Monday, July 20, 2020

In Case You Missed It – July 20, 2020

Here are links to last week's articles receiving the most attention in NEIFPE's social media. Keep up with what's going on, what's being discussed, and what's happening with public education.

Be sure to enter your email address in the Follow Us By Email box in the right-hand column to be informed when our blog posts are published.


Indiana schools plan to reopen. What do you think?

Would you like to express how you feel about schools opening with little to no state support during the pandemic? Here’s your chance.

From Chalkbeat*
Chalkbeat wants to hear from parents, students, and school staff. Tell us your feedback, concerns, and lingering questions...


Fort Wayne Community Schools

Masks required for all FWCS students; families can choose remote learning

Fort Wayne Community Schools Superintendent Mark Daniel announced Wednesday that students in pre-K through 5th grade will attend school on a daily basis, but parents will have the option of choosing remote learning for their child.

Face coverings will be required for all students. FWCS will be supplying new masks for students each day to minimize infection.

As for secondary students, in grades 6-12, parents will have a choice of blended learning.

Daniel said students will be divided up into groups, and certain groups will attend in-person classes on a Monday-Thursday format, while Group B will attend the other days.

Teachers will be delivering instruction remotely as well.

High school students will have also the opportunity to attend classes entirely remotely.

Southwest Allen County Schools

SACS outlines return-to-school plan

A free article from Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Phil Downs wants Southwest Allen County Schools' parents, students and staff to think of themselves as belonging to one big team as classrooms reopen next month to families choosing that option.

“We want kids back in the building, but for that to happen, we all have to play safely together,” Downs, the superintendent, said during a board meeting Tuesday. “Understand that while I may feel a certain way about some of the restrictions, if we're going to be good teammates, sometimes you sit on the bench and sometimes you're in the game, but you always have to support the team.”

The 7,700-student district plans to begin the 2020-21 academic year Aug. 5 with students learning at school and at home. Downs described the online options – which require a semester-long commitment – as e-learning for elementary students and a new virtual school for secondary students; the latter will become a permanent district offering.

Northwest Allen County School

Northwest Allen County Schools’ plans for fall: Parents can send kids to school or choose remote learning

From Fort Wayne's
School leaders with Northwest Allen County Schools said parents will have the option to send their kids to school or choose remote learning for the upcoming school year...

[Superintendent Chris] Himsel said parents have the option to allow their kids to return to school or choose remote learning. Depending on the results, the school district may have to hire more staff, Himsel said.

"To do things right is going to cost a little extra to make sure that we are being safe for all of our kids," Himsel said. "We do have some students who have underlying health issues where remote learning may be best for them."

East Allen County Schools

While there was no article about EACS plan for reopening schools this week from NEIFPE's social media, the EACS plan was reported in an earlier blog post. You can find the entire East Allen reopening plan at the links below.

East Allen County Schools Reopening Safety Plan (Subject to change)

More information can be found on the EACS web site.


Washington Township schools go 100% virtual for start of 2020-21 school year

From RTV-6 Indianapolis
Washington Township schools in Indianapolis will not return to in-person classes on July 30.

The Metropolitan School District of Washington Township School Board announced Monday that the 11,000 students in the district will begin virtual learning instead of returning to classes.

Read the full statement from the MSD Washington Township School Board below:

MSD Washington Township School Board policy provides that in making any decision board members must always think of our students first. While we do so today, we have also considered what in our judgment is in the best interest of our students’ families and of our dedicated faculty, staff, and administration and their families.

Washington Township Schools won’t offer in-person instruction in a reversal

Cheers to this school district that found the wisdom and the courage to stand up to bullying and keep the health and safety of staff and students as their main concern! May other districts find similar courage!

From Chalkbeat*
While schools across Indiana are releasing in-person reopening plans, many districts in other states are opting not to fully reopen school buildings. In New York City, for example, students are expected to have staggered schedules and come to school in person part time.

Whether to reopen schools full time has become a political lightning rod in recent days, as U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and President Trump have called for schools to fully reopen and threatened to withhold federal funding from schools that don’t.

That debate is coming at a moment when Indianapolis schools are on the cusp of reopening. Most schools in Marion County begin in late July or early August — several weeks before schools typically return in Northeastern states.


Back to school: Indiana education chief favors acceleration over remediation

Here are suggestions for school from Indiana’s Chief Academic Officer. Do you agree?

From Chalkbeat*
Indiana’s chief academic officer advised educators to use grade-level material this year rather than review previous curriculum to address widely anticipated student learning loss.

Robin LeClaire said teaching to accelerate will prevent students from falling into a catch-up cycle. This method could especially benefit Indiana’s most vulnerable children, who have also been the most heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic, she said.

“If we focus on remediation, we will be playing catch-up with our students until they graduate,” she said.


Trump and DeVos Want Schools Open Full Time, Five Days A Week: The Realities Are Far More Difficult

From Jan Resseger
Now, in mid-July, America is suddenly waking up to the need to think about how COVID-19 will affect the institutions that serve children come August and September. The press is finally reporting that opening public schools for over 50 million young people is going to be complex, difficult and expensive, and that nobody is quite sure how to do it. Now that we are paying attention, we can see that the fall is going to be difficult in all sorts of ways—for children, for parents, for educators, and for the economy. But for President Donald Trump and his education secretary Betsy DeVos, it’s very simple: Schools should open on time, five days a week. The Trump administration has even threatened to punish schools that don’t reopen on time by withholding federal funds.

On Friday, NY Times columnist Michelle Goldberg described what she has learned in interviews with Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers: “Two weeks ago, I asked Randi Weingarten… what a functioning Department of Education would be doing to prepare the country to reopen schools in the fall. ‘A functioning Department of Education would have been getting groups of superintendents and principals and unions and others together from the middle of March,’ she told me… By mid-April it would have convened experts to figure out how to reopen schools safely, and offered grants to schools trying different models… ‘None of that has happened… Zero.’ When I spoke to Weingarten again on Thursday, she wasn’t worried that Trump and DeVos would be able to follow through on their threats; they can’t redirect the funds without Congress. But with their crude attempts at coercion, they’ve politicized school reopening just as Trump politicized mask-wearing and hydroxychloroquine. ‘The threats are empty, but the distrust they have caused is not,’ Weingarten said.”

*Note: Financial sponsors of Chalkbeat include pro-privatization foundations and individuals such as Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, EdChoice, Gates Family Foundation, The Walton Family Foundation, and others.

**Note: The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette has changed its online access and is now behind a paywall. Digital access, home delivery, or both, are available with a subscription. Staying informed is important, and one way to do that is to support your local newspaper. For subscription information go to


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