GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids Public Schools gave more details on its return-to-learn plan after recently announcing its decision to spend the first nine weeks of the school year learning virtually.
GRPS administrators discussed plans and answered parent questions during a virtual town hall Wednesday evening.
During the presentation, officials gave parents an idea of a schedule students will be expected to follow.
Per the proposed schedule, middle and high school students will virtually attend their first through third periods on Monday and Wednesday mornings, while spending Tuesday and Thursday mornings signed on to their fourth through sixth period classes.
Afternoons and Fridays will be set aside for students to work independently on assignments, while allowing teachers that time for professional development or individual meetings with students and parents.
GRPS parent, Nancy Haynes, expressed concerns about the proposed schedule after tuning into Wednesday’s virtual town hall.
“My son is going to be in AP stats and based on what I saw presented, it looks like less than half of the normal instructional time will be available to students,” Haynes said.
Unlike the spring semester, teachers will have access to their classrooms Monday through Thursday, allowing staff to decide whether or not to come in.
“I want my son to sit at his desk and work, so it’d be great if the teacher were sitting at her normal desk just to set some parameters,” Haynes said.
Haynes also hopes teachers will consider working in the building so they can collaborate with colleagues and receive technical support if necessary.
District officials also plan to crack down on the virtual attendance policy for the upcoming school year.
“Attendance was monitored last time, but it needs to be taken in a more formal manner as we go into the fall,” GRPS Assistant Superintendent Dr. Ronald Gorman said. “When students are in classes synchronously, when they’re interacting with teachers, teachers will be taking attendance using normal processes and protocols.”
Gorman said they’re currently seeking guidance from the Michigan Department of Education about how to monitor and enforce attendance during asynchronous learning times.
Grading will also be different from last semester, which was largely based on participation only.
Administrators said this school year, the A through E grading scale will return and so will report cards.
The full proposed GRPS distant-learning plan presented at Wednesday’s town hall can be found online.
The town hall can be watched in full in the video below.