Important Continuity of Learning Updates, April 9, 2020
April 9th, 2020
The following update was sent to the HCPSS community by Superintendent Michael Martirano on April 9, 2020:
Over the past four weeks, the HCPSS has been working to develop a continuity of learning plan that builds a bridge between expectations in the traditional school setting and learning during a national state of emergency. This pandemic has greatly interrupted our lives and created a great deal of unease. We realize that uncertainty about school operations and learning has been an additional source of anxiety, and we have not lost sight of the many open questions on how this unprecedented period of school closure will affect our educational program. Find the latest updates on issues such as GT placements and mitigation of learning gaps, and the status of our work in addressing other matters including grading and attendance.
Today we completed device distribution to high school families who requested a device through our student technology survey. Despite following health guidelines, we have experienced challenges in maintaining social distancing during in-person device distribution. Moving forward, we will use a revised procedure where devices will either be mailed or delivered directly to middle and elementary families, and to high school families who requested devices but were unable to pick them up. More information is provided online and specifics will be shared with each applicable family.
Parents of children receiving special education services are encouraged to visit our new Continuity of Learning – Special Education webpage. Because a countywide plan for special education continuity of learning would not serve every child’s unique needs, each child receiving special education services will have an individualized plan. Parents have several options for collaborating with staff to best support their child.
We continue to expand our meal services during school closure, and I am pleased to announce that beginning Tuesday, April 14, meals will be distributed at Hollifield Station Elementary, in addition to the existing 13 meal distribution sites. HCPSS already has served more than 250,000 meals since meal distribution began on March 17.
As we begin the shift to distance learning, I know that families may feel overwhelmed by the quantity of messages you are receiving from our system and schools. It is important that we ensure you have all of the necessary information to allow learning to proceed as seamlessly as possible, and I appreciate your patience and support as we work quickly to adapt to and refine an entirely new instructional model.
Best wishes to you and your family for peace and well-being during the long holiday weekend.
- Supporting Language Needs: Find information on the ways that HCPSS is supporting the language needs of families through in-person and online resources.
- Update on Device Distribution: Find details on the revised device delivery procedure for middle and elementary families.
- Continuity of Learning Updates: Find summaries of HCPSS work currently underway to resolve issues resulting from the coronavirus-related school closure, including 4th quarter grading, attendance, GT placement, and mitigation of learning gaps.
- Special Education Continuity of Learning: This new webpage provides an overview of special education services for continuity of learning, timeline for service delivery and links to online resources for family use at home.
- Public Forums: Board of Education meetings are currently being held virtually due to the coronavirus-related school closure. Beginning with the April 16 Board meeting, Public Forum will be reinstated following a modified procedure. Community members may register by emailing written comments in advance; the first 10 submissions will be read aloud during the meeting. Detailed instructions provided online.
- Spring Break for school staff begins today, Thursday, April 9. All HCPSS staff will be off for Spring Break on Friday, April 10 and Monday, April 13.
- Meal Distribution: Free Grab-N-Go meals are served weekdays from 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m., through April 24 to anyone age 18 and under and/or any HCPSS student at locations countywide. Participants are encouraged to bring bags to carry meals home. Hollifield Station Elementary School will be added to the HCPSS meal distribution sites beginning Tuesday, April 14. Please note that parents/guardians may pick up meals for their children, who do not need to be present.
- HCPSS Connect Outage: The Information Technology Department will perform a routine update to a technology system, Friday, April 11 from 10–11 p.m. During this time, access to Synergy will be unavailable for staff and students, who still will be able to access Canvas. HCPSS Connect will be unavailable for parents/guardians, including Synergy and Canvas. If you experience any system issues after this change, please contact Technology Support at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Account Self-Service for Students: Students now have the ability to retrieve their usernames and reset passwords, independent of teachers and staff. Directions on using self-service can be found online.
- Access to Learning Fund: Bright Minds Foundation has launched an emergency Access to Learning Fund to raise money for critical education access supports for HCPSS students during the extended school closure. Find more information on the Bright Minds website.
- 2020 Census: Several HCPSS programs rely on funding based on accurate census information, so all families are encouraged to participate in the 2020 census, which may be completed online. Learn more.
- Howard County Library Online Classes and Tools for Students: Students can access many learning resources with their A+ student accounts through hcpss.me by selecting HC Library.
- Elementary school students: Keep reading with a large selection of eBooks and audiobooks. Practice math with TumbleMath. Build skills in language arts, science, and social studies. Learn a new language.
- Middle and high school students: Find eBooks and audiobooks, online magazines and books, historical research tools, literary research and criticism tools. Practice world languages. Take an online class. Prepare for SATs and ACTs.
- The HCPSS Coronavirus website provides the latest information and resources for Continuity of Learning, answers to many frequently asked questions, and much more. This one-stop resource is updated regularly so please check back often.