Parents of Grand Haven Area Public Schools students have a decision to make.

The district on Monday released its back-to-school plan, which features two options: in-person learning and remote learning.

Superintendent Andrew Ingall said the two plans were made based on thousands of responses to a district survey.

“We had a strong indication from parents that they wanted in-person learning, and there were still a significant number of parents who wanted an online option,” Ingall said. “That rally drove the choice and the plan for us to try to give parents a choice.

“Everybody has their own need, and that’s why we ultimately decided we wanted to give people a choice,” he added. “We didn’t think there’s a single option, a single plan that’s going to satisfy everybody.”

Here’s a breakdown of the two options:

In-person learning

In response to parent surveys/requests, GHAPS is offering in-person learning every day when allowable by the state. Safety protocols will be used to maximize a healthy environment. Staff are prioritizing instructional time on essential learning with intervention to provide needed support. Teachers will proactively prepare students and families for at-home learning if it becomes necessary. If schools are required to shift to at-home learning, families can expect clear expectations, routines and a rigorous curriculum.

100 percent remote learning

Families can choose instruction and learning to happen in their home every day. A regional collaborative will support students in this model. The curriculum is rigorous and aligned to state standards. Specifically, the curriculum is Roadmaps from the University of Michigan for elementary students and Michigan Virtual for secondary students. Grand Haven teachers will be instructing students with occasional exceptions (small numbers). In this way, students can learn using a developed and reputable digital curriculum and with staff who represent the Grand Haven school district’s core values.

For both options, devices will be provided to all students from Young Fives through 12th grade.

Should at-home learning become required for all students, the following will come into play:

Students will have scheduled times to meet with their teacher for live instruction.

Students will have flexibility, with lessons communicated one week at a time. Recorded lessons will allow students to prepare for required live instruction on their schedule.

Learning materials will be sent home and exchanged as needed.

Student work counts toward report cards and a final grade.

While weekly learning expectations and teacher connections will be digital, not all learning will be in front of a screen. Traditional learning materials such as textbooks, books, paper and pencils will be used.

Ingall noted that, regardless of which option parents choose, students can count on the school district for food service, transportation, social-emotional wellness and special-education services.

“There are a lot of factors,” Ingall said. “Kids have physical needs that need to be met, such as food. They have social-emotional wellness needs and intellectual needs that must be met. The big picture is to provide the strongest possible educational environment and to do it in the safest way possible.”

Ingall noted that each building will have its own plan to help accommodate social distancing and limiting contact.

“The high school, because of the nature of a six-period day, is switching to three classes a day, which reduces passing time,” he explained. “That’s also a plan that, should we have to go fully remote, transitions well into that remote-learning environment.”

On buses, students will be required to wear face masks and will have permanent seating assignments.

Parents are asked to review the two options, and make a one-semester commitment to whichever choice they select. A decision is required by Monday, Aug. 10.

Spring Lake Public Schools

Spring Lake Public Schools is expected to have its back-to-school plan ready for families sometime this week.

In an update published on the district’s website on July 24, Superintendent Dennis Furton said students will have two options, assuming the region remains in Phase 4 of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s MI Safe Start Plan.

“SLPS will have two options this fall: face-to-face instruction and distance learning,” Furton wrote. “To be clear, our face-to-face plan has all students attending school each day. For parents who elect distance learning, SLPS will offer a largely online K-12 curriculum taught by a certified teacher.

“I can’t say enough about how hard staff have worked this summer preparing for the various scenarios we may face in the fall. They have been amazing,” he added. “In addition, thanks to our parents for continually providing us with some patience and space to work through these unprecedented and complex issues.”

Fruitport Community Schools

Fruitport Community Schools recently circulated a survey to district families to help the district shape its decisions.

The survey included the following message:

“For the last few months, groups of teachers and administrators have been working on our plan to return safely to school. We have reviewed your thoughts from the spring surveys, CDC guidelines and the Safe Schools Roadmap requirements provided by the state to develop our offerings for this fall. We worked hard to develop a plan that allows us teach to your children in person as much as possible within the guidelines we were given. However, we understand that there are still concerns that exist as our nation continues to fight this pandemic. Please fill out the survey below to let us know your intent for the fall. Your response will help us fine-tune our planning to be responsive to family needs.”

(1) comment


We need to get these kids back in school.

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