ISLA Distance Learning Plan 


 Instructional Expectations 

ISLA students engaging in distance learning will have access to appropriate educational materials and receive daily interaction with their licensed teacher(s). It is important to note that distance learning does not always mean e-learning or online learning.  Our plan will provide meaningful, relevant, and equitable learning programming to address the needs of all students.   It is important to the ISLA community that we provide this learning in a format that can be equitably accessed by all students.  As we developed this plan, we made every effort to mitigate any potential barriers that ISLA families might have in the delivery of this learning plan. 

We understand that it is not realistic to replicate classroom learning at home.  We have been working hard to put together a plan that will set students and families up for success and leverage the kind of learning opportunities that present themselves at home.  If the tasks we set forth become overwhelming, push students past frustration level, or become time-consuming beyond what is appropriate, please feel justified in stopping for the day and reach out to us so that we can work together on a plan that will appropriately support your child.  

Daily Schedule

Beginning at 9:00 each morning, students will have access to the day’s learning engagements and links to Zoom meetings through our online learning platform, Toddle.  Each student will also have opportunities to connect with teachers, staff and classmates throughout the day.  Please refer to the schedules tab for more detailed information.

School-Home Connection: 

Each morning, students will have the opportunity to join their classroom teachers for a morning meeting via Zoom.  Students will also regularly meet with their teachers in whole-group, small group, and/or individual session via Zoom according to the schedules created by teachers for the afternoon synchronous time-frame.  In addition to these sessions, students can also expect to receive timely feedback on their work.

At this time, ISLA is also working to put systems into place for academic support and opportunities for conversation in Spanish with our beloved former Language Ambassadors as well as opportunities for support from ISLA alumni and other high school volunteers.  

As questions or complications arise, families can rest assured that teachers will be available to respond to via email during regularly scheduled office hours.  

Families can count on regular weekly newsletter updates each Friday from grade level teachers including a look ahead at the learning experiences and materials needed for the following week.  Also, families will receive school-wide emails from the ISLA office as new information becomes available.

IB PYP and Spanish immersion 

We recognize that it is a special challenge to continue meaningful IB PYP and Spanish immersion learning outside of school.  ISLA will continue to offer learning engagements that connect to our units of inquiry and the IB learner profile.  As an IB school, we will continue to use a transdisciplinary approach.  You may notice, for example, that reading assignments have a strong connection not only to language arts standards, but also to the transdisciplinary themes and lines of inquiry from our current unit of study. We also aim to offer open-ended, family-friendly inquiry opportunities that take advantage of the time that students will be spending at home.

We also anticipate connecting students to our wonderful former Language Ambassadors for increased opportunities, and for meaningful authentic interpersonal communication in Spanish. 

Technology:

If you should need support with technical difficulties, please reach out to:  techsupport@isla.school

Attendance:  Teachers will take attendance through the observation of student participation in Toddle, morning meeting, or other forms of contact.  Please contact the attendance office and your student’s teacher if your ISLA student will be absent. 

Special Education:

ISLA will ensure supports identified on a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan are in place and make accommodations as provided.

ISLA will communicate with parents and guardians regarding their child’s services, and/or amend IEP’s to address how to best meet the student’s needs in a flexible learning model, including direct specialized instruction, related services, and accommodations.  

English Language Learner Requirements

ISLA will provide scaffolding methods available to support students in a distance learning environment, and provide translation and interpretation services as needed for families that do not use English as a primary language.

Protections for Students Experiencing Homelessness or Housing Instability

ISLA will monitor participation and engagement of homeless students in distance learning (e.g., including both attendance and performance.), and 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 homeless students throughout this crisis and promote their full participation in their education throughout the duration of the distance learning period.

ISLA will monitor the efficacy of distance 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.  ISLA 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.

Nutrition

Meals are available through ISLA.  Please see the lunch ordering tab on the ISLA website. 

Child Care for children of essential employees

ISLA will continue to provide childcare for the ISLA students who are the children of Tier 1 Critical Care workers.  These students will follow the distance learning plan from their grade level while here at ISLA.  All care will follow the guidance of the CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health guidelines. 

Student, Staff, and Community Wellbeing

ISLA is committed to helping all staff and families maintain optimal wellness during this time, and will be implementing a comprehensive support plan to provide mental and physical health resources for the community. 

As families prepare for the transition to distance learning, we would like to provide some insight on what families can do to set students up for success.  We ask that you:

  • Prepare a space that will be conducive to at-home learning for each child.  Families with more than one child engaging in distance learning will want to consider separate, quiet, learning spaces for at least part of each day.  To the extent possible and appropriate, consider allowing children agency and ownership in preparing their learning spaces.
  • Establish a family routine. In the event of an extended school closure, each family will decide when, where, and how students engage in the learning tasks assigned by teachers.  Daily routines might include designated times for assigned learning engagements, movement breaks, snacks, meals, chores, family games and/or outdoor time.  Predictable routines help both adults and children cope with the inevitable changes that accompany this pandemic.  
  • Your child’s classroom update with action items specific to the grade level is available through the grade level teachers’ weekly newsletter updates.

We recognize that the idea of facilitating learning from home can be challenging for many families for many reasons.  With patience and compassion, we will continue to support each other in doing what we feel is best for students and we remain dedicated to ISLA’s mission to empower the whole child by nurturing the development of personal growth, strong character, academic excellence, and global vision.