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Free Union Country School Remote Learning Plan

(DRAFT updated 6.16.20)

Free Union Country School’s​ plans for remote learning will allow for learning to continue productively any time that an extended school closure exceeding three days becomes necessary. The goal of our remote learning plan is to enable children’s learning through continued academic and intellectual engagement during an extended closure of campus. The plan is balanced with our desire to promote social-emotional health and nurtured connection to the school community. Free Union Country School’s remote learning plan is not designed to replicate the school classroom and campus environment; rather we aim to best facilitate ongoing learning and reinforce a sense of community. Just as there are opportunities created by remote learning, there are limits, too, and we want to help create a balance between screen time and offline projects and pursuits.

In collaboration with families and students themselves, and with assistance from staff and administrators, teachers will provide a relevant, authentic program of learning that adapts to the circumstances, whether we are out of school for pandemic, weather events, infrastructure disruptions, or other emergencies. We will keep in mind that in such a situation the school and all its families (including our teachers’), may be dealing with many unique challenges and complications.

The learning that we are striving to facilitate will demonstrate sensitivity to whatever circumstances have caused us to be at home, and we will aim to provide the greatest possible flexibility to allow students the best opportunities to engage with the learning on their or their family’s best schedules.

While we will want to have enough synchronous time to maintain our social bonds and allow for in-person explanations, introductions, and so on, much of the learning will be asynchronous (not in real time) to allow for this flexibility. Some synchronous and/or recorded video instruction will be provided on a daily basis, in both whole-group and smaller sub-group forums. As much as possible the learning will be hands-on, project-based, and student-paced; some will be oriented to online student-to-student collaboration. Roles for parents or guardians or caregivers will be developmentally appropriate and strive to be reasonable, allowing for a plausible level of autonomy. We will seek to cohesively integrate all subject areas--humanities, arts, sciences, physical education and wellness--in pursuit of deeper understanding of the world we inhabit.

Here is the framework we are developing for our plan:

Overview

  • Remote learning at Free Union Country School will vary by age and grade level in order to ensure developmentally appropriate instruction.

  • We will take advantage of the wide variety of resources and tools available to us. These could include SeeSaw, email, Zoom, Google Classroom, Flipgrid and Google Suite for Education. Students and families will be trained on all platforms and tools before work is assigned. We will monitor the security of these platforms and make adjustments as needed.

  • Student work may include reading assignments, written work, integrated projects, blog posting, outdoor pursuits, viewing videos online, creating videos, and playing games with family members.

  • We expect that learners will complete the work to the best of their ability and be in touch with teachers if they are not able to do so. All teachers will keep “virtual office hours” for one-on-one consultation. Teachers will provide opportunities to extend learning beyond the regular classroom pursuits, as well.

  • In an extended remote learning period, we will adjust our end-of-year goals, prioritizing skills and content considered most essential.

Synchronous vs. Asynchronous

  • We expect that instruction will largely be composed of asynchronous (on student’s own time and pace) and/or collaborative learning, but will also incorporate synchronous (whole class or small subgroups coming together virtually at the same time) instructional and interactive sessions each day at all grade levels.

  • Recognizing that families and teachers have various responsibilities and scheduling needs, including childcare, our goal is not to recreate a regular 8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. school-day experience. Rather, we seek to create a meaningful learning experience that works well within the remote learning framework. This means that students will likely have more independent learning time and reduced direct instructional time.

  • Learning also could still rely on parent or caretaker involvement, especially in the younger grades. Our focus will be to provide meaningful and engaging instruction to the best of our ability.

Assessment and Homework

  • Assessment and homework may be different than the typical in-class framework. Teachers will share expectations around these topics with their students and families for each class or grade level as appropriate.

  • Our periodic progress reports may be adjusted as appropriate depending on the nature and length of any period of remote learning

Online access and equity

  • Free Union Country School wants to help ensure that all learning opportunities are available for all students in class. Students in 4th & 5th grade have been given devices to use at home. If you have specific concerns about your family’s resources (use of online tools, internet access, etc.), please reach out to Marc Evans at marc​@freeunioncountryschool.org​.

Support available

  • We are available to help with any other questions or concerns. We will work to make a variety of resources available to families on our website to help support children who are feeling anxious.

  • If you have questions or concerns about academic and learning support, please reach out to ​eric​@freeunioncountryschool.org​, or Marguerite Brunner at .

  • Families with questions about curriculum and program should reach out to the appropriate teacher.

