I am coming to you today to share a few important updates regarding our efforts to support our students while they are unable to come to school.
Perhaps the most important information I want to share is that we have many, many FBISD team members who are working hard to prepare systems and learning experiences that will enable our children to engage in online learning. I have heard from parents who are eager to get their children “back to school,” as well as many staff members who are ready to begin reengaging their students. I am also aware that your anxiety might be increased by announcements from other local school districts that have launched online resources. I want to share with you the thoughtful, intentional way we are addressing online learning in FBISD and what you can expect this week and in the weeks ahead.
As you may know, FBISD is far ahead of most other districts in regard to our blended learning approach to teaching and learning. This means we have already been using various online resources as valuable teaching tools on a day-to-day basis. This includes many tools that are embedded in the Schoology learning management system and Microsoft Outlook 365. Many of our teachers and students are familiar with these systems, which is why we will be using them as part of our new online learning system.
To ensure your student is able to get the most out their online learning experience, we are carefully planning how to deliver our curriculum and how teachers will consistently lead learning. Therefore, this requires us to assess the capacity of our stakeholders, parents, staff and students to engage in an online platform. This is where we are at right now. We are one of the most diverse communities in the nation in many ways, and we cannot make assumptions as we plan for online instruction. Our students and families have varying needs, and addressing equity is critical as we move forward with planning. Our charge is to ensure that all families have access to quality instruction. In the coming weeks, we are focusing on building structures that will prepare us to train and launch online learning with fidelity.
Online learning is much more than simply recording lessons and posting online worksheets. We must establish viable ways to teach, assess student learning and give feedback to students. When FBISD begins to offer online learning, you can trust it will be a well thought-out, well-developed system of instruction, and we will keep you all updated in advance about the launch of this system.
In the meantime, my social media feeds tell me that our parents are looking for support on how to keep their students engaged in educational activities and on some sort of daily, structured schedule. As a part of our planning, tomorrow, we are launching FBISD At Home Learning, a webpage filled with free educational resources and ideas designed to help you help your children engage in learning on a consistent basis. Using these tools, you will be able to begin to create more structure in your child’s day, as we prepare for teacher-led instruction.
As a part of our planning, we will be asking FBISD teachers to share some specific tips on how to support your children with informational videos on a variety of topics, including how to build and reinforce a daily schedule, how to get the most out of reading with your child and today, how to talk to our youngest about this uncertainty. Please be on the lookout for these videos on the website and on social media.
We understand our students, and their parents, might be missing the structure of the school day. So, in the near term, we will do our part to help you have productive days at home. And in the long term, we will provide the systems to keep our students learning at home for as long as they can’t assemble at school.
We truly appreciate your continued patience and support as we navigate through this unchartered territory and do our best to support our students.