OASD Fall 2020 Planning Begins-- Staff & Students Shine During Emergency Remote Learning
While the Oconomowoc School District (OASD) is in the process of finishing up the current school year, the OASD School Board, Administration, and teaching teams have begun planning work around how the start of the 2020-21 school year will look.
The OASD does not know what lies ahead of regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, the District has begun work with the School Board to make decisions based on the most current guidance available and based on the desires and needs of our families and school community. The primary goal is to find ways to get students safely back into our buildings. The District has surveyed families on their experiences with emergency remote instruction and is also completing surveys of all OASD staff and students in grades 5-12.
In general, three scenarios being considered for OASD student return next fall:
- A face-to-face scenario
- A hybrid scenario that blends remote and in-person learning
- A fully remote scenario
While the OASD continues to explore multiple scenarios, the District will likely offer a fully remote option for students all learning levels. A fully remote learning option will not be the only option available, but one that District families could choose. Families who decide to continue with a fully remote learning option might have children or family members with medical conditions that could be exacerbated by COVID-19. This plan would be one we could implement if such a scenario is mandated due to pandemic-related concerns.
Superintendent Dr. Roger Rindo shared, "While we don't know yet precisely what school will look like next Fall, our primary goal is to get students back into our buildings safely. Additionally, the OASD understands the importance of continuing to provide social and emotional support to our students, families, and community as we all adapt to our new normal. The School Board and administration are working together, and we recognize the need to provide students and families with several educational options next fall to meet their needs best. There was something in OASD for everyone before the pandemic closed our schools, and there will be something for everyone when our schools open again."
OASD School Board President Rick Grothaus added, "As challenging and uncertain as these times are, I am confident that the District administration, working alongside the school board, will offer a plan for families of the OASD around the 2020-21 school year. This plan will provide options and opportunities for people to find safe, supportive, and learning-focused school experiences for their children." Grothaus went on to say, " I am witnessing strong, collaborative leadership rising to the occasion, coming together to craft solutions to problems no one has ever before encountered. We will have a stronger school district as a result of working through this crisis together."
OASD 2020-21 School Year Planning and Engagement Timeline
- May 15-June 3: Family, Staff & Student Remote Learning Surveys
- May 16: Draft Board Priorities & Guiding Principles
- Mary 25-June 9: Preliminary Return Scenario Planning
- June 9: Board Workshop: Feedback & Direction on Preliminary Return Scenarios
- June 11: Family Preference Survey
- June 16: Board Meeting: Review preference survey data; Feedback and direction to
administration on Fall return plans
- June 29: Communicate Fall return plans to OASD families and community
- July 13-17: Community Presentations on Fall return plans
The end of the school year for the OASD was unprecedented and filled with unexpected challenges. Through those challenges, our students and staff found ways to shine and continue their learning in non-traditional ways.
District Administration began reviewing the pandemic plan in February as news of the spread of the COVID-19 virus began to increase around the world. The original pandemic plan was developed in 2009 in response to the H1N1 virus and outlined district functions, core planning, implementation, and recovery in the areas of health services, instruction delivery, logistics, and district operations. All of those plans, however, needed to be modernized to fit the online and virtual tools and technology available today.
This advanced preparation and the existing pandemic plan made it possible for the OASD to transition to remote instruction on March 18, after Wisconsin schools were closed on March 13, 2020. The OASD provides a Chromebook for all students in grades 4-12, and those students were able to transition to virtual and online learning tools immediately. Students in grades 4K-3 do not have district-issued devices, so they were sent home on March 13 with paper materials to continue their learning, centered on literacy grade-level standards. We were able to offer devices to the students in grades 4K-3 who needed them and began virtual learning for these students on April 2.
Throughout the District, our staff have worked tirelessly to reinvent teaching practices and routines in a virtual environment. They have gone above-and-beyond daily to ensure our students continued academic learning until the end of the school year.
OASD teachers and staff have had an incredible two months and experiences they would never have expected. No college course or continuing education program can train a teacher to leave their students and classroom behind, along with all the tools and resources they use and reinvent the entire way they do their work. No advanced planning can show them how to recreate their curriculum and classroom schedule, then deliver it to students that they haven't seen face-to-face in weeks. Nothing could have prepared our staff for this new reality - and nothing could stop them from taking on this challenge and finding ways to shine.
OASD Team COVID-19 Emergency Support March-June 2020
Our School Principals and Staff:
- Found new ways to deliver all their grade-level instruction to students virtually.
