by Richard Uhlhorn
The Lake Chelan School District has received the first ever TEALS Founder’s Award for growing its computer science classes to include every freshman. Principal Brad Wilson told the School Board at its meeting on Thursday evening, August 13, that a trophy from Microsoft has arrived by mail. “I’ve put it in our trophy case,” said Wilson. The High School has been in a program with Microsoft to introduce computer skills including coding to every freshman enrolled in the school. “They (freshmen) don’t show up showing a passion for computer science,” Wilson said. Microsoft has volunteers that help educate students in computer sciences.
Superintended Barry DePaoli stated that the program added a “big bump to our technology. It was dollars well spent. Congratulations to the High School.”
Microsoft President Brad Smith congratulated Chelan High School for winning the first TEALS Founders Award. “In less than three years, this rural Washington school has grown its computer science pathway to include an intro class for every freshman. Students deserve the opportunity to learn computer science from an early age.”
DePaoli went from Wilson’s announcement into the Fall Reopening Plan. “I will be communicating to families next week,” he told the Board. “My goal (tonight) is to have the board approve our plan.” Once approved, he will be sending the plan on to OSPI for their approval.
The board also approved a $40,000 expenditure to AT&T to provide 130 hotspots for all of the students who currently are without internet.
The District will be using Google Classroom as its primary learning management platform this coming school year. “Every day students will be getting live training,” said DePaoli. Plans are being made to also orient student’s parents to the technology being used.
DePaoli is also submitting a plan to Dr. Butler at Chelan-Douglas Health to bring five students into live classrooms. These students will be those with no access, are homeless or otherwise are special needs students. They will be served in the classroom by the school’s ParaPros.
Each school day will begin with daily attendance, and period attendance for the secondary classes. “There will be a lot more student interaction and an age appropriate curriculum,” said DePaoli. “I will say that a lot of good work with our principals, staff, parents and students has been accomplished.” DePaoli said the District is going to have to be flexible and adaptable to remote learning.
Elementary Principal Erin Morin stated that MOE would have staggered start times where the students log on. On-line courses with teachers will begin at 9 a.m. and every child will be in small group meetings.
The school lunch program will be offered from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. pickup. In the afternoon students will work on independent work.
Middle School Principal Brian Wood expects students to be prepared for live instruction with a “Brain Break” mid-morning. He is working on a remote Physical Education program where students can get outside and exercise. From 1:30 to 3 p.m. will be teacher intervention time.
Board chair Jeff Fehr asked how band would work. “I’ve been working with Steve (Burdick) with ideas on that,” said Wood. DePaoli remarked that Zoom Live might work with music.
Kim Thorpe asked how students who were ahead of their grade level would be treated.
Wood answered that they would be evaluated through the Cohort system which can track academic data related to specific student groups. Cohort refers to a group of individuals who have something in common. In education, cohort is typically applied to students who are being educated at the same period of time in a specific class.
High School Principal Brad Wilson said his focus will be on “making sure we are meeting graduation requirements.”
He said, “It is really important to focus on self managment.” Students will be given reminders on Monday mornings of what is expected and due.
Lynda Foster and Kim Thorpe congratulated the administration for creating a remote learning experience for students this fall. Fehr said, “I feel much better going into this year.” He asked about late start Mondays because that is in the teacher contracts. DePaoli stated that he needs to look at that.
Eric Peterson, CSI (School of Innovation) stated that the was cautiously optimistic. He said he was going to set the tone and expectations with his students. “I’m going to set up a kinda contract so people understand what is expected of them.”
Peterson said he would be emphasizing social reasoning and talking about the upcoming election.
DePaoli added that he is working closely with the Health District to set up a hybrid model for CSI. “We continue to look at how to reach out to our kids.” If his petition is approved at the Health District, they would bring special education back to the school setting.
Rosey Burkhard has prepared 12 or 13 different handbooks for the health and safety of staff and students that are in the school. DePaoli added that he is working on bringing students back to the school, even it is outdoors to interact with their teachers.
Regarding athletics… DePaoli said it will be a long time before athletes will be allowed again.
The District is preparing a press release and letter that will be sent out next week to parents and the press regarding the reopening of the school year.