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    #247393 - 07/25/20 06:41 PM Re: feedback on plan [Re: Wren]
    Wren Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1644
    When we went to remote learnng in March, they dropped class time from 70 to 40 minutes but kept basically the same schedule, but finished earlier so they had time to email teachers etc. aeh, what grades did you do the two weeks A cycle, plan? I could see doing the cycles as you did it. But they want 2 courses cycle A for 3 weeks, then 2 courses cycle B 3 weeks. And it would be great if it year long as you did it, but it is trimester, so AP courses could be finished in Dec. That I am not so keen on. Then they start with the next 4 courses.

    But read ERIC citation, thank you. Why isn't it more popular if it is so great? The article was from the 1980s.

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    #247394 - 07/25/20 07:05 PM Re: feedback on plan [Re: Wren]
    Wren Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1644
    I went through all those links. I saw some stuff that was close, but not the combination and no one had one class per day, with 6 hours of instruction. The closest was 4 hours and 15 minutes. And they said it was critical for teachers to be trained to teach in block. That trying to implement standard teaching into block teaching didn't work. No one is getting trained for this. And half the class will be at home doing online. Not sure how. I keep asking what technology will be used. No one seems to know.

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    #247395 - 07/25/20 07:24 PM Re: feedback on plan [Re: Wren]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3795
    The 2+2 A/B cycles were in grades 9-12.

    I'm going to speculate that your school is combining the alternate cycles with trimesters because they are concerned that changes in your local public health conditions may interrupt education sufficiently that none of the classes would be completed if they ran year-long. Under the presented plan, one can hope that at least four courses will be completed in one of the trimesters.

    I agree that it might not be all it's cracked up to be in the article, but to be fair, components of it have been maintained in a number of schools, generally effectively. I think most schools have gone away from extreme block scheduling, with two to three classes per day now about as far as it goes.

    Some of our area high schools use the 4x4 schedule, which was creating problems for state-mandated testing, because half of the students were finishing their course in the fall, but then having to wait until late spring to take the test, while others were having to take the test in the spring when they hadn't finished the whole course. They eventually addressed it for some subjects for the first semester students by arranging for a testing session mid-year, but the second semester students still scramble to finish all the content before testing commences, even though the state has pushed testing into the top of June. And they didn't do anything about the remaining content area testing, which mainly disadvantages second semester students in those content areas, because testing begins as early as March, when they've only had about half of the course.

    So yeah, the schedule you have isn't optimal for end-of-course testing that takes place in May. But I think they were probably more worried that students wouldn't get to finish the syllabus prior to testing.
    _________________________
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    #247396 - 07/26/20 05:28 AM Re: feedback on plan [Re: Wren]
    Wren Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1644
    I really appreciate your input. My 2 big concerns are that the teachers are not trained in block teaching and it has never been done online. If we have to switch back to online then this is model we are stuck with. And since I am paying tuition for a private school, I am paying for an educational experiment. When my options are to do a mix of online. She can take all her AP courses through CTY, she is has been a math student with CTY for years. And do a lower cost online option for other courses. Though she has 6 AP courses next year. Since she would have limited socialization with the current version, she would be relying on outside school stuff she is doing currently. She is on the planning committee for U of Toronto high school stem conference and does other technology competitions, which she did this year. And she sails, so she hangs with the race team all summer and into the fall. She has some social interaction. Sorry, basically "thinking outloud" trying to make a decision.

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    #247397 - 07/26/20 06:42 PM Re: feedback on plan [Re: Wren]
    MumOfThree Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/07/11
    Posts: 1678
    Loc: Australia
    Originally Posted By: Wren
    Why isn't it more popular if it is so great? The article was from the 1980s.


    My first thought when reading this question was: nobody likes change, especially schools. Which is only partially true. Schools love faddish education trends "Whole of language is amazing!" "Phonics is better!" "No need to teach grammar directly..." (oops).

    But rarely do you see fundamental change in how they run things. We've been at schools who made "radical" changes like moving from two week schedules to one week schedules, and back... Alternating the number of lessons a day (and lesson length). None of these are really meaningful changes to the idea of what a school day looks like. So much talk of "changing education" but schools rarely look the actual format of school as something that could be changed.

    ----

    I am in Australia, we were a little over half way through our first term (of 4 terms) when covid got serious here. In my state holidays started a week early. Every school in the state (and much of the country) scrambled to deliver their normal curriculum remotely for term 2. Most of them had to choose, plan AND rollout a remote learning system in 2-3 weeks over the holidays, more proactive schools started their planning before a lockdown was called so they were able to train their kids before they went on holidays, at least a little.

    There are many themes to how remote schooling has been achieved, but very few schools have done anything as radical as your school proposes.

