Information about Middle Grades Virtual Schedules9/21/2020
Dear PPS Families,
As we shift from the soft start into ongoing virtual learning, families have shared questions about the middle grades schedules. We know you are essential partners in student learning, and we want to ensure you have answers to these commonly asked questions in one place. In case you are interested in state guidance behind the PPS schedules, we have linked information below for your reference.
Why does the PPS middle grades schedule only use whole-class live instructional time with students on Monday and Tuesday?
- The PPS schedule exceeds the requirements of the recommended grades 6-8 schedule from ODE.
- Middle grades research emphasizes the developmental importance of choice and variety for students as they explore multiple new elective options – in order for students to access electives, they needed to participate in all classes (not half of all classes per semester, as in high school, which would only allow students to access Language Arts, Science, Math, and Social Studies).
- The Council of Great City Schools emphasizes importance of ⅓ synchronous and ⅔ asynchronous time for students at this grade level.
- Holding fewer live classes as a whole group allows time for interventions and extensions, as well as 1x1 educator communication with students who need additional follow-up.
What is Applied Learning?
- Applied Learning is practice/application work that the teacher designs for all students to help them practice skills and new learning from the live lesson. Students are engaging in the “you do”/independent practice part of instruction. In a brick and mortar classroom, the teacher would usually give some direct instruction first (“I do”), then provide some time for supported practice (“we do”), then give students time for supported independent practice of new skills (“you do”). In the virtual classroom, “I do” and “we do” will happen during live sessions; “you do” will happen during applied learning.
- The Oregon Department of Education defines Applied Learning as “Experiences [that] allow for students to apply knowledge and skills that extend from the teacher-facilitated learning . . . These learning experiences are intentionally designed by the teacher to meaningfully deepen student engagement, allow for peer interaction, and to support family and community involvement . . . Applied learning experiences must be designed to support independent learning routines, independent practice, and independent application of skills or learning.”
How do I know whether my student is scheduled into a small group each week and/or when my student’s teachers host their office hours?
- Teachers determine which students need to be scheduled for additional teaching, interventions, and/or extensions for a given week.
- You and your student will receive communication from your teacher about being scheduled into a small group if your student needs additional teaching, interventions, or extensions for that week’s lessons.
- Most teachers will establish a weekly schedule for office hours that is the same each week. In some cases, this may vary depending on the unit.
- Teachers will likely reach out through text and email.
What does grading look like?
- A-F or proficiency grades are used, depending on your school’s grading system prior to distance learning.
- Aligned to recommendations from ODE on pp. 26 and 27 of the Comprehensive Distance Learning Guide.