Dear Academic Approach Families & Colleagues:

A note on ACT Test Cancellations first before we launch into this week’s topic: School Re-opening Plans.

ACT Test Cancellations
We’ve heard from many of you inconvenienced by ACT July 18th test cancellations (which impacted approximately 1,400 students nationally), some of you who even went to test centers the day of the exam, only to find them closed. We sincerely regret that you and your students have had to endure this confusion and frustration, and we want to learn more and help. Please reach out to us to help you plan next steps for future ACT test dates, consider alternative planning for SAT testing, or discuss any other considerations and help you think it through. We want to be thought partners to you at this challenging time.

School Re-opening Plans
With schools and school districts releasing re-opening plans this week, we want to spend the week reviewing some of the emerging models and gathering some of the perspectives we’ve learned from educators and parents regarding these models. Today, we’ll focus on the 2-2-1 Hybrid.

The 2-2-1 Hybrid
In this model, students break into cohorts or pods – A and B – each with different schedules for in-person and remote days. For example, Cohort A comes to school for in-person instruction Monday, Tuesday but are remote Wednesday, Thursday. Cohort B is remote Monday, Tuesday but in-person Wednesday, Thursday. Both A and B are remote on Friday.

This model varies by:

  • days of the week students are remote or in person, and
  • whether that remote instruction is live (synchronous), self-paced (asynchronous), or entirely independent study

In most models we’ve seen, prioritization for in-person instruction is given to students with diverse learning needs (such as students with IEPs or English Language Learners) or to students participating in Career & Technical Education (CTE) programs; options are available for families who wish to opt-out of in-person instruction and remain 100% remote.

Advocates praise this model for offering all students access to some in-person while observing CDC guidelines on social distancing. Many argue the specific details of the model have significant consequences on instruction & learning. A few key questions need considering:

  • How does remote learning impact the student if it is live, self-paced, or entirely independent?
    • The direct instructional support for student learning would vary considerably depending upon each approach.
    • With gaps in access to online learning and equity issues often exacerbated by synchronous (live) learning, many schools may be incorporating more self-directed or project-based learning this fall, which will come with new instructional and motivational challenges.
  • Does the model produce schedule changes that in turn mean less instructional time?
    • In some cases, class period length will be reduced to accommodate for longer passing period and other necessary changes. While 20 minutes less a day of instructional time may seem minimal, the cumulative impact over 170+ school days means more than 50 fewer learning hours.

We’ll continue to discuss additional remote learning models and various perspectives on them throughout the week.

Be well,
Matthew Pietrafetta, Ph.D., Founder & CEO