Unpack the Emergency Learning Plan

VBCPS rolls out a new learning plan during fourth quarter

Turner Demers, Staff Writer

During COVID19, many students, teachers, and parents feel uncertain about how to understand the new learning plan that takes effective April 27. Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence introduced a new plan of action on his latest desk side chats that he dubs the ‘Emergency Learning Plan.’  Just what does this plan mean for students?

During fourth quarter, “students are still expected to submit work as evidence of learning in order to be promoted to the next grade level, and in order to receive credit for the courses they are taking,” said Spence.

Although this online plan was not intended to replace in-person instruction, it is a way for teachers, students, and administrators to track learning during the last quarter of the school year. This plan does not track learning with a grade– on purpose.

“Grading is a reflection of teaching and of the learning that occurs as a result,” said Spence. “We would be grading students based on their access to technology and the internet, their access to food and housing with a stable home environment, and on the language they speak.”

Therefore, to avoid inequities, the Emergency Learning Plan 2020 will focus on course skills, and teachers will start sharing choice boards for courses in Schoology starting April 27.  Despite the lack of traditional grading, students should take the opportunity to complete coursework assigned to them throughout each week, particularly those who may not have mastered the skills yet.

The word emergency can have a negative connotation, especially when dealing with children ages five to eighteen.

“We chose the name Emergency Learning Plan specifically to help folks understand that this is an emergency,” said Spence. “We are not trying to convey that this is normal or that this is replacing instruction.”

Still uncertain about what “emergency” means for VBCPS this quarter? Check out Dr. Aaron Spence’s Desk Side Chats on youtube.com, dated April 21.