DECS 2020-21 In Person & Hybrid Learning Plans

Duluth Public Schools Academy (DPSA)

Dba Duluth Edison Charter Schools (DECS) 

  In Person and Hybrid Learning Plans 


The charts below are from the Minnesota Department of Education and Minnesota Department of Health guidance for schools for safe learning plans for 2020-21.


In Person Learning (Level 1) 

In light of the guidance outlined above, DECS has determined we cannot offer an all students in person model in 2020-21. 


Hybrid Model (Levels 2-4 for elementary students, Levels 2-3 for grades 6-8 students)


Part A: Instructional Expectations


General Requirements:
Provide a general summary of the teaching and learning structures and platforms to be utilized during hybrid learning.  Include how the school ensures that all students will have equal access to the learning and required materials to successfully receive credit in their class, including technology.  Include voluntary prekindergarten or school readiness plus programs, if applicable.
K-5 instruction will happen for students through one of the three models identified below:

  • Level 2 — All Students In Person
  • Level 3 and 4 — 50 percent capacity in classrooms, students six feet apart Groups A and B

Learning Environment and Instruction:  Students will be in one classroom with one teacher the majority of the day.  A second teacher or staff person will be assigned to provide the teacher breaks.  Students will be encouraged to practice the three Ws — wash/sanitize hands, wear masks, watch social distancing.

K-5 instruction will consist of implementation of state standards through whole group, small group and individual instruction.
Grades 6-8 instruction will happen for students with

Level 2 — All students in person on Wednesdays, Distance Learning rest of the week

Level 3 —  Students in Group A and Group B, attend every other Wednesday

Level  4 — Distance learning with support,

Levels  5 — All Students distance Learning

Students will receive direct instruction face to face from the teacher they start the day with. All other classes will be providing instruction through distance learning. Students will have the same classes for distance learning, as they would in person.

