Distant Learning Days
Flanagan-Cornell Unit 74 Parents and Students,
We are very excited to announce that Flanagan-Cornell Unit 74 School District is developing "Distant Learning Days", which is an innovative approach to dealing with inclement weather and emergency days. Public Act 100-0465 was signed into law on August 31, 2017 and is linked HERE. This act made sweeping changes to education funding in Illinois, but also created flexibility in the definition of an "instructional day". A memo outlining more background can be found HERE.
In the past, if a snow day was called, that "instructional day" was tacked on to the end of the school year. This extended the school year and often caused problems with scheduling conflicts such as testing, graduation ceremonies, and other end of year events. We believe that a "Distant Learning Day" integrated during the year could be more effective than an additional day at the end of the year and would provide more continuity of the content. This may also allow us to ultimately schedule the last day of school.
How will a Distant Learning Day work?
On these days, teachers will post assignments, lessons, and enrichment activities to parents and students by 9 am on the district website at www.fc74.org. Teachers will be available via email to answer questions as they arise during regular school hours.
What will the assignments look like?
All teachers will develop experiences that are grade level appropriate and ideally a continuation of what has been happening in the classroom. Some of our students are already engaged in digital platforms for their classes. In these cases, teachers will simply assign experiences as though the student were in attendance. For others, teachers may have "snow day packets" given in advance to students.
Will students that cannot complete the work be penalized?
The expectations are that this is still a day of instruction so students will be held accountable for the work. We also understand that internet access may not be available to everyone, and that some students may not be able to complete all tasks assigned by instructors. Furthermore, we want to be clear that not all activities will need the internet to be completed. Any activity that is assigned during a distant learning day will not be directly tied to a grade upon return to school. That being said, it is possible that homework will be assigned in anticipation of a snow day by our instructors. Our teachers will allow students to "catch up" if needed upon our return to school.
Will this be our policy moving forward?
We hope that it is. However, we realize that this is new and innovative, and we will be determining what works best for us. Please be patient with our teachers in this effort to use a Distant Learning Day. We reserve the right to discontinue this practice if necessary. With that being said, we are excited about trying something new and the flexibility it provides.
BELOW ARE EXAMPLES OF WHAT ASSIGNMENTS WOULD LIKE WHEN WE BEGIN TO IMPLEMENT.