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Frequently Asked Questions: COVID-19 Instructional Plan

Q. Are state tests still taking place this year?

  1. In the Assessment Spotlight, Issue 85, dated March 20, 2020, the California Department of Education provided an update about statewide testing this school year. We are not to worry about any statewide testing this school year. The California Department of Education (CDE) is doing the following:
  • Suspending all CAASPP testing
  • Suspending Summative ELPAC testing
  • Placing the Physical Fitness Test on hold until students return to school
  • Placing high school equivalency testing on hold until testing centers are reopened

In addition, if a school is back in session, the expectation is that the Initial ELPAC will be administered to students for initial identification, as required by California Education Code Section 313(a). However, Senate Bill 117 extended the timeline to conduct the Initial ELPAC by 45 days. Local educational agencies should continue to assess newly enrolled students whose primary language is not English when they return to school. This will ensure that new students who are English learners can receive the appropriate instruction and services.

The CDE will continue to make available the following resources to support teaching and learning:

  • Practice tests, training tests, interim assessments, and Digital Library formative assessment tools and resources for CAASPP
  • Practice tests and training tests for ELPAC

Q. What is happening for students taking courses at Palomar College (OGHS & EHS)? Will they resume?

  1. Some EUHSD students are enrolled in Dual Enrollment Classes at Palomar College during the school day. All Palomar College courses will be delivered remotely. Palomar instructors will be contacting their students via email. It is vitally important that students frequently check their palomar.edu email for updates. Students who are seeking academic support or other basic need resources, should please visit the Student FAQsand our Quick Guide to Student Services. Palomar instructor, student services staff and other departments are available to answer questions remotely and can be reached via email or phone. Division and department directories are available on Palomar.edu Palomar has designed a new TeachAnywhere website for our faculty which contains resources and FAQs.

Palomar will work with EUHSD dual enrollment students on accessing Canvas (LMS), PeopleSoft, and Palomar email.

Q. Why do we need to pick up our laptop from our schools?

  1. As we shift to teacher-facilitated distance learning across our district, we will be participating in professional learning and collaborating together. By using your district-provided technology, our technology department will be able to assist you better, and you will more easily be able to integrate and access our district provided software solutions.Any certificated staff who already have all materials at home to work do not need to come in. If you have special circumstances and need help picking up your equipment, please contact your site principal.

Q. What other items might I take home? Am I allowed to take IEP documents?

  1. We encourage staff to pick up any files they may need to effectively facilitate distance learning with their students. Staff are welcome to take home files such as IEP-related documents, student work received by March 13 to be graded, etc.As a reminder, staff working remotely should continue to be aware of Personally Identifiable Information – whether electronically or on paper. If you are handling paper with any Personally Identifiable Information at home, you should properly shred it when no longer needed. These documents should not go out with general trash or recycle bin so that we are avoiding any issues of data breech during this time.

Examples of Personally Identifiable Information include:

  •  Social Security Number
  • Personal addresses (if needed to be secure)
  • Health related information (HIPAA related)
  • Confidential information
  • Sp. Ed. or IEP related student information
  • Student personal information

Q. How are the devices (laptops, mifi hotspots) being tracked?

  1. IT currently has a database for tracking EUHSD inventory and is working on a system to ensure student devices are also tracked. The eventual goal is to have these devices tracked in Destiny Follett as we do with student textbooks.

Q. Is there a cost factor involved in the device deployment to students?

  1. At this time, we are using Chrome Books and laptops currently owned and in use on our campuses. There is no cost involved in the laptop deployment. We are purchasing additional “hotspot” devices to ensure we have adequate services for our students.

Q. Is there a firm date of device return?

  1. As schools are closed indefinitely, we have not yet set a date of device return. We anticipate this being very similar to textbook return timelines and procedures. The actual timeline will depend on a variety of factors that are currently under consideration statewide.

Q. If a device is not returned, is there a recovery process?

  1. We anticipate this being very similar to the textbook process. Students who do not return a textbook have an obligation on their account and are responsible for returning it.

Q. Can students go to different schools to pick up a laptop if they are not able to attend the one at their school?

  1. No, students should attend the distribution at their own assigned school site. We are exploring additional deployment opportunities after spring break should there be additional need.

