• REOPENING DCS WEB BANNER

Technology

  • The Dothan City Schools Technology Department will support distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing students who do not have a computer or internet at home with a Chromebook that has cellular data capabilities built-in, or a Chromebook and a separate mobile hotspot device. This will allow for instructional materials to be delivered to the children who stay at home for various reasons during a portion of the school year.

    These Chromebooks are to be used for educational purposes only and the internet accessed on these devices will be filtered and logged in the same way as devices on any DCS campus. This will ensure that every student has a safe and secure online experience while continuing their education from home.

    The included “Chromebook Loaner Agreement” must be filled out and signed. Included are special instructions for cleaning and disinfecting these devices to reduce the spread of bacteria and viruses such as COVID-19. It is the responsibility of the student and the parent/guardian to care for these devices. Any damages are to be reported to the DCS Technology Department immediately.

    The Technology Department will also be building on our current Knowledge Base articles to help with resolving common issues, provide How-To guides, and best practice recommendations relative to technology. The Media Specialists and Technology Specialists at DCS will go through training to support the new hardware and software involved with distance learning to assist with issues as they arise.

Instruction

  • Dothan City Schools has been careful to create a plan to reopen schools with an eye toward flexibility. Our intent is the reopening of school in a traditional fashion. Naturally, any plan is contingent on the track that the coronavirus takes and also on complying with any executive or statewide orders. Thinking forward, the following illustrates the formats that Dothan City Schools will put into effect in order to continue providing education while putting safety first for students and staff.

    When Will School Begin?

    For teachers on August 24, 2020; For students on September 8, 2020

    • This date is a week later than originally expected to allow time for cleaning supplies, thermometers, and other supplies to be on hand. The materials were ordered in June, yet there is much demand by all school systems in the state and the country.

    What Will School Look Like in September 2020?

    DCS will offer parents a dual instructional approach, Traditional and Remote/Virtual. Parents can send their children to school in the traditional model, or parents may choose to keep their children at home and participate in remote/virtual instruction. Elementary and Dothan Preparatory Academy students will be allowed to make changes to their schedules at the end of the first and second grading periods. Dothan High School students will be allowed to make changes at the end of the first semester due to block scheduling of classes this year. At that time, they can continue virtual or reenter traditional schools. 

    Elementary: Remote Learning

    Students will engage with DCS classroom teachers each day for daily instruction in all core subjects via an online secure video platform. Students will complete assignments through Google Classroom. In addition, feedback from teachers will be provided on assignments and assessments. All instruction will align with the Alabama Course of Study Standards. Intervention and enrichment will be provided. Edgenuity will be used to provide supplemental work for students to review and practice.

    Secondary: Virtual Program

    DCS has chosen Edgenuity for its virtual program. Edgenuity is a leading provider of K-12 online learning solutions. Edgenuity provides courses aligned with the Alabama Course of Study Standards and offers individualized learning paths. The Edgenuity team will work with our district team to provide an optimal learning experience for all students enrolled in the DCS Virtual Program. DCS teachers will monitor students’ progress and communicate as needed. This model works well for students who desire flexible hours and self-paced learning.

    To register for the distancing learning programs above, please click the following link.(REGISTRATION ENDED ON JULY 31)

    What Happens If Outbreaks Occur?

    Classrooms or grade levels in one school may be affected for a few days or a week, depending on guidance from the Alabama Department of Public Health. During these times, the system will switch to the distance learning instruction and communication model until students can return to school. In preparation for possible outbreaks, we will go to a blended approach where students and teachers will go from a traditional setting to a full-time remote learning/virtual program and reopen with a gradual rate before implementing a full traditional method. At the same time, we will implement the deep clean protocol for that school. When we begin to reopen the specific areas of a school or the entire school it will have to be at a gradual rate reopening with a staggered schedule.

    What Happens If There Is A Complete Shutdown Of The District, Again?

