ANSWER TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Q. Why did DECA change the plan for the beginning of the year?
A. DECA has changed the start of the 2020-2021 school year to Monday, August 24, and will begin the year with all students in the full-time distance learning model with DECA teachers, due to health and safety concerns and our monitoring of local and national trends in COVID-19 cases. Throughout our planning, the health and safety of our staff and students has been our top priority. Pausing the hybrid model and committing to a virtual model for the first quarter allows us to continue to monitor the situation and devote all resources to strong full-time remote learning instruction for all students until we are confident it is safe to return.
Q. So is the Hybrid Learning Option off of the table?
A. DECA will not use the hybrid option for at least the first quarter. We hope to return to offering this option to our students when we feel it is safe to do so. In the event we are able to make that transition, we will let all families know with as much notice as possible.
Q. When will students be able to transition back into the classroom? Under what
circumstances would you make this switch?
A. DECA is committed to honoring the needs and preferences of families who have selected the hybrid instructional model for their students for 2020-21, when conditions allow students and staff to safely return to school facilities.
We will continue to monitor public health data, with the goal of transitioning back to in-person instruction as soon as it is safe. We acknowledge that the safest way for us to return to school may be an even more gradual process than we had previously planned. For example, when it is safer to do so, we may begin with only certain grades in the building to ensure our procedures are safe for larger numbers of students.
Q. Has the first day of school changed?
A. Yes, the first day of instruction will be Monday, August 24, but we will have activities beginning during the week of August 17 (see below).
Q. Since we are moving the start day back, will this affect scheduled breaks or when school will end? When will we get an updated calendar?
A. During this unusual year, we are strongly considering modifying our calendar to ensure we have enough time with students to help them learn everything they need in their current grade level. This may mean that our breaks and end of school year dates may look different than they do now. If we make changes, we provide an updated calendar by September.
Q. What does the week of August 17 look like for students?
A. Our team is still developing the plan for the week of August 17, but we know we’ll have a few important things happening: 1) we expect to have students physically report to the school at preselected times to complete their diagnostic tests (e.g. MAP testing); 2) families will be able to pick up materials at the school; 3) teachers/advisors will connect with families to develop individual remote learning plans and complete virtual home visits.
Q. Is this the plan for the entire 2020-2021 school year? How long will we be remote?
A. Right now, we are committed to delivering fully remote instruction for the first quarter. We will continue to evaluate the public health data in our county, with the goal of beginning to transition students and staff to in-person instruction as soon as we are confident we can implement the model safely.
Q. Are DECA teachers going to be doing all of the teaching or are you still planning ot use a third party?
A. DECA will no longer be using a third party vendor to deliver remote instruction. All instruction will be planned and facilitated by DECA teachers. This will remain true even if we transition to the hybrid model later in the school year.
Q. What will remote learning look like this year?
A. We have worked to ensure that a student’s remote experience resembles their in-person DECA experience as much possible. Morning Meeting and/or Advisory meetings will happen daily to ensure that students and teachers have an opportunity to build community. Assignments and lessons will be a combination of asynchronous (students work on their own time) and synchronous (all students learning at the same time) learning. Teachers will also differentiate instruction and/or provide extension in small groups each week. Though lessons can be recorded, there will be times where students will be required to log in at a specific time.
Q. Will remote learning be different than what my child experienced in the spring?
A. Yes. The full-time remote learning model will be very different from what we offered in the spring. Unlike the spring, in this model in which all students will start the year:
Students will receive interactive, teacher-led instruction four days per week (Monday through Thursday), which will mean more frequent interaction with teachers;
Students will be required to log in for lessons, meetings, or small groups at specific times;
Attendance will be taken and will be determined by a combination of students logging in and their level of engagement in their work;
Families will receive regular progress reports to monitor their child’s engagement;
Students’ grades will be similar to those they would typically receive at DECA;
Parent Academies and virtual meetings will be offered, with training and resources for parents to support learning at home.
Q. Why is the remote learning option so different from the spring?
A. It is always our goal to provide our students and families with the best possible education experience. Since the end of last school year, we have been able to reflect on what went well and where we needed more support. With more time to plan and more knowledge about how to better deliver remote instruction, we feel more equipped to deliver higher quality instruction to our students. Despite the pandemic, it is imperative that our students are learning and we are committed to ensuring that happens.
Q. What is the difference between synchronous and asynchronous instruction?
A. Synchronous learning is interactive, two-way online or distance education that happens in real time with a teacher, whereas asynchronous learning occurs virtually online and through prepared resources, without real-time teacher-led interaction. DECA will use both instructional delivery models to deliver remote instruction.
Q. Will teachers be teaching live (synchronous) sessions?
A. Yes. Teachers will deliver a combination of live and recorded whole group lessons four days each week Monday through Thursday. All small group instruction will happen via live teaching sessions. Select students will be required to log in at a designated time for small group instruction.
