With a new remote learning format set to roll out on Monday, the members of the Huntsville City School Board met to discuss how students will proceed for the remainder of the school year.
In order to follow social distancing guidelines, the board met via the video communication service, Zoom, which was broadcast live and recorded for their online record.
Board President Elisa Ferrell said the structure laid out will help to ensure that everyone moving up a grade level can do so as seamlessly as possible and that those who are falling behind have an opportunity to bring their grades up in a way that normally would have to wait until summer school.
"Even though this a horrible situation, it does give some of those students a chance to catch up and potentially graduate with their classmates," said Ferrell.
She said they recently received guidance from the Alabama Department of Education, which said that senior who have finished their coursework can stop now and take their AP tests early. Ferrell said they can use their third, nine-week score as their fourth nine-week score.
"So that score would count twice. Some of our younger students need to go ahead and continue with their work. We have assignment criteria that we want, especially the younger ones, to turn in a certain number of assignments a week," said Ferrell.
During Thursday's meeting the board also voted unanimously to award Superintendent Christie Finley additional, emergency authority in case something arises that needs immediate attention.
"Some situations, like ordering Mi-Fis, that's money that she can't do unless we give her permission to. So we fixed that tonight so she can go ahead and take these actions and act fast so we can take care of these needs quickly," said Ferrell.
As the school system worked out its plans for the rest of the year, students like Whitesburg Elementary School student Rylan McMahill has been going through some lesson plans partially provided by his teacher as well as some his parents found through their friends.
"His teacher actually sent out what times they're planning on doing stuff and his music teacher messaged us about the platform he's going to be using. And I guess we'll have to see on Monday how everything goes," said Staci McMahill, Rylan's mother.
Starting on Monday, instructions for second graders, like McMahill, will be broadcast over ETV from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. They will be provided with a series of instructional lessons to be completed Monday through Thursday:
- Math - 4 lessons
- Reading - 4 lessons
- Science - 2 lessons
- Social Studies - 2 lessons
- Physical Education - 4 lessons
- Art or Music - 1 lesson
McMahill said he's up for the new challenge.
"It's not going to be that hard because I've lived it for two weeks now. Two or three weeks now," said McMahill.
The school board is also working with all of their special needs students to make sure they're meeting their needs as best they can, provided the circumstances.