CPS unveils remote-learning framework
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.