Dear Parents / Guardians,
I am very excited to announce that Dwight Public Schools are planning an innovative approach to dealing with inclement weather and emergency days. Public Act 100-0465 made sweeping changes to education funding in Illinois, but also created flexibility in the definition of an “instructional day.”
As you know, we are in the middle of a very tough winter and this week isn’t going to be any easier. This reality coupled with the new flexibility afforded to us by the State of Illinois has led us to explore and develop a plan to incorporate “Remote Learning Days” at Dwight Public Schools.
In the past, if a snow day was called, “instructional day” was tacked on to the end of the school year. This extended the school year and often caused problems with scheduling because of our desire to firmly schedule testing, end of the year activities, graduation ceremonies, and other end of year events. After meeting with my administrative team, we felt a “remote learning day” integrated during the year could be more effective than an additional day at the end of the year for many of our students.
What is a Remote Learning Day?
A “Remote Learning Day” approach allows us to provide an “instructional day” even if our building is not open due to weather/road conditions/etc. If weather does not permit us to be in session, we will deploy a “Remote Learning Day.” On these days, teachers and administrators will e-mail and post assignments, lessons, and enrichment activities to parents and students by 10 am. There will be links established by teachers that allow students to complete work while at home. Teachers will be available via e-mail to answer questions as they arise.
Won’t this look different at each grade level?
Each grade level of teachers has collaborated and will continue to collaborate on any “Remote Learning Day” to collectively develop lessons that are grade level appropriate and a continuation of what has been happening in the classroom.
Examples could include a review of content in science or social studies, a reinforcement activity in a subject, a video introduction to a unit, physical activities of some kind, or a spelling or writing prompt.
At the junior high and high school level, many of our students are already engaged in digital platforms for classes utilizing google classroom. In these cases, teachers will simply assign experiences as though the student were in attendance.
Will students that cannot complete the work be penalized?
Absolutely not! We understand that internet and digital access may not be available to everyone, and that some students may not be able to complete all tasks assigned by instructors. Not all activities will need the internet to be completed. These days are meant to enhance learning and be formative in nature. Any activity that is assigned during a “Remote Learning Day” will be tied to a grade upon return to school. That being said, it is possible that homework will be assigned in anticipation of a snow day by our teachers. Our teachers will allow students to “catch up” if needed upon our return to school.
Will this be our policy moving forward?
I hope that it is. However, we realize that this is a new and innovative idea that we will be analyzing and assessing each day we utilize the “Remote Day Experience." Please be patient with our teachers and staff as we try something innovative.
As always, if you have questions, comments, or concerns please don’t hesitate to email or call me.
Dr. Richard Jancek, Superintendent
Dwight Public Schools #232 / #230
815-584-6216 - firstname.lastname@example.org