If you are using an online learning system, outline the steps the school will take to ensure it can effectively support the district’s unique learning and teaching needs.
  • K-5 Online Learning Systems consist of Seesaw and  Google Classroom.
  • Grades 6-8 -will  use Schoology.
  • All students who wish to receive them are provided a chromebook to use at home and support for their use.
How will student learning and progress be: measured, monitored, and communicated to students and parent(s)/guardian(s)?
  • K-5:  Assignments will be posted in Seesaw or Google Classroom. Staff will use multiple measures including (daily feedback, grading assignments/quizzes, participation/ Grades will be posted in Infinite Campus.  Teachers will communicate with students via small group and individualized instruction.  Parents will receive weekly communication from classroom teachers.
  • Grades 6-8 -We have assignments posted in Schoology. In addition Schoology sends automated weekly updates about work completed to families (previous to distance learning). Grades are posted in Infinite Campus.
Describe programming options for school nurses, school counselors, school psychologists, school social workers, paraprofessionals, other school specialists and cultural liaisons.
  • Paraprofessionals – We will assign paraprofessionals to support special education students so IEP are implemented as written.
  • Paraprofessionals will also be re-assigned to other special education functions needed in this hybrid model, eg. amending IEPs and scheduling IEP meetings or non special education needs if all special education students IEP needs are met and there is additional para time.
  • School Social Workers and Counselors will support students within the in-person and hybrid learning models in each academy.  Dependent on each student’s needs , they will communicate and provide services in-person or via phone, email, Seesaw/Google Classroom/Schoology, Go Guardian and Zoom.  We are also exploring the use of home visits.  The initial focus of services will be connecting with students and families, assessing immediate personal and educational needs, facilitating resource procurement, problem solving and screening potential crisis situations.  Goal-based service sessions per student service plans to follow.   Dependent on student needs, School Social Workers and Counselors may collaborate with teachers on classroom SEL activities.  School Social Worker and Counselor contact information and local community resources have been posted prominently on the school website.
  • Cultural Liaisons will reach out to students and families via phone, email, Seesaw/Zoom/ Schoology, Go Guardian and Zoom.  They will monitor student attendance and participation in educational programming, and facilitate problem solving.  They are available to consult with teachers on curriculum when appropriate and may collaborate with teachers on classroom activities dependent on student needs.
  • Our school nurse and health assistants, will continue their work of medication administration and other regular health office duties.  They will screen any students sent to them by staff with potential COVID symptoms and monitor them as needed.  THey  will monitor CDC and Minnesota Department of Health information related to COVID-19 and our schools’ response.  They are also providing information to, and staying in touch with families related to student health needs.
All schools and districts that are required under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to consult with Tribal Nations must also collaborate with the Tribal Nations Education Committee (TNEC) members regarding the formulation of their distance learning plans.  If applicable,
  • NA
Outline how attendance of students and staff will be tracked and how these expectations will be communicated to students, parents, and staff.  Note: the school board attendance policy must accommodate the implementation of this hybrid  learning model for attendance.  If not, the board should consider revising the policy.
  • K-5:  Teachers will track attendance utilizing Infinite Campus. The Principal/Academy Director will monitor attendance via Infinite Campus and teacher communication.
  • Grades 6-8:  Courses have tasks for each day that they would normally have had class to complete. All students have a teacher who is their point of contact, whether in a hybrid or distance learning model.
  • Our attendance coordinators in each building, along with our Principals will monitor student attendance and we will reach out to families whose students are not participating to determine how we can assist.
  • Staff attendance will be monitored in the following ways:  Staff are to work out a daily schedule that meets their supervisor’s approval and then adhere to that schedule.  Staff are to report to a building administrator by 7 a.m. if they, or someone they need to care for, is sick and they can’t work or if they are exposed to COVID.
Outline the school’s plan for training staff, students and parents to ensure that your hybrid  learning program can effectively be implemented.
  • K-5 staff will have a series of training sessions prior to the start of school to ensure staff are aware of best practices within the hybrid model.   Staff will work with students to ensure access to educational components.
  • For grades 6-8 we have a series of training sessions we will be completing prior to the start of school. We track all students to ensure that contact is being made with each child. We then assign staff members to reach out to these families.
  • Student Support Personnel:  The Student Support Services Manager will work with School Social Workers, School Counselors, Student Support Specialists and Cultural Liaisons to develop service delivery plans within our in-person and hybrid learning models.   The SSSM will monitor service delivery and assist with problem solving as needed.
  • A beginning of the year conference with each family will set the stage for the hybrid learning model and orient students and families as to what the model will look like.   A parent/caregiver portal is available on the school’s website that provides training information and videos.  A tech help line and tech help email is available to families.
Describe how your hybrid  model is secure and will not allow for the release of protected student or staff information.
  • Our hybrid model is utilizing existing DECS managed applications and resources that are CIPA & FERPA compliant. In addition, we have several layers of security on these systems, including our Google Apps for Education Suite (GSUITES) and an advanced monitoring system on all student accounts (GOGUARDIAN) that monitors all student internet activity whether at school or off-site on home or remote internet connections. Goguardian will alert teachers and staff to any unsafe or questionable student browsing activity.  Students and staff have also received ongoing training throughout the year on internet safety.
  • Parents/guardians will be notified of the risks and benefits associated with the use of technology to deliver Student Support Services and will be required to provide written consent in order for their child to receive services via video calls (e.g. Zoom).
Special Education Requirements: State and Federal law requires a school to continue to meet the all requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. 
Describe how the school will ensure supports identified on a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan are provided.
  • 504 Plans – 504 plans are within Infinite Campus for all teachers to access.  District/School 504 Coordinators will review all plans to ensure accommodations are implemented as stated.
  • Special Education – Within the hybrid learning model  for general education, special education will provide comparable services.  For example, special education teachers who were co-teaching will continue to do so within the hybrid  learning platforms.  Special education alternative classes will continue and will be provided for the same amount of time as general education classes.  Level 3 programs will provide hybrid  learning opportunities that are comparable to general education when appropriate and individualized plans will be implemented for students who cannot participate in this manner.  Related service providers will continue to provide services within these above models.  Pull-out services will begin following the first week of implementation.  These services will be provided via the best platform for individual students.  Accommodations appropriate to the hybrid model will be provided.
Outline the school’s process for communicating with parents and guardians regarding their child’s services, which should include discussion regarding amending IEP’s to address how best to meet the student’s needs in a flexible learning model. This includes direct specialized instruction, related services, and accommodations
  • Case managers will reach out to all caregivers by phone  or other technology  to describe how special education services will be provided.  Following this, changes to IEPs will be provided in writing either via email or mail depending on parent preference.  We will be following guidance from Indigo Education regarding all due process requirements.
Describe the school’s protocol to communicate with administration and staff to prepare and support them in meeting the needs of students eligible for special education, child find activities, evaluations/reevaluations, and IEP implementation.
  • The Special Education Coordinator and Assistant Coordinators will be responsible for keeping administration and staff informed of processes in place to meet the needs of special education students.  Zoom meetings will be occurring on a regular basis of at least weekly.  Child Find activities will continue including referrals to Special Education Evaluation teams from school-based teams and parents. The Special Education Evaluation teams will meet on a weekly basis to discuss results of all evaluations. IEP meetings will be scheduled utilizing caregivers’ preferred communication method.
English Language Learner Requirements
Describe how the school will fulfill Individual Learning Plans for English Language Learners.  Include possible scaffolding methods available to support students in a distance learning environment.
  • NA
Describe the school’s plan for communicating with families that do not use English as a primary language.
  • NA
Protections for Students Experiencing Homelessness or Housing Instability
Specify how the school will satisfy the Federal requirements of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, to support homelessness students throughout this crisis and promote their full participation in their education throughout the duration of the distance learning period.
  • Our homeless liaison will work with the teachers and support staff for our homeless students and do all we can to ensure that they are able to participate in our program.  We’ll determine the most appropriate way to communicate with families.
How will the school monitor participation and engagement of homeless students in hybrid  learning (e.g., including both attendance and performance.); potentially resulting in your school needing to change its staffing/support)?
  • Participation and engagement of homeless students will be measured as for all students but monitored by the assigned support staff member in collaboration with our homeless liaison.
How will the school monitor the efficacy of hybrid learning plans and approaches for all students including homeless students, and be prepared to consider alternatives or additional support needs as part of that review.
  • The efficacy of hybrid learning plans and approaches for homeless students will be monitored by the assigned support staff member in collaboration with our homeless liaison.
Describe how the school will maintain regular contact with local public health departments, county or Tribal human services departments, and Continuum of Care planning bodies on ongoing or emerging needs and to connect to resources that can assist students and families experiencing homelessness.
  • Our school nurse is our contact person with the local and state  public health department and in regular communication with them.  The Head of School consults with both health departments as well on at least a weekly basis.


