The District is working on plans to reopen our schools in the fall. OSPI's guidelines published on June 11 tasked schools with focusing on these priorities in our work:
- Supporting students furthest from Educational Justice
- Preparing for the health and safety of students and staff
- Investing in connectivity and hardware
- Leveraging local expertise and providing training
The following information outlines some of the work that's been happening during the past couple of months and will continue over the summer. Workgroups have been assembled with representation from certificated staff and building and district administrators. The input from students, families, and staff will also be used to inform the work. With serving the whole community as our continued foundation, our committed lens of equity and access will guide our work.
Serving Each Whole Child
Our unwavering goal of growing the whole child remains firmly anchored as a design parameter during these unprecedented times. Personalized opportunities to support a student with where they are currently at in relation to shared momentum of where they will go will be emphasized in our design of the Fall. We will remain steadfast in creating learning experiences that ensure safe, healthy, engaged, challenged and supported opportunities for each whole child. We will continue to act as a beacon for the work as we holistically develop our plan to reopen schools.
Learning Plans & Design
Over the past four years, hundreds of TPS educators have collaboratively and systematically narrowed the focus for learning standards by identifying priority standards for each content area and updating curriculum. This spring we began developing guidelines for virtual and blended instruction and started aligning district efforts for educator professional growth.
To better support students & families, Learning Management Systems (LMS) are currently being reviewed by a large team of educators. An LMS will be selected and ready to launch in the fall. An LMS is a "one-stop shop" that will provide students, families, and educators support for years to come. The LMS will support seamless transitions from traditional face-to-face learning to remote learning or a combination of both, strengthen communication, and enhance equitable access to students as they learn the priority standards. District leaders, teacher leaders, and family representatives will continue partnering over the summer to upload curricular resources and sample standards-based lessons into the LMS then design training resources for educators, families, and students to support implementation.
Since the beginning of the shutdown, the Technology Services Department has been working to create an infrastructure that enables the district to deliver a safe and manageable online environment for all students and staff whether they are in a classroom or working remotely. New tools are being put in place that will allow safe Internet access on district devices whether they are on or off our network. We will have the ability to connect to and troubleshoot devices and software regardless of their location and we will be able to install software and security updates on any device in any location. We are also ordering laptops as quickly as we can so we have devices available for all students should we need to shut down for any reason in the future.
Learning Structures & Access
As we design multi-access learning structures for the Fall, scheduling concepts are being considered in alignment to OSPI guidelines that include possibilities in face-to-face instruction, hybrid models with rotating schedules, and virtual experiences that provide access to continuous learning. Continued examination of differentiated approaches that include a myriad of solutions are being explored. With each potential model, firm acknowledgement of the health and safety standards presented with the OSPI guidelines will be utilized in the design process. Each potential scenario will emphasize a recognized need for increased access and an intentional assessment of logistical elements aligned with implementation. We want students back in school but must honor the safety needs of students, staff, and community. With certainty, our work and nimble delivery of innovative experiences for the Fall will require a collaborative mindset of growth that is rich in empathy for the incredible community that we serve.
This work cannot be done in isolation and, more than ever before, will rely on collaborative partnerships that deliver resources, thought, and support of both internal and external stakeholders. From increased technology, both equipment and access, to the support of various departments that collectively serve each whole child, we will lean into creative solutions to maximize partnerships throughout our greater Tacoma community.
Our next steps are focused on continued work with Pierce County Health Department on guidelines for social distancing, planning an online option for families, examining the physical spaces at each of our schools to determine limits of social distancing, and gathering additional feedback from families, students and staff.
About Tacoma Schools
Tacoma Public Schools is the only district designated an Innovation Zone by Washington State. A leader in implementing innovative schools and programs to meet the diverse needs of every student, every day, TPS serves approximately 30,000 students from preschool to grade 12 and at nearly 5000 employees is one of the largest employers in Tacoma. Learn more...