CurriculumA school district's curriculum is at the heart of the educational process. It is the substance and essence of what is being taught. Great efforts are made to ensure that all material taught in our classrooms is appropriate and educationally valuable to our students.
Our school district has long maintained a curriculum review process through which we research and evaluate new materials and resources, carefully analyzing their impact on student learning and ensuring alignment to state and national standards.
Priority Standards and Learning Targets
Staff in Forest Lake Area Schools are participating in a process to "unpack" the Minnesota Academic Standards, determining Priority Standards and developing Learning Targets for each content area to frame lesson objectives from the students' perspective. These priority standards and learning targets will create a foundation for a guaranteed and viable learning experience for all students.
To determine priority standards, teachers evaluate each grade level or content-area standard for endurance (value beyond a single test date), leverage (value in multiple disciplines), readiness (necessary for success in the next grade level or instructional level) and high test value (appearance on state exams).
A learning target describes the standard from a student's point of view. Teacher teams work collaboratively to develop learning targets that clearly indicate student learning targets for each of the priority standards.
Below are some of the learning targets developed to this point for K-6.
What is e-Learning?
If school is closed due to weather, learning will continue that day at home through e-Learning activities provided by each student’s teacher(s). This learning can take place through online tools or using offline printed resources.
Why do we need e-Learning days?
The state mandates that students attend school for a minimum number of days and hours each year. In winters where there are an unusual number of weather-related school cancellations, e-Learning days can help students continue to advance in their learning and prevent the district from having to add back days into the calendar to make up for lost instructional time. Adding days back to the calendar may include converting professional development or spring break days to instructional days, or extending the school year.
Does this mean we will never have another snow day?
No. Not all weather-related cancellations will be e-Learning days. The school district, teachers and school staff will communicate with families each time an e-Learning day is designated.
What if we don’t have internet access or a computer at home?
Teachers will adapt learning content for students who don’t have internet access or access to a computer, tablet, etc. If weather forecasts indicate a likely cancellation, teachers will prepare ahead of time for e-Learning days and will send resources home with students prior to the e-Learning day.
Can families choose to opt out of e-Learning days?
Students whose family chooses to not participate in the e-Learning day are reported as absent.
Is it the parents’ responsibility to teach their children during e-Learning days?
No. While we always value parent involvement in a child’s education, parents are not responsible for teaching their child during e-Learning days. The work will be designed to be completed by the student independently and teachers will be available online or via phone if needed to answer students’ questions and assist them with school work.
What will an e-Learning day look like for elementary students?
Elementary students will likely receive printed materials to take home prior to any likely e-Learning day. Their teacher will give them instructions on how to complete the work, and they will turn it in upon their return to school.
What will an e-Learning day look like for middle school and high school students?
Secondary students will be offered instruction and course work online via a common web-based tool. They will need to participate in the course work during the cancelled school day, interact with their teacher(s) and complete work as assigned. For those who do not have internet or computer access, other formats will be provided for students to complete their coursework, and the teacher will be available by phone.
What about special situations?
Our district has a well-researched plan for e-Learning days, but we also recognize that special situations can and will occur. If you have a concern about your child or your family’s unique situation, please reach out to your child’s teacher or principal.
What does state law say about e-Learning Days? (MN statutes, section 120A.414)
The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) e-Learning Days statute outlines how Minnesota school districts can implement these instructional days. According to the statute:
--Definition: "e-Learning day" means a school day where a school offers full access to online instruction provided by students' individual teachers due to inclement weather.
--Each student's teacher must be accessible both online and by telephone during normal school hours on an e-Learning day to assist students and parents.
--Notify parents and students at least two hours prior to the normal school start time that students need to follow the e-Learning day plan for that day.
--Notify parents and students of the e-Learning Day plan at the beginning of the school year.
--Accommodations for students without sufficient access to the Internet, hardware or software in their homes.