Dear Academic Approach Families & Colleagues:

We are spending the week reviewing some of the emerging reopening models and gathering some of the perspectives we’ve learned from educators and parents regarding these models. Today, we’ll focus on the in-person lower grades, remote upper grades model.

In-person Lower Grades
In this model, prioritization is given to K-8 (sometimes K-10) students for in-person instruction. The premise is two-fold: 1) that younger students require more direct instruction to be successful in early learning; and 2) that a primary teacher can work with an elementary school cohort on multiple subjects. This allows younger grades to remain stationary, which minimizes hallway passing, decreases the number of students per teacher, and lowers the potential for viral spread.

Remote Upper Grades
In this model, high school students (either 9-12 or 11-12) are 100% remote. The premise is two-fold: 1) that high school students are more capable of independent learning; and 2) that in order to keep student population sizes down, schools will have to utilize more space for fewer students. In some buildings there simply isn’t enough space to accommodate socially distanced learning for all, so remote learning is unavoidable.

This model varies by:

  • K-8 or K-10 in person with either 9-11 remote or 11-12 remote, and
  • whether 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, English language learners, and students in Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs. Opt-out options are available for families who wish to stay 100% remote.

The specific details of this model have significant consequences on instruction and learning. A few key questions warrant consideration:

  • How does remote learning impact the student if it’s live, self-paced, or entirely independent?
    • The direct instructional support would vary considerably.
  • What level of independent learning will be required of high school students?
    • High school students tend to show lower engagement than their lower-grade counterparts, so it will be essential to develop new means of engaging them in their learning if 100% remote.
  • Can high school students learn effectively if self-paced or entirely independent work is required?
  • How will non-CTE courses that require hands-on instruction, like science labs, be conducted without in-person learning?
  • How will assessments be delivered fairly and securely without in-person learning?

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

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