Part B: Supplemental Services Expectations


Describe the school’s plan for providing meals to all children who need them.  Include: how families access meals, staffing plan for preparing and distributing meals, and method of distribution that aligns with public health guidelines.
  • The school will communicate with all of our families related to their need for such meals.  Those who have indicated they would like to receive them are able to pick the meals at a school site or another designated location.  Delivery service will be available to free and reduced families who are unable to pick up their meals.
Describe the school’s plan for providing childcare for the elementary children of Tier 1 emergency and healthcare workers.  Include: how families access childcare, a plan for staffing childcare, transportation of childcare participants, if you plan to include children of Tier 2 workers, and plans for following the CDC and Minnesota Department of Health’s guidelines.
  • We are providing childcare for Tier 1 emergency workers during regular school hours. .  Transportation is available via our bus company if needed.  All CDC and MDH protocol is being followed. Wrap around services for these families are available for a fee via our program with the YMCA.
How will the school maintain an awareness of, and be prepared to cope with, the potential impact these closures will have on the mental health and wellbeing of students, staff, and families.
  • All of the academies plan to integrate Social Emotional Learning into their instructional programming.
  • Information about coping with stress from the CDC and MN Dept. of Health, community  mental health resources, and School Social Worker and Counselor contact information have been posted on the website.  Teachers and other school personnel may refer students and families to the School Social Workers and Counselors for support, crisis intervention and resources.
  • School Social Workers and Counselors will work to connect with the students and families they work with to assess personal needs, assist with problem solving, facilitate resource procurement, and screen potential crisis situations.  They will continue to monitor student and family status through service delivery during in-person and hybrid learning.
  • The School Social Workers and Counselors, in consultation with the Administrative Team, will review Crisis Management Procedures and detail specific protocols for use within our in-person and hybrid learning models.
Describe how the school will provide information related to ‘how to talk to children’ about what is happening to change their school day.
  • Academy PBIS Teams are preparing lessons and activities to orient students to the school schedule, learning model, school-wide and classroom routines and procedures, and expectations related to social distancing, wearing face coverings, and hand hygiene.
  • School Social Workers and Counselors are available to assist teachers and families  in talking with students about the changes happening at school.


Our plan addressing communication pathways with student families, community input on student and family needs and other outreach opportunities

DECS staff know that at the heart of students’ success are the relationships and connections between students and their teachers and support staff.  To that end, our priority has been to reach every student and his/her family and, as needed, differentiate the instruction and support being offered to the student.

General communication includes emails to families, Facebook, and our website.  Teachers utilize  age appropriate technology tools (SeeSaw, Google Classroom, phone calls (often via Google Voice), Go Guardian and Schoology) and are communicating grades via Infinite Campus and Schoology.  Administrators and teachers contact information has been shared with families and they have been encouraged to reach out if needs or questions.

Our academy principals are working with teachers and our attendance staff.  We are tracking daily connections with students.  When this is not occurring we are utilizing social workers, counselors, cultural liaisons or other staff who may be able to connect with the families.  Our first focus is their basic needs and then we move on to what they can handle academically.

Our mission of academic and personal excellence for every student continues to be our focus as we do our best to connect with families and students each day.