iLearning - Parent Update 1

March 17, 2020

Dear Chappaqua Families,

I hope this letter finds you and your loved ones well during this challenging time. I am writing to share our plans for actively engaging our students in learning during this ongoing school closure. Although it is unlikely that we can replicate the learning experiences of our classrooms in a digital environment, we will do our best to support and engage our students through meaningful and thoughtful learning experiences. With our significant investment in technology, professional learning and multi-year focus on the integration of technology into our classrooms, we are well-positioned to engage in iLearning (Distance Learning) experiences with our students.

You have likely seen evidence of our preparation. Prior to heading home last Thursday, many teachers provided resources, practiced using technology in different ways with students, and piloted new learning experiences.

iLearning will commence on Thursday, March 19th. Thursday and Friday will be a “Soft-launch” so we may test our technology systems and transition our students and teachers to this new way of learning. To the extent possible, we will emphasize technology platforms that are familiar to students. Lesson objectives will be communicated to students with each lesson while content and skills will be introduced in a variety of ways. Teachers will track student progress to ensure participation and check-in with students and parents as needed. We will also provide age-appropriate ways for students to interact with their teacher and with other students via video, audio, chat, or discussion boards. Teachers will continue to assess student progress and provide timely feedback. Administrators, counselors and other support personnel will continue to support our families.

Our middle and high school students can expect to receive instructional materials for the classes that they would typically have on a given day through canvas by 8:30AM. Our elementary students will receive four instructional experiences each day (typically Literacy, Math, Science or Social Studies, and a Special). At the elementary level, these lessons will be shared directly with parents by 8:30AM. The faculty at the elementary level use multiple age-appropriate learning platforms to support instruction. Additional details will be communicated directly to families by each classroom teacher.

The length of these learning experiences will vary by grade level. To provide flexibility for teachers and students, in most cases, these classes will not be synchronous (live). Some of the materials and instructional videos will be designed by your child’s teacher while others may be designed by another teacher in the district as we have encouraged our faculty to collaborate on the development of learning experiences. You should also expect that some of the instructional materials will come from other reliable sources. Furthermore, some activities will not require any technology as we feel a blend of high-tech and low-tech experience is most appropriate. For now, you may consider helping your child identify a quiet spot to work with access to materials they will need to engage in learning. In addition, you may consider helping your child develop a schedule for their day including time for work, breaks, play, exercise, family time, and snacks/meals. More specific information will be provided by your building leaders and teachers.

Technology will play an important role during this time. High School students should have their own devices. All middle school students have been issued a district device and we ask that you please confirm that it is in good working order. Students in first through fourth grade have been issued a district iPad. Kindergarten teachers will share lessons that can be accessed on any smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop; we will not be issuing district devices to kindergarteners. If you are experiencing trouble connecting, logging-in or accessing a required program, please fill out this "Online Learning Form." “Break and fix” tech support, such as a cracked screen, or headphone jack that does not work, should be reported by filling out this "Physical Damage Form."

We understand that not all students have the same level of access to technology at home. If you do not have internet connectivity (WiFi), or you feel that your child does not have a suitable device, please contact your child’s principal immediately by email.

Personally and professionally, COVID-19 will challenge our district and community in ways that we haven't been challenged before. Let’s face this challenge together, offering the best of ourselves to support each other and to do what is best for our students. It is my hope that in partnership we will navigate this challenging time successfully and emerge stronger and even more skillful at teaching and supporting our students.

Rest assured that we have made this transition to iLearning a top priority. We will provide additional information and resources for parents as this experience continues to unfold.

Thank you for your continued support of our students and school district.  

Sincerely,

Adam S. Pease, EdD
Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction