Frequently Asked Questions About the Bexley e-Learning Academy

Background: What is e-Learning? What is the difference between the e-Learning learning plan and the all-in learning plan?  


The Bexley e-Learning Academy is designed to accommodate families for whom extenuating health circumstances would make returning to in-person learning medically dangerous. Every year we have students who have to access their content differently due to health reasons.  We have always used third-party vendors to deliver content to students who cannot attend school in person. With COVID, we recognize that more families may have medical circumstances that necessitate e-Learning; therefore, we have shared this option with all families to review. This option is not intended to be an equivalent replacement for in-person instruction by a Bexley teacher. Further, our small size and extensive course offerings significantly limit our ability to assign staff to meet the demands of in-person learning and e-learning simultaneously. E-Learning will be self-paced learning through SchoolsPLP with a Bexley staff member serving as a case manager to a group of students across grade levels and courses within a building; the case manager will monitor student engagement in the SchoolsPLP environment. 


In “all-in” learning, all students will have teacher-directed learning in classrooms for all subject areas, including allied arts. Students will attend school for full school days, 5 days per week, following our typical, pre-pandemic school day schedule.  The learning tools that were necessary for hybrid and remote learning (e.g., Google Classroom, Zoom classes) will no longer be used.  To date, BCS has implemented multiple strategies to reduce COVID-19 transmission among students and staff, including: hybrid mode to permit a minimum of 6 feet of distance between desks, masking, hand hygiene, and requiring people to stay home when they feel sick. When BCS switches from hybrid to all-in, 6 feet of distance between desks is no longer possible. BCS is committed to increasing the adherence and quality of other mitigation efforts in light of the change in distancing. For example, BCS will increase the protection offered by masks by ensuring that all students and staff are using medical-grade masks or double masks at all times BCS strongly encourages, for those for whom it is possible, eating lunch outside or at home. COVID-19 risk is already very low within our schools, and the continual decline in cases in the community coupled with ongoing mitigation strategies on site will help keep that risk low.



We do not know if we want to register our child for the e-Learning Academy now (or move our student from e-Learning to hybrid or all in, depending on Board action).  Can we decide later?

An intention form was sent out to all families.  Families will need to submit their intention by Wednesday, February 24, using the form provided by the district.  This commitment is needed for planning purposes and to ensure continuity of instruction for students.  This time is needed to balance student assignments for both on site teachers and e-learning case managers and to adjust enrollments and prepare learning settings for students making a switch either way. 

 

In many ways, making the move from on site instruction to e-learning (or vice versa) is like changing schools with new teachers, new procedures, and new textbooks.  Although such moves are sometimes necessary for a variety of reasons, they can be disruptive to the learning process.  For that reason, we strongly advise families to only make a move into e-learning for fourth quarter if it is required to meet a significant need within the family, such as a medical necessity. Additionally, in order to ensure continuity in learning, students will not be able to switch between on site and e-learning or vice versa after March 23. 


How does my child’s enrollment change if we register for e-Learning?

Students who are enrolled in e-learning remain registered with Bexley City Schools.  But, in order to provide accurate reporting to the state, students will be withdrawn from their currently assigned teacher and classes and enrolled in the e-learning classes with the Bexley staff case manager when the transition to e-learning occurs.  As such, they will no longer be on their teacher’s class roster.  


Instead of registering for e-learning, can we withdraw our student?

Yes.  If you wish to withdraw your student from Bexley City Schools, you may do so by contacting your child’s school.  Upon withdrawal, you will need to either provide evidence of enrollment at another school or submit paperwork to the district to request the homeschool option following Ohio Department of Education requirements.  http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Ohio-Education-Options/Home-Schooling


Why was SchoolsPLP selected?

Over the course of the summer, district leaders in the Department of Staff and Student Learning reviewed many platforms as potential e-learning providers.  We started our search based on information provided by the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio and collaborated with other districts in the area.  First and foremost, we searched for platforms that offer a wide array of courses that are aligned to state content standards, which is the curriculum model that drives Bexley courses.  We also considered other factors, such as flexibility with enrollment times, variety of content, and price.  SchoolsPLP utilizes content from multiple course designers within a single platform and provides a broad course catalog for the full K-12 spectrum.  They also allow us to start students at the beginning of the year or partway into the quarter, and we are able to bring students out or add more students in at the semester break, as needed.  Finally, SchoolsPLP is more cost-effective than many of the other options, thus allowing us to be more fiscally responsible.  SchoolsPLP is also being implemented by New Albany Plain Local School District and several others across the state.


Will moving to e-Learning midway through the semester create learning gaps or transition challenges for students?

The goal is to limit the number of transitions students will need to make.  That is part of the reason why families need to make a commitment for the remainder of the year when registering for e-learning.  Please know there are challenges when enrolling in e-learning at this time.  Courses are full courses and will include assignments for content for the entire year, even if the student already learned that content while in school up until this point.  It will be up to the family and student to determine if learning tasks can be viewed quickly before taking related assessments and moving on. Additionally, several secondary grade electives and Advanced Placement courses are not available for students who newly enroll at this time.  It is also important for families of students in all grades to keep in mind that the nature of staff interactions in e-learning is very different from those in the hybrid model. Finally, transitions can be difficult at any time, especially during our current pandemic, and our students have had many transitions in recent months.  Unless your family has a diagnosed medical concern requiring e-learning, we strongly encourage families to maintain their current in school placement.  


What if a course our student is scheduled to take is not offered by SchoolsPLP?

