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E49: Learning & Working
E-Learning & E-Working Updates
E49: We'll do our best to keep this page updated with information in regard to the transition to E-learning and E-working for District 49 staff.
District Intentions and Work Expectations during COVID-19 related restrictions of E49
March 26, 2020
During this E49 season (related to school district and societal restrictions caused by COVID-19), District 49, in accordance with district-wide contingency guidance, will maintain our daily working posture - actively pursuing of our mission (To be the Best Choice to Learn, Work, and Lead) with continued efforts for:
- Providing Educational services (i.e. all education delivery services).
- Providing Physical, Mental, Emotional supports to students & staff.
- Providing Supports to students dealing with food insecurities.
- Pursuing Cultural and Strategic Objectives as previously established.
District 49 continues to employ (with normal pay) all staff this year, with both new and enhanced processes for employee safety.
District 49 will make decisions, and pursue actions, that are consistent with State and Federal guidance to limit opportunities for the spread of COVID-19 through large gatherings.
To fulfill these intentions it should be known that:
- Each employee continues to be employed as a resource, in their lanes of ability and expertise, for routine and project work, according their annual work calendar.
- Accordingly, each employee has the responsibility to be available to fulfill requested work routines on a daily basis.
- Each employee’s work routine shall be determined by their supervisor(s) and may include an e-Work routine, a ‘normal/in-facility’ routine, or a combination of both.
- As a result, time off, sick days, etc., should be requested, and taken, and tracked, as normal; when an employee intends to not be available.
District 49 leaders (BoE & SLT [Chief Officers, Zone & Department Leaders]) will proactively pursue necessary adjustments to its planned activities (and related budgets); directing their staff in the process, to best fulfill these intentions in a manner that maximizes positive impacts and minimizes negative potentialities.
Chief Business Officer
E49: E-learning Protocols for Educators
March 25, 2020
Dear D49 Educators,
Thank you for your patience as we work through the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 crisis. Every aspect of our society has been impacted by this international pandemic; education is no exception.
As we know, teaching is undergoing a dramatic shift to accommodate the Governor’s executive order that Colorado schools suspend in-person learning through April 17th—while still providing meaningful learning at a distance.
For some of our colleagues, proceeding with E-learning means rough passages through unknown waters. For some, it will be smooth sailing. For all of us, though, this season will disrupt how we connect with our students and each other. But we will meet this challenge by following our mission to learn, work and lead...as we embark on a season of E-learning, E-working and E-leading that we call E49!
As we adjusted to the onslaught of snow this winter, we anticipated the need for E-learning and we planned for it. Now we’ll use those plans for a different purpose, so we ask you to consider the following guidance as we set our plans into action.
THE E-LEARNING TRANSITION
- Our first day back from spring break, Monday, March 30, will be a day of work to finalize your learning plans, directions and expectations.
- Our goal will be that educators will communicate the first week’s schedule, lessons and assignments by the afternoon of Monday, March 30.
- We will repeat this rhythm as we continue our e-learning process in the weeks ahead. We will maintain a work-week routine that begins with Monday as a professional day for collaboration, planning, setup, and communication with families; followed by four learning days to work with students.
- Our Communications Team is developing a web page for each school’s website to share communication with families about our commitments and expectations for e-learning. Schools will post weekly updates for families here and educators should generally provide students with the week’s lessons and assignments by no later than Tuesday morning each week going forward.
- To reduce confusion and preserve trust with our families during E49, we will expect all assignments to be completed by midnight of the day due, unless teachers make special arrangements for unusual circumstances.
- While we expect that educators will work during their regularly scheduled school hours, we ask that individual teachers or teaching teams designate set office hours for responding to student and parent questions, providing feedback and clarifying assignments. Our expectation is that teachers are available in real time for at least three hours each day, with two hours in the morning and another hour later in the day in case questions arise. During those office hours, we expect educators to be attentive and responsive to student/family questions and concerns.
- Since this will be a shift in practice for most teachers, students and families, we encourage you to bring lessons and assignments online slowly, balance screen-time expectations and be cautious not to overload or overstimulate.
