December 16, 2020
Dear families and parents,
Last evening, the Bexley City Schools Board of Education approved the shift to a new service model for the district. In this new model, elementary students will attend in either the morning or the afternoon five days a week, while middle and high school students will transition to an alternating day schedule. This adjustment to the learning model begins on January 6, 2021, when students return to school from winter break.
This service model increases consistency and in-person learning for every student in our district. It was developed by the Service Model Task Force, a 42-person task force assembled to increase contact time and consistency with students without diminishing the quality of teaching & learning and health & safety efforts. All of the task force and subcommittee work is available on the district website.
The district is excited about this next step. This shift in service model will allow for more time with our students while maintaining the district’s efforts in health and safety. It will have a positive impact on our student’s education. Thank you for your continued input and support as we navigate this tough time in all of our lives.
Below is an overview of the new service model for elementary.
The new schedule is as follows:
- 8:05 a.m. (AM group) students arrive
- 11:05 a.m. (AM group) students dismissed to go home
- 11:05-12:15 Teacher cleaning, planning, and lunch time.
- Students will have lunch at home.
- 12:15 p.m. (PM group) students arrive
- 3:15 p.m. (PM group) students dismissed to go home
This newest service model allows greater consistency of instruction as students will be receiving in-person instruction five days a week. Teachers are excited to be able to see students every day as well the opportunity for students to interact with their peers daily. The new service model also increases instructional minutes. We were able to make great progress with students during our in-person times this fall and we are looking forward to even more time with them.
The focus of in-person learning will be on literacy and math. Teachers will be providing instruction in reading, writing, foundational skills/word study, and math concepts, application and fluency. Additionally, students will continue to have allied arts (gym, music, and art) two days a week in person in addition to asynchronous learning activities provided by our allied arts team. Students who receive special education services will be contacted by your child’s intervention specialist to outline the details of your child’s specific intervention plan.
During the other half of the day, your child will be involved in asynchronous learning activities and experiences including:
- Reading, writing, foundational skills/word study practice
- Math practice
- Science, social studies, health (Google Classroom)
- Allied Arts (Asynchronous lessons in Google Classroom and opportunities for Zoom sessions with student groups on Wednesdays
- Social Emotional Learning via school counselors (LIVE Zoom) as scheduled
- Band (5th Grade) and Orchestra (4th & 5th Grade)
Increase of potential band/strings time
30 Minute Optional Strings Sessions via Zoom in the AM and PM
30 Minute Optional Band Sessions via Zoom in the AM and PM
In order to facilitate this change in hybrid models, the BOE also approved a calendar change for the second semester. Our teachers will be collaborating and planning for instruction on January 4th and 5th. Students will now return from winter break on January 6. (The original return date was January 5th.)
Students are largely staying with their current hybrid groups. One goal of the hybrid was to keep cohorts of students together in order to reduce the possibility of further spreading COVID-19. Other priorities for the creation of current hybrid groups included:
Keeping sibling groups together
Students with special needs who have specific minutes on IEPs and need access to related services personnel shared across buildings
Students who receive services from the gifted intervention specialist ensuring those classes remain within the classroom space guidelines
Classroom communities have been created and teachers have plans for current groups of students. They have thoughtful plans on how to intervene and enrich student groups in their classrooms.
Principals have made a few adjustments to cohort assignments to respond to the imbalances created by students who are participating in eLearning as well as student withdrawals. There have also been adjustments due to student instructional plans and services. These adjustments were made after consulting with teaching and intervention teams.
This afternoon you received an email from our district with your child’s hybrid group for the second semester. If you did not receive one, it is likely still on its way as it takes the system some time to disseminate emails to our entire community. You may also want to check your junk/spam folder as this was an issue for some families in the fall.
We know that this new model represents one more change your family must make, another shift for children. Some of our families are very excited about this and are thrilled that our Board has voted to move forward with this model. We know there are other families who will find this new schedule challenging to balance with older students, work needs, and childcare.
We would love to have all of our students back full-time, every day and we hope that one day soon it is safe to do so. However, we are pleased that this new hybrid schedule will allow us to see elementary students every day. This new schedule increases instructional minutes in literacy and math and allows for the continuity of daily instruction.
As with each change in the school service model we have made this year, there are a lot of details we want to share with you. Please read the communication below for information about lunch, band/orchestra, arrival and dismissal, and more.
If you have any questions, please reach out to your child’s teacher or school principal.