Q. What will students be doing on Fridays if there is no instruction?
A. Similar to last year’s 4th quarter, Fridays will be used as an opportunity for students to catch up on missing/incomplete assignments and for students to work on programs that are customized to their current skill level (e.g. Pathblazer, iReady, and Reading Plus) and for high school students to work on their current gateway tasks. As much as possible, teachers will be available throughout the school day to assist students, provide feedback and answer questions.
Q. Will this be structured like a school day (synchronous learning) or can my child learn on his/her own schedule (asynchronous learning)?
A. Each day will be a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning. A majority of the students’ day will be happening asynchronously. When there are live lessons (whole group or small group), students will be required to log in at a designated time.
Q. Why can’t DECA simply structure students’ days like a typical school day and offer synchronous instruction that way?
A. Our research into remote learning models and our experience last year tells us that it is unrealistic for us to expect every student (and their parents) to be engaged in live instruction at the same time every day. Our model is designed to account for the fact that many parents and others supporting our students may work schedules and have other obligations that will prevent them from helping their children during typical school hours. Instead much of the instruction will be recorded for students (and those supporting them) to watch (and rewatch if necessary), but small group instruction will be held live regularly to offer support, tutoring, and extended practice for students.
Q. What about students who need intervention or are on IEPs? How will you deliver the necessary intervention services to them?
A. IEP and 504 teams will meet to adjust services and support to align with the virtual instructional model. Individualized, specially designed instruction will be provided that aligns with students’ IEP services and goals, as well as small group instruction within the general education virtual classroom. Progress will be monitored on an ongoing basis to identify successes and opportunities to intensify support, if needed.
We recognize that while many succeeded during the 4th quarter, a number of students struggled with remote learning. Our team is working to ensure that we design a set of interventions and support (e.g. extra structure, tutoring, small group work, mentoring, additional resources) to help ensure your child’s success.
Q. What if I’m unavailable to help my student login at a designated time?
A. During the first week of school, your child’s teacher/advisor will meet with you to go over expectations and to identify times of day that are best in terms of scheduling lessons or small group instruction. We will not be able to accommodate every schedule and there may be times when you will be responsible for watching a recorded lesson after the fact. We ask that families work to make sure their student is present for live learning when necessary.
Q. Will state tests be given and will end of year exams be required to pass?
A. The US Department of Education and Ohio Department of Education (ODE) will determine state testing requirements for the 2020-2021 school year and, as they do, we will pass that information along to our families. In the meantime, we must work under the presumption that testing will occur as usual until we learn otherwise.
Q. What ways will you help support my child? During what hours will teachers be available for help?
A. All students will receive small group instruction each week. Those groups will be based on classroom lessons and/or individual student needs. If your student needs help or support on asynchronous assignments, their teacher will be available to support your student and to answer questions during regular school hours. Based on beginning of year data and any fourth quarter concerns, the school may reach out to you to set up other interventions for your student. Similarly, if you have concerns about your student based on fourth quarter concerns, you should reach out to the school so we can set up a meeting to determine appropriate interventions.
Q. Are schools still having Open House?
A. While a traditional Open House will not be possible due to COVID-19, each campus is scheduling opportunities for families to meet teachers in person or virtually and pick up required supplied.
Q. Are parents allowed in the building?
A. Parents will only be allowed on campus to attend pre-planned meetings with DECA staff. During such a meeting, social distancing and face coverings will be required.
Q. Will the school offices still be open during remote learning?
A. Yes, the main office of each school campus will continue to be open during distance learning from the hours of 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Social distancing and face coverings will be required.
Q. This plan requires access to technology, including a computer and the internet. What steps is DECA taking to ensure that all students have access to the needed technology for online learning? How can families request help with internet access?
A. DECA is committed to ensuring that all students who need a device will have a working one. We are also working to secure a limited number of internet hotspots for students if your home does not have a consistently reliable internet connection. Please complete this survey* to let us know if you need Chromebook and/or internet access. Of course, we encourage families who have their own devices to use them as they feel so inclined.
*If you have already completed the 2020-21 Learning Option Choice form that was due on July 24 for each of your children, you do NOT need to complete this survey.
Q. Will we have to pay the $30 fee for each child to receive a chromebook this year?
A. Yes. As per usual, we require families to pay a small fee at the beginning of the year to receive a DECA issued chromebook.
Q. If my child’s DECA-issued computer breaks, how do I get it fixed? Will I be responsible for the repair cost?
A. Devices needing repair should be turned into DECA Middle during regular school hours. While we are engaged in remote learning, DECA will conduct repairs without assessing additional fees as long as the damage is not determined to be the result of misuse or abuse.
Q. Will there be training for parents on the technology students will be using?
A. Yes, we are working with our team to finalize plans to provide training sessions for parents covering all the technology we will be asking your children to use throughout remote learning. We also hope to provide tips and information from parents about what worked well during remote learning in the spring to pass along to everyone soon.
