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Update on Continuity of Learning

April 9th, 2020

Over the past four weeks, the HCPSS has worked 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 uncertainty. 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 for the remainder of this school year and the next.

Following are summaries of HCPSS work currently underway to implement continuity of learning and resolve issues resulting from the coronavirus-related school closure. This information will be updated as HCPSS receives additional guidance from the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE).

Distance Learning Schedules

On Tuesday, April 14, Phase 3 of our continuity of learning plan begins as high school students, outfitted with required technology, engage with teachers and develop a routine schedule. The expectation is that students engage in check-ins with their teachers for a maximum of two hours per day. Specific information about your child’s schedule was provided by their teacher. A general overview is provided online.

Quarter 4 Grading

Staff are working to create quarter 4 grading models that are reasonable and fair to students. Our primary goal is to develop a system that ensures students are not penalized due to the emergency closure. Specific information about quarter 4 grading will be available after HCPSS receives MSDE guidance about grading and/or extended school closures. In the meantime, middle and high school teachers are expected to provide opportunities for students to improve their quarter 3 grade from now through April 24. Find more information on third quarter grading.


Staff are developing expectations and routines for monitoring attendance. Additional information will become available after MSDE provides guidance on attendance and/or extended closure.

Mitigation of Student Learning Gaps

School closures have interrupted student learning of critical content. For some courses, content and skills build on themselves and lead to deeper understanding for future learning. HCPSS is implementing three tactics to mitigate, to the greatest extent possible, the loss of instructional time:

  1. Working with teachers to identify the most critical concepts and standards that remain for this school year. Teachers are designing learning experiences that focus on these topics first. Teachers will not be able to fully complete the intended curriculum.
  2. Re-aligning course standards in subsequent grades or courses so that, beginning next fall, teachers will “reach back” to teach critical content or skills that may have been missed this spring.
  3. Developing learning experiences that extend beyond the school day/year so that students, with support from school staff, can strengthen their understanding of content.

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