Communication sent via email: April 2, 2020
From Superintendent Dr. Adam Fineske
Good morning, OH Parents and Students.
I hope this email continues to find all of you safe and healthy during this unprecedented time. Earlier this week, I shared our belief that Gov. DeWine was likely to extend the school-building closure order and that the district was working on a long-term remote learning plan in response. With the COVID-19 extension now in place through May 1 across Ohio, it is time to unveil our plan and schedule for your student(s) for the next four weeks.
The district's 1,000-plus students have received instruction online since Monday, March 16. The district did its best to transition as much instruction online as possible in order to adhere to the social-distancing requirements of the state's health orders. Thankfully, our students and teachers were already using technology extensively on a daily basis through Google Classroom and smartphone apps, so overall this went pretty well.
In anticipation of the extension, a district team began to study how a remote learning plan would help us stay true to our mission, adhere to state requirements, and sustain students' intellectual development. We are so fortunate to have three forces working in our favor: a talented and committed team of faculty, motivated students, and parents willing to do whatever it takes to support their children’s educational development.
We knew any plan's success would depend on every student having a school-issued computer device at home. So earlier this week, we allowed K-4 parents to return to the Elementary School to bring home their child's Chromebook. We also wanted the plan to build on our already successful uses of technology while also introducing Google Meet as a featured component of instructional delivery. Lastly, we knew we needed to offer families and students a guide – a schedule – to help make a remote learning plan work inside their homes.
The Remote Learning Plan
Today, I am happy to announce that this plan will go into effect Wednesday (April 8) for all students in grades K-12. This excerpt from a message to our teachers and support staff has served as our main guiding principle during the three-week planning process and remains at the forefront of our efforts moving forward:
"During such times, our shared goal is simple: Making remote instruction as manageable as possible for families. That does not mean virtually delivering as much content as we can; we cannot duplicate classroom education at home. Rather, our role is two-fold: stay connected with our students and keep their minds engaged."
- Dr. Bill Miller, Ottawa Hills Director of Curriculum and Instruction
For the plan to work, everyone needs to do their part:
- Faculty must continue to retool their curriculum and enhance online connections with students via Google Meet.
- Students must do assignments, check in regularly, and participate in online discussions.
- Parents must continue to structure and keep routine as much as possible to help students simulate their time in a standard classroom.
We are confident the plan is both flexible and educationally sound, and will help faculty better connect and engage with students regardless of grade level. Woven into the plan and schedules is the recognition that not every student learns at the same rate or in the same manner. For students who need special support services, plans also have been developed to address their needs.
As remote learning enters this new stage, OH faculty will continue to assign letter grades to student work. The grading process, however, will be necessarily different than in the past.
The Remote Learning Plan Schedules
The Remote Learning Plan Schedules were developed to help OH families plan their household activities during school days over the next four weeks. The schedules place students into one of three bands: K-5, Grade 6, and 7-12. Please take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with your child’s schedule. We have embedded images of each in this email (see bottom), but we also have attached them to this email. We encourage you to download, print, and place the appropriate schedule on your family’s message board or your student’s work area at home for quick viewing access. (Note: In the weeks ahead, teachers may make small adjustments at the grade level to a schedule. Those changes will be communicated to all parents with a child in that grade by the teacher(s). Also parents of students that receive intervention or special education services will be individually contacted regarding support and a schedule of service.
In addition to the schedules, our teams created support documents to help students and parents get the most out of remote learning:
For Remote Learning Specific Questions and Concerns: If you have specific questions or concerns, please start by emailing your child's classroom or subject-area teacher first. Right above each schedule is a link to an email directory of all OH teachers. If you need further assistance, please email your child's building principal.
Please note: There will be no classes on Friday, April 10. This no-school day was already on the 2019-2020 school calendar.
On behalf of the faculty and staff of Ottawa Hills Local Schools, I want to thank you for your patience and understanding during this national crisis. We all can take some solace in knowing that the disruptions we face as educators and parents of school-aged children pale to the hardships encountered by those with the disease or on the front lines serving them. We continue to thank and appreciate those brave individuals supporting us during this unprecedented time.
Above all else, the health and well-being of your family is our top priority. Please stay safe and healthy and reach out to our staff anytime you need us!
Elementary Grades K-5: Student/Parent Schedule | Email directory