Planning for Distance Learning
While schools should continue to address the immediate needs of students and families with a variety of short-term solutions, school leaders should also be working with their teams to create long-term plans for distance learning. While nothing is certain, we believe that it is prudent to be building a distance learning plan for your school that could be sustained through the end of this school year. In your planning process, keep these things in mind:
There is no perfect answer or model.
Each school is differently situated and getting remote instruction and resources to students will look different for different schools. The CA Department of Education (CDE) guidance shared a continuum of possibilities. Leaders should be considering which model is feasible, appropriate, and effective for their communities.
Building systems will allow you to improve your program in phases.
Where possible, we recommend building systems that allow you to improve your program each week. For example, some schools have the technology, program, and resources to pivot to full distance learning immediately. Other schools will need to begin by facilitating student learning through teacher videos and paper-pencil work. Regardless of model, all schools should set up systems for effective two-way communication with the community and to monitor student curriculum access in these early weeks. This will allow schools to more easily modify and improve their distance learning plans as time goes on. If school closures continue through the rest of the school year, it is critical that we move toward models of learning at every school that lead to student academic progress aligned with the Common Core State Standards, not just work completion.
This is an “all-hands-on-deck” moment.
We know a key ingredient in California charter schools’ success is an “all-hands-on-deck” culture. Where possible, we encourage you to leverage your entire team to meet the needs of this moment. Everyone should have a role. We also encourage you to use your network and CCSA. No leader should have to create everything from scratch. If your school has a direction and plan already, reach out to CCSA if you’re willing to help other charter schools in the state navigate this difficult moment.
The guiding questions below are intended to help leaders and their teams prioritize longer-term planning in the coming days. We highly recommend you utilize the CDE vetted resources, examples from other leaders, and start by capitalizing on the expertise already alive on your team.
Every school should set a timeline for planning and implementation that is rigorous but feasible for them. However, if schools feel unsure, we recommend setting vision and strategy in 1-2 planning days no later than March 25. After March 25, we recommend no more than 1.5 weeks to prepare for full implementation so that students resume learning in April.