Wilson County Schools Director Dr. Donna Wright laid out more plans for the start of the 2020-21 school year at the board of education’s work session July 30.
Students who selected hybrid learning will rotate between school and home, with three days of learning at home, and two days learning at school.
It has already been announced that students will learn on an “AB” schedule, meaning some will attend on Tuesday and Thursday and some will attend on Monday and Wednesday.
“Hybrid learning is modified traditional learning,” Wright said. “And hybrid learning transfers easily into traditional learning. If we see a dramatic uptick (in virus cases), hybrid can transfer easily into remote. We’re seeing changes within 24 hours and we have to have some flexibility with that.”
Teachers will return to school Aug. 10 and the students will return Aug. 17. The plan that Wright and her staff have developed states that students whose last name begins with letters “A” through “K,” will attend “A” days of learning. Students whose last name begins with “L” through “Z” will attend on “B” days.
However, those days are assigned to the oldest student in the household. If there are younger children in the household with a different last name, they will attend in-person school on the same days as their older sibling, despite what their last name begins with.
Students on the "A" schedule will attend classes in the buildings on Tuesday and Thursday. Students on the "B" schedule will attend classes in the buildings on Wednesday and Friday. Monday will be a planning day for teachers. The first week of school starting Aug. 17 has a different schedule.
As of July 30, the system has 10,200 students on an “A” schedule and 9,300 students on the “B” schedule, she added.
Wright also said that some households have students in the Lebanon Special School District, and others in WCS schools.
“We have a good relationship with (LSSD),” she said. “We are trying to figure out how to collaborate, mutually with transportation so there is no difficulty for the families.”
When students are not in the school building, they will learn from studies assigned by teachers on the days they are in school. Students can download the work on the days they are in school, especially if they do not have a reliable internet service.
WCS has also set up remote internet locations, known as hotspots, at each of the district’s schools.
A Parent’s University, which will give parents lessons about the learning and how to use the devices to be given to each school, will also be available beginning Aug. 10. Parents are required to attend several Parent’s University classes before orientation, Wright said.
For grades kindergarten through 8th, an adult, known as a learning coach, will be required for the students learning on the virtual model, she reiterated.
Students schedules will be available in Skyward on Aug. 17, she added. There will also be virtual orientations to help students maneuver through the learning.
Kids’ Club will be available only to students attending Wilson County Schools. Traditional students may attend from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and those in virtual learning can attend 15 minutes after the “last school dismissal time,” she said.
Devices will be given to the students who attend traditional school the first week of school. Virtual students’ parents can pick up the devices Aug. 21 and 24.
Every child will be assigned a device and will receive directions in order to become oriented as to how to use them. In order to receive a device, a student’s parent must sign a student-parent approval acceptable use agreement.
Wright said that with the new schedule, 287 of the 3,800 virtual students have opted to return to in-person learning.
For the students who are attending in school, breakfast and lunch will be provided as usual. For those virtual students, the parent or student can order a hot meal by logging onto www.wcschools.com by 9 a.m.
All ordered meals must be picked up between 11 and 11:30 a.m. at the school at which the student is registered. Payments must be done online and will not be accepted at the drive-through.
Jill Gilbert has been assigned to be the administrator over the program, so that takes the pressure off principals in administering the virtual side of learning, Wright said.
The entire presentation, in the form of a PowerPoint program, is on the district’s website at www.wcschools.com.
State testing request
On Aug. 3, the board will consider a resolution that will allow Wright to ask the Tennessee Department of Education and governor’s offices for a moratorium on all state testing and accountability associated with the testing for the 2020-21 school year.
If the state chooses to continue testing, WCS requests that the testing be “used as metrics of students’ progress rather than to determine district rankings and scorings statewide,” the resolution stated.
Teachers’ raise still planned
Teachers will get 70 percent of the raise they will get during the 2020-21 school year on Aug. 15, according to Finance Director Mickey Hall.
“After we determine how much money we’re actually getting, then they will get the remainder of their raise, retroactively on Dec. 15 or Dec. 30,” Hall said