Continuity of Learning

April 10, 2020

Saugatuck Public Schools’ Continuity of Learning and COVID-19 Response Plan
Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-35 closed school buildings in Michigan for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. The order also challenged Michigan educators to provide students with continued learning. During the past week, our teachers, building principals, Saugatuck Education Association, and board of education have collaborated to create the Saugatuck Public Schools’ Continuity of Learning and COVID-19 Response Plan as required by this order.

I am pleased to report that our Continuity of Learning Plan was submitted to the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District and was approved on April 10, 2020. This general plan for continuing the school year remotely will be posted on our website at More detailed components of the plan will be communicated by our building principals Michaelle Gust and Mark Neidlinger.

Important information in the plan for parents to understand follows:

Primary Methods of Instruction
The district plans to implement a hybrid model of instruction that leverages the relatively high percentage of students in the district with access to a laptop, iPad, or smart phone. The primary mode of communication and instruction will be through instructional technology.

Students will need a reliable connection to the internet. Fifty wireless hotspots have been ordered and should arrive by May 1st. Information on obtaining free or reduced-price internet service will continue to be shared with parents. Families may continue to access the district’s internet in school parking lots practicing appropriate social distancing by remaining in their vehicle.

Supplemental instructional packets will primarily be used for students with limited Internet access and our youngest learners. Paper, pencils, crayons, books, workbooks, etc. will be provided to students as needed or requested.

Parents may contact their child’s teachers or principal by email to request needed instructional technology, repair of instructional technology, a wireless hotspot, instructional packet, or other school supplies. Parents may also call the office at Douglas Elementary School (269-857-2139) or the middle/high school office (269-857-2133) with any questions or requests for necessary learning materials.

Building Relationships and Maintaining Connections
All classroom teachers will connect with their students remotely multiple times each week. Examples include closed Facebook or Google Classroom groups, email, telephone, or written correspondence.

Special education teachers and ancillary staff – the school social worker and speech therapist – will connect with their students remotely or through e-mail, telephone, and/or instructional packets per the number of hours outlined in each student’s IEP.

In addition, teachers, support staff and specialists will work to provide emotional support to the children and families by reaching out, checking in, and providing links to outside support resources.

Parents and students will be surveyed to collect feedback on the implementation of the Continuation of Learning Plan.

Celebrations of student learning will continue to be planned. Activities such as Spirit Week, student government meetings and other club meetings will be held virtually to continue to engage students in the culture of the school. Plans to celebrate the class of 2020 as they finish their education at SHS under the most unusual of circumstances will be adjusted and will include virtual celebrations and in-person celebrations when it is safe to do so.

Content Delivery
Teachers will deliver content using the learning platforms that teachers and students are already familiar with as a result of their everyday use in the classroom. Some of these familiar platforms include Google Classroom, Class DoJo, Facebook, Schoology, Weebly and PowerSchool. New platforms such as Zoom and Seesaw will also be options for remote instruction. Google tools such as email, sheets, presentations, hangouts, forms and docs will continue to be utilized to organize student work flow and teacher feedback from upper elementary through high school.

A weekly schedule outlining the learning for the week will be shared electronically with all students and their parents on Monday mornings. Daily time slots will serve as office hours for students to get needed support and for individual check-ins on student wellbeing and progress.

Paper packets will be available for students with limited connectivity and for our youngest learners as needed. Weekly schedules outlining the learning for the week will be mailed home as needed.
Special Education and Title I Teachers and specialists will join grade-level groups to support the implementation of accommodations and modifications for students with an IEP. Specialists will engage with their students each week via their chosen platforms to support students in their learning and provide accommodations or modifications to the classroom work presented/assigned by the classroom teacher.

Great Start Readiness Preschool students are included in this Continuity of Learning Plan. Alternative modes of instruction will be delivered, while incorporating principles of developmentally appropriate practices for preschoolers. The learning of the preschoolers will be monitored in collaboration with the parent, as young children are reliant on adult support to be successful learners.

