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Remote Learning Program

Remote learning FAQs

At its public meeting on June 23, 2020, the Alameda Unified School District voted on the parameters for what instruction will look like for AUSD students in the 2020-21 school year. 

We know our families, students, and staff have many questions about the goals and logistics of these programs. We have tried to answer as many questions as we can here, but will be adding to this FAQ frequently throughout the summer. 

 

LEARNING PROGRAMS

 

What are the two options for school in 2020-21? 

Families have a choice between a Flexible Learning Program and a Remote Learning Program. The Flexible Learning Program will entail half-day, on-campus, in-person instruction and asynchronous (at home) self-paced learning for the other half of the day. The Remote Learning Program will be an entirely on-line program with which students will engage from home. (A separate FAQ on the Flexible Learning Program is available here.)

 

What is AUSD’s Remote Learning Program?

In light of the ongoing pandemic, AUSD is offering a Remote Learning Program for students who may not be able to return to in-class instruction in the fall. This program is being designed to be more engaging than the Distance Learning Opportunities offered this spring and will also include more rigorous and grade-specific coursework and more formal assessments (such as tests), as well as social and emotional learning experiences and enrichment opportunities. Attendance at the virtual class meetings will also be mandated. 

 

How will the Remote Learning Program work?

It’s important to understand that the remote program will not be modeled after a traditional school day program with a schedule of class periods. Teachers will work primarily as “case managers” of students’ instruction and will meet with students in small groups and one-to-one regularly in order to support students' instructional needs and support social and emotional learning.  Students in this program will do much of their work “asynchronously” (meaning independently and at their own pace), and parents/guardians will work collaboratively with the teachers to support and coach their students.  Parents and caregivers will take an active role in supporting their children in following the online platform work.  Teachers will support parents/caregivers as needed to “coach” their children in the learning.

 

Students in the Remote Learning Program will also have access to supports and services for mental health, English Language Development, and Special Education. 

 

Who qualifies for AUSD’s Remote Learning Program?

The Remote Learning Program is being designed to support students including those who:

  1. Have or live with someone who has an underlying medical condition that makes them particularly susceptible to COVID-19. 
  2. Have a caretaker (non-household member) who is vulnerable to COVID-19
  3. Are students in Alameda

AUSD will try to accept as many students as possible into the Remote Learning Program. Preference will be given to students who are or who live with people who are medically fragile, however.

 

What medical documentation do I need to provide to show that my student is eligible for this program? 

Please provide a letter from a physician that explains why your student should receive priority consideration for our remote program.

 

I can’t get my medical documents in by July 5.

You have until July 19 to submit your documents. If the program selection does not allow you to submit your form without documentation, please upload a Word document that says that you will be submitting medical documentation by July 19. Once you have the documentation, you can send it to student.services@alamedaunified.org.

 

How do you apply for the Remote Learning Program? 

A letter describing the programs, with a link to the registration form, was sent to all families on June 26. The form had a deadline of July 5. Acceptance notices were sent to families on July 9 and July 10.  Families who applied for the remote program now have until July 19 to decide if they truly want their student to be enrolled in that program, to submit their medical documentation, submit a confirmation form.

 

Please note: Families who did not submit an Instructional Program Choice form will be automatically enrolled in our Flexible Learning Program.

 

How will students in the Remote Learning Program access meals?

We will still provide meals to those students, but we are still working out the details of how that will happen.

 

Does each school have its own Remote Learning Program?

No, we are setting up one K-12 Remote Learning Program, and classes will be comprised of students and teachers from a variety of school sites.  Teachers in this program will be certificated educators who work for AUSD. Families will continue to have access to information and  events at their home schools, and secondary students will continue to work with their home school counselors for academic counseling.

 

Does a student enrolled into the Remote Learning Program lose his/her spot at their home school?

Students enrolled into the Remote Learning Program will still be enrolled in his/her home school and can return the following school year (2021-22) if schools are able to provide in-person instruction at that time.

 

What if a student enrolled in the Remote Learning Program ends up wanting to join the Flexible Learning Program? 

While we understand that circumstances can change, our current policy is that once accepted into the Remote Learning Program, a student needs to remain in the program for the entire year.  

 

What if a student enrolled in the Flexible Learning Program ends up wanting to join the Remote  Learning Program? 

We will try to accommodate these requests, but it will depend on whether or not we have space in a remote class. 

 

Can a student with an IEP be enrolled in the Remote Learning Program?

Yes, there will be teachers available to support students who have IEPs.

 

How can I get more information? 

If you have questions about enrollment that are not answered here, please email student.services@alamedaunified.org. If you have questions about the program itself, please watch check this FAQ regularly and check your email for communications from AUSD and your school site.

 

July 10 Additions

 

What curriculum will be used in the Remote Learning Program? 

