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Update for Elementary Families

We hope that this email finds you and your family well as we continue to develop structure and stability within this new normal.  As we shared with you last Friday, Governor Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Education announced that all Iowa schools will be closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. 

Continuous Learning:
As a district, we have been preparing for the possibility of not returning to school this year.  At this time, we are continuing with the Voluntary Educational Enrichment Opportunities in grades PK-8 as outlined by the Iowa Department of Education. This plan allows us to count the instructional time lost and students will not be required to make up the days of school that will be missed through the end of the school year. 

Over the last few weeks, we have communicated with you about a variety of resources. Teachers have been asked to connect with students and families each week and to provide assistance with gaining access to Clever, DreamBox, and Lexia. Teachers are monitoring the use of the programs and will reach out to families to determine if any support is needed. If students encounter issues, teachers are able to offer instructional strategies and point parents to resources, within DreamBox and Lexia, that can also offer support. Last week, we asked that you give strong consideration to the DreamBox and Lexia products because they are able to provide opportunities for continuity of instruction as they are adaptive to the child’s individual needs. We are extremely excited that, once again, we saw the percentage of students logging in to these programs increase! DreamBox usage is up from 41% in March to 59% during the week of April 13. Lexia is up from 26% to 51% during the same time period. 

The list below represents what has been shared with elementary families over the last several weeks. All activities outlined are completely voluntary.

Teachers have been reaching out to students and families in a variety of ways and will continue to do so. In addition, beginning next week, we are asking all elementary classroom teachers to offer Zoom sessions for their students, as a way to check in on their social and emotional well-being and engage the students in a community activity. We are also asking our specials teachers to join in on some of these Zoom sessions, and to provide specific learning activities for their students that will be communicated through school newsletters. 

While preparing for the possibility of an extended school closure, we have been working with vendors to purchase grade level workbooks in reading and math. We placed the orders for these materials over the last two days, given the news from the Governor last Friday. These workbooks will provide opportunities for students to practice skills that are tied to our curricular materials and expectations. Once the workbooks have been received, parents will be informed of the distribution procedures, making sure that social distancing regulations are followed. 

We hope that by providing these workbooks, we are able to meet the needs of more students, in particular, those who are unable to access DreamBox and Lexia. The workbooks can also provide a “technology-free” option for students who need to share technology devices with other family members. They will provide a more traditional format to learning skills in math and language arts which may be more comfortable for parents.  

Each family needs to decide what level of learning is right for them. We are still strongly encouraging the use of DreamBox and Lexia since these programs are able to adjust to the level of each child and provide feedback to our teachers which can be used to target additional learning recommendations. Some families might be able to find the time for their children to do the online programs and the workbook assignments every day. Others might consider alternating days between the online programs and the workbooks. 

Please look for information to come soon regarding the distribution of the workbooks.  We are doing our best to get them in your hands as quickly as possible and are working with our distributors to expedite the shipping process. 

Until then, please continue to utilize the suggested resources within the links above, and reach out to your child’s teacher with further questions.  Please continue to take care and stay healthy.  #ICCSDtogether