    Firstly AEH is 100% correct: how well rolling things out remotely has worked does seem to have been predictable based on the previous functioning level of the school and of individual teachers. Some schools have done far better than others. Some teachers have done far better than others.

    It's also become very clear that some kids cope with remote school at their previous level of engagement/acheivement, some don't cope at all and some shine (unexpectedly). I have had a teacher friend comment that they have noted the top students are still working at the same level, but the middle group are significantly impacted by not being able to see what the advanced students are doing, how they approach things, classroom discussion etc. Newspaper articles report on certain children that are loving remote learning and are desperate NOT go back (and doing MUCH better academically), including teachers being interviewed that they are noticing this that certain kids are unexpectedly much better of academically. And of course there are also articles on the children/families desperate to go back ASAP.

    It's a very mixed bag.

    I have a child who has not coped with their school's approach to remote learning at all. I can honestly say the school has worked SO hard, it's not for lack of hard work, good intentions or good will on the part of school, teachers (or child). Happily we have been able to maintain a good relationship through the abject mismatch of my child / their model. It's no-ones fault. I see from parent support meetings, FB groups etc, that other parents have found the model successful. And in fact are asking about whether certain features (which were unworkable for my child) would be kept when things returned to normal...

    A lot of how well it works will come down to the quality of communication and learning management systems in place already, or added in, how well teachers use them, how usable they are for students.

    This especially impacts kids with any EF issues. If completing a lesson requires looking in 3 separate parts of the school's technology systems to know what to do, when, how and by what date it must be delivered, well things will likely go wrong. Schools where they have multiple poorly integrated systems, especially if systems are also poorly utilized, are going to have a much harder time than those with single, everything in one place systems (which were already working well).

    A very particular problem for children with EF issues: Our experience, across multiple schools and multiple states, using various different LMS technology, is that parents usually get an account of their own but never is it set up in a way that provides access that allows them to see what their child sees, what they should be doing, and help them manage it all. When we raise this with schools we have been told (by multiple schools) "Your child is supposed to work independently, and do this themselves, but if you really need to help you log in as your child...". My child's response is "You have an account. If you were supposed to see this stuff they'd have let you, you look at your account I will look at mine." This was problematic at the best of times, but at least I could, to some extent, rely on teachers seen during the day and the momentum of of the classroom environment to sort many issues out. Not so once remote. If all of the child's input and output is supposed to come through systems that they struggled with before, and you have no window into that environment, well it's very, very tough.

    Increasingly software companies seem to be making it impossible to fix this (often for privacy reasons). Google classroom suite for example, you can audit as a parent, but a lot of what comes through is to the effect of "teacher posted a document", along with a short comment instructing the kids to read the document, but only students can read the document so you are no closer to understanding what happened in history today (other than that your child's teacher shared a document).

    Schools that can keep using technology everyone knows, at least for core functions, will find it easier than those who need to guess which technology might get them though this. And of course the children and families in the most vulnerable circumstances are least likely to be at well prepared schools and least likely to already have at home what they need to participate remotely, which is not a problem that you will face. Our government has had to make a significant commitment to providing devices and internet dongles to children that didn't have them so that they COULD do school.

    My feeling is:

    How successful the school/teachers were before is a good predictor of how likely they are to cope with a radical new model going forward. Even so, models that work don't work for everybody.

    For my child your school's proposal sounds significantly more likely to have worked. But no guarantees.

    How happy are you with your school? Both their academic/teaching qualities, and their systems and communication?

    How happy are you with CTY (and other providers) their courses, systems and communication?

    For myself I have found CTY to have solid systems, courses well designed for remote delivery, great teachers and excellent feedback (we've only done literacy courses). But very difficult to communicate with in any way other that with the teacher via the course you are already enrolled in. And they seem to have been hammered with trying to make summer courses remote and I suspect extra load due to many families deciding to use CTY as "school" now. If CTY has to even double their teaching capacity for the coming year that's 50% of the teachers that have never taught CTY before. What if they try to ramp up to 10 times previous levels? I have never seen writing feedback of the quality my daughter has been receiving from CTY, I imagine it's non trivial to find writing instructors that able. Math maybe doesn't require the detailed personalised feedback, but the point of CTY is to deal with teachers who are accomplished at teaching gifted kids. Obviously CTY has a limited potential pool of students and it's expensive, but I still think they both are and will be hammered. I am concerned that CTY is going to find things quite rocky for a while.

    Reading the CTY FB group there are regular posts from parents whose child has just qualified who are wondering whether they should sign their child up for a full school replacement course load of CTY courses. And lots of parents telling them not to try too many courses at once, never having tried CTY before...Also remember that CTY accepts children from around the world it's not just the US families of gifted kids who might turn to CTY at the moment.

