Unprecedented Times, Unprecedented Authorizing: From the Classroom to Distance Learning For Early Grades
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, DC Public Charter Schools quickly shifted student learning from the classroom to home-based learning. This new educational experiment is already leading to learnings around best practices. But in addition to developing distance learning programs, schools had to continue to provide essential services such as breakfast, lunch; provide groceries; distribute mobile hotspots, and deliver mental health support to students. (We will cover the challenges with internet access and laptops in a future blog.)
So what does distance learning look like for students in grades PK-K?
Public charter schools serving early childhood grades are using a variety of methods to educate students while school buildings are closed. Schools are primarily using one of three ways to teach students: Learning Packet Instruction, Web-Based Instruction, and Multiple-Modality Approach to Instruction. This is the primary form of instruction for schools serving PK through K students. The learning packets align with each school's educational program and curriculum. Frequent teacher check-ins by phone or text are commonly supporting this approach.
AppleTree Early Learning PCS sent learning packets home with families that include:
- A recommended daily schedule on how to structure the student’s day;
- A 20-day calendar of activities;
- A weekly learning calendar; and,
- A package of school supplies that has crayons, pencils, glue, etc.
The 20-day calendar for PK-K learning at home includes:
- A daily activity (Monday – Friday) that focuses on literacy, math, social-emotional learning, to name a few.
- Dates for optional class meetings. These meetings allow students to interact with their peers virtually.
- Information about the movement videos shared three times a week on CLASS Dojo, an online platform that keeps families up to date on student progress and classroom happenings. This is an opportunity for students to see and learn from their teachers.
Educators working with and supporting young learners are trying a lot of methods to make sure students stay engaged, and families feel supported during this challenging time. Jamie Miles, Executive Director at AppleTree Early Learning PCS, shared the importance of the network’s belief that families should have flexibility with their time, during a webinar DC PCSB held. Although students have at least four daily activities to complete each week, families are not required to log on or communicate with their teachers at a specified time. They want families to do the lessons with their children at their own pace and when it works best for their daily schedules.
Leaders at Capital City PCS – Lower School (CCPCS) also sent a calendar home for families. The calendar:
- Suggests the amount of time families should spend working on each activity with their young learner
- Includes a list of free, at-home learning activities ranging from virtual field trips, children’s books on COVID-19, STEM activities, and more.
Moreover, public charter schools have implemented distance learning plans for every student. At DC Bilingual PCS, students with disabilities and English language learners were given packets tailored to the students’ academic goals and/or provides support to assist with learning. And they are also holding related services and IEP meetings using Zoom or Google Hangouts.
Learn more about each school’s early childhood distance learning programs and view resources, including the learning packers, by clicking on the links:
- AppleTree PCS Distance Learning
- Bridges PCS Distance Learning
- Capital City PCS - Lower School Distance Learning
- Cedar Tree PCS Distance Learning
- Center City PCS Distance Learning (all Campuses)
- DC Bilingual PCS Distance Learning
- DC Prep PCS Distance Learning (all Campuses)
- DC Scholars PCS Distance Learning
- E.L. Haynes PCS Distance Learning
- E.W. Stokes Distance Learning
- Friendship PCS Distance Learning (all Campuses)
- KIPP DC (all Campuses)
- Meridian PCS
- Mundo Verde PCS (all Campuses)
- Perry Street PCS (Kindergarten)
- Rocketship PCS (all Campuses)
- Two Rivers PCS (all Campuses)