Modify ELPS Virtual Viking Model
Modify ELPS Virtual Viking Model
On July 24th, ELPS presented their Roadmap to Reopening Plan 1.0 to parents and guardians in the district. This plan includes four instruction models: on-site, hybrid, distance learning, and Virtual Viking.
Both the distance learning and Virtual Viking models are based on the following identical foundation:
· Synchronous and Asynchronous Instruction in Instructional learning blocks
· One hundred percent of the instructional experience is facilitated online with time, path and pace determined by student and teacher
· Instructional materials will be online
· Student task completion will be online
· Instructional breaks will be planned during the instructional day to support connectedness and wellbeing
· Weekly communication to ensure student-parent-teacher partnership
· Learning Management Platform will be Seesaw for grades PK-4 and Google Classroom 5-12
· Student learning and growth will be assessed formatively and summative online
On August 6th, administrators did a virtual walk-through of the plan, and noted “One of the things we want to reinforce and support for every student in East Lyme is really a high quality responsive instruction, accelerated learning, and we want to make sure that individual student learning and growth is at the forefront and priority within our instructional model.” -Asst. Superintendent Amy Drowne
On August 10th, at 3:35PM, parents and guardians received an email with further updates on the Virtual Viking model. They were informed that instruction would be outsourced to a third party. These updates indicated that students choosing this option are not required to have an East Lyme teacher, will not have an East Lyme peer cohort, and will not be following East Lyme curriculum. There is no whole or small group instruction, no peer collaboration, and students will not be using SeeSaw or Google Classroom as was stated in the re-opening plan. Synchronous learning will occur “as a means of intervention or support” but not as regular instruction. Special education services may not be fully implemented in this option.
On August 11th, parents and guardians were to make their decision for the upcoming school year—one day was given to make a decision based on last minute information.
In signing this petition, we are asking:
1. How does the Virtual Viking (VV) option align the idea that all students in East Lyme receive a high quality instruction with accelerated learning if all students aren’t receiving East Lyme curriculum?
2. How does the VV option align with the district’s stated concerns of student social and emotional well-being? This plan further isolates students, allowing for no peer interaction. It also excludes them entirely from the school community.
3. ELPS administrators to return to the table and find a way to include families who for varying reasons would prefer to learn safely at home.
4. Virtual Viking students be included in cohorts with East Lyme faculty. If VV students choose to return to the hybrid or full on-site plan in the future, then they will have an established relationship with their teacher and peers.
With the current proposed hybrid plan, ALL students in East Lyme will be virtually learning three days each week. There is only a 2 day per week difference that could be mitigated with “family and community engagement” (a core feature of the reopening plan). There must be a way to incorporate and support students who choose to remain virtual these two days. Will ELPS work to find it?
Many families may choose VV because it is helpful to the district. It frees up resources for those who need specialized intervention, and allows for the possibility of some students receiving instruction more days per week on-site. At the very least, choosing this option reduces the number of students in the building, and the potential for increased community spread of Covid-19. This should be supported, not penalized.