- Learned how to use virtual tools and taught their students and their families how to use them, then perfected the use of these tools to stay connected with students and lead instruction.
- Created opportunities engagement and to continue some of their school or classroom traditions, to help students feel connected to school.
- Worked tirelessly to help students and families become successful in a remote environment.
- Planned new ways to conclude the school year, return personal items to families, and celebrate our 4th, 8th, and 12th -grade students who are moving to a new school next year or leaving our district at OHS graduates.
The OASD Technology Team:
- Distributed 120 iPads, 300 Chromebooks, and 60 mobile hotspots to OASD students and families who did not have a device.
- Issued Chromebooks and laptops to any staff members who did not already have a device.
- Increased helpdesk support infrastructure to offer help to students, family members, and staff who needed help with online tools or devices.
- Acted as content experts for online tools and resources for staff members and families.
The Curriculum & Instruction Team:
- Developed emergency remote learning guidelines within the first week of remote learning to provide an instructional baseline for our staff.
- Partnered with Principals and teaching teams to continually evaluate and adjust online learning practices to ensure we're offering high-quality remote crisis learning for students.
- Worked with Principals and teaching teams to develop revised grading guidelines that would fairly evaluate student learning in the emergency remote setting.
- Crafted multiple scenarios for the OASD Summer School program, ultimately moving to a virtual skills development format for K-8, and virtual credit recovery and future-readiness format for 9-12.
- Continued planning for the possibility of allowing limited student access to our schools in July to offer reading and math skills programs for the students with the greatest need of reaching grade-level standards.
The Student Services Team:
- Partnered with classroom teachers to find creative ways to offer specialized support that many students were receiving at school, including providing specialized equipment at home.
- Supported access to services for all OASD families were possible through a partnership with area mental health providers.
- Established creative ways to support the social-emotional needs of students, including behavioral strategies and executive functioning skills.
- Supported food distribution with Sodexo Food Service, initially to students who qualified for Free and Reduced Lunch but then moved to support all OASD students in need. This team effort has helped serve approximately 5,000 meals to OASD families per week and will continue through August.
The Business Services Team:
- Worked with the District's Human Resource team to continue pay and benefits for staff members who are working remotely.
- Contracted service providers and the OASD School Board worked with the District's Business Services team to establish a fiscally responsible plan to honor those contracts.
- Managed the budget changes and impacts from the OASD school closure in the 2019-20 school year and the anticipated budget impacts on the 2020-21 school year.
- Handled reimbursement procedures for all student, family, and event fees that were paid but not incurred because of our school closures.
The District Human Resources Team:
- Worked with staff to transition working in a virtual or remote environment while ensuring the continuation of pay and benefits.
- Assisted staff members who chose not to work remotely with information about other Federal government payment options, leave options or reassignment options.
The Health Services Team:
- Acted as the District representative and advocate with State and County Health Departments, ensuring that the OASD follows health guidelines and understands all of the resources available to keep students, staff, and families healthy.
- The health and safety of the limited number of OASD staff members who continued to work in our schools was monitored by The District's Director of Health Services.
- Coordinated multiple opportunities for families to retrieve medications left at school.
- Established District guidelines for monitoring and reporting student and staff health and safe and healthy access to our buildings.
The Building and Grounds Team:
- Continued to staff all our building to ensure they remain clean and safe.
- Began summer cleaning projects to make good use of our custodian's time and take advantage of empty buildings to complete projects.
- Worked with Principals and staff to collect, organize, and clean up the school supplies and personal items that students left at school. Then continued to assist staff as they cleaned up their classrooms for the end of the year.
- Managed community outreach from local organizations around the reopening of District property for exterior and interior use. Organizations range from Churches, youth groups to local organizations planning summer events.
- Reconditioning District athletic fields.
- Began work early on planned and Board approved District summer Capital projects.
The Communications Team:
- The days leading up to the closing of our schools on March 13 were hectic and filled with ever-changing information from State and Federal Government agencies. The communications team worked quickly to write and share all the OASD school closing information with district families so that it was understandable, actionable, and available as rapidly as possible.
- Developed a new virtual learning web page so that families could access daily updates and resources in one, stream-lined location, at www.oasd.org/VirtualLearning.
- Created a daily staff update format for Dr. Rindo to share information with OASD staff each morning. This update includes important information on virtual learning, school closure planning work, and employee information. The daily staff update has been shared every weekday morning of virtual learning since our schools closed.
- Created a similar daily family update that is shared on the virtual learning web page with OASD families every virtual learning day. The daily family update includes information on virtual learning, school schedule information, and support or assistance resources. The daily family update has also been shared every weekday morning of virtual learning since our schools closed.