Q. How do I make calls from my personal phone without giving away my cell number to students and parents?

  1. We recommend several methods for conferencing with students and/or parents:
    • Microsoft Teams (calls made with email addresses, using Teams app, if both parties have the app)
    • Begin dialing with *67 to block your number from caller ID
    • Set up a Google voice number – this allows two-way communication with parents/students without sharing your main personal phone number. Currently this is only available to people with personal google email accounts.
    • IT continues to research additional solutions.

Q. What is my role as a Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) now that we are in Distance Learning?

  1. The general guideline for each teacher, each period is to plan for two hours of support to students each week. In the case of TOSAs, the two hours should be spent primarily supporting in the way you might have when we were face-to-face.
    • For example, content area TOSAs could provide coaching, professional development, co-plan/co-teach, and other items in the Content Area TOSA job description for 2 hours each week, per TOSA section. They would be available to other teachers/staff just as teachers are available to students—in a wide variety of models, with a plan communicated as to accessibility and supports.
    • Other TOSA positions would work within their scope of assignment, such as providing intervention support to students, checking on students, and supporting teachers and staff.

Q. Are we still issuing the State Seal of Biliteracy to seniors who qualify?

  1. Yes, we have placed the order for the seals already.

Q. Are we still able to give out SAT/ACT fee waivers? Would we be able to perhaps take a picture of the fee waiver or email the code to the student per eligibility?

  1. No, as these tests have all been either canceled or postponed, we are not currently issuing the fee waivers.

Resources

ACT
Advanced Placement (AP)
College Board (AP & SAT)
NAIA
University of California
California State University

Q. Are conferences/travel requests still being processed? What is the timeline?

  1. At this time we are moving forward with travel requests for conferences held remotely, pending a review of the particular cancellation policies. We will not be processing hotel/overnight travel stays at this time. Online forms exist for travel request approval and should be routed via email through the appropriate channels.

Q. Are student field trips still being processed?

  1. At this time we are not moving forward with local field trip requests.  We will not be processing hotel/overnight travel stays at this time.

Q. I found a great online resource that I’d like to use with my students. If I purchase a license, will the district reimburse me?

  1. No. The district has a variety of software licenses and resources for teachers to use with their students. If a teacher finds another resource they are interested in, they may use a free version to pilot. However, individuals are not authorized to purchase licenses and be reimbursed for them. If you’d like support in finding a similar solution with software provided by the district, please email Damon Blackman.

Q. How is the district taking care of paying bills for previously made purchases?

  1. We are continuing to process payments for orders/invoices and mailing out payments to vendors once a week. We encourage anyone who is aware of any outstanding invoices to forward them to Business Services, so we can check the status of payment.

Q. Are we still able to make new purchases?

  1. Yes, we are still within the Business Services’ timelines for placing orders. Sites would need to place requisitions and get them approved in PeopleSoft.

Q. I made purchases prior to the closure. Is someone available to receive them? How do I go about obtaining those items?

  1. Initially we did pause all orders, so nothing has been received since we closed, but we are going to start receiving orders after Spring Break. We do not plan on delivering items to schools until they are reopened.

Please view this video from Dr. Moore, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, for a curriculum update.

Curriculum Reimagining

Q. I heard we are cutting curriculum by 40-60%. Isn’t this watering down the curriculum? Are others doing this in our county, state, nation?

  1. As many of you know, there is a difference between curriculum and standards. Standards are outlined by our state and are expectations of learning for students by grade level and subject. The curriculum process we are embarking on is not recommending cutting standards nor is it watering down curriculum. In fact, it is designed for quite the opposite result. Forty to sixty percent of our curriculum might be used to provide deep learning for students across all standards, with particular emphasis on essential standards as identified by teacher teams.

In EUHSD, different subjects have different approaches to volume and coverage of standards. The development of NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards), for example, was methodical in prioritizing standards as well as identifying assessment boundaries to limit scope. Teachers of other subjects may be working with curriculum that covers topics that may go well beyond what is needed and beyond the state standards.