Managing and Monitoring Learning
Teachers will post learning targets, asynchronous instructional resources, assignments and scheduled synchronous instruction weekly on Monday electronically. A paper copy of the weekly schedule will be mailed home the previous Friday for students without reliable internet service.

Student work will be collected electronically using platforms already familiar to students and teachers such as Schoology, Google Tools, and email. Teachers will formatively assess and provide feedback in a variety of ways including learning journals, written checks for understanding, online discussion participation, formative quizzes, and homework problems. Feedback from the teacher will include differentiated work as needed, along with examples to support student learning. Teachers will track student participation, work completion and progress daily.

For students without internet access, photos of learning packets can be texted or emailed to teachers or packets can be dropped off in bins outside each school building. Teachers will review the learning packet and provide feedback to the student via email, text, phone conversation or mail.

Dual Enrollment, Early College, Direct Credit, Careerline Tech Center and Shared Time
Students taking a dual enrollment course will be supported by the high school guidance counselor and gifted­talented coordinator. Students in direct credit courses taught by teachers at Saugatuck High School will continue coursework remotely to be on track to earn both high school and community college credit.

The students in the OAISD dual enrollment/ early college programs will be given the opportunity to complete programming through the post-secondary provider. We will ensure the participants have the access to appropriate resources and continued support to complete the courses.

Students attending the Careerline Tech Center will be given a variety of remote learning opportunities to complete the CTE courses. Careerline will work with the LEA’s in ensuring that our students have the appropriate resources and continued supports in order to continue learning during this crisis.

Students enrolled in the district’s shared time program will continue to be supported by the district’s shared time mentor.

Continuation of FREE School Breakfast and Lunch Delivery
Currently the district has utilized food service personnel, administrators, and re-deployed support staff to prepare and deliver free breakfast and lunch to all children in the district age 18 and under in need. Delivery of 7 shelf-stable breakfasts, and 7 shelf-stable lunches will continue to be delivered by school bus on Fridays.
School meals are also distributed on Friday mornings from 9:00-11:00 a.m. at:

Snap Fitness, 3467 Blue Star Highway, Saugatuck, Ml 49453
The Old School House, 130 W Center St., Douglas, MI 49406

Families may request free breakfast and lunch by using this link /SCJSCMC or by calling central office at 269-857-1444.

In addition, Children First Lakeshore is providing weekend meals that are delivered on Fridays. Families can use this link to sign up for weekend meals.

Evaluating Student Participation in the Plan
Teachers will keep a log of all written and electronic communication with each student. They will also keep a log of all communication with parents. Teachers will monitor student wellbeing, completion of assignments, and participation in scheduled virtual learning sessions.

Concerns about an individual student’s wellbeing, participation, or completion of assignments will be promptly reported to the building administrator who will work with the guidance counselor, interventionist, school social worker and redeployed support staff to develop a plan of support and communication with the student and family. Additional support agencies may be sought to make these connections (DHHS, Behavioral Health, etc.).

Mental Health Supports
The district will continue to offer mental health services to students through the district’s two social workers, as well as the district counselor.School social workers have already reached out to families and students on their caseloads to provide counseling services either virtually or via telephone. Special education teachers and support staff are also always available to talk with any student on their caseload feeling stress, anxiety, depression or more because of the current state of emergency.

The district will guide schools in implementing a multi-tiered system of mental health supports, and provide consistent messaging, appropriate staff training, crisis response protocols, and documentation systems for its teachers and school staff.The district will partner with the OAISD to provide a webinar package titled Trauma Informed School Supports During the Covid-19 Pandemic by Dr. Stephanie Grant to administrators, teachers and support staff and parents.

While your child’s educational experiences for the next two months will certainly be very different than the in-person learning experiences that you have come to expect from Saugatuck Public Schools, please rest assured that our faculty, staff and administration are committed to providing the best remote education possible under the circumstances. We also know that this is a monumental challenge for many families. Please do not hesitate to reach out to a teacher, principal, social worker, counselor or me for support, resources or other assistance.