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Offline Tools for Schools

Offline Tools for Schools

The Oregon Department of Education has developed recommendations for continuity of student well-being while schools are closed during the COVID-19 public health crisis. ODE’s goal is that all students will maintain a connection to their teacher(s), feel grounded in their sense of well-being and mental health, feel connected and valued as important members of their learning communities, and, once those conditions for learning are present, continue to read, write, communicate, think critically, problem-solve, and engage in varied learning and academic experiences during this school closure period. Educators play a critical role in maintaining connection with students while schools are closed. While student attendance will be required and student work graded, more flexibility is available with regard to scheduling and instructional time.

In addition, ODE has curated multiple resources to support student, family, and teacher well-being, in addition to a well-rounded list of instructional areas for Oregon’s teachers. We’ve posted them on the ODEwebsite and are building out Oregon Open Learning, which is an open educational resource (OER) website. Oregon Open Learning will serve three primary purposes for educators:

  1. A source of educator-curated, well-rounded content;
  2. A repository of helpful guidance and recommendations for acclimating to distance learning and supporting a wide variety of Oregon students; and
  3. A platform for educator collaboration.

In an effort to support students’ access to appropriate conditions for learning and academic resources and support during this time of school closure, schools shall provide materials and opportunities that will promote student engagement, using a differentiated approach, based on the accessibility of offline tools and materials. Districts will need to provide equitable opportunities for learning by utilizing alternative methods of instruction, and materials that do not require internet accessibility. Districts should also consider what tools are available to their educators and what additional training, and/or resources are required to support this work. Districts need to build upon the structures that are currently in place to get materials to students, such as bus routes and lunch pick-up sites, for materials distribution. Each district will determine the most appropriate way to communicate and provide learning opportunities for each student, based upon the District Distance Learning Planning Tool, or a similar tool determined to fill this need.

We are living in unprecedented times, where social distancing has become necessary, and students and families are called upon to limit in-person interactions. For this reason, ODE supports efforts to connect regularly with their students and families. These interpersonal connections provide access to ongoing trusting relationships that create much needed stability for students.


Recommendations for Connecting Students and Families

  • Schedule regular times to connect with each student/family
    • Determine what students’ and families’ particular needs are.
    • Connect via phone or digitally with small groups, or one-on-one, if possible.
    • Communicate consistently and constantly, preferably once a week.
    • Schedule “office hours” (via phone, etc.).
    • Provide translated versions of communications for students and families who need that support.
  • What have students been doing?
    • Look at non-digital materials you currently have access to that support students’ learning.
    • Become familiar with the tools needed to participate in the work, and stick with them.
    • Consider making short tutorials for using the non-digital resources for students and families. 
  • What are students/families comfortable doing at home, in terms of:
    • Academics
    • Physical activity
    • Enrichment opportunities
    • Self-care
  • How can the teachers/districts help support students/families?
    • Ask families and students what they need.
    • Give explicit instructions and time expectations.
    • Set up opportunities for collaboration among your students.
    • Create learning experiences that are not time-or-schedule-bound.
    • Offer a variety of options and experiences to allow for personalization of the learning.
  • When technology is not an available option, use phone or written communication.

Additional recommendations include, but are not limited to:

  • ​​Practice self-care, when possible
  • Connect with other educators, district leaders, and ODE for support.
  • How will students who do not have digital devices or a reliable internet connection have an equitable opportunity to access learning?​
    • How can bus routes be used to deliver materials or wireless internet access to students?
    • How can meal pick-up sites also be used for materials distribution?
    • How often will printed materials be disseminated?
  • What needs to be communicated to staff?
    • How will that plan be communicated, updated, and maintained?
  • What needs to be communicated to students and families?
    • What are our current means of communication with families?
    • Are these means effective, or do we need another method?
    • How will learning, check-ins, and other communication be conveyed in a streamlined, organized, and ongoing way?
  • How can families be involved in students’ learning?
  • How can learning experiences be modified and differentiated for students’ learning?

Considerations for Planning

Examples of offline resources include, but are not limited to hard copy resources, such as:

  • OPB Updates TV Schedule To Include More Educational Programming For Students Amid Coronavirus Pandemic​
  • Distribution and use of existing textbooks
  • Printed copies of materials, such as photocopied packets of work
  • Distribution and use of existing trade books
  • Printed copies of articles
  • Providing manipulatives, including pencils, pens, glue, paper
  • Educator-produced, televised instructions via public broadcasting
  • Access to outdoor learning experiences
  • Educator check-ins with all students, individually or ​in groups, including those not able to join online (i.e. phone calls, Facetime etc.) to review assignments, provide individualized instruction, check in on progress, maintain connections
  • Mail letters to students’ homes
  • Mail home computer flash drives that are preloaded with messages and learning expectations.
  • Broadcast messages via public radio.

​Distance learning should provide high-quality, standards-based instructional experiences for students.​

​​
  • If using assigned curricular materials, where were you in your planning before school closure?
    • Districts need to determine how frequently educators will need to meet with students, so students will experience a predictable, sufficient stream of support.
    • Suggested daily minimum distance learning commitment (note: Oregon has aligned this recommendation with Kansas and Washingt​on)
      • ​Pre-K : 30 minutes
      • Grades K-1 : 45 minutes
      • Grades 2-3 : 60 minutes
      • Grades 4-5 : 90 minutes
      • Grades 6-12 : 30 minutes per teacher (3 hours in a day)

  • ​Considerations to keep in mind for the development of printed materials:
    • Time commitment and attention span required for completion.
    • How often will packets be constructed and delivered? (Once a week?)
    • Materials should consist of content that has already been covered. New content should not be introduced.
    • Include a mix of both open-ended and closed-ended questions.
    • Give thought to font size and type, ensuring ease of visibility.
    • Completion, collection, and grading are required.
    • Who will be responsible for creating printed passages, photocopied packets of materials?
    • Who will do the translation for student directions in printed materials for students who need that support?
    • Stagger schedules for building access, or collaborating and sharing the work. For instance, one building could be responsible for producing printed materials for one grade level, and another building could be assigned a different grade level, to ensure appropriate social distancing guidelines.

  • What offline delivery system(s) will be used?
    • How can print passages and books be distributed to students?​​
      • Bus routes
      • Meal pick-up locations
      • Mailings

  • How can activities be differentiated within that delivery system?
    • Provide materials and host discussions in languages in addition to English.
    • Create accessible materials for students with different learning needs.
      • How will differentiated access to printed content be provided for students who need it?
      • Supports for emerging bilinguals, for students with exceptional needs, etc.
      • How will tools be utilized to ensure that difficulties with reading, writing and spelling do not become a barrier to student engagement and success?
      • How will students with sensory, orthopedic, and/or cognitive support needs be able to access the materials?

  • ​​ ​What high impact learning opportunities will be prioritized to support maintaining student understanding of identified standards?​​​
  • What systems will be used for teachers to provide feedback to students and monitor their progress?
    • ​How will that feedback be given?
    • How will teachers provide descriptive feedback, if appropriate, and use it to differentiate offline tools and resources for students?
    • How will assessments be implemented?

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