The intent of the content refinement is to allow our teachers and students to go more deeply into the content rather than rushing to “cover” the content, something that is tough in a regular year. Our district mission, vision, and subject area transfer goals call for deep learning, critical thinking, and collaboration.

With the likelihood of “toggling on/toggling off” schooling, it is possible that our classes may have the typical 5-hours of instruction split up as 1 hour of face-to-face instruction, 1 hour of synchronous instruction, and 3 hours of asynchronous instruction each week. By strategically refining the content and focusing on big ideas identified by teams of teachers, we will be better able to accommodate student learning in each of these models, taking into consideration the frequency of contact time with students and realities students and staff are facing in these uncertain times. This work is more critical than ever, as we anticipate embarking on another unusual year of learning.

EUHSD is not alone in this work either, as organizations and curricular leaders are suggesting this refinement nationwide. National curriculum leaders such as Jay McTighe, Heidi Hayes Jacobs, and Tony Wagner all speak to a future forward curriculum grounded in authentic, relevant, contemporary applications of learning. The Association for the Advancement in International Education has been supporting international schools through COVID-19 as well as post-pandemic and have multiple speakers (educators from around the world) calling for reduction of content. Finland revised their national curriculum in 2016 to make space for students to engage in more exploration and investigation.

Q. If my PLC and I shifted to Standards-Based Grading and have already identified essential standards, why are we being asked to do this work again? Where does the work we have already done fit in?

  1. The work already done in identifying essential standards is being used in climb 3 by site representatives as the design teams are sketching out reimagined courses

Q. What about AP courses? Can we build those out too?

  1. Yes. Originally, we were not sure how much interest we would have from teachers and wanted to ensure we were able to build out our college prep and SAI (Specialized Academic Instruction, formerly Basic) courses. In addition, there was an awareness from teachers and administrators that it may be premature to build out courses before guidance is provided by The College Board on any potential curriculum redesign.

However, in seeing the overwhelming support and participation by teachers and teachers feeling a strong urgency to build out AP courses now, we are happy to support collaborative teams of AP teachers in this work, following a similar approach in use by our course curriculum design teams. Please contact Jen Hughes (jhughes@euhsd.org) if you are interested in this.

AP courses are always guided by The College Board, including teacher certification. Thus, this is an optional area in which Ed Services is happy to support and is guided by teacher readiness/interest. There is the possibility that courses will need to be further adjusted in late summer/early fall should The College Board provide changes to course outlines.

Q. Why is there such a structured approach to the curriculum design?

  1. We are structuring the process across our courses based on the principles of Understanding by Design (Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe) in order to have guaranteed continuity of product for teachers and students. The consistency of first, best instruction across the district is a goal, and creating student-focused products necessitates us to move in the same development direction. In this way, there will be commonality in how students navigate and see the work, as our learning experiences are designed with the student in mind. This is even more important for our at-promise students such as Emerging Multilingual Learners, students with IEPs, and parents.

Q. Can the virtual design team go faster if it is ready and move into building the course(s) in Canvas LMS? Or do we need to stay with the pacing of other groups?

  1. There is flexibility in the process and pace. If a design team is ready and desires to move at a more rapid pace, they are encouraged to reach out to their facilitator.

Q. What if I wasn’t able to work on curriculum this summer? Will I be able to customize the curriculum for my students?

  1. Yes. The curriculum teams in July are beginning to build out a “blueprint” Canvas course for each course they are working on. Likely, we will have the first four to six weeks of instruction ready for teachers prior to launch. This will be available for teachers to use and customize so they don’t each have to reinvent the wheel. By having these “blueprint” courses, it allows the curriculum committees to get feedback from teachers and students and continue to refine and develop the course, pushing out new modules/units once they are ready. Teachers have the option to use and customize the modules based on the needs of their students and their content standards.

Q. If teams are able to include more than 60% of the essential standards, would this be an acceptable support for our students?

  1. We are still responsible for students learning all standards; however, the emphasis and focus of the time in class is on deeper learning around essential standards. The refining of 40-60% of content is a guideline, and teams are encouraged to focus on essential standards. The focus and permission is to refine and ensure the content and student tasks are sufficiently paced to provide time for critical thinking, collaboration, and deep learning.

