The mission of the York County School Division is to engage all students in acquiring the skills and knowledge necessary to make productive contributions in the world. As we return to learning this fall, the state has provided guidance and expectations that are much different from those provided during the emergency closings in the spring. This includes the following:
- Students will learn new content and be expected to demonstrate mastery in these courses;
- Student work will be graded and attendance records will be maintained; and
- Throughout the school year, teachers in grades 1-8 will be providing instruction for missed content from the spring.
The standards of accreditation also still require school calendars to have 180 teaching days or 990 instructional hours. Additionally, students in high school credit-bearing courses must meet the required 140 clock hours. We are expecting some further guidance from VDOE on these requirements.
Governor Northam and the Virginia Department of Education have repeatedly shared that school divisions must be prepared to consider multiple approaches for educating our students this year. As such, our team has developed four different instructional models that can be implemented within a Flexible Framework.
Our division has been managed two major crisis events since February, the Grafton Complex fire and the emergency school closings, and these experiences have helped inform much of our planning. We are experienced now in managing alternating (hybrid) schedules, we have strengthened our collaboration with regional specialty programs such as NHREC and the Governor’s School. Most of all, we have learned that York County families are resilient and supportive.
Education Technology Investments
The division has identified new programs, and improved existing education technology programs for the 2020-21 school year to enhance student learning and provide more efficient and effective school-home communication regarding student learning.
1:1 Technology Program
This new program will provide a laptop or tablet device to each student enrolled in the division, for use at home and at school. Students have three options for participating in the program:
- Register for a division-issued device
- Purchase of a device through division vendors
- Use an existing person device (it is recommended students use a device that meet the specifications of the devices identified for use by the division)
A 1:1 User Guide and Handbook and answers to common questions about the program will be posted on the division website prior to start of the school year.
Learning Management System
Canvas, an online platform, is a convenient and thorough tool that will provide detailed day-to-day information for students and families. Canvas was chosen as YCSD’s Learning Management System for its wide range of easy to use tools for students, teachers, and parents. Canvas will allow our students and teachers to focus on rigorous academic standards and personalized instruction that drive the design of engaging and relevant learning experiences and result in evidence and feedback to inform each student’s growth and teacher practice.
The division has been providing professional development and training for teachers and administrators on the Canvas platform throughout the summer. We have plans to support parents with videos and tutorials on educational technologies, and we encourage our schools to layer in trainings for any technologies that are school, grade or course specific.
Office 365 and Microsoft Teams, tools familiar to our students and staff, are integrated in Canvas and will continue to be used. Other instructional software will also be integrated into Canvas, reducing many of the sign-in and password issues families previously experienced.