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Omaha Public Schools announces changes for K-2nd grade students

OPS
Posted at 10:14 PM, Aug 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-21 23:29:50-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) -

After receiving concerns from parents about the length of online classes for younger elementary grade students, Omaha Public Schools announced remote learning changes for students in kindergarten, first grade and second grade on Friday.

The district says students in those levels will be asked to be online for roughly half the day. Schedules will be adjusted to emphasize instructional time that includes more frequent and longer breaks, and more one-on-one time with students and teachers.

According to the district, the focus of learning will be reading, writing and math. Other classes such as social studies and science will continue but be optional for families during remote learning.

Students will also receive at least 20-30 minutes of individualized support each week.

“We believe this adjusted schedule prioritizes instructional time while accounting for less screen time and allowing for necessary breaks for younger students,” the district wrote in an e-mail.

Students in special education will continue to receive services but "there may be adjustments to the delivery time and methods," the district wrote.

The changes will begin no later than August 26. Once things are finalized, schools will share more details with families.

Below is a letter sent out to parents about the changes ---

Dear OPS Kindergarten, First and Second Grade Families:

Throughout the Responsible Return to School planning process we have shared that the 100% remote learning instructional model is intended to look different than what our staff and students experienced in the spring. We took our lessons learned from the spring and applied them to our fall planning. As part of our commitment to provide the best educational opportunities for our students, we continue to evaluate our practices and procedures and will evolve throughout the process. We also value the feedback we have received from stakeholders. We appreciate the continued partnership and flexibility of teachers and families.

As we near the end of our first week of school, we wanted to update you on adjustments we will be making to remote learning for students in kindergarten, first grade and second grade.

Adjusted Daily Schedules for Kindergarten, First Grade and Second Grade Students Beginning next week, we are asking early elementary staff to adjust the daily schedule of students. Schedules will be adjusted to prioritize instructional time that includes more frequent and longer breaks. This change is ONLY being made for kindergarten, first grade and second grade students. There will be no adjustments to other grade levels at this time.

Moving forward, students in kindergarten, first grade and second grade will be asked to be online for approximately half the day. More frequent and longer breaks will be built into the day. The focus of live instruction will be on reading, writing and math. In order to allow additional breaks and time away from a device, specials, social studies and science will continue but will be optional opportunities for families during remote learning. We encourage families to participate but understand students may need a longer break on particular days.

Half of the day will be dedicated to 1 on 1 instructional support from teachers and paraprofessionals. Teachers and paraprofessionals will each provide 1 on 1 instruction with all students throughout the week. Students will receive at least 20-30 minutes of individualized support each week. We believe this adjusted schedule prioritizes instructional time while accounting for less screen time and allowing for necessary breaks for younger students.

Special Education Students in special education will continue to receive services. There may be adjustments to the delivery time and methods. Look for additional information from your child’s school.

Grading Grades will continue to be assessed for reading, writing and math. More details will be shared next week on grading practices for optional opportunities for families.

Next Steps Schools are working to make these adjustments to student schedules. Once the information is finalized, they will be sharing more details with families. The changes will begin no later than Wednesday, Aug. 26.

We look forward to learning with students in-person when it is possible to do so. We are actively planning and preparing for that time. We continue to monitor health conditions in our community and will communicate updates to families as we are able. As we plan for our return, we are continuing to evaluate our procedures. The activities and daily schedule must and will look different in each instructional model to accommodate current health and safety conditions and staff bandwidth.

We are committed to ongoing communication with our staff and families. We appreciate the feedback that has been shared with us thus far and we hope our partnership can continue to ensure the best solutions for our students.

Your student's school and teacher will be in touch with additional information at the start of next week. Please do not hesitate to contact them with questions.
Sincerely,

Omaha Public Schools