ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The state’s largest school district is releasing new details about its plan for student learning over the next two months as classroom instruction has been canceled amiss the COVID-19 outbreak.
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Starting Monday, Albuquerque Public Schools says its roughly 80,000 students will begin working under their new “Continuous Learning Plan” which is designed to keep kids engaged with school work while at home through May. The district is calling on parents to be a big part of the plan’s hopeful success.
“We’re not at the house and so we need to make sure that the parents are supporting us in this work, and if they’re having difficulty with their students, they need to contact us so that we can see what we can do,” said Raquel Reedy, superintendent of Albuquerque Public Schools during a Wednesday news conference.
The plan, known as the “CLP,” was submitted to the New Mexico Public Education Department this week, detailing K-12 learning through the end of the academic year across K-12 grades, special education and students with individual education plans.
APS expects students to begin learning under the CLP starting Monday, April 13. Until then, principals and teachers are taking part in planning for the lessons.
The district says teachers should be getting in contact with each of their students individually with more specifics on the exact lessons they’ll be given through the end of the 2019-2020 academic year. Much of the instruction is going to be focused on retaining what has already been taught this school year.
“It’s maintaining skills that have been built already,” said Dr. Madelyn Serna Marmol, Associate Superintendent Equity, Instruction, Innovation & Support.
“Of course, for our seniors, we want our seniors to get caught up and be able to graduate, and so if they’re missing work for credits, or those things are not in place, we’re hoping that the continuous learning will help them there,” Serna Marmol said. “For our elementary schools, it’s really a lot about … you know maintaining skills and also a lot of social emotional learning.”
In getting ready for those lessons, APS began handing out Chromebook laptop computers to southwest and southeast high school students today. The device distribution continues for students at southeast and southwest schools Thursday and will begin for northeast and northwest students on Monday.
While the state has waived its attendance requirements for students, Superintendent Reedy says students are expected to take part as their performance will ultimately be measured on a pass-fail scale.
Reedy is calling on students and parents to make a daily, at-home school schedule for themselves. While the district admits there will be challenges with the roll-out, they’re hopefully that students get something out of it. The also district believes the initiative may help drive-up graduation rates.
“It’s my great hope that we will have even more seniors graduate than usual because of all of the additional support and attention being paid on a one to one basis,” said Aimee Milazzo, APS’ executive director of curriculum and instruction.
Online, the district has posted its expectation of how much time per day kids should be learning, by grade level. The instruction time each day ranges between 30 minutes or more from K-5 grades, and three hours total for middle school and high school students. Teachers are also expected to hold online office hours.
The district also says parents with students who have special or individual education plans can expect more in the coming day about how their learning will roll out.
“(This is) probably one of the most thorough jobs that I have ever seen where an entire district came together, every single department stepped forward and helped, and it wasn’t a matter of silos not wanting to work with other silos,” Reedy said.
APS says it’s also working with the City of Albuquerque government to announce plans this week for free WiFi hot spots around Albuquerque where students can connect to the internet and take part in their distance learning.
The district is also planning on continuing its broadcasting online and televised lessons for students in kindergarten through 5th grade.