West Des Moines Community Schools | July 2, 2020
To prepare for the 2020-21 school year, West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) assembled a leadership team dedicated to creating a 2020-21 school year that is safe and effective for students, families, and staff.
Over the past two months, dozens of district employees have worked to develop plans that will BEST support our entire student body regardless of the learning environment. As we created solutions, we kept the following three parent questions at the forefront of our minds:
What will learning look like for my student?
How will my student be safe?
How will you decide which learning environment to use?
Based on Iowa Department of Education (IDOE) guidance from early May, WDMCS developed three separate plans. Look for answers to the three parent questions throughout each plan.
Required Online Learning Environment
This plan identifies how we can support all students if we are unable to be face-to-face for student learning. We researched local, state, and national guidance, reviewed data from school districts around the world, and collaborated to determine how to provide quality instruction and support when students are unable to meet face-to face.
What will learning look like?
Depending on the grade and needs of the individual student, students will participate in TWO types of learning:
Classroom Virtual Meetings. Teachers and students connect with each other using a tool like Google Meets or Zoom.
> Teachers provide social-emotional support and educational instruction, resources, and tasks.
> Students have time to collaborate, ask questions, and connect with teachers and classmates.
Independent Work. Teachers will provide tasks for students to work on outside of the classroom virtual meetings. This work can be accessed and done at a time that works best for their family.
Hybrid Learning Environment
This means services are offered both online and at school locations. The hybrid model allows for social distancing while partially reopening school buildings.
We came up with two hybrid learning options.
WDMCS has determined A/B Days is a preferred approach to help support all students. Administrators will identify two groups of students who will attend face-to-face two days/week.
Group A will attend on Monday/Thursday.
Group B will attend school Tuesday/Friday.
All students will learn online each Wednesday.
WDMCS could also use a hybrid option where families CHOOSE which environment their child will learn in for an entire semester or trimester at a time:
Student learns in the online continuous learning environment
Student learns at school using appropriate safety mitigation strategies.*
*It is possible students may need to shift temporarily to the online environment if there is an outbreak of COVID-19 within their building and/or we receive guidance from local or state authorities to close school buildings.
On-site Learning Environment
This plan models a more traditional experience from previous school years but includes implementing additional health and safety measures.
While students will be back in the classroom, we understand that we must continue to protect staff and students from developing an illness. Consequently, the safety protocols are intended to help prevent the spread of any illness.
How Will WDMCS Choose Which Plan?
We will take many factors into consideration when deciding which plan to choose to begin our school year. YOUR input from the parent survey will be vital.
We also know that based on local level of COVID-19, we may need to move in and out of learning environments. The decision tree below helps explain each model.
What will be different this year?
How will my children be safe if back in school?
What if there is a COVID-19 diagnosis in a school building?
West Des Moines Community Schools used many resources, including those linked below, to create our Return-to-Learn Plan for 2020-21.
Canvas is an online learning management tool that both elementary and secondary students can use this year. Whether you're new to Canvas or a seasoned pro, you can always get answers to your questions.
Return-to-Learn Town Hall
Join us online as district leadership shares information about the 2020-21 Return-to-Learn plan for West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS).