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Chicago Public Schools Releases Final Reopening Framework for Upcoming School Year

18 August 2020

Final Reopening Framework Provides Guidance on Remote Learning Structure to Ensure Every Student Receives Real-Time Instruction Every School Day 

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620
Website: www.cps.edu
Twitter: @chipubschools
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CHICAGO – Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today released its Final Reopening Framework for the upcoming school year, which includes new information on the structure and expectations for remote learning in the fall. The final framework builds upon the preliminary framework introduced last month by incorporating critical information on remote learning expectations for instruction, attendance and grading. This fall, students should expect to be engaged for the entirety of a typical school day, five days per week, through a combination of live real-time instruction with their classmates and teachers, small group activities with their classmates, and independent learning.

“As we prepare for an unprecedented start to the upcoming school year, we’ve set clear expectations for students and staff to improve remote instruction and ensure that our students are supported and their unique needs are met,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “Parent feedback was crucial in determining our priorities for the first quarter, and we will continue to work with our families throughout the school year to ensure our plans best meet their needs while putting health and safety first.” 

The district has also issued detailed remote learning guidance, which outlines specific information on remote learning implementation. In addition to outlining the district’s approach to fully learning at home, the framework also plans for a variety of scenarios past the first quarter—including transitioning to a hybrid model if public health officials determine it is safe to do so. 

Expectations for High-Quality Remote Learning 

In order to ensure students receive the highest-quality remote education, the district will utilize an entirely digital approach to remote learning in the fall. Students will receive a combination of synchronous (real-time) and asynchronous (learning  activities) learning, and teachers will be required to be available for students during the entire school day. Teachers will also be encouraged to incorporate small-group instruction and peer-to-peer interaction into their remote learning plans. The district has set the following thresholds for synchronous and asynchronous learning to increase accountability and ensure that every student is able to benefit from rigorous, high-quality instruction. High school thresholds are set as percentages rather than minute requirements because of the uniqueness of each student’s individual course schedule. 

Grade Level

Synchronous Learning (Real-time Instruction)

Asynchronous Learning (Learning Activities)

Pre-K

60 minutes

90 minutes

K-2

180 minutes

180 minutes 

3-5

205 minutes

155 minutes

6-8

230 minutes

130 minutes

9-12

80 percent of the day

20 percent of the day

Teachers will be expected to use Google education tools so the district can accurately track and support engagement. They will also be able to use approved non-Google digital tools that meet the district’s Acceptable Use Policy, but teachers and students will be expected to log onto Google on a daily basis for a homeroom-style check-in at a minimum. Student attendance will be taken daily, and the district will return to its standard grading practices, where assignments will be graded and all students will receive letter grades. Schools will also enact intervention systems for students who do not participate in remote learning to help address underlying concerns and ensure they are being supported. 

“Since our sudden shift to remote learning in the spring, we have taken a data-informed approach to improve instructional quality so that students can receive the best possible education remotely,” said CPS Chief Education Officer LaTanya D. McDade. “We know our most vulnerable students need support from our dedicated educators and our plan for the fall implements clear expectations and processes to ensure students are learning every school day.”

Supporting the Social and Emotional Needs of Students 
Through the multiple surveys, focus groups and community meetings that the district organized in recent weeks, many parents, educators and school leaders expressed a desire to make additional social and emotional supports available to students. As part of our commitment to meeting the social and emotional needs of all students, the district has begun offering additional mental health interventions and supports, introducing grief curriculum, expanding small group trauma interventions, and adding virtual classroom activities for managing stress and anxiety. The district is encouraging parents to contact their school social worker or counselor to request additional information about these services or other resources.

Supporting English and Diverse Learners 
CPS is committed to providing support to our students who need it the most, especially our Diverse Learners and English Learners (ELs). Special education teachers and related service providers will provide live, real-time instruction as well as individual check-ins and independent learning activities. Additionally, Bilingual Education teachers will continue to deliver instruction that meets the language needs of our English Learners. In order to support students’ language development, ELs will also receive live, real-time instruction and independent learning activities this fall. 

Continuing to Bridge the Digital Divide 
Building on its efforts from last school year, the district will continue to distribute devices to help students excel when learning at home and will ensure that every student will have access to a device. CPS plans to distribute an additional 36,000 devices and will work with schools to determine how many additional devices may need to be purchased in order to meet the needs of students. The district is also partnering with 35 community-based organizations to connect approximately 100,000 CPS students and their families with free, high-speed internet access for the next four years through its Chicago Connected initiative. Families can check their eligibility and access their activation code by simply entering their child’s student ID number and birthdate into CPS’ eligibility tool at cps.edu/chicagoconnected.

Evaluating Hybrid Learning for the Second Quarter 
While the district will implement a fully remote model through the end of the first quarter in early November, CPS will continue to work with public health officials to determine if it is appropriate to transition to a hybrid learning model starting in the second quarter. CPS will also continue to incorporate parent and community feedback when making decisions regarding the remainder of the school year, and will keep parents updated through regular communication. 

Chicago Public Schools serves 355,000 students in 638 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.
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