The Howard County Public School System “Continuity of Learning Schedule” for High School Students starts tomorrow due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak:

April 14–17 will be an orientation week for high school students. By 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 14, teachers will post learning activities and assignments in Canvas. During the orientation week, the learning activities and assignments should take one hour or less to complete per class. Students will be able to work independently to complete the tasks throughout the week and will submit work through Canvas by 10 a.m. on Friday, April 17.

Tuesday, April 14 – Friday, April 17, teachers will schedule student orientations using Google Meet as indicated in the following schedule:

Students will receive a message via Canvas from each of their teachers with specific details about the orientations including the Google Meet login information, meeting date, and meeting time.

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The school system has been distributing devices (laptops and hot spots) and training teachers in advance of this distance learning plan. My hope is that everyone is understanding early on during this distance learning period for students.

Teachers should be understanding that not every student will learn the same way over this platform as they do in a classroom. Not every student (or parent) is techie and thus there will be issues that arise during this distance learning period for some students.

Parents should be understanding that not every teacher is fully ready to teach in this new format. Some teachers will be better than others in this format.

Nothing about this will be easy. This was a fast flip in order to teach the 58,000+ HCPSS students in this county due to Coronavirus (COVID-19). I am hoping to hear some good stories as this moves forward.

At this point no one I know expects the students to be back in school at the end of this month (currently schools are closed through April 24th). This distance learning system may be in place for some time…maybe even the remainder of the school year (that is a guess of mine at this point).

Next week (April 20th) will begin the schedule for “secondary students” (Middle School and Elementary School students).

Be sure to see the full schedule here:  https://www.hcpss.org/health/coronavirus/col-schedules/

Scott E

5 COMMENTS

  1. Nothing about this is easy. But HCPSS’s transition to online learning has been extremely poor. Sure, we have large student body with diverse economic backgrounds, these are just excuses. Many larger and poorer urban school districts have done much faster and better job than HSPSS. The beauratic red tape put in place by the school leadership slowed down and prevented interactions between teachers and students. It was clear from the beginning of this crisis that the school leadership had no appetite for teaching students online, and wishfully thought this virus would just go away in a few weeks. They didn’t start training teachers immediately, instead a full month after closing of the schools. The major problem this time with HCPSS is not lack of money, but not following its mission. The school leadership cares not about educating students, but more about appearing politically correct. The ones that suffer are the students on the low income ends.

    • What you don’t understand is that there is NO “learning” going on in HoCo public schools from mid-March until the end of the school year. It’s test prep/test taking season in HoCo. How do you think HoCo pulls off the “great education” charade it has been doing for numerous years? What is the top reason that people move to HoCo?….the school system with the “high test scores”. The big, standardized tests mean absolutely nothing….they can’t/don’t measure anything except the socio economics of the child’s family. HCPSS couldn’t do any online “learning” because it risks showing that the kids aren’t really getting an “education” in HoCo. Believe me, my 2nd child goes to Private HS and his school went online immediately and he hates it …..mostly test prep dittoes delivered via a computer (his school doesn’t participate in standardized testing). He misses his teachers, he misses real learning in a classroom with his friends AND teachers (although the school is trying very hard to keep it real). Online learning is not the panacea that everyone thinks it is. You know what IS joyful (and in the best interest of children) in these scary times? The sound of children playing in a HoCo neighborhood, the sound of bicycle pedals, scooters, bouncing balls etc……beats fake online learning any day.

    • Highest income county in MD with huge # of grad degrees. Astonishing how low level school system responded to distance learning. This system should be broken up into smaller units, as in high rated Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Too much bureaucracy, too little creativity.

  2. I agree with the people who have expressed their concerns about the way HCPSS has handled distance learning. It’s a complete disaster. I’ve never dealt with something so frustrating in my entire life; it’s the equivalent of a second job. Working full-time from home with a spouse who’s battling cancer and is too sick to help with our second-grader’s education, I know I’m not the only parent who finds the virtual classroom experience ridiculous. There are uneducated families and single-parent households who are also struggling, as well as other two-parent educated households. This can only work if there’s a full-time stay-at-home parent or full-time live-in au pair who is capable of educating children. We might have to withdraw our son and enroll him in an online homeschool curriculum so I don’t lose my job.

  3. Maybe Howard County should hire some competent teachers. High tax county and the lowest quality of education. Such a disaster for the parents and children!

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