Dear Parent / Guardian:
We hope this letter finds you and your family healthy and finding the positive in each day. While we can’t control the global pandemic, we can control how we choose to respond. It is our hope you are using this gift of time to enjoy one another and make lasting memories.
As you know, to date, Governor Reynolds has issued school closures through April 30. We anticipate an update within the next two weeks as to whether we can continue school on May 1. We are hopeful and prepared to do so, if the Governor Reynolds gives permission to proceed.
The intent of this letter is to inform you North Mahaska Schools will be providing option 2 of the Iowa Department of Education’s plan for voluntary enrichment options for students beginning April 13, 2020.
The state has forgiven the missed instructional hours from March 16 through April 12. (Schools will not have to make up this missed instructional time.)
Why didn’t schools provide on-line learning from March 16 through April 12?
The state would not allow schools to provide instruction during this time. However, North Mahaska Schools did put together educational opportunities for each grade level and/or content area and listed the resources on the NM website. Recently, the Iowa Department of Education put together a plan to allow schools to begin providing instruction starting on April 13.
Under the Iowa Department of Education’s Plan, schools have three options:
Option 1: Do nothing and make up the missed instructional hours when we are allowed to resume school. North Mahaska Schools did not choose this option because we believe it is in our student’s best interest to engage in learning opportunities. Additionally, it is uncertain when we will be able to return to school.
Option 2: Provide Voluntary Enrichment Opportunities and not have to make up the missed instructional time from April 13 to when the school closure ends. Grades are not taken, but it is strongly suggested students participate. Teachers will connect with students and provide feedback.
Option 3: Provide Required Instruction, take grades, and not have to make up the missed instructional time from April 13 to when the school closure ends. Under this option, schools have to ensure all students have equal access, the same level of rigor and effort as they would in the classroom, and that all Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs) are implemented. North Mahaska Schools did not choose this option because we have several students who do not have technology and/or reliable internet to access online learning. Additionally, it would be unrealistic to think that students would be able to engage in the same level of rigor and effort at home as they would in the school environment. Many families have multiple students at home and, they have to share technology, adding to the difficulty of teachers providing a full day of instruction in the home setting.
As a result of Option 2 of the Iowa Department of Education’s Plan, North Mahaska Schools will provide students with on-line learning beginning April 13.
Both elementary and jr./sr. high students will be provided with a research-based online curriculum through Edmentum. The elementary students will receive an individualized learning paths with high-quality curriculum called Exact Path. The jr./sr. high students will receive specific course content through Edmentum Courseware. Both programs are tightly aligned to the Iowa Core Curriculum and provide moderate increases in student achievement for students spending 30 to 70 minutes of instruction per course per week.
How will my child access the on-line curriculum?
Teachers will be sending out information on how to access the on-line content along with usernames and passwords on Monday, April 13.
Are there locations I can access the internet if I don’t have service at home?
The New Sharon Little League Fields, The School Parking Lot, and New Sharon Library all have free wifi that can typically be accessed via technology from your vehicle. Additionally, http://www.mahaska.org/ lists several places under the MCG Local tab where free wifi is available in the Oskaloosa area.
What happens if my child does not have access to technology or reliable internet service?
Teachers will be providing paper packets of similar content to continue student’s learning.
How will I get the packet?
The school will be open on Monday, April 13 from 9:00 to 11:00 and 4:00 to 6:00 to allow parents the opportunity to pick up packets and anything they may have left at school and need for instruction. Those packets not picked up will be mailed to the student’s home address listed in Power School. Parents will need to practice social distancing when picking up the packets.
How will my child earn a grade for fourth quarter?
Teachers will review the content students complete and provide feedback regarding their progress. Semester grades for 7-12 students will likely be taken from the end of 3rd quarter grades. Those students in grades 9-12 who are not in good academic standing (behind in credits, not on track for graduation, or failing current course work) must continue their credit recovery course(s) to earn credit. If a student was failing a course or courses at the end of the third quarter, that student may (subject to teachers’ feedback and student’s level of engagement within the on-line course) become in good academic standing by fully engaging in the Edmuntum Courseware.
The North Mahaska website @ nmwarhawks.org will be used as the primary place to receive communication.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email Mrs. Goemaat, Jr./Sr. High Principal at firstname.lastname@example.org or Angela Livezey, Elementary Principal / Superintendent at email@example.com.
Elementary Principal / Superintendent