Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) Superintendent George Arlotto outlined early plans for the fall semester during a virtual Board of Education meeting Wednesday night, emphasizing more real-time learning and more access to technology for students.
With the sudden outbreak of COVID-19 in the spring, AACPS adopted an e-learning model that often used recorded lessons in place of real-time instruction. New plans for elementary, middle and high schools focus on instruction better suited toward social and emotional learning (see the slides above).
One obstacle to that plan is making technology accessible to every student. Last year, some students were without internet in their homes.
“We have about 150 families that were not directly connected,” Arlotto said. “We know who they are, and we continue to work with our business partners, Comcast and Verizon and Broadstripe, on a case-by-case basis to get those families connected.”
Arlotto said 63,000 devices have been ordered and 30,000 more are on order, with the goal of providing one device for every family and ultimately one device for every student. More than 80,000 students attend Anne Arundel County public schools.
“The priority is to make sure that attendance is taken, is that every student has a device … and every student is connected to the internet, so we’re able to take away those barriers so that they can interact with their teacher, interact with their classmates, five days a week,” Arlotto said.
Arlotto also said teachers will issue diagnostic tests the first three weeks of school to identify and address opportunity gaps. The plan as of now is to record daily attendance. School days will still be 6.5 hours but with breaks inlcuded to limit screen time.
AACPS has to send its full plan to the Maryland State Department of Education by August 14. Parents can send thoughts, ideas and other feedback to email@example.com by July 31.