Q. If I prefer to purchase my own laptop or chromebook are there special models that I should purchase?
A. Since all students will be using Google Classroom for school work, families can purchase a chromebook or a laptop. Families are suggested to pick devices that are at least 4GB RAM. Suggested models include:
HP 11.6" Chromebook
ASUS - 11.6" Chromebook
HP - Stream 14" Laptop
HP - Stream 11.6" Laptop
Lenovo - 100e 11.6" Chromebook
Dell - Inspiron 11.6" Chromebook
Q. How will DECA support students’ mental health and well-being as they return to school in the fall?
A. Supporting the mental health and well-being of all students, especially when they are learning at home full time, remains a priority as we plan for the fall. DECA will provide weekly Social and Emotional Learning tools for all grade levels and will offer office hours with counselors or social workers by appointment.
Q. If my child is struggling emotionally with their mental health, who should I reach out to for help?
A. Our City Connects Coordinators can help connect families to mental health resources. Each of our campuses has a therapist on staff available to help when needed.
As always your child’s teacher (K-4) or advisor (5-12) can be the first point of contact if you have concerns or questions about your child including about their mental health. They are not trained mental health therapists, so they will work to connect you with the right person.
We are also in the process of developing a set of community resources that we will make available to families on our webpage.
Q. Will the district still provide meals even though we aren’t in school?
A. Yes, DECA is currently working with our food vendor to finalize plans to provide free breakfast and lunch to our students.
Q. In the past DECA has required students complete a form to be eligible for free or reduced lunch, will this be true this year?
A. Yes, all students will be required to complete a Free and Reduced Lunch form; however, DECA is exploring options to ensure that every student will be provided with a free breakfast and lunch during the 2020-21 school year. We will be posting a link to the form on our website very soon and will need families’ help completing this form to ensure that we can afford to support all of our children in this way.
Q. Will students be permitted to participate in sports?
A. As of a July 7 release, OHSAA said "OHSAA Office is proceeding as if fall sports will occur, meaning practices will begin on August 1 and we will conduct our usual series of tournaments in 10 fall sports."
Q. Will my child attend special area classes and/or elective classes this year with Remote Learning?
A. We are working with specials and elective teachers to maintain programming in these areas. Instruction may look different depending on the campus but we are working to ensure students are able to have a balanced academic experience through special area classes such as art, PE, STEM, etc.
Q. Will students have options to participate in extracurricular activities?
A. We have not made a firm decision about how DECA extracurricular activities will function during the 2020-21 school year. We will update families when a decision is made.
Q. What will the academic year look like? What courses will be offered?
A. In an effort to maintain as much consistency as possible, the courses offered this year will be nearly identical to ones offered in previous years. Student’s schedules will continue to be adjusted at the end of the semester. Students will still have access to Sinclair courses as well as rigorous courses here at DECA. We anticipate the need to eliminate some elective classes, but we will attempt to keep as many options open as an outlet for students.
Q. Will you be making changes to the gateway requirements?
A. We will continue to make accommodations to the gateway requirements that will be impacted by changes to our school structure brought about by the pandemic. These requirements include, by may not be limited to, community service, job shadows, and internships. As situations continue to develop, we will continue to update the requirements in ways we believe are fair and still ensure that students are getting the most out of the gateway experience. Any changes outside of the ones mentioned above will be relayed to students and families as they become necessary.
Q. What about graduation requirements? Will those change also?
A. The Ohio Department of Education will make the final decision about courses and test scores required for graduation. As guidance becomes available about any changes, we will communicate these with families. Gateways are the one requirement that is within our agency. Please reference to the previous question as it relates to our current plan for accommodations to gateways amid the pandemic.
Q. Will Sinclair classes look different during DECA’s remote learning? When should my student register for classes?
A. Majority of Sinclair’s classes are being offered online for the first semester. Registration for fall semester is open until August 7. Students wishing to register for classes should set up an appointment with Mrs. Overman.
Q. Will students have the opportunity to take the ACT this year? When will these tests happen?
A. DECA has been granted permission to be a testing site for the ACT test (exclusively for DECA students). Tests will take place in September, October, and December. Additional information will be shared with families about how to register to test at DECA High.
Q. What is the best way to stay informed about reopening plans?
A. Visit the website at www.daytonearlycollege.org/covid-19/returnplan for the latest information and updates on planning for reopening schools. This FAQ page will be continuously updated with all the latest information and resources.
Q. Who serves on the Task Force?
A. Chaired by Superintendent David Taylor, the Task Force is composed of over 20 DECA principals, teachers and support staff across the three campuses. The members represent a variety of different perspectives, grade levels and areas of expertise. The charge of the Task Force is to provide input on planning and decision-making for reopening in alignment with state guidance for reopening. The Task Force meets weekly with subcommittees focused on Instruction, Operations, Communication, and Wellness, to review and provide input as plans progress.
Q. How can families provide input?
A. As we engage in this new way of learning, we are here to support you through the transition. If you have any questions about any of these policies and procedures, devices, school work, or anything at all, please reach out to us. You can email: firstname.lastname@example.org or text to 937-985-DECA (3322) and a staff member will get back to you within one business day.