Melissa Klosterman-Lando (Montrose), Jeannine Hetzler (Cassingham) and Susan Drake (Maryland)
When will the new AM/PM service model begin?
January 4th is a professional day for staff. The Board of Education voted to also add January 5th as a planning day for staff so they can prepare for the transition to our new service model. Students will return to school from winter break on January 6th.
What are the cleaning protocols? What risk mitigation strategies are you using?
Our teachers have a dedicated time in between AM and PM sessions to sanitize desks, chairs, and high touch surfaces like light switches and door knobs. Our maintenance and custodial staff will also be cleaning in the period between sessions. Since most students will be having lunch at home, our custodians will be focusing on cleaning and sanitizing spaces rather than their usual lunch time duties. All students and staff will continue to wear masks and practice social distancing.
Does this new service model really get us more instructional minutes?
We compared in-person instructional minutes from our current service model to the new model. In K-3 we see a 75 minute gain in ELA and as many as 225 in math.
In 4-5 we see a 135 minute gain in ELA and a 185 minute increase in math
What will arrival and dismissal look like?
While the times have been adjusted, arrival and dismissal will continue to follow the same protocols we have used all year. Students will continue to enter and be dismissed from the building at the same doors.
Students should continue to be sure to put on masks when they are on school grounds. Any time children enter a new space, or experience a transition in their schedule, we’ll be encouraging “washing in.” As they enter class, they’ll use hand sanitizer or the sink to wash in. Parents and visitors are not allowed to enter the building.
How will lunch work?
Most of our students will have lunch at home. AM students will eat after being dismissed from school and PM students will eat before coming to school. Some of our students who receive special education services and are on an alternate schedule will continue to have lunch at school. Your child’s intervention specialist will provide you with details.
Students who are participating in band or orchestra may also have lunch at school. (Please see the details about band/orchestra below.)
What about recess?
Since our in-person school day will be three hours, students will not be having regular recess. Some classes may elect to take short mask breaks outside but we want our students engaged in instruction as much as possible.
Will Safety Patrol continue?
Yes, we will continue with Safety Patrol in our new hybrid model. Mr. Strait will reach out to students and families regarding positions and times.
Will students still be able to participate in band and orchestra?
Thanks to the innovative thinking of our Music Department, we will be able to provide Band and Orchestra instruction at each school. Band and orchestra students will have in-person rehearsals in the time between AM and PM school, as well as opportunities each week to meet over Zoom with Mr. Johnson (band) and Ms. Goodney (orchestra). The Zoom schedule will be emailed to all band and orchestra families, with the links to join each week.
Elementary, District-wide Orchestra Support:
Ms. Goodney’s Zoom mornings from 8:30-9:10 a.m. and afternoons from 1:00-1:40 p.m. for all elementary Orchestra students district wide:
Elementary, District-wide Band Support:
Mr. Johnson’s Zoom mornings from 8:20-9:00 a.m.
Mr. Pelphry’s afternoon Zoom session 12:30pm-1:00pm.:
Orchestra will be on Mondays (4th grade) and Thursdays (5th grade) in-person from 11:30-12:20 p.m. with Mr. Spangler ([email protected]). Due to his teaching schedule at the high school, this is the time slot that is available and we are excited that we are able to make this work. AM students will stay after AM classes and bring their lunches or a snack to eat in the cafeteria while waiting for Orchestra to start at 11:30 a.m. After Orchestra, AM students will be dismissed to go home at 12:20 p.m. on. PM students should arrive at school at 11:25 a.m. and can head straight to Orchestra. Afternoon classes start at 12:15 p.m. but our teachers are aware of this scheduling conflict and will adjust accordingly and support our PM orchestra students as they transition to class a few minutes after their peers.
Band will be in-person on Tuesdays and Fridays from 11:15-11:50 a.m. (AM group ONLY) and 11:55-12:30 p.m. (PM group ONLY) with Mr. Logan Pelphrey ([email protected]) under the guidance of Mr. Andy Johnson ([email protected]). AM students will head straight to Band after dismissal from school and then be dismissed to go home at 11:50 a.m. PM students will arrive at 11:50 a.m. and come to the Band Room (room 15) for Band (starts at 11:55), and then head straight to class at 12:30 p.m. Afternoon classes start at 12:15 p.m. but our teachers are aware of this scheduling conflict and will adjust accordingly and support our PM Band students as they transition to class a few minutes after their peers.