When we responded to the parent requests for in person versus remote school, we tried to be as efficient as possible with remote staff so that we could have smaller class size for in person school. This will help increase the physical distance in our classrooms for students and staff. We currently have 11 teachers working with our remote students in grade 1 to 5. With this model, we currently do see larger class sizes in our remote school than we would normally have for in person school, and obviously also larger than the in person class sizes that we created this year for safe distancing.
In response to these class sizes, we will monitor closely students experiences during the first couple weeks of remote school, and work with those teachers to understand the effectiveness of this experience.
All remote teachers have guidelines for how they can and should use their time throughout each school day. We are not setting up the expectation that students should be on the computer screen from 8:42 am to 3:13 pm every day as being a student in remote school. We do not think this is an effective or healthy model for students to learn. Our remote staff will look at their lessons and goals for the day and decide how to use their time to deliver:
- Live video lessons for the whole class (short duration)
- Live small group video lessons
- Taped Lessons.
- Independent lessons.
Knowing the options in front of them and the class sizes for remote, teachers use of whole class video lessons will be effective for morning meetings and a few other short and quick lessons during the day. The rest of the time our remote teachers will most likely utilize live small group video lessons and record lessons that will help set up students for different tasks throughout the day. These approaches will allow our staff to better personalize the experience for each student and better meet their needs. Our remote staff will also be able to use office hours to answer specific questions that students will have as well.
We have already assigned some of our staff that normally run reading classes or other intervention services back into the classroom, both in person and remote. That said, there will continue to be academic support services available to students learning remotely. We understand that the class size for our remote elementary classes is not ideal, but we simply do not have enough staff to lower the class size and maintain all the services for the needs of our students. We believe that, by structuring classes carefully and maximizing the support that is available, our students will be successful learning remotely. Again, we will monitor how the first few weeks of school go for our remote staff and students and decide if we need to make further changes after that.