Introduction to Distance Learning Handbook for Students and Families
Dear KLSD Families,
During the time that our schools are closed, KLSD is committed to providing continuity of learning for our students. Given the nature of the challenges our country is currently facing, we think it is important that our students maintain relationships with their teachers, their schools, with one another, and with their families. As always, we are committed to the academic, physical, and mental health of our students.
Our aspiration with distance learning would be consistency with our approach to classroom learning and to the KLSD Learning Commitment, in that teachers will make every effort to provide students with activities that are relevant, authentic, and engaging. It is not our expectation, however, that distance learning can be the same as classroom learning. We ask all our families to understand that this model is new for us, there will be initial glitches, and our skills will grow with time. In light of our commitment to the social emotional wellness of our students, we do not believe in a model that has students in front of screens for the length of a regular school day. Teachers will be in touch with their students on a daily basis, providing learning activities, checking-in, and answering questions.
Distance learning will begin on March 18 and will continue every school day for as long as our schools are closed. Depending on the length of the closure, it is likely that the models our teachers use will evolve. As we continue to think through how best to provide learning for our students in these most unusual times, some of the guidelines in this document may change, too. Be assured that we will communicate with you if and when there are any such changes.
Please remember that nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our students, staff, and the broader community. With that in mind, I encourage all to find time for self and family. Do not let school work, or any single activity, become all-consuming. Seek the healthiest balance in life as we continue to deal with many unknowns.
We hope the following information will be helpful to our students and our families. Please never hesitate to reach out to us with your questions. Our contact information is included later in this document.
Mary Ford, Asst. Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction
Andrew Selesnick, Superintendent of Schools
For those who may not be familiar, the following commitments are two important drivers when it comes to classroom instruction in KLSD. As noted in the introduction, however, given the nature of distance learning and its newness to our colleagues, we hold these commitments as aspirational for now. Nonetheless, and depending on the length of the current closure, we will be working towards them.
KLSD Learning Commitment
Katonah-Lewisboro Learning Commitment:
In the KLSD, we strive to create learning experiences for all students that are engaging, relevant, and take place in an active learning environment.
What do intellectually engaging experiences look like? How do we ensure that we are encouraging student curiosity, providing an individually appropriate level of challenge, moving towards increasing levels of independence, and offering effective feedback?
What are relevant learning experiences? How do we ensure that lessons have purpose beyond test results and make recognizable connections to the lives of our students?
What is an active learning environment? How do we ensure that all students participate in collaborative, problem/project-based activities that foster creativity, critical thinking, and increasingly sophisticated communication?
KLSD Technology Commitment
In support of our KLSD Learning Commitment, the latest technologies are to be used when they can create learning experiences that otherwise couldn’t be created – experiences that nurture imaginative, innovative, critical, and ethical thinking.
When used effectively, these technologies should affirm and advance relationships, enhance communication and collaboration, expand horizons, meet individual needs, and foster personal passions. While technology can increase efficiency and productivity, it should also nurture curiosity and creativity.
We pledge to make balanced and thoughtful use of technology while continuing to take full advantage of non-digital resources and all types of inspiring learning opportunities. We strive to prepare our students to be excellent communicators and learners in all environments, and to be thoughtful participants and creators in our world.