  • We will be exploring possibilities and approaches for parent/family coaching sessions in the coming year.

Details by Age Level

Remote learning will be developmentally-appropriate, and thus vary from age to age. Below is an overview of what to expect in our grade bands. Work will be posted largely through our ​Google Classroom​ pages (see page called “Remote Learning Page” within each classroom’s page) and email. The best way to contact teachers will be through email.

Note: ​With our approach focused on interdisciplinary, theme-based units, we anticipate that our “specials” classes should be readily integrated into units rather than standing separately as self-contained courses with separate assignments​. This should allow students to experience “specials” content as integral to woven into holistic assignments and explorations. It will also facilitate teacher collaborations; a more manageable and cohesive workload for students at home; and opportunities for siblings and families to discuss and even collaborate together on assignments.

Grade(s)SchoolHome
Pre-K/K
  • Regular Morning Meetings via Zoom; some academic videos or synchronous teaching will be provided during the week.
  • Take-home learning kits will be assembled so that our young learners have hands-on materials and projects to work with.
  • Caregivers will need to take an active role in student learning.
  • Caregivers are encouraged to read regularly with their children and provide ample time for physical play throughout the day.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to participate in these activities and assignments and may be asked to share work with teachers at certain points.
Grade(s)SchoolHome
K/1
  • Regular Morning Meetings via Zoom - Monday - Thursday: class morning meeting, Friday: All School Morning Meeting
  • Academic instructional videos and/or synchronous teaching will be provided regularly. (3 small group sessions per week in math, 3 small group sessions per week in reading)
  • Teachers will develop projects for students to work on, some of which will be guided and some more student driven; games and activities to target learning in math, language arts, science, and specials will be shared each week.
  • Caregivers will need to take an active role in student learning.
  • Caregivers are encouraged to read regularly with their children and to encourage students to read independently at their “just right” level. The teacher will provide guidance on reading material.
  • Students should expect to work about an hour a day on assignments.
  • Students will participate in these activities and assignments and be asked to share work with teachers at regular intervals.
  • Additional optional work will be provided.
  • Please allow ample time for breaks and physical play throughout the day.
Grade(s)SchoolHome
2nd/3rd
  • Regular Morning Meetings via Zoom; academic instructional videos and/or synchronous teaching will be provided regularly.
  • Periods of synchronous instruction will be interspersed throughout the day with periods of time for independent, self-directed practice, research, etc.
  • Teachers will develop projects for students to work on, some of which will be guided and some more student-driven; assignments, activities, and games to target learning in math, language arts, science, and specials will be assigned each week.
  • Teachers will be available daily for an “office hour” to answer questions or provide individual support
  • Students should be able to complete much of the work independently, but caregivers should be checking student progress and assisting as needed. This may include Chromebook/typing support.
  • Students are required to participate in activities and assignments and will be asked to share work with teachers at regular intervals.
  • Additional optional work will be provided.
  • Students should expect to work 1.5-2 hours per day on assignments and some of this work will be online.
  • Caregivers should encourage students to read independently each day at their “just right” level. Teachers can provide guidance, suggestions, and accountability to help find the “sweet spot”
  • Please allow ample time for physical play each day and give breaks throughout your child’s work time.
Grade(s) School Home
4th/5th
  • Regular Morning Meetings via Zoom; academic instructional videos and synchronous teaching will be provided regularly.
  • Periods of synchronous instruction will be interspersed throughout the day with periods of time for independent, self-directed practice, research, etc.
  • Teachers will develop projects for students to work on, some of which will be guided and some more student-driven; assignments, activities, and games to target learning in math, language arts, science, and specials will be assigned each week.
  • Teachers will be available daily for an “office hour” to answer questions or provide individual support.
  • Students should be able to complete much of the work independently, but caregivers should be checking student progress and assisting as needed.
  • Students are required to participate in activities and assignments and will be asked to share work with teachers at regular intervals.
  • Additional optional work will be provided.
  • Students should expect to work 2-3 hours per day on school-related assignments and some of this work will be online.
  • Caregivers should encourage students to read independently each day at their “just right” level.
  • Please allow ample time for physical play each day and give breaks throughout your child’s work time.

Student Responsibilities

  • Establish a daily routine as best as possible.

  • Check Google Classroom ​​and email regularly to be sure you are clear on class expectations.

  • Maintain a strong effort — remember, this is still school and it counts!

  • Contact us if you need help. Help could be your teacher, Jolee, Eric, or anyone else at Free Union Country School. Don’t hesitate, we are here for you.