Dear Clarke Teachers, and Community Members,

At the September 14, 2020 board meeting, the board heard from many teachers regarding their concerns related to the challenges virtual learning has posed during the 20-21 school year.  The board charged the Clarke Administrative Team to meet with teachers regarding how to address these concerns.  Each building met with their Building Leadership Teams twice over the last week, prior to the Administration team’s meeting on September 23, 2020, to develop a plan to bring to the board for discussion.
During the administrative team meeting information was shared on a data analysis on virtual students’ success rates in classes, the initial elementary i-Ready data, the impact late or early start has on instructional minutes, and IEP compliance.  The administrative team is providing this information, as well as guidance from the Department of Education, to help our stakeholders better understand the team’s proposal to best support all Clarke students and staff.  

  1. Initial data analysis of student grades at the secondary is listed below:
High School Middle School
344 Failing Grades122 Failing Grades
Average of 4 D/F/ virtual studentsAverage of 2 D/F per virtual students
12% of virtual students DON’T have D/F47% of virtual students DON’T have D/F
44% of D/F students are virtual73% of D/F students are virtual
61% of all D/F grades are for virtual students56% of all D/F grades are for virtual students

2.            The I-Ready data at the elementary shows 85% of the tested students are below grade level in reading and 97% of the tested students are below grade level in math.
3.            Special Education Teachers report they have less than 50% of their students logging in regularly for their specially designed instruction and progress monitoring, which is required by law.  Teachers report sometimes daily unsuccessful attempts to contact families to ensure students receive these services.
4.            The administrative team considered the possibility of a one-hour early dismissal each day to support the time teachers need to adequately address the many virtual learners in their classrooms.  The effect of this decision would be 21 lost instructional days over the course of the year.  Given the needs of our students, we determined this was not a viable option.
5.            Guidance from the Department of Education regarding Senate file 2310: Districts and nonpublic schools are only required to offer accommodations for remote or online learning if a child, another resident of the child’s residence, or one of the child’s regular caretakers has a significant health condition that increases their risk of COVID-19. The child’s parent or guardian must provide written verification from a licensed healthcare provider. Districts and nonpublic schools have the discretion to honor other requests for continuous learning.  See full document here.
The administrative team brings to the board a recommendation to require that all virtual students will return brick and mortar on Monday, October 5th, unless they are able to provide documentation from a medical provider that meets the requirements of #5, above.
The administrative team recognizes that there will be students who meet these requirements and thus will continue to learn virtually.  The team is taking the following steps immediately to alleviate some of the pressures teachers have expressed relating to supporting virtual learners:

  • The required weekly check-in calls will be done by someone other than the classroom teachers
  • Attendance tracking of virtual learners will be done by building secretaries
  • The district will be providing a technology tool (pdf editor, KAMI) that will allow teachers and students to quickly and easily edit any non-digital activities

Depending upon the number of students who meet the requirements to continue to learn virtually, the administrative team may take further action to provide additional relief for teachers working with those learners.
The administrative team believes this is the best way to support and ensure student success while also lifting some of the additional expectations placed on teachers.
If you have any additional questions, please reach out to your building administrator or Superintendent Seid.
Thank you,
Steve L. Seid