As Encore anticipates a September 14th start date for school this year - parents, staff, students, and the world is anticipating what "Back to School" will look like this fall. After the release of the "Stronger Together" document that was written with correlation of the California Department of Education and the CDC, Encore's executive team created a back to school plan that will go to Encore's School Board on Monday for approval. This plan will be posted publicly on Friday with the board agenda for Monday's board meeting.
With all of that said, the CDC issued a statement yesterday that they will be releasing additional tools for schools to help them with their reopening plans next week. This is in response to the debates being held across party lines across the country regarding reopening schools in the fall. Once these additional tools are released next week, Encore will study the new tools and work to make revisions on the current "return to school" plans as required.
Encore has four frameworks that have been designed for implementation based on where the virus goes in the coming months. The least restrictive framework would allow for all families to decide how they wanted to attend school with four programs in place. In the FAMILY CHOICE Framework families could choose one of these:
COVID Program - This program has students attending school from home online in real time. Students log on and take classes virtually until they are ready to return to school.
HYBRID Program - Students would come on campus 1 to 3 days per week to take part of their classes in person and then take classes independently and virtually on the other days.
TRADITIONAL Program - Students come on campus every day for the entire school day.
INDEPENDENT STUDY Program - Students would come on campus one day per week for three hours or visit with coaches once a week virtually.
In a recent survey conducted of parents and students at Encore; 17% of the student body is planning to opt into the COVID program, 44% of the student body is planning to opt into the Hybrid program, 7% is planning to opt into the Independent Study program, and 32% are planning to opt into the traditional program. Encore is hoping that this framework will be able to meet the changing needs of the CDC so the choice can remain with Encore's families.
Additional frameworks include the most restrictive plan for if the campus needs to remain closed going into the new school year and two frameworks that limit the number of students and days that certain grades attend school on campus. Encore is hoping that they will be able to maintain family choice this fall for programming.
HOWEVER: All of this can change. The cases of the virus are increasing and the CDC Guidelines that are coming can change plans completely. The biggest thing that Encore and it's families have to do right now is to stay flexible. Encore is planning curriculum around the most restrictive Framework, while hoping that the Family Choice framework is the one that will be put into place.
According to CNN.com the CDC is hoping that the additional materials to be released next week will help with a portfolio of information that schools can use to make some of the requirements practical. Encore, just like everyone else, is in a holding pattern to make sure that we can stay in compliance.
In the meantime, Encore's Risk Manager is working directly with San Bernardino County on Encore's County certification as a "Covid Compliant" business. We take the health and safety of our stakeholders seriously.
Encore's teaching staff is updating their online curriculum this summer to try to spread more engagement, more creativity, and more opportunities online in the event that schools are mandated to "teach from home" again. Encore High School has one to one technology for all students so they are ahead of the curve of a lot of Districts in the Inland Empire and the High Desert. Encore is working with local internet providers and alternate ways to make sure that students without accessibility to internet and streaming internet have options on how to take classes as well. Adding the creativity of the teachers into the technology is exciting. Encore plans to release a new online curriculum platform when school opens in the fall. This new platform will work in tandem with their current platform. Encore is practicing flexibility and preparing for another wild ride. Encore is proud to support all student and families through this strange and unprecedented time.
Denise Griffin, CEO is the author of this blog for Encore Education Corporation. Part of Encore Education Corporation is Encore High School, a free public performing arts regional high school in Southern California grades 7 - 12. Encore's program is currently taking applications for the fall 2020 enrollment. Encore offers full time, hybrid time, and independent study programs. Encore offers transporation from the Inland Empire and the high desert. www.encorehighschool.com. Where arts and academics grow together. WASC Accredited. Copyright 2020.