WENATCHEE — It is a plan that will surely change before the start of school, but the Wenatchee School Board on Tuesday approved the district-wide Smart Restart Plan.
Superintendent Paul Gordon said the plan is a draft because it is ever-changing with new information that continues to come in. The district is in Stage 1 of the state’s Continuous Learning 2.0, which is online learning.
Stage 2 is a hybrid program with online and in-person learning, but to move to Stage 2 the county must have 75 COVID cases per 100,000 residents. Currently, Chelan County is at 520 cases per 100,000.
“We have to hit that number for 14 consecutive days before we can consider hybrid learning. The focus tonight is really around Stage 1, the Continuous Learning 2.0 plan,” Gordon said.
The school board, in a virtual meeting, heard about school schedules from the principals of elementary schools, middle schools and high schools.
Mike Lane, the executive director of teaching and learning, said in making the schedules the district is trying to balance students with online and offline time, not only during the course of the school day but also within a class period.
Lane said principals are working on “welcome back” videos for the families and students, “where they walk them through daily schedules so they can see what a day would be like, including all the different ways they can interact with building support and guidance and district support and guidance.”
District Communications Director Diana Haglund said they felt this was a great way for the community to hear directly from principals at the start of the school year. All the videos will be in English and Spanish.
At the elementary level, Mission View Principal Jeff Jaeger said there was a desire to have students log in to campus, which will be all new to them. Then, kids can navigate to a dashboard where everything will be a click away, Jaeger said.
The morning time at the elementary schools is mainly synchronous — real-time online instruction — while the afternoon session is mainly asynchronous, where students work at their own pace using recorded lessons or on projects.
“There will be a time of synchronous instruction and asynchronous instruction in small groups. Students will be provided independent work time in Lexia (language development program),” Jaeger said.
The lunch period will be 45 minutes, said Columbia Elementary School Principal Si Stuber, which should provide time for students to get grab-and-go meals from their respective schools. The period after lunch will be asynchronous to give students more time if needed for lunch.
“It was intended to have a live or synchronous morning with an asynchronous afternoon, which provides some flexibility for families but also provides some structure. The morning (instruction) will be accessible to students at a later time also,” Stuber said.
The final period of the elementary school day will provide an opportunity for students and teachers to build relationships, Stuber said. This was not needed last spring when school went online due to COVID because teachers had been with students for several months.
Most students will have new teachers this year.
“So we’re going to try and build those relationships during this time,” he said. “It will be a balance of one-on-one between teacher and student with possible home visits to support.”
The schedule at Lewis and Clark is no different, Principal Alfonso Lopez said, except the subjects will be taught in Spanish and English.
The objective for the middle school schedule is to make sure it matches the in-person schedule, said Orchard Middle School Principal Taunya Brown, so it would not be a major shift when students come back to the building.
Foothills Principal Mike Goviea said the two middle school schedules will be similar.
Most middle school class periods also will be a combination of synchronous and asynchronous, Lane said.
“We recognize at the sixth-grade level, we have to be more flexible because we’ll have kids in secondary school for the first time. The real intent is to try and recreate the schedule they will have when they come back in-person as much as possible,” Lane said.
The goal at Wenatchee High School is to maintain as much of the current schedule as possible, according to Principal Eric Anderson. He said they would be delivering online what they normally would be doing in-person.
The four-period day has additional breaks built-in, Anderson said.
“One of the conversations was how often high school students were assisting their younger brother or sister,” he said. The schedule includes “a little time between courses where they could step aside and help a sibling or mentally separate and then come back to the learning.”
At WestSide High School, Principal Kory Kalahar said the schedule is very similar to the schedule students and teachers will roll back into when they can be face to face again.
At the Wenatchee Valley Technical Skills Center, Principal Pete Jelsing said instructors are making it work online for what is normally hands-on CTE class.
“The team has been working to come up with great ideas with opportunities for students to do some hands-on, even from home,” Jelsing said. “When we do move to a blended model or full-time with students, we’re set. We can be pretty flexible.”
Information about the district’s Smart Restart plan is posted at wenatcheeschools.org.