Return To Learn

Urbandale CSD Weekly Update: July 24, 2020

We invite you to read the Urbandale CSD Return To Learn weekly newsletter. The newsletter will be sent every Friday focusing on a handful of brief but informative topics related to our 2020-21 school year. Newsletters will be archived on the Return To Learn section of the district website. Please make note of the “translate newsletter” option which can be accessed by clicking on the "View it in your browser" link at the top of this page. Thank you for helping us create a safe, healthy, and welcoming learning environment!

Instructional Models & Remote Classroom

Our 2020-21 school year is structured in a way that enables us to transition between these three instructional models depending on the impact of COVID-19 within our school district and/or community. Thus, there isn’t one model we’re selecting for the year as we’ll likely transition between these three models as district/public health dictates and upon approval of the Iowa Department of Education for the Required Continuous Learning model (note: see the “Governor Reynold’s July 17 Proclamation” section below for details).

  1. On site (all in-person; 5 days a week)

  2. Hybrid (partially in-person & partially online)

  3. Required Continuous Learning (all online; remotely).


We’ll be sharing the model we’ll start the year in by August 14 (or a few days sooner if possible). This will provide time to assess the status of district/public health in order to make an informed decision for the safest start on 8/25 as a lot can change over these next five weeks.


For families who do not want their children in a school building this year, there are two alternative learning options that families may choose:


1. Remote Classroom

Students complete coursework from home with online instruction with district teachers.


Elementary
We’re still finalizing specifics for Remote Classroom, but we anticipate elementary students would be in a multi-age class with a specific elementary teacher to provide core instruction (literacy, math, science, social studies) online through whole group, small group and individual. A daily schedule would also include a morning meeting, specials, lunch and "recess/breaks"; the schedule would somewhat mimic a normal school day, but condensed to 9:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Students would not be online the entire day as they would have certain times that they would be online and other times that they would be working offline. Students would also be assigned independent work that could be completed offline at any time that day/evening. Learning materials would be distributed to families on a regular basis, and work would be turned in online by students so teachers could assess their progress along the way. Here is a sample schedule of what an Elementary Remote Classroom might follow (please know, this is only a sample and teachers will customize as needed).


UMS, UHS, and Metro West Learning Academy
Based on numbers, we may assign students to a team/group and have certain periods where an in-person teacher is teaching an online class. Students would follow a typical school-day schedule with the day beginning and ending at specific times. Students would be engaged in learning new concepts and then provided time to demonstrate learning. For students, having a certain degree of self-direction will be beneficial when working in an all online instructional model.


Families can sign up for Remote Classroom one semester at a time. Sign up by August 3 for the first semester by completing this form (note: form is for all students except Rolling Green as the RG form had an earlier due date). Families with questions about Remote Classroom are welcome to contact Dr. Crista Carlile, Director of Teaching & Learning, carlilec@urbandaleschools.com


2. Home Schooling
Students complete coursework from home. Parents are responsible for all aspects of instruction, lesson delivery, and assessment. We request parents/guardians notify our district of their plan to homeschool by emailing Dr. Schlueter by August 10, 2020, if possible. In some cases, a Form A is required. More information, including a full handbook can be found on the Iowa Department of Education website.

RTL Town Hall Meeting (virtual): Save the Date

Save the Date! Join us on Thursday, July 30th at 6:30 p.m. as we host a virtual Return To Learn Town Hall Meeting via Zoom where we’ll share about our three instructional models which include On-Site, Hybrid, and Required Continuous Learning (online learning). We’ll share about Remote Classroom which is the alternative learning option that families may choose if they would like their children to learn remotely (all online) and not in a school building. Be looking for an email invitation this Monday, July 27 with a link to the Town Hall Meeting (Zoom webinar) as well as a form that families can submit questions ahead of time so we’ll be sure to get all questions answered. The meeting will be recorded and available for viewing later on our District YouTube Channel.

Governor Reynold’s July 17 Proclamation

On Friday, July 17, Governor Reynold’s shared a new proclamation that impacts Return To Learn plans for school districts across the state. The two main impacts include:


  1. Authority: Prior to the proclamation, school districts, in collaboration with local public health officials, had the authority to transition between all instructional models as district and/or community health dictated. Now, school districts only have the authority to transition between On Site & Hybrid models; districts must request permission and receive approval from the Iowa Department of Education (DE) to move a school or their district to the Required Continuous Learning (all online) model.

  2. Hybrid: The new proclamation also changed the requirements for school districts’ Hybrid instructional models to require at least 50% of in-person instruction to occur over a two-week period. We’re reviewing our Hybrid model to determine any adjustments that may need to be made in order to meet the new requirement. If adjustments are needed, we’ll request review/approval by our School Board and will share the updated Hybrid model with you.

Rolling Green Instructional Model

The Iowa Department of Education (DE) provided permission for our Rolling Green school year to begin in the Required Continuous Learning (all online) instructional model as previously planned. Our first day of school for Rolling Green was Thursday, July 23. Permission to provide instruction all online was granted from July 23 - August 6, 2020.


The DE is still working on the standards or metrics for determining when schools/districts could transition to a different model of instruction; those metrics are expected to be shared the first week of August.

Mandatory Face Masks

As the primary method of transmission for COVID-19 is through respiratory droplets, cloth masks are vital components to mitigate the spread of the virus. All Urbandale CSD staff, K-12 students, vendors, visitors, and spectators are required to wear a face mask while in district buildings and when riding a school bus. Cloth face masks are recommended for preschool students, but not required. Masks must also be worn in outdoor settings where safe social distancing is not possible.

The following in-building exceptions apply:

  • Employees working alone in their offices or rooms

  • While participating in activities in which a face covering cannot be worn, or would prohibit respiratory function

  • Individuals with an approved accommodation that prevents the wearing of a face mask.


Exceptions will be made for medical conditions or special circumstances. If your Urbandale CSD student (note: students other than Rolling Green as RG had a separate form due to timing) has a medical condition or a special circumstance, please complete this form by August 10th.

Chromebook Distribution Agreement

We’ll be providing a Chromebook to all kindergarten through 12th grade students. In order to make that happen, please take a few minutes to read and discuss each item included within this Chromebook Distribution Agreement (note: English, Spanish, Bosnian, and Hakha Chin languages included below):


Please indicate your agreement with each item by checking the boxes for both parent(s)/ guardian(s) and student. Checking each box will constitute an electronic signature which indicates your intention to comply with the terms outlined in the agreement. Complete one agreement for each student. All families other than Rolling Green (as those agreements were completed prior to the start of the school year), please complete the agreement(s) at your earliest convenience.

Internet Service

We’re providing families Internet service who do not currently have Internet at home due to the cost of service being a barrier. Options for service are included in the survey. Please complete this survey (one survey per address) to indicate your need for obtaining Internet service at home. (Note: If you signed up for Internet access this past spring, you do not need to sign up again; your Internet service will continue through the 2020-21 school year.) All families other than Rolling Green (as those families were requested to complete the survey earlier), if you are in need of Internet service, please complete the survey at your earliest convenience.