    I don't mean to diminish CTY offerings at all, we've been very happy and will continue to use then, but I do suggest you consider that CTY will have issues of it's own to deal with in the coming year.

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    #247401 - 07/26/20 09:30 PM Re: feedback on plan [Re: Wren]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3795
    Just commenting on the Google Classroom piece: in our school, we usually add parents who want to see their student's class information as both parents (you can see the specific child), and as students, so they have access to all of the assignments.

    On Schoology, parents can see students' assignments, messages between teacher and student, submitted work, etc.
    _________________________
    ...pronounced like the long vowel and first letter of the alphabet...

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    #247403 - 07/27/20 01:00 AM Re: feedback on plan [Re: aeh]
    MumOfThree Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/07/11
    Posts: 1678
    Loc: Australia
    Originally Posted By: aeh
    Just commenting on the Google Classroom piece: in our school, we usually add parents who want to see their student's class information as both parents (you can see the specific child), and as students, so they have access to all of the assignments.

    On Schoology, parents can see students' assignments, messages between teacher and student, submitted work, etc.


    Our school has been very reluctant (unable?) to allow parents to be "students". I am not even sure if it is possible for them to add parents as students if they don't first give the parent a school assigned email. There is a fair level of understanding the problem is real, and a willingness to help on the school side, but no real progress has been made towards being able to provide a window the student view. Just getting the parent view working was challenging despite best intentions.

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    #247405 - 07/27/20 05:28 AM Re: feedback on plan [Re: Wren]
    Wren Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1644
    Thank you MoT. You wrote some very important points.
    The other key factors that induce us to stay:
    PSAT. although we are in Canada, DD is American also and plans to go to US. She can qualify for National Merit. Although you can try and take the PSAT at another school who provides it, it is hard to get a spot in normal times. Impossible in covid times to walk into another high school. Hence, forfeit the PSAT.
    Letters of Recommendation: As pointed out to me, letters of recommendation will be like gold in this time of covid learning and modified AP and SAT testing. Going online truncates DD's relationships with teachers. And the guidance counselor who "manages" her application to colleges.
    And her GC has been a critical factor in her ability to discipline herself. She has a weekly meeting with her, kind of like a weigh in at WW. And it has kept her on top of her progress during this online. She ended with a 5.0 average. I am worried that doing the online without GC maybe like walking the tight rope without a net. Keeping ontop of that many online courses, plus trying to manage a social link. Not having a set structure may not work. And your comments about CTY teachers made me think.
    In addition hybrid is coming under fire everywhere. If parents have more than one kid and they go back to school on different days, parents cannot go back to work. So it either stays online or they go back to school. And the kids will be travelling to and from school cross cohorting, (they are not prisoners travelling on select separate bus) so what is the point have all this cohorting at school. They wear masks and do the best they can. What happens in the line for the bathroom? How long will that take for breaks? And bars are reopening. So how can they reopen bars but not schools? It is teachers at risk, not students really. And parents at home.
    Thank you everyone for your input.

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    #247408 - 07/27/20 10:01 PM Re: feedback on plan [Re: Wren]
    MumOfThree Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/07/11
    Posts: 1678
    Loc: Australia
    We are in our second lock down. The first time all public schools went remote (and the majority of private schools went remote sooner). This time the public schools had the yr 11/12s in person, and the specialist schools (by which they mean "disability schools" because the other "specailist" schools are not open other than to yr 11/12).

    At this point in time 10% of our cities schools are closed due to a case (which is to say the building is closed and 100% remote learning). The papers announce that a school will be "closed for three days for cleaning". But my daughter's school was closed due to a case 10 days ago. Only yesterday did we see an announcement that the students were now cleared to go from full quarantine to the same lock down as everyone else. The teachers and staff are not fully contact traced yet, the school building is not open, the principal does not know when it will be.

    Our case numbers are alarming for us, but relatively speaking they are VERY low. If we have 10% of schools already closing for a week or more at time while our numbers are fairly low but growing, how can this possibly be a sustainable and stable environment for teachers and students? Surely it is better to just suck it up and do remote learning until there is some stability. The yr 12s have basically got 2 months left, then SWAT vac and exams. In person might be best but I am not sure that this instability is better than remote learning.

    We are told that the highest rate of transmission is in work places. And in families. Those workplaces cases turn into a child with a case and their whole school has to lock down... And yr11/12 students who are the ones going to schools are, according to the most recent research I saw, as at risk of infection, or MORE at risk than adults (not of outcomes, but of infection).

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    #247420 - 07/31/20 01:24 AM Re: feedback on plan [Re: Wren]
    puffin Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/11/12
    Posts: 2035
    10 subjects seems s lot to me but I know other countries do more than we do. Why not just do 4 subjects a day for each half year and scrap 2? I don't get how doing a whole day of one subject benefits anyone. Even 2 subjects would be better.

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