Q. Will the modules be all asynchronous? Or will we be able to build in synchronous components?

  1. We will be building the modules in climb 4 so that students may interact with them either synchronously or asynchronously.

Q. Who is Allison Zmuda and why is she involved in the curriculum work in EUHSD?

  1. Allison Zmuda is a renowned educational consultant and author with expertise in personalized learning and curriculum design. She began working with the EUHSD in summer 2019 and was the keynote presenter at our Professional Learning Symposium in August. She began working with curricular teams in winter 2020. We partnered with her to accelerate and scale up our process due to the unexpected closure of school campuses due to COVID-19 and our desire to be more prepared for supporting students in fall 2020.

VAPA & Applicable CTE Courses

Q. Can we combine courses since our standards are meant to be 1-2 years long?

  1. Yes, this also accommodates for combo classes that are often in place for our VAPA & CTE pathways. Another suggestion is to add enrichment activities in modules for advanced students/courses.

Canvas LMS Gradebook

Q. I heard that we can do grading in Canvas, but I usually use Synergy. Do I have to change?

  1. No, not at all. One of the most requested features from our Canvas users is the ability for them to have the Canvas grades automatically transfer to Synergy so they don’t have to do double entry. We recently found out that we will be able to turn on this service, so that those who wish to use the Canvas gradebook will not have to do double-entry to enter those grades in Synergy. Teachers are welcome to use Canvas gradebook, Synergy gradebook, or both. The Canvas gradebook features are reviewed in the training, and additional training on this topic will be available in August for those who are interested.

Q. Is the district going to mandate how we setup our canvas course?

  1. No. The curriculum teams in July are beginning to build out a “blueprint” Canvas course for each course they are working on. Likely, we will have the first four to six weeks of instruction ready for teachers prior to launch. This will be available for teachers to use and customize so they don’t each have to reinvent the wheel. By having these “blueprint” courses, it allows the curriculum committees to get feedback from teachers and students and continue to refine and develop the course, pushing out new modules/units once they are ready. Teachers have the option to use and customize the modules based on the needs of their students and their content standards.

Q. Why is there a course template? Who is creating the template?

  1. There is not a course template with content, but there are common design elements and icons that will be consistent across courses, aligned with best practices in distance learning, and informed by Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles. The purpose of having common course elements is to provide a consistent “look and feel” for our courses for student usability. By labeling our navigation bar and icons similarly, students will feel more comfortable in moving from course to course and finding what they are looking for. This is even more important for our at-promise students such as Emerging Multilingual Learners, students with IEPs, and parents.

A small working team of teachers and administrators are designing common course elements, with guidance from a Curriculum Advisory Committee.

Edgenuity Courses

Q. Could you please offer insight into how Edgenuity courses (specifically the core classes) fit into the curriculum redesign that we are planning for 2020-21? Will the identification of essential standards also apply to the curriculum we typically offer our independent study students?

  1. After we confirm our unit outline, tasks, and such for our Canvas courses, we may revisit the Edgenuity classes in the future and review them through the lens of essential standards. Edgenuity courses are designed in a way that allows for students to work independently with teacher support as necessary whether school is toggled on/off. These classes are already packaged to support students learning at their own pace and with all content standards, built in feedback to students, and additional support from their teacher of record.

Q. If we toggle on/off, how do we ensure deep learning/authentic assessment? All tests and quizzes in Edgenuity can be Googled. When we toggle on, can we require proctored exams?

  1. Yes, when we resume or “toggle on” schooling, we anticipate resuming proctored exams. In addition, the essays and projects assigned to students in Edgenuity classes are often more reflective of student learning. If there is a discrepancy between the quality of work on quizzes/tests and projects/essays, teachers are encouraged to have the conversation with students regarding the perceived discrepancy.

Q. Might we use Canvas LMS and the new courses in Independent Study (IS)?

  1. This will likely be an option for IS by Fall 2021, after we have all courses more fully built.

The FAQs below were initially drafted in conjunction with the EUHSD Ed Tech Committee in 2018-19 to assist with messaging the Canvas LMS rollout plan and have been updated to reflect our current status.

