possible.
Answers to frequently asked questions that we know right now:
- Are there differences between the elementary and secondary hybrid models?
Yes. At the elementary level, where the students will need a lot more help and support, a certified teacher will be present at all times to assist them should they need it. At the secondary level, the hybrid room monitoring teacher may not be certified to teach the subject your child is working on at any given time.
- Will students be able to see their friends if their friends are not in the hybrid room?
No. Other than the students in the hybrid room, the students will not mix with the other students. Again, this is to serve the needs of students with medical conditions, or whose family members might be at an increased risk of serious infection. We are providing an alternate schedule, busing, and staff to maintain the safest conditions possible. The isolation from the other students is an important part of that safety.
- Will the hybrid room students all be from the same grade-level?
No. Due to limits in staffing and space at various buildings, there will be students from multiple grade levels in each hybrid room. At the very least will separate them by elementary (K-5) and Secondary (6-12).
- Will special education services be provided?
Absolutely. A special education teacher will be assigned to service each child with an IEP in the hybrid rooms.
- Will the hybrid teacher provide direct instruction to my students?
Perhaps. Where necessary and appropriate, the hybrid teacher could provide direct instruction, but the main instruction delivery will come from the online learning platforms CompassLearning or Edgenuity.
- Can my child use the hybrid room some days, but work from home on other days?
Yes. That is exactly the intent of this option. Students enrolled in the hybrid option are essentially enrolled in IDEAL, with the option to attend school if and when needed. Specifically, students who have a higher risk of infection, but whose working parents (who would normally choose the IDEAL cyber option) need to send their child to school.
Again, we ask for your continued patience and understanding as we move forward. This plan is still developing, and we simply cannot provide all of the answers at this time as the only constant throughout this pandemic has been change. The final product and details could be impacted by further state mandates, the number of students who enroll in the hybrid option or IDEAL, or additional developments related to the pandemic. We are still considering ways we might be able to provide more synchronous, live lessons for students enrolled in IDEAL and the hybrid option, but cannot yet guarantee that option will be always available. We will continue to keep you informed as our plans adapt and change to fit the needs of our community and to adhere to government regulations.
If this more detailed explanation causes you to change your mind about the option you have chosen for your children this fall, that is ok. Please feel free to resubmit the survey of your choosing. We will use the latest version of your response to inform our decisions and planning actions. Also rest assured knowing that you may change your mind whenever you want. We are here to serve the needs of our students and community. We will be happy to accommodate you whenever and however we can.
Director of Education, IASD