    Should there be any type of large-scale outbreak or the Governor issues an order to stay at home, the system will continue instruction through virtual means. The system has purchased a new online platform to be used at both elementary and secondary levels.

    If this occurs and the system is able to reopen (after a full shut down), the system may elect to reenter the traditional mode of instruction and will continue to offer the virtual model as parents wish. However, to reenter the school buildings and keep the numbers of students limited to half the student body, we will reopen on an adaptable schedule.

    For Example:

    • 50% of the students will go to school on Mondays and Tuesdays
    • 50% of the students will go to school on Wednesdays and Thursdays
    • Fridays- all students will receive remote/virtual instruction. This will allow the system to clean and sanitize the schools weekly.

    However, DCS’s main objective is to hold school as naturally as possible.

    Remote Learning/Virtual Program Training for Teachers

    Based on the number of students enrolled in Remote Learning and the Virtual Program, a team or teams of teachers will be trained to provide online instruction and support for students. Additional training for teachers will be provided by SREB and Edgenuity during July and August. Work with Edgenuity has already begun to develop course pacing aligned to A+College Ready resources. Training with elementary teachers will prepare them to deliver engaging lessons and form connections among their online students.

    What Is The Difference Between Remote Learning And The Virtual Program?

    Remote Learning will include interaction with a DCS teacher via an online video platform (synchronous instruction). Students will be able to interact with each other and engage in real-time learning. Students will receive feedback and grading in Google Classroom. They will also have access to practice materials in the Edgenuity platform.

    Students enrolled in the Virtual Program will work with prerecorded video instruction (asynchronous instruction). They will complete assignments and receive grading feedback housed within the Edgenuity platform. Both groups will receive weekly communication from assigned teachers. Set office hours will allow students and parents to contact teachers for additional help as needed.

    How Does Remote Learning And Virtual Program Differ From Online Learning and Packets Provided This Past Spring?

    Due to the short notice and grading restrictions during the spring shutdown, all work assigned was review work. Packets were given to students without online access. The assignments provided were primarily used to help students stay connected to the school. Fall online services will provide a review, new learning, and plentiful feedback on assignments and assessments to include grading. During the spring shutdown, we discovered several true “rock star” teachers using online tools to reach students. We are confident that our fall online learning experience will engage students and motivate them to log in each day to the classroom.

    Exceptional Student Services

    Upon the reopening of the school district, special education services will resume in accordance with the specialized instruction and accommodations within the students’ Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) through a blended academic plan. Parents and students will be offered the option of a completely virtual learning approach that will be supplemented by learning packets (not supplanted) if the parents feel uncertain or anxious about their child returning to the physical school setting.  Otherwise, in accordance with the procedures of the District’s overall plan for social distancing, sanitizing, and caution, special education services will continue face-to-face.  Related services (such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, vision and hearing services, orientation, and mobility) may be in the form of telephonic therapies, therapies via online instruction using platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Streaming.

    Virtual Learning Approach

    A completely virtual learning approach will include services provided through virtual means only.  Related services may be in the form of telephonic therapies, therapies via online instruction using platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Streaming.  No face to face instruction will be provided with this option due to the parents’ concern for the health risks their child may face during this stage of reopening.

    Blended Learning Approach

    A blended approach will encompass both virtual means and face-to-face instruction and tutorials (using social distancing and health safety precautions outlined in the District’s plan).  If the student is approved by the parent to return to school using the District Reopening Plan, the student will follow the schedules provided by the school at which the student attends. Students will receive face-to-face instruction on days/times they are at the school and will be provided extra tutorial virtually as necessary in accordance with their IEPs.  Related therapies, other than Speech, will be provided at the school on scheduled days.  If the parent cannot provide transportation, the case manager will contact DESS to set up home visits and/or virtual options.