Q. Why do we need a learning management system?

  1. As we looked at curriculum districtwide and providing 21st century learning opportunities for our students, we found value in a learning management system (LMS). When a teacher switches courses or retires, a Google Classroom or individual website goes away. In addition, as curriculum committees update the course, these updates are not easily made available virtually for students, while in a learning management system we can build student-facing curriculum.

Prior to a districtwide LMS, each teacher was asked to transfer the content from the curriculum document (a static PDF) to make it accessible for their students. By having an LMS, our curriculum teams of teachers can build student-facing curriculum and make it accessible and customizable for all teachers (and their students). If a teacher changes courses and/or retires, the content remains in the system, and the curriculum teams have access to update and build.

Q. How did the district select Canvas LMS?

  1. During the 2017-18 school year, a committee of teachers from all school sites and administrators discussed learning management system (LMS) options. They carefully reviewed input from DLA teachers and scholars’ years of experience in another LMS used since the school’s opening. At the end of the review, Canvas LMS was unanimously selected.

Q.. Why was Canvas LMS selected?

  1. Canvas gives teachers the ability to deliver accessible, highly-engaging lessons that deepen student’s learning. Canvas provides a single platform that provides the following benefits:

For teachers:

  • Design using the principles of Universal Design for Learning in support of Emerging Multilingual Students and students with disabilities.
  • Modify and deliver content instantly to students.
  • Create a shared workload in creating Canvas-based curriculum. Once created, content can be deployed across multiple teacher’s courses instantly. For example, College Board SpringBoard ELA 9-11 content is available in Canvas. Additional curriculum will be ready for fall 2020.
  • Integrate with external tools such as Google Docs, Office 365, Microsoft Teams, and Turnitin.
  • Differentiate by assigning different content to students with custom due dates.
  • Use simple, powerful grading tools to provide students timely feedback.

For students

  • Prepares them for future education, as it is used by all 115 California community colleges as well as a significant number of universities which aligns with our district’s mission.
  • Provides consistency in knowing all due dates on a single calendar for all classes.
  • Integrates with external tools such as Google Docs, Office 365, Microsoft Teams, and Turnitin.
  • Gives a platform to collaborate with classmates.

For parents

  • Access to course syllabi, materials, grades, assignment calendars, and communication in a single location. Parents will know 100% of the expectations of their child’s class.
  • View missing assignments for all classes quickly. Parents see what their student sees, they just can’t complete the assignment with their parent account.

For administrators

  • Effectively monitor student engagement metrics as required by LCAP and state expectations.
  • Run reports to see how students are achieving.
  • Provides a quick glance at course content, discussions, and assignments.

Q. There are a number of staff members currently using Google Classroom. Why was this not selected?

  1. Google Classroom does not offer the capabilities available in Canvas that we need as an organization. We acknowledge some may not have been aware of the advantages of Canvas, including the new distance learning monitoring requirements of the LCAP. Our intention is to continue to provide ongoing professional learning and support so that every teacher is equipped to effectively use Canvas.

During campus closures due to COVID-19, we have found that the lack of analytics available with Google Classroom makes it more difficult to track student engagement. An LMS provides this information that is now required by state and federal guidelines.

Q. How has Canvas been used in our district?
Infographic: How has Canvas been used in our district?

  1. By 2018-19, 70 teachers were trained and implemented Canvas. In 2019-20, weekly lessons (aka TEE time) were delivered to students via the LMS after teachers received training. This school year, 302 teachers and 5,826 out of approximately 7,100 students have used Canvas. During the week of April 13-19, 2020, there were 223,909 Canvas page views in that week alone.

Q. What is the expectation for use of Canvas LMS in 2020-21?

  1. As curriculum teams of over 70 teachers are currently reimagining curriculum in all subject areas this spring and summer, Canvas LMS will be the tool used for building out the curriculum. Thus, our summer and fall training will focus on the use of Canvas LMS and the newly available curriculum. It is important to note that the entire Google Suite of tools as well as Microsoft Office may be used within Canvas LMS. Our families will be notified that students and parents/guardians will access their courses in Canvas LMS for the 2020-2021 school year and will receive communications through this tool.