Since the last edition of the Headlines, there has been increased discussion about how schools provide instruction during the closures. Depending on their capabilities, districts are taking different approaches, which range from requiring students to continue with their daily lessons online, to providing families with general resources offered as optional enrichment activities only. Since New School High has one-to-one technology,
a Google Classroom for every course, the necessary skills for both teachers and students to work online, as well as access to the Internet and the support services all students need to be successful, we have chosen to transition our instruction to an online format.
Last Friday, the Michigan Department of Education and the Office of the Governor communicated to the public what appeared to be different messages on the topic of how online instruction could be counted. The State Superintendent announced that online learning would not be counted towards required hours of instruction. In her response later that evening, the Governor wrote:
“Earlier today the Michigan Department of Education issued a memo regarding Instructional Time During School Closure. I know it caused a lot of confusion and panic among schools, teachers, students, and families. I wanted to provide some clarification from the perspective of the Governor’s Office.
“The memo does not mean that school work done during the mandatory school closure won’t ‘count’ toward grades, credits, or graduation. Each district should determine what services and supports they are able to provide during this unprecedented crisis. Many are focusing on meeting basic needs and are working around the clock to provide breakfast and lunch for hungry students. Other districts have the ability to provide more learning support as a result of one-to-one technology initiatives. I am in awe of the work that school employees are doing to support their kids and I applaud their efforts.
“As you know, the situation has changed rapidly over the course of the past ten days. We do not know what the future will hold, but we are absolutely committed to ensuring the needs of our students, parents, and families are met as we navigate these uncharted waters. I will be working in the coming days to ensure our seniors graduate and that no child is held back as a result of our ability to provide face-to-face instruction during the COVID-19 school closure.
“To teachers, administrators, and support staff – I thank you for stepping up and helping your students and families.”
We understand that there are many decisions that must be made on the State level in the coming days. I encourage you to let your representatives in the legislature and Governor Whitmer know how you feel about instruction during the school closures and the implications for making up this time. In the meantime, New School High remains committed to providing your children with the education they deserve. We encourage our students to always make the choice to learn, whether it takes place face-to-face at the school building or at home.