Pottsgrove Extends Parental Decision-Making to Aug. 4

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – Pottsgrove School District families who are still considering choices in their students’ return to education during the coronavirus pandemic have been given more time to evaluate its hybrid or all-virtual options, Superintendent Dr. William Shirk announced Tuesday (July 28, 2020) in a widely distributed e-mail.

The deadline for receiving that information from parents at the district’s online “Parent Intent Form”, originally set for Thursday (July 30), has been extended to Tuesday (Aug. 4), Shirk wrote. Information collected with the form “will greatly assist” in Pottsgrove’s efforts to meet students’ fall needs and put it “in a better position to create classroom assignments,” he added.

The district, in the same letter, also offered an expanded look at how educational days in both options would be structured, as a response to an increasing number of parents calls for a better understanding of how their students’ time would be used in either choice. A table of the programs’ “highlights,” as the district described them, appears below.

Pottsgrove’s overview of hybrid and virtual offerings

Hybrid Program PGSD Virtual Academy
Featuring in person, brick-and-mortar
instruction coupled with online instruction
Featuring full online sessions, both recorded and live
• Students will follow a regular schedule that will follow a six day cycle. Wednesday is not included in the cycle.
• Students in Group A will attend school in person on Monday and Tuesday and online Wednesday through Friday. Students in Group B will attend online Monday through Wednesday and in person Thursday and Friday.
• Students will be engaged in live synchronous learning on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday to the greatest extent possible..
• Wednesday will be used as an asynchronous learning day that will include opportunities for office hours.
• Tutoring for students will be available.
• All instruction occurs entirely online.
• Students will follow a regular daily schedule that will follow a six day cycle. Wednesday is not included in the cycle.
• Students will attend live learning, scheduled throughout the day in addition to work that can be completed at other times.
• Students will be engaged in live synchronous learning Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday to the greatest extent possible.
• Wednesday will be used as an asynchronous learning day that will include opportunities for office hours.
• Labs will be provided virtually.
• Tutoring for students will be available.
• Flexibility will be offered so that students can complete some of the work outside of school hours.
• Opportunities will be provided for students to engage with students within the hybrid program.

“Both the hybrid program and the PGSD Virtual Program will provide our students with personalized learning through a rich, rigorous, and robust PGSD curriculum taught by our own highly qualified teachers,” according to Shirk. “The models ensure special education services, extracurricular activities, and live tech, school, and district support.”

All honors, Advanced Placement, and dual-enrollment courses will run in both the hybrid program and the virtual academy with original teachers assigned, he also noted.

Both options include a portion of, or full, remote learning. “Our goal,” Shirk said, “will be to replicate in person learning by providing remote learning strategies that consistently engage students in discussion activities, social-emotional learning, small group intervention and enrichment, and frequent opportunities to collaborate with peers.”

Families again asked to commit for marking period

“Our planning efforts continue to evolve based on continual guidance we receive. As we continue to plan, we believe that set schedules, live streaming, and synchronous learning are important aspects of our program development. Our hope is that this additional information will be useful to our families as you select the option that will best meet the needs of your child(ren),” he wrote.

Families are being asked to make selections for the first marking period (in secondary education) or the first trimester (elementary). “In this way, we are planning for both education options to run with assigned teachers as they would occur in a typical setting,” Shirk said.

Photo by The Post