- Worked with OASD leadership to write, format, and share information with families on:
- Virtual learning format, plans, and technology
- Grading changes for term 4 and the end of the school year
- Summer School program changes
- Learning schedule and end of year schedule changes
- Processes for retrieving medications left at school
- Processes for picking up personal items at the end of the school year
- OHS end-of-year celebrations and graduation information
- Created social media graphics and posts to help share important updates with OASD families and the community.
- Prepared news releases, shared positive stories, and responded to many inquiries from local print and TV news organizations. Though we cannot guarantee media outlets will cover the OASD, the communications team continues to share information and positive stories with media outlets.
- The June/July 2020 issue of the OASD Learners and Leaders print newsletter will share important end of year information with our staff, families and the community. This newsletter is mailed to approximately 19,000 household and business mailboxes.
The Assessment Team:
- Worked with the WI Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and testing organizations to revise the Spring 2020 testing schedule expectations for Elementary through High School students.
- Developed a new assessment framework for the start of the 2020-21 school year to help evaluate students' current learning and improve staff support and personalize their instruction.
- Conducted emergency virtual learning surveys to families, students, and staff. Ensuring a full evaluation to help with planning for the 2020-21 school year.
Student Needs Funds
The OASD is providing meals, and support for families during the District closure due to COVID-19. This food, essential family resources and support is available to OASD staff, students, and families who are in need, and the District plans to continue this work through June, July and August. Donations may come from individuals, businesses, and charitable foundations and will be designated for the greatest identified needs district wide. If you have any questions about the Student Needs Fund, please contact Lisa Dawes, Director of Student Services, DawesL@oasd.org.
The Student Needs Fund
OASD Interim Pandemic Response Report
The Oconomowoc Area School District began its pandemic planning in February, first by revising the plan that was developed in 2009 during the H1N1 pandemic. This detailed plan laid out functions and core planning, implementation, and recovery responsibilities in the areas of Health Services, Instruction and Delivery, Logistics, and District Operations. As the pandemic crisis continued to advance, OASD communicated with families and staff to both keep them informed and prepare them for the possibility of a school closure. That closure came on March 13. The purpose of this report was to provide the Board an update on the District's implementation of the pandemic response plan, as well as to share a summary of our virtual learning strategies and some initial thoughts about transition planning for the 2020-21 school year.
OASD Interim Pandemic Response Report
OASD Three Phase Pandemic Recovery Planning Framework
Through the support of our staff, leadership, families, community, and the Board of Education, the OASD has successfully implemented our pandemic response plan, often making rapid changes to adjust to the ever-changing circumstances of this pandemic. The District's dynamic team of leaders will continue to use creative and visionary thinking as we plan for the start of the 2020-21 school year and beyond. The return to school in Fall is filled with uncertainty, but the district team will continue to lead our school community through the unknown. The District is using a three-page Pandemic Recovery Framework to guide this planning.
OASD Pandemic Recovery Planning Framework
OASD, Sodexo, and Blessings in a Backpack Meal Support for District Families in Need:
The OASD Blessings in a Backpack Waukesha County for their overwhelming support for families in the Oconomowoc Area School District. They have donated food during this emergency that our staff can distribute along with our grab-and-go meals from Sodexo Food Service.
Meals Matter Movement:
A big thank you to the Oconomowoc community for helping us support the Meals Matter Movement and donating meals to the health care professionals at Oconomowoc Memorial!
The meals were donated by our community during our #OconPride Virtual Pep Rally in April. Mr. Curtis and Mrs. Verhagen issued a challenge to the community to raise funds for 100 meals to be delivered to health care professionals in Oconomowoc. By the end of the Pep Rally, over 300 meals had been donated.
#OASDStaffRock- Staff Appreciation Week:
OASD teachers and staff have had an extraordinary two months filled with experiences and challenges they never could have imagined. They have reinvented their work and found new ways to deliver learning to their students. Through all these challenges, they have continually found ways to shine and to support their students. Our #OASDStaffRock this school year and every school year.
OHS Senior "We Stand with You" Signs and Banner Delivery:
Raccoon ambassadors delivered yard signs to each of OHS senior to kick off a month of celebrations honoring them. The end of this school year hasn't been a traditional one, but we're still going to honor all our seniors and celebrate their hard work over the last four years. Join in the fun and help honor our seniors! Keep an eye on the Updates from OHS Blog for information on our celebrations: https://updatesfromohs.blogspot.com/.