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Appo at-home learning fills the gap

Staff Writer
Middletown Transcript
Middletown Transcript

Appoquinimink School District is trying to curb learning loss during the statewide school shutdown announced by Gov. John Carney March 13 amid the coronavirus outbreak.

At-home learning activity sheets went home with students.

The materials are to complement and extend lessons students have already explored and will not introduce new concepts, Superintendent Matt Burrows said in a letter to parents.

“In this model, we’re not calling on parents to teach, but rather facilitate and help to prevent learning loss,” he said.

Carney asked all 19 school districts to close from March 16 to March 27. As of March 16, Burrows said he expects school and offices to reopen Monday, March 30.

At-home learning

The Teaching and Learning team has set up about 14 days of activities divided into English, math, science, social studies and world language and related arts. The activities are online at apposchooldistrict.com.

“We are all managing ever-changing conditions and circumstances in response to the coronavirus,” Kalia Reynolds, executive director of Teaching and Learning, said in a letter to parents. “During this challenging time, we’re focused on balancing the learning needs of our students with varying circumstances.”

Participation is voluntary but strongly suggested, spokeswoman Lilian Miles said. There is no intention to attach grades or tests.

“I should also note that the lessons are designed to be equitable,” she said. “There are areas in our district that do not have access to Wi-Fi and the internet, and some families face financial limitations that prevent access to technology. So most of the activities suggested here do not require a computer or tablet, although some do.”

Burrows said he expects the list of at-home resources to grow.

Change in breaks

In response to the two-week closure, school boards were asked to change spring break dates.

Appoquinimink’s spring break is April 10-17. As of March 16, the board has not changed the dates.

“[The district is] well aware that the decision will create hardship for families, schools, employers and childcare providers. President Trump has declared a national state of emergency – and health experts from around the globe agree that extraordinary measures are needed to slow the progression of the disease,” Burrows said. “We are acting quickly to provide as much time as possible for family planning.”

Burrows said the loss of school days should be recovered by the days set aside for snow. If the board agrees to move spring break dates, more time could be allocated to meet the state regulated instructional hours.

He said days would only be added to the end of the school year as a last resort.