    Medically Fragile Students

    • Students who are considered “medically fragile” will be offered the same learning approaches outlined in the district reopening plan.
    • These classrooms will be equipped with air purifiers, utilization of face masks and gloves (gloves changed between all interactions with students to include feeding, learning activities, transitioning, and toileting/changing), and sanitation procedures each hour (including wiping with disinfectant wipes/spraying down tables and chairs, wiping changing areas between all student interactions, and disinfecting the air).
    • Students will be transitioned directly from their mode of transportation to the classroom.
    • Breakfasts, lunches, and snacks will take place in the classroom.
    • Social distancing with six feet between children will take place on days the students are present.
    • Students may be scheduled to come on alternating days or times depending on the District attendance plan for reopening schools.
    • On days the student is not present, teachers will be live streaming via Zoom or Google Classroom or pre-recording lessons to be available in Google Classroom.
    • Adaptive PE will take place in the classroom or in a separate area outside from all other children and will be led by designated faculty members.

    Autism Units

    • Students who are in the autism units will be offered the same learning approaches outlined in the district reopening plan.
    • These classrooms will be equipped with the utilization of face masks and gloves (gloves changed between all interactions with students to include feeding, learning activities, transitioning, and toileting/changing), and sanitation procedures each hour (including wiping with disinfectant wipes/spraying down tables and chairs, wiping changing areas between all student interactions, and disinfecting the air).
    • Students will be transitioned directly from their mode of transportation to the classroom.
    • Breakfasts, lunches, and snacks will take place in the classroom.
    • Social distancing with six feet between children will take place on days the students are present.
    • Students may be scheduled to come on alternating days or times depending on the District attendance plan for reopening schools.
    • On days the student is not present, teachers will be live streaming via Zoom or Google Classroom or pre-recording lessons to be available in Google Classroom.
    • Adaptive PE will take place in the classroom or in a separate area outside from all other children and will be led by designated faculty members.
    • Sensory Room activities will follow these same sanitation procedures listed for the classroom.

    Behavior Units

    • Students who are in the behavior units will be offered the same learning approaches outlined in the district reopening plan.
    • These classrooms will be equipped with the utilization of face masks and gloves (gloves changed between all interactions with students, and sanitation procedures each hour (including wiping with disinfectant wipes/spraying down tables and chairs and disinfecting the air).
    • Students will be transitioned directly from their mode of transportation to the classroom.
    • Breakfasts, lunches, and snacks will take place in the classroom and/or lunchroom as the District Plan allows.
    • Social distancing with six feet between children will take place on days the students are present.
    • Students may be scheduled to come on alternating days or times depending on the District attendance plan for reopening schools.
    • On days the student is not present, teachers will be live streaming via Zoom or Google Classroom or pre-recording lessons to be available in Google Classroom. 
    • If PE is determined necessary in the District Reopening Plan, these students will follow the same sanitation and social distancing procedures outlined in the Plan.

    Collaborative Students, Resource Students, and Students Receiving Speech Services

    • Students who are collaborative and/or receiving resource room services will be offered the same learning approaches outlined in the district reopening plan.
    • These classrooms will follow the same social distancing and sanitation procedures as listed in the District Reopening Plan.
    • Students may be scheduled to come on alternating days or times depending on the District attendance plan for reopening schools.
    • On the days the student is not present, teachers will be available to assist with home assignments during scheduled hours. These teachers will collaborate with the general education teachers to align themselves with instruction provided by the general education teacher.
    • PE will take place in accordance with the IEP in a location determined by the District Reopening Plan.
    • If PE is determined necessary in the District Reopening Plan, these students will follow the same sanitation and social distancing procedures outlined in the Plan.

    Special Education Teachers

    Special Education Teachers will need to organize themselves and plan ahead for all services, as necessary, in accordance with the DESS Reopening Plan and the students’ IEPs.  Teachers will be required to provide online instruction, tutorials, and face-to-face instruction.

