CPS un­veils re­mote-learn­ing frame­work

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - BY SUN-TIMES STAFF

Three weeks be­fore fully re­mote classes are set to be­gin, Chicago Pub­lic Schools on Tues­day re­leased a frame­work de­tail­ing how much time stu­dents will be ex­pected to spend in front of a com­puter every day.

Stu­dents in pre-K will re­ceive an hour of real-time in­struc­tion with an­other 90 min­utes of learn­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

Kinder­gart­ners, first and sec­ond graders will have 3 hours each of in­struc­tion and learn­ing ac­tiv­i­ties. Stu­dents in third through fifth grade will see 3 hours and 25 min­utes of in­struc­tion and 2 hours and 25 min­utes of ac­tiv­i­ties.

In sixth through eighth grade, stu­dents will have 3 hours and 50 min­utes of in­struc­tion with 2 hours and 10 min­utes of learn­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

Since their sched­ules are more var­ied, high school stu­dents will have 80% of their day filled with in­struc­tion with the re­main­ing 20% set aside for learn­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

CPS says teach­ers will also be en­cour­aged “to in­cor­po­rate small-group in­struc­tion and peer-to-peer in­ter­ac­tion into their re­mote learn­ing plans.”

Spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion teach­ers will also pro­vide real-time in­struc­tion, in­di­vid­ual check­ins and learn­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, ac­cord­ing to CPS.

Bilin­gual ed­u­ca­tion teach­ers “will con­tinue to de­liver in­struc­tion that meets the lan­guage needs of our English Learn­ers. In or­der to sup­port stu­dents’ lan­guage devel­op­ment, ELs will also re­ceive live, real-time in­struc­tion and in­de­pen­dent learn­ing ac­tiv­i­ties this fall,” CPS said.

Jesse Sharkey, pres­i­dent of the Chicago Teach­ers Union, blasted the plan.

“The mayor and CPS made this plan with­out imag­i­na­tion or in­put from teach­ers,” Sharkey

said in a state­ment Tues­day. “They have un­veiled a re­mote learn­ing plan to fit into the mold of in-per­son school, but have failed to take ad­van­tage of the ways that on­line learn­ing can be made more ac­ces­si­ble and en­gag­ing.”

Sharkey added that the union on Tues­day filed a griev­ance against CPS be­cause the dis­trict’s re­mote learn­ing guid­ance “fails to pro­vide our school com­mu­ni­ties with the in­struc­tional tools nec­es­sary to de­liver proper in­struc­tion in a re­mote con­text re­quired by the la­bor con­tract.”

CPS ini­tially planned on hav­ing stu­dents in schools for in-per­son learn­ing twice a week. This month, Mayor Lori Light­foot an­nounced that the dis­trict scut­tled the idea be­cause of wors­en­ing pub­lic health con­di­tions and con­cerns from CPS par­ents.

Fully re­mote in­struc­tion will be in place through at least Nov. 6 — the end of the first aca­demic quar­ter. City of­fi­cials hope that, by then, the COVID-19 out­break will be un­der enough con­trol to im­ple­ment in-per­son in­struc­tion two days a week.

Ac­cess to the req­ui­site tech­nol­ogy still re­mains a chal­lenge for some CPS stu­dents, though. The dis­trict said it dis­trib­uted more than 128,000 com­put­ing de­vices to stu­dents last year, and it plans to hand out an­other 36,000 de­vices to stu­dents still in need.

In July, Light­foot un­veiled a $50 mil­lion “Chicago Con­nected” plan to pro­vide free high-speed in­ter­net ser­vice to 100,000 CPS stu­dents over the next four years

CPS says it is also ramp­ing up its emo­tional and so­cial sup­port for stu­dents in the com­ing school year with ad­di­tional men­tal health in­ter­ven­tions, grief cur­ricu­lum and adding “vir­tual class­room ac­tiv­i­ties for man­ag­ing stress and anx­i­ety,” the dis­trict said.

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