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Distance Learning for All

Starting April 13, 4J schools will provide credit-bearing distance education while school buildings are closed 

Eugene School District 4J is working to close the distance between our 16,000 students and their teachers to continue to provide a rich educational experience away from the classroom.

On Monday, March 30, the Oregon Department of Education issued significant new guidance for Oregon schools, expanding “supplemental learning” to encompass “distance learning for all.” State officials noted the potential that Oregon’s students may not return to classrooms this school year, and pivoted from advising public schools to provide short-term supplemental learning—lessons that refresh and reinforce what students have already learned—to instead provide more substantive, graded, credit-bearing distance education for all students beginning by April 13.

The decision that Oregon schools will provide distance learning, while presenting many challenges, allows the Eugene School District the opportunity to provide students what they need to learn and grow through the rest of the school year. And it positions teachers to do what they do so well: connect with every student and help them learn new knowledge and skills.

For high school students, distance learning provides them the opportunity to continue to earn credits and progress toward graduation. The state is expected to issue more details on credit delivery and graduation requirements in the next few days; high schools will then work with each senior to determine what is needed to help them graduate.

Upon returning from spring break, our teachers and principals have been busily preparing to use online learning platforms and other strategies for engaging with students remotely. 4J teachers will reconnect with students starting Monday, April 6. The following week the transition to comprehensive distance learning will begin, with elementary school students shifting from review to learning new content, and middle and high school students beginning new spring term courses.

Distance learning does not mean only online education using a computer or tablet. It likely will include a blend of teaching modes, including online instruction and offline methods such as paper assignments and phone calls. The district already has been reaching out to students and families to learn which students need a loaned device or help with internet access, if available, to connect with learning online. Families will be contacted about when, where and how they can borrow a device for their students.

We recognize that distance learning will not replace the school experience students are losing this spring, and also that it creates new challenges for families. Students’ safety, belonging and mental health is a critical foundation for learning, and establishing the care and connection to support our students and families is our priority. While the ways we provide instruction are changing, 4J’s continued commitment to our students and families is not.

Distance learning will not look the same as a regular in-school day. The transition will take time and will not be perfect. There are significant barriers and challenges to changing our education delivery model almost immediately and overnight. We ask for the support, patience and flexibility of all of our families, students and staff, as we shift to a new model of educating students from afar. Thank you for your understanding and grace during this major transition. 

 

ODE Distance Learning for All Guidance
Supports for Student Learning
Coronavirus COVID-19 Information

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