After reviewing numerous online learning programs, our Teaching and Learning staff have chosen “Acellus,” an online K-12 program currently being used in some 2600 schools across the country. Acellus provides standards-based instruction via carefully sequenced, high-definition video lessons, animations, and multimedia presentations.  Students can take the lessons at any time and from any location or device. The program keeps track of what students have completed and what they need to do next. 

Through the Acellus program, students will have access to:

  • Experienced, engaging, and student-centered professional staff

  • High expectations and accountability for students and staff

  • Strong parental/family involvement

  • Robust course offerings that can be completed in a self-paced home environment

Who will be teaching my child in the Acellus program? 

Your student will be learning from Acellus educators (via video) and will be able to access extra support from  Acellus if he/she/NB needs extra support.

In addition:

All students in the Remote Learning Program will be supported by an AUSD “Learning Coordinator” (a certificated AUSD teacher) and their families or caregivers, who will serve as “Learning Coaches.”  The Learning Coordinator/AUSD teacher will act as a facilitator, advisor, and academic support provider and will be able to:

  • Monitor your child’s progress in multiple subjects in real time

  • See when your child might be struggling and in need of additional support

  • Organize one-on-one check-ins or small group work to support students in the online curriculum

  • Work closely with you (or another adult in your household) and your student so that your child is fully supported in his/her/NB academic success

The “Learning Coach” in your household will assist the student in the day to day activities of school by making sure the student has the necessary tools, space, and equipment to access school daily.  The coach will also make sure the student is attending classes, completing assignments, taking assessments, and communicating effectively with the teachers.

 

As a team, the student, teacher and learning coach/parent/caregiver will meet throughout the year to review your child’s  personal learning plan to meet his/her/NB’s needs and goals.

 

In addition to Acellus educators, students in middle and high school will belong to a “house” that includes their primary Learning Coordinator and teachers from major subject areas (i.e., Mathematics, English Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, Languages, and Visual and Performing Arts). Those subject teachers will be available to provide extra support as students go through the Acellus program. Parents, guardians, or other adults in the household will also serve as learning coaches for students in the secondary grades.

 

Where can we see what Acellus looks like? Is there a video demonstration? 

The Acellus website provides quite a bit of information, including a parent blog, a list of courses offered, and overview videos. You can also watch an introductory video designed for students here.

 

How will kids make course selections within Acellus and who will assist them?

As a team, the Learning Coordinator, Learning Coach, and student will meet at the beginning of the year to discuss and determine the student’s strengths, previous state assessments, school performance, and learning styles. (AUSD will also be administering assessments at the beginning of the school year to determine the student needs.)  This data will allow the team to create the best personal learning goals, learning plan, and teaching approach for each student. The plan will be adjusted throughout the year  to ensure the students’ needs are met.

Middle and high school students will also be assigned to academic counselors who will make sure they are taking the courses they need both to graduate and meet their college and career goals.

 

How will my student’s work be graded?

Acellus provides tests at the end of each unit, grades the tests, and tabulates it in an Acellus Gradebook that is available at any time for review. 

 

What will the grade groupings be for the Remote Learning Program?

Students may have a teacher who is providing support to several  grade levels. This will not be like the combined classes (e.g., "4/5 combo class) that we sometimes create to balance staffing for in-person instruction. Instead, in the Remote Learning Program, Zoom check-ins and small groups may be grouped with other students based on their learning needs.

 

What will the schedule for the Remote Learning Program be?

We are still negotiating the details of the daily schedule for the Remote Learning Program with our educators. But our hope is that the schedule will be fairly aligned with the schedule of the A and B cohorts in the Flexible Learning Program.

 

It’s important to understand, however, that the Remote Learning Program provides a tremendous amount of flexibility as to when and how school work gets done. As such, students may have a check-in with their Learning Coordinator (who will be a certificated AUSD teacher) at a certain time every day or may set up a time to virtually meet with one of their teachers for extra support. But the work is largely self-paced, which means families and students can decide together when the best time to do schoolwork is, including how it will work with parents’ work schedules.

  

Here are some samples of what a daily schedule for the Remote Learning Program could look like:

 

  • TK-2 Sample Schedule
  • 3-5 Sample Schedule
  • 6-12 Sample Schedule

Will students in the remote program be able to participate in community activities set up for their home/physical school?

AUSD students enrolled in the Remote Learning Program will still have a connection with their home (physical) school. As such, they will be able to take part in virtual activities such as assemblies, clubs, and school-wide celebrations, as well as district-wide events.

 

Will AUSD teachers and counselors in the Remote Learning Program be trained on how to use Acellus?

Yes. They will receive professional development on using the program to support and monitor students and coach families. AUSD counselors have been using Acellus for some time to support students working on credit recovery, so the program is not new to them.