- We encourage teachers to use the apps, websites and learning management systems that students and families are already familiar with and are accustomed to using.
- Specifically, teachers and others should be confident using the videoconferencing element in Schoology (Big Blue Button) but please do not use the Zoom platform for student interactions. Zoom does not permit minors to set up accounts, and we don’t have the bandwidth to establish a new district architecture for Zoom to offer that platform at scale. We are working to validate Google Meet (Hangouts) for student use, but we can verify that Schoology videoconferencing is approved and integrated already.
- Don’t feel pressure to jump into using new platforms just because they are now free. In fact, avoiding taking on new systems or expecting students to learn new platforms unless you have consulted with your team and principal and are certain it’s worth it.
- Reach out to colleagues and technology teacher leaders in your school and access supports at the district level regarding approved e-resources and curriculum.
- Since special education, CLDE and gifted education providers along with counselors and other special service providers will continue to serve students and families, plan time to collaborate and consult with those colleagues and providers.
- We do not plan to use guest teachers (substitutes) to support E49. Rather, schools should plan that grade-level or department teams will collaborate to ensure instruction for all students continues should one or more teachers within a team become ill and unable to plan and deliver instruction. If exceptional circumstances make that plan impractical, we will consult with teachers and other leaders to create a workable plan.
- The D49 EdTech team has created a resource bank of exemplar e-lessons and delivery ideas in a shared Schoology group, “D49 E-Learning Support” Access Code: 3J5D-V4JB-HR7H3
Our primary concern is protecting learning time while respecting the needs of families and students during this challenging time. Our communications team is creating a district resource page for high-level information about public policy and district plans. Along with the resource pages for each of our school websites, these materials will give families useful information to support the e-learning process. We will provide an update on where to find, and how to access these pages as they are finalized. Please work with your building site managers to keep these pages up to date. Thank you for your attentiveness, your courage and understanding as we launch E49 as an extension of the excellence that makes us D49!
Amber Whetstine and the Learning Services Team
E49 Guidance for Individual Contact with Students
March 25, 2020
One of the challenges we face for operating E49 is the issue of direct interactions with individual students. Some of our services, such as tutoring, interventions, translating and counseling normally take place in semi-private settings which are hard to replicate in online environments. We don’t want to create risk for our students or staff, so we are developing this new guidance to address the unique needs of individualized support in online settings.
Our policy guidance prohibits all secret contact and most private contact with students as well as friending or following on social media. That guidance protects both students and teachers, so we should meet our policy expectations, even in this new era of E-learning and E-service.
Some selected procedural guidance from regulation GBEB-R-1 STAFF CONDUCT AND RESPONSIBILITIES - PROFESSIONAL BOUNDARIES.
- Initiating or extending contact with a student beyond the school day or outside of class times for the staff member’s personal purposes
- Maintaining private contact with a student outside of school by phone, email, Instant Messenger or Internet chat rooms, social networking Web sites, or letters (beyond homework or other legitimate school business) without including the parent/guardian
- Interacting with students over social media for non-educational purposes when that interaction:
- Is hidden and/or secretive
- Is loosely connected or has no connection to school
- Is not disclosed or is actively concealed from the employee’s supervisor
- Is not disclosed or is actively concealed from the student’s parent(s)
- Any other action or activity similar in nature to those listed above
So, as we enter this new mode of interacting in E49, some simple guidance would be:
- Strongly prefer group over individual interactions.
- Ensure that one-to-one or private interactions are disclosed to parents, ideally by parent pre-approval. A best practice is to copy a parent on any one-to-one communication.
- Never worry alone—when in doubt consult a supervisor or colleague before proceeding.
These guidelines protect students from the extremely rare possibility of misconduct by staff members, and they protect staff members from the extremely rare possibility of an illegitimate accusation by a student. Either rare instance is so destructive that it’s worth our extra diligence and vigilance to prevent the worst from happening.
Thank you for the courage to teach and serve. We don’t take it for granted, and we appreciate your diligence and professionalism as we all learn new ways to do the next right thing.
Chief Education Officer