Last week, Rockwood Superintendent Dr. Mark Miles shared a plan to bring our youngest learners back to the classroom. The gradual phase-in process initially will focus on children in preschool and kindergarten, as well as those early elementary years in grades one and two when it can be difficult to manage online learning tools. Following this successful transition, Miles said that the district could consider a phase-in for students in grades three through five.
Dr. Miles noted that Rockwood elementary families may 1) select in-person learning five days a week on a Rockwood campus or 2) remain with the district's at-home, online learning program launched in August.
"While I would celebrate the opportunity to have all of our preK-12 students return to our classrooms simultaneously," shared Dr. Miles, "I believe a gradual phase-in of elementary students by grade level
would be the safest and most appropriate course of action."
To support this direction, a Rapid Response Team approach developed by the district's Assessment, Research and Evaluation department will help guide Rockwood's decision-making to benefit our students and staff.
According to Glenn Hancock, director of assessment, research and evaluation, the objective of this team is to provide timely coordination of school- and district-level supports during this phase-in plan.
"We want to ensure that our schools are prepared," shared Hancock. "We will engage our school community in reflective conversations and collaboratively problem-solve to find a way to move us forward in this difficult and challenging environment."
Who is the Rapid Response Team (RRT)?
The RRT is not a "new" team of people but a team comprising existing resources. The process is monitored in a cross-departmental approach, which includes the following scope:
- Leadership Team: Responses will be analyzed and implications for system improvement will be reported to the Superintendent, the Administrative Leadership Team and the Board of Education.
- Advisory Team: A panel of 12 community members will provide guidance to the RRT and Leadership Team. This panel will include subject-matter experts in a variety of areas, including medical, technical and academic – along with Rockwood teachers, parents and staff.
- Response Team: To support the phase-in process, teams will develop responses regarding health, safety and systems related to the gradual phase-in plan.
The RRT is not intended to replace any current school, district or community resources for addressing the needs of students; instead, it is to help coordinate these resources to benefit our students and staff.
What are some of the areas the RRT will review?
The RRT will focus on the four areas below, as well as any other concerns brought forth by the Leadership and Advisory teams. Much of the work completed over the summer for an in-person option will be reviewed and updated as needed.
- District and School Readiness
The RRT will establish a sequence for the gradual phase-in, as well as the criteria for evaluating the readiness of a school site. The RRT will work with school-level leaders to conduct a readiness assessment of every Rockwood school.
The RRT will work through course schedules to accommodate in-person and online student learning. The group will also consider staffing with a creative, innovative approach.
- Health and Safety Measures
The RRT will provide recommendations for managing school traffic patterns and group size, along with ensuring the needed materials, training and cultural reinforcements for handwashing, social distancing and mask wearing.
- Student, Community and Staff Education
The RRT will anticipate opportunities for our Rockwood school community and staff to receive continual learning of the best ways to support students during this pandemic.
When will the RRT begin its work?Hancock noted that the RRT began its work the week of Sept. 8.
"We want to check in with our community, hear what's on their minds and offer valuable solutions to our Rockwood leaders," he shared.
Dr. Miles supports the work. "As we move forward, the RRT will connect people to resources that will unify our response throughout the district as we do what's best for our students," he said.