    Students Receiving Accommodations with a 504 Plan

    • Students whose instruction falls under a Section 504 plan will be offered the same learning approaches outlined in the district reopening plan.
    • Accommodations will be provided as the 504 plan dictates.
    • Classrooms will follow the same social distancing and sanitation procedures as listed in the District Reopening Plan.
    • Students may be scheduled to come on alternating days or times depending on the District attendance plan for reopening schools.
    • On the days the student is not present, general education teachers will be available to assist with home assignments during scheduled hours.
    • If PE is determined necessary in the District Reopening Plan, these students will follow the same sanitation and social distancing procedures outlined in the Plan. 
    • Related services will follow the Blended Option.  Students with a 504 plan will be monitored monthly using a “look for” document to determine if the plan is sufficient or needs to be amended.

    School-Based Mental Health (S4)

    Students will continue to receive S4 services on scheduled days and may receive services through a blended approach.

    Homebound Services or Home-Based Instruction

    • Students who are restricted to the home or who meet the requirements to receive home-based instruction will be offered the same learning approaches outlined in the district reopening plan.
    • These teachers will be equipped with face masks and gloves (gloves changed between all interactions with students to include feeding, learning activities, transitioning, and toileting/changing).
    • Teachers will follow sanitation procedures between student interactions.
    • Social distancing with six feet between teacher and student will take place on days the students are receiving services.

    English Language Learners

    Upon the reopening of the school district, ESL services will resume in accordance with the specialized instructions and accommodations that are specified within the students’ Individualized English Language Plans (I-ELPs). As part of DCS’s reopening plan, parents and students who are uncertain or anxious about returning to the physical school setting will be offered the option of a completely remote learning approach that will include remote ESL services, which will be supplemental  (and will not supplant) in their content and approach. (In other words, ESL services will not replace general education instruction. Rather, ESL services will build upon general education instruction and content, focusing on the language development needed to access core content and in line with WIDA ELP standards).  Otherwise, in accordance with the procedures of the District’s overall plan for social distancing, sanitizing, and caution, ESL services will continue face-to-face.  For students opting to participate via remote options, ESL services may be in the form of telephone calls or via online instruction using platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Streaming. ESL services may also include online licenses to English Language Development software programs.

    Remote Learning Approach

    ESL services for students opting to take a remote learning approach will be focused on supplemental English language instruction.  ESL teachers and the system interpreter will offer assistance to general education teachers; however, general education teachers are the ones who will remain responsible for core content instruction and grading. Instruction and grading provided by general education teachers must follow the student’s I-ELP (utilizing the I-ELP’s specific accommodations, differentiated instruction, and alternative grading, where applicable). Special consideration regarding communication with the student and family must be given to ESL students who utilize remote learning. 

    Blended Learning Approach

    A blended approach will encompass both virtual means and face-to-face instruction (using social distancing and health safety precautions outlined in the District’s plan).  ESL services may be provided either face-to-face or virtually for students who take a blended learning approach.  Collaboration with general education teachers will be required to determine when services will be provided.

    Traditional Learning 

    Students who attend school daily will continue to receive ESL services (as specified in the I-ELP) in face-to-face small group settings.  Small groups will follow all guidelines for social distancing and all safety precautions given by DCS.  

    ESL Teachers and Staff

    ESL teachers will need to plan ahead for all services, as necessary, in accordance with the DCS Reopening Plan and the students’ I-ELPs.  ESL teachers will be providing online instruction and face-to-face instruction. ESL teachers will also be responsible for consistent communication with general education teachers. The Parent Liaison will be responsible for timely and consistent communication with parents. 

    ALL DCS Schools, particularly Administration and Office Staffs

    All DCS Schools are asked to be especially mindful of the need for translation and interpretation of school-wide notices.  Schools should be in frequent contact with the ESL Parent Liaison and also can utilize the TransAct Language Line Service. 

    Professional Development for General Education Teachers

    This year’s professional development will include a reminder of essential information but will be primarily focused on how to implement I-ELPs in light of remote, blended, or otherwise altered general education instruction.  The ESL program and staff are mindful of the changes and challenges faced by general education teachers, and every effort will be made to collaborate frequently and effectively.  General education teachers are asked to remember that ESL teachers are responsible for language development and not core content instruction.