On July 15, CEO Dr. Monica Goldson hosted a parent and community telephone town hall, answering questions from parents and community members on plans for the 2020-2021 school year. We compiled highlights.
Q: How will the high school Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs be accommodated with distance learning?
A: During the first two quarters, students will focus on classwork. The goal is for the hands-on component to be completed in the last half of the academic year.
Q: Will teachers respond to students in a timely manner on questions about schoolwork and homework?
A: Yes. The policy will be a 24-hour reply time for student inquiries and a 48-hour policy on email replies to parents/guardians (excluding weekends).
Q: Will all curriculum subjects be taught during distance learning?
A: Yes. All content areas will be taught, including specials like art, physical education and world languages, if offered.
Q: Is it possible for printed paper packets to be provided for student work?
A: Virtual learning assignments will not require the use of a printer. We will explore the possibility of making packets available. Parent Support Centers will also be available to families (details forthcoming).
Q: Will student meals be available?
A: Meal pickup will be available at all schools twice-weekly. Students will use their lunch PIN to get meals. Different from our summer meals program, only students eligible for our Free and Reduced-Price meals program will receive meals at no cost. Specialty program students can retrieve meals from the school nearest to their home. Additionally, PGCPS is exploring the possibility of meal delivery to some large residential communities.
Q: Are there plans for a smooth transition for middle school students?
A: Virtual orientations for students and parents will be available for families with students transitioning from elementary to middle school, and from middle to high school.
Q: Will teachers be required to teach from their classroom.
A: No; teachers will have the option to teach from home.
Q: How will testing work?
A: Diagnostic assessments will be done at the beginning of the school year to inform instruction. A decision has not yet been made on state assessments or college entrance assessments.
Q: What resources will be available to parents?
A: We will operate Parent Support Centers throughout the county to assist families with tech support and other aspects of distance learning (more info forthcoming). WiFi hotspots will also be available to families. Additional resources are available at pgcps.org, PGCPS-TV and Khan Academy.
Q: Will students be online for the full school day?
A: Yes. Virtual learning will operate on your school's typical hours, including built-in breaks and time for lunch.
Q: Will student service-learning hours be required?
A: The Maryland State Department of Education has not made a decision yet.
Q: How will grading be done?
A: Students will be assessed on a regular grading scale.
Q: How are teachers preparing for successful virtual learning?
A: Teachers will receive professional development to prepare them for a successful delivery of instruction. We are also partnering with the University of Maryland for teacher coaching.
Q: Could Pre-K be expanded to all children given distance learning?
A: This is a decision made at the state level, but we are hopeful that access will be granted to more families through Kirwan legislation.
Q: How will families new to PGCPS become acquainted with technology and platforms?
A: Devices will be distributed to new families and those with students still needing an iPad or Chromebook + additional support in getting set up + navigation.
Q: Are there considerations being made to continue athletics — especially for high school students?
A: Colleges and universities are aware of the circumstances. PGCPS will work with coaches to assist high school students on innovative ways to prepare athletes to apply to college.
Q: How will student IEPs be implemented?
A: IEP students will be provided the equipment necessary to continue learning virtually. More information is forthcoming in our comprehensive plan on special education.