The following letter has been prepared informing parents of the GCS Snow Learning Plan. In addition to the letter being shared here, each school will distribute hard-copy letters in coming days:
On October 10, 2014, the Kentucky Department of Education announced that Grant County Schools (GCS) had received approval to utilize a “snow learning” plan when students are off for inclement weather. GCS is one of only 13 districts in the state to be approved, and the only district in Northern Kentucky.
The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) invited districts with potential to miss several snow days to submit a plan for non-traditional and/or virtual instruction that would encourage continued learning while students are away from school. Our district responded for two very important reasons: 1) To reduce the amount of learning loss during difficult winters such as we experienced last year; and 2) To begin to take advantage of learning opportunities outside the classroom that technology now allows us to enjoy.
Our plan, entitled “There’s No Learning Like ‘Snow’ Learning”, will primarily utilize a new software application called “Homework Interchange” which will allow students to receive instruction and assignments, then submit work – all remotely. Teachers and students will be trained in this during the Fall of this year. As we move forward, we anticipate Homework Interchange will assume a progressively larger role in the “traditional” classroom experience as well, as it helps students and teachers track student work.
The GCS Snow Learning Plan will also include software applications with which our students are already very comfortable, such as Compass Learning and OdysseyWare. More traditional learning packets and projects will be available for younger students and for those who may not have access to the needed technology.
Our primary goals for this year will be to continue learning experiences for all students and to keep our approach simple and comfortable for teachers, students and parents. In preparation for our “Snow Learning Days” teachers will work together to create lessons rich in literacy and math that will be ready in early January, and students will be introduced to their snow day learning opportunities in advance. In coming days, you and/or your child may be asked about the level of technology to which he/she will have access on or around snow days.
Grant County has applied to utilize certain snow days as “Snow Learning Days.” Designated days will be communicated with our traditional school closing messages (via facebook, one call, website, and radio/tv stations). Due dates for “snow learning day” assignments will be specified with the assignment, but will typically include a short window of time after the actual snow day. This will allow students to enjoy the break and the fun that snow days provide, but will also allow them to utilize some of their down time in a more productive activity.
Schools and students will be held accountable for the learning that will take place on the “Snow Learning Days”. This may include an assessment or presentation on the subject matter upon the students’ return. Proof of learning will determine whether or not the state waives requirements for making up a limited number of snow days at the end of the year.
We are complimented that KDE saw Grant County Schools as a district able to successfully pilot and implement this shift in thinking and delivery of instruction. We solicit your support in the process, and encourage your questions and feedback as we go. More information will follow this letter as we develop plans specific to each child and grade level.
Our district makes decisions very carefully that affect the quality of instruction and the safety and well-being of your child. We feel this is a tool that will be beneficial in accomplishing both goals. Best wishes to each student and family for continued success this 2014-2015 school year.