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Guidance Considerations

Stakeholder Support

Creating awareness and a clear understanding of flexible instructional days is critical to successful implementation. Students, staff, parents, school board, and community all need a clear understanding of how the program will work and what roles each must play.

  • Consider the resources of your entity and how you can most effectively inform your stakeholders to create both awareness and support.

Training

Staff, students, and parents play a key role in the flexible instructional day success. Specifically, if technology is the means of delivery of instruction, each must know how to access and use online services and resources. While teachers can instruct students on the procedure to complete work online, parents will require some basic knowledge to assist students if help is needed.

  • Consider demonstrations at parent advisory meetings and other onsite school functions to provide an overview of how the system works as well as posting a step by step set of directions on accessing the necessary resources on your entity's website.

Contingency Plans

For unexpected situations that may occur during a flexible instructional day (e.g., localized power outage), a policy that addresses alternatives to the planned program may be critical.

  • Consider a policy that addresses extenuating circumstances and what workarounds would be available for students to meet the flexible instructional day requirements.

Professional Development

Specialized professional development for teachers may assist in ensuring program success.

  • Consider sessions that focus on the following:
    • Curriculum design for asynchronous instruction
    • Instruction and classroom management in a virtual setting
    • Lesson design that encourages student engagement

Meeting Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

Prior to the implementation of a flexible instructional day, the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team should convene to determine how to best meet a student's needs and determine what supports/alternate means may be employed to meet the participation requirement. Failure to do so may result in the student being awarded compensatory education.

Attendance

Attendance will be strictly enforced by PDE in compliance with Article XIII for flexible instructional days. For reporting purposes, students who did not participate during the flexible instructional day should be reported as having either excused or unexcused absences, accordingly.

Technical Assistance and Support

Access to technical assistance and support during the flexible instructional day for both teachers and students may help to avert problems that may arise.

  • Consider having technology staff available during the flexible instructional day (e.g., email, chat, phone) to address any issues that arise.

Curriculum Exemplars

Public school entities must submit a series of exemplars representative of instruction on a flexible instructional day. While there is no prescribed format, exemplars should model Danielson practices.

  • Consider the following when developing exemplars:

Check each box below to confirm that the exemplars you created meet the criteria.

Instructional Exemplar Rubric Criteria
Standards identified
Clear and sequenced organization
Goals and expectations for learning clearly communicated
Activities support instructional outcomes and important concepts
Opportunities for student choice
Varied resources
Formative assessments that match desired outcome

* Note: This rubric is designed solely to verify completeness and is not a quality review.

Health Services

Students must be provided health services during a flexible instructional day in compliance with Article XIV.

Submitting Board Approval

Acceptance of the program requires that the completed application, including the uploading of exemplars, the signature page, and Board assurances, is submitted by September 1, 2019; however, evidence of Board approval may be submitted no later than September 30, 2019. Acceptable Board evidence requires the upload of either a copy of the official minutes or a copy of the resolution presented to the Board for approval with a signed letter from the Board president verifying the date the resolution was presented and detailing the results of the vote. If submitting a letter and copy of the resolution, the official minutes must be uploaded as soon as possible after Board approval and no later than October 31, 2019.

Note that the September 30 extension for submittal of evidence of Board approval is a one-time extension due to the tight deadlines for the first year; future applications to establish or renew a program will adhere to the September 1 deadline for submittal of a complete application.

Non-Public School Requirements

A nonpublic school may use technology or other appropriate means to provide instruction to students on days when a school building is prevented from opening.

While a non-public school is not required to submit an application, procedures must be in place to ensure the following:

  1. the enforcement of student attendance under Article XIII.
  2. the fulfillment of the minimum hours of instruction per year under Section 1327.