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Rockwood School District
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Rockwood Task Force: 2021-2022 Focuses on Learning Options for Next School Year

Rockwood students will have the option to enroll for in-person or online learning in the 2021-2022 school year.
​​​The Rockwood Task Force: 2021-2022 met for the second time virtually on March 10 to share updates related to developing a plan for the next school year. Superintendent Dr. Mark Miles formed the Rockwood Task Force to ensure we are providing each Rockwood student a quality education that aligns with the hopes, dreams and aspirations of our school community, as well as the district’s mission, vision and values in light of the global pandemic. 

Assistant Superintendent for Supervision of Schools Dr. Lisa Counts led the discussion and shared a presentation with task force members, which include Rockwood administrators, teachers, parents and students.

Task Force Goals and Committee Work
Counts shared that the goal of the Rockwood Administrative Leadership Team (ALT) is to eliminate concurrent teaching of in-person and online students during the 2021-2022 school year.

“Concurrent teaching was the best answer we had for this year given the circumstances,” Counts said, “but our instructional model for next year will be to do everything we can to explore options that will eliminate, as much as possible, concurrent teaching.”

Counts also shared summaries of subcommittee work examining best practices and opportunities for improvement from this school year. Subcommittees are studying areas such as curriculum, student educational experience from Early Childhood through 12th grade, social-emotional interventions to meet the needs of all students and continued evaluation of our Rockwood Safe Together mitigation strategies and how they may change over time as more people become vaccinated.

Learning Model Focus for Next Year
Rather than beginning the 2021-2022 year by reviewing what may have been missed during the pandemic, the Rockwood curriculum team’s approach is centered on a learning acceleration model that prioritizes grade-level content for students. Essential course outcomes have been updated for next year and are available to view on the district website.

Dr. Shelley Willott, assistant superintendent of learning and support services, shared district STAR test score results that indicate continued student growth, despite the pandemic. 

“Our students are making progress,” Willott said. “We know that we have students who will need some things retaught or revisited, but we don’t want to make that general assumption for every student.” 

Rockwood students will have the option to enroll for in-person or online learning in the 2021-2022 school year.According to Willott, the STAR data is a testament to the perseverance of our students and the outstanding work Rockwood teachers have done in building and maintaining relationships with their learners during the 2020-2021 school year, through many changes and challenges.

The curriculum team’s work will be aligned with the Rockwood five-year strategic plan, The Way Forward.

“We really want to focus on building a learning community so that all students feel a sense of belonging and connectedness,” said Willott. “We’re taking a ver​y positive approach with our kids and trying to get back to as much normalcy as we can next year while addressing any deficits.”

Online Options for Next Year
Rockwood is committed to maintaining a robust, challenging selection of online learning options available during the 2021-2022 school year for families who want to continue learning in that format. However, online learning in Rockwood will look different than it did during the 2020-2021 school year.

Expanding online and blended course offerings was a part of The Way Forward before COVID-19, and Willott said the pandemic has put Rockwood in a better position to offer them. 

“What we did this year was not truly online learning in its purest form: It really was a reaction to the pandemic,” said Willott. “If families choose to go online next year, they are really choosing a more traditional and typical form of online learning.” 

Starting next week, families with students who will be in grades K-8 next year, will have an opportunity to enroll their students for either in-person or online learning for next year.​ Elementary online learners will continue to participate in live Zoom lessons, while secondary students will learn from pre-recorded lessons prepared by Rockwood teachers.

Barring changes to the community health situation, students who choose online learning will be expected to remain in that model for the entire year, as Rockwood will be designating dedicated online teachers for 2021-2022. 

Health & Safety Considerations
Float nurse Wendy Shaw shared that mitigation measures and quarantines will likely still be required at some level in the fall. Rockwood will continue to work closely with county health officials for guidance in that area.

Next Steps
Rockwood students will have the option to enroll for in-person or online learning in the 2021-2022 school year.Executive Director of Elementary Education Dr. Dave Cobb and Counts discussed the work they are doing with subcommittees related to the various grade levels, including staffing and curriculum needs that will be largely determined by how many students enroll in each educational model for 2021-2022. 

The enrollment process for high school students started in February ​and will be completed by April 1. Rockwood has more than 300 high school course offerings, and the district is in the process of reviewing which courses are appropriate for an online format and what staff will be needed to deliver them.

“Our counselors are amazing, as they are meeting one-on-one with students who have indicated they want to enroll in online courses next year to ensure that is a good fit for each student,” Counts said.

​The task force will meet virtually through May to develop a plan for the 2021-2022 school year, and updates will be provided following each meeting. The next meeting is scheduled for April 14. Students, parents, teachers and staff will have an opportunity to weigh in on the process as well. For updates, visit the District Committees page on the Rockwood website.​