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Solon to roll out required HS instruction

School closure extended to April 30

SOLON– Superintendent Davis Eidahl laid out the reasoning bluntly in a letter to the school community Friday, April 3.
“We anticipate the school closure to extend beyond April 30,” he wrote. “So we prepared a learning plan to best meet the long-term educational needs of our students and comply with the Department of Education requirements.”
Following Gov. Kim Reynolds’ decision to extend school closures to the end of the month, the Solon Community School District (SCSD) announced it would transition its high school students from voluntary enrichment opportunities to required coursework.
Students at the elementary and middle school levels will continue with refined but still optional enrichment activities.
“We are hopeful to return to school in May, but our plan recognizes the possibility of a closure through the end of the school year,” Eidahl observed in an email.
The benefits of the plan include meeting all requirements of the Iowa Department of Education and awarding credit to high school students who demonstrate competency, he noted.
It also provides a chance for teachers and staff to remain connected and available to all students and families, he added.
At the high school level, teachers will prioritize the content that hadn't been taught prior to spring break, he said.
“Most, if not all of the priority standards will be taught and assessed,” Eidahl wrote in an email.
Teachers will use Google Classroom as a platform to post assignments, comments and feedback and for students turn in assignments. Google Hangout and Zoom will both be utilized for face-to-face interaction, he said.
Students will not have a daily schedule that is the same every day or one that mirrors their in-school schedule, Eidahl noted.
Teachers will connect with their students multiple times during the week using various methods. Some of the connections will be through Zoom or Google Hangout, but many others will be corresponding through Google Classrooms, he reported.
“The teachers will provide a lot of feedback on opportunities students will have to demonstrate their learning through these avenues,” he commented.
The district will shift the focus to required high school coursework between April 13 and April 20. Depending on the course, students will experience a rolling start, Eidahl said, with some starting earlier in the week and some later.
“All courses will not kick off at the same time,” he noted.
The high school administration and staff are working on a detailed communication to be provided to parents and students this week, he said.
The educational service plan will be recognized as hours and days by the Department of Education, and the last day of school for students remains Friday, May 29, the superintendent said.
The district is still exploring ideas to accommodate those without Internet access.
“We're looking at providing hotspots in our parking lots for students to access from their vehicles as a possibility,” he said. “We're also having conversations with Internet providers to determine if they can provide families temporary access at the school’s expense.”
If access is not possible, Eidahl continued, the district might provide copies of material to students.
“We are providing computers to students that don't have a device,” he said. “Lessons or videos can also be put onto flash drives for the students to access without the Internet.”
Lakeview Elementary and Solon Middle School students will continue with voluntary enrichment.
“These opportunities are optional, but were created to support continual learning,” Eidahl noted in his letter to school families.
He later said teachers are working to simplifying lessons and narrow the focus.
“Teachers will be videoing new lessons and uploading those to lessons posted on our website,” he said. “The lessons and routines provided will be designed for two-three hours of daily learning.”
For questions about the elementary and middle school activities, resources and accessibility, email your child’s teacher or principal.
“We understand the challenges that exist for students and parents and remind you that we are here to support families and students through this school year,” Eidahl concluded. “Please do not hesitate to contact me at deidahl@solon.k12.ia.us with questions or challenges.”