While the SchoolsPLP platform has a very broad course catalog, there are some Bexley secondary courses that are not available at this time.  This includes some specialty electives, Latin, and Advanced Placement courses.  We will work with students and counselors to determine if an alternative plan or course can be arranged or if the course needs to be dropped.  This may impact progress toward graduation requirements, so careful thought should be given before making a switch to e-learning for the first time during the fourth quarter.  These discussions will begin with individual students and families once the enrollment window has closed on February 24. 


Can my student take a course offered by SchoolsPLP that Bexley does not offer?

Because of the timing of the year, students are not able to begin new courses.


Can my student take courses beyond their grade level?

In order to take courses outside the grade level, a student must go through the formal acceleration process. This process includes advertised deadlines by which to apply.  See our website for information: https://www.bexleyschools.org/GiftedEducation.aspx   Because of the timing of the year, no new acceleration evaluations will occur for spring placement.  Students who have already been formally accelerated will be enrolled in the appropriate course based on that acceleration.  Students in the math 6/7 or math 7/8 courses will have an e-learning math course that teaches the same standards taught in the in-person counterparts.


If my child is enrolled in the Bexley e-Learning Academy, how will they participate in district and state testing?

Federal and Ohio law and regulations require a variety of assessments to be administered to students across all grade levels.  As a district, we are legally obligated to conduct such testing.  Most testing programs require students to be tested in person on the school campus.  This includes all state testing for all grade levels, fall gifted cognitive testing, MAP, and fall PSAT and ACT testing for high schoolers.  The district is bound by test administration protocols established by the test publisher and cannot deviate from those requirements in any way.  In accordance with those protocols, spring state testing and spring ACT testing will only be administered on site and in person.  Students in the e-learning Academy are encouraged to participate in state and district testing programs and will be provided information with time and location to do so.  If a student is not able to participate in testing due to a medical reason, please contact your building principal or the Coordinator of Curriculum and Gifted.  (Remote MAP testing immediately after the close of each main MAP testing window may be offered to acquire basic information if circumstances allow. Results of such testing will not yield typical MAP growth scores or subscores by area within a subject but may provide a basic indication of student achievement.  Availability of remote testing will be limited to e-Learning families and only if we have staff availability to conduct the testing in accordance with publisher guidelines.)


If my child is enrolled in the Bexley e-Learning Academy, can they participate in extracurricular activities?

Yes. Your student can participate in afterschool extracurricular activities.  Fourth and fifth graders may also still participate in band and strings.  However, this does not include co-curricular activities, such as long-term class projects, or middle or high school orchestra or choir, led during the school day, as those activities will not have a virtual counterpart available.  


Will students in the e-Learning Academy still have access to special education, English learner, and gifted services?

Students with disabilities can have many of their accommodations embedded into the courses in accordance with their IEP or 504 plans. The IEP team will meet to review and revise the IEP as appropriate for students with IEPs who opt into the Bexley e-Learning Academy.  The English Language Coordinator will monitor the access and progress of students and will connect the family with English resources as appropriate. Students will participate in English Language assessments as required. Students who are gifted and have a Written Education Plan for the elementary Cog ELA or middle school gifted ELA course will continue to be supported by a district Gifted Intervention Specialist.


Does my e-learning student have to complete the art, music, and/or PE courses in SchoolsPLP?

Our goal is to provide a well-rounded curriculum to our students, including e-learners.  We believe the allied arts contribute to meeting that goal.  However, we realize that our current pandemic situation and the demands of e-learning may require some to have a more narrow focus on those core academic subject areas of language arts, math, science, social studies, and health.  All K-8 students will be enrolled in their electives courses and expected to participate and complete the course lessons and assessments. If a parent or guardian wants to have their K-8 child's second semester courses be limited to the course subject areas and drop the allied arts courses, the parent should notify Dr. Colleen Boyle of that request via email after they have completed the second semester e-learning enrollment form (see link in building newsletters).  Parents/guardians who request to have such courses dropped from their student's schedule will assume responsibility for providing their child with related experiences of their choosing.  Note: Students in grades 9-12 may only drop an elective if it is not needed to meet a graduation requirement.  Course required for graduation must be completed as scheduled.


How will students in the Bexley e-Learning Academy maintain connections with teachers and classmates?  Can they participate in live sessions with their original teacher or classmates or access assignments posted in Google Classroom/Canvas?

When district moves to an "all in" model of learning, live Zoom sessions (other than weekly meetings with case managers) will no longer occur since our Bexley teachers and students will be meeting face-to-face in classrooms.  Additionally, students in e-learning will no longer be enrolled in their previous teacher’s classes due to state reporting, so students will not have access to those Google Classrooms or Canvas settings.  The e-learning platform is designed to be an independent, self-paced learning experience.  However, we realize the importance of human connection.  So, the case managers assigned to monitor student participation and progress will host weekly live sessions for the students in their group to interact with peers and engage in team-building and social-emotional activities.  School counselors will often participate in those weekly sessions, as well.


If the district moves between all in, hybrid, and/or full virtual learning mid-quarter, can my student leave the e-Learning platform and return to classes taught by the Bexley teachers?

Because of the complexity of curricular transitions moving between SchoolsPLP (e-learning) and teacher-led classes, especially so close to the end of the year, the student will need to fulfill the commitment made to stay in e-learning through the end of the school year.  This is to ensure there is continuity in the content instruction and to avoid any learning gaps that may arise if the student were to go back and forth between settings.


We are partway through the quarter and would like to make a change in our child's learning environment.  Can we do so?

We realize this is an uncertain and difficult time for all of our families.  However, to ensure continuity in learning for our students, changes to the learning environment must be indicated by February 24 using the form that will be provided by the district if the Board moves to have students go all in.  A student may not change settings after the March 23 start of the fourth quarter.