Instructional Program

Instructional Program

A FOCUS ON EQUITY

While creating and revising the Responsible Return model, our core focus centers on ensuring educational equity for all students. As we continue to review and revise our Responsible Return Plan, we will continue to ask ourselves the following questions and examine each decision through the following equity lens questions:

  • Who are the under-represented groups affected by this option? What are the potential impacts on these groups?
  • What structures are in place to support our English Language Learners?
  • What systems are in place to support our Families in Transition (Homeless Students)?
  • How can we effectively meet the educational needs of our medically fragile students through Home and Hospital Instruction?
  • Does this option worsen existing disparities or produce other unintended consequences?
  • How have we intentionally involved stakeholders?
  • Are there barriers to more equitable outcomes?
  • How will we mitigate the negative impacts and address barriers?
  • What are the impacts on the community or staff? Can we mitigate the negative impacts, and if so, how? 

 

INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAM

Worcester County Public Schools (WCPS) is committed to keeping our schools and classrooms open for in-person instruction. Research continues to show that students learn best in the classroom with their peers and a highly qualified teacher. WCPS also recognizes that some students in the secondary grade levels have found success in the virtual environment. To that end, WCPS students in grades 6 – 12 will retain the opportunity to participate in ESMEC’s Blended Virtual Program (see page 19).

STUDENT ATTENDANCE

Worcester County Public Schools will follow all attendance policies (Policies IV-A-03IV-A-04, and IV-A-05) established by the Board of Education. 

DAILY ATTENDANCE

Students will only be considered present for the day if they meet the requirements of the WCPS Attendance Policy.  

PROCESS FOR SUPPORTING REGULAR ATTENDANCE AND ENGAGEMENT

In addition to maintaining the attendance policy and procedures already in effect, WCPS will ensure that all students are attending regularly via the following process: 

  • Teachers will take daily attendance in PowerSchool.  
  • Teachers will be required to contact the home of any student that misses more than one day of school during a given week. 
  • If the attendance and engagement concern continues or if the teacher is unable to make contact with the student's parent or guardian, Principals will require teachers to submit to them or their designee names of any student who is marked absent more than one day in any given week. 
  • The principal or their designee will attempt to contact the student's parent/guardian to ascertain the reason for the lack of attendance and develop a plan of action to support the student's attendance. 
  • If the attendance concerns continue or if contact with the parent/guardian cannot be achieved, the principal or their designee will notify the Pupil Services Department to conduct a home visit with the purpose of ascertaining the reason for the student's absence and working with the parent, principal, and teacher(s) to develop a plan to support the student's attendance.

CONTINUITY OF LEARNING FOR EXCLUDED STUDENTS

Worcester County Public Schools recognizes that some students may be excluded from in-person learning as a result of COVID-19, because they have tested positive for COVID-19 or they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has COVID-19. As described later in this document (Operations & Safety: Protocol for Persons Who Test Positive for COVID-19), schools will communicate the below expectations for continuity of learning for students who experience COVID-19-related exclusion. 

Delivery of Instruction & Grading

Students who are excluded will receive missed assignments through either the learning management system, Schoology, or schools will provide hard copies of assignments. Excluded students will be provided with a device to access and complete assignments in Schoology. 

If a parent is unable to retrieve the assignments, the school will arrange to have the assignments delivered to the student’s home. When students complete the assignments, the work can either be uploaded to Schoology or returned to the school.  The school will provide accommodations to collect the assignments should the student be unable to return the work themselves.  Grades will be recorded upon completion and submission of the assignments. 

Additional Support

When a student is excluded, the student will be provided instructional support by their classroom teacher(s), as well as, any other classroom supports that might already be in place (i.e. Special Education, EL, 504, etc.). It is expected that the teacher should be reaching out to the students on a regular basis to check on progress and determine student needs.

Additionally, appropriate service provider(s) (i.e. special educator, school counselor, ESL educator, etc.) will establish routine check-ins with the student and the student’s family/guardian on the student’s progress and any areas of concern. The service provider, to the extent possible, will also be sure that all accommodations are being provided during the period of exclusion.

For students completing assignments using Schoology, technological support is available through the Information Technology HelpDesk. Students or family members/guardians may submit trouble tickets through this system, and technology support will be provided.

Attendance

Students who are excluded will be marked A (absent) within PowerSchool. Upon being presented with documentation from a medical provider the school will change the code to M (medical). If the school is provided with a parent excuse note, the code will be changed to E (excused). 

DIAGNOSTIC TESTING

It is a top priority for WCPS to complete diagnostic testing early in our students return to school each Fall to assist us in determining progress toward grade level standards for all students.  All diagnostic assessments in grades K-12 will be administered face-to-face.  Individual student results will inform student readiness for new content.  As gaps are identified, students will be matched with appropriate instructional interventions to support content recovery in Reading/English Language Arts and Mathematics.  

Grade Level

Reading/ English Language Arts Diagnostic Assessments

Mathematics Diagnostic Assessments

Kindergarten

Goal:Provide an indication of reading development and possible risk for future difficulty learning to read.

Measure: Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) 8 Benchmark

 

Metrics:DIBELS 8 Benchmark Composite scores are predictive of later reading proficiencybased on established reading skill acquisition milestones byage/grade level and time of year. Student performance levels are At or Above Benchmark (Tier 1), Below Benchmark (Tier 2), or Well Below Benchmark (Tier 3).

 

Projected Student Outcomes:Based on the DIBELS 8 performance benchmarks, a student’s scores on the DIBELS measures give information about whether or not a student is on track for grade-level reading success. Since the desired projected outcome is grade level performance, teachers and school leaders will monitor individual student performance and set individual goals to work toward ensuring that each child is on track to become an accurate and fluent reader.

Goal:Provide an indication of mathematics in the area of number, algebraic reasoning, measurement, data, and geometry.

 

Metrics:i-Ready provides a scale score,grade levelequivalence, and performance level. Student performance levels are Core Support (Tier 1), Strategic Support (Tier 2), or Intensive Support (Tier 3). i-Ready also reports the skills students know for each domain, so teachers may provide targeted instruction on skills not yet mastered. number, algebraic reasoning, measurement, data, and geometry.

 

Projected Student Outcomes:i-Ready reports typical growth measures and stretch growth measures.Typical growth measures are those designed for students to achieve grade level mastery in one year.Stretch growth measures are those designed for students to achieve grade level mastery in two years.Since the desired projected outcome is grade level performance, teachers and school leaders will monitor individual student performance and set individual goals to work toward achieving typical or stretch growth.

 

Grades 1-8

Goal:Provide an indication of reading development and performance. Additional screening for students through grade 3 using DIBELS 8 indicates possible risk forreading difficulties.

 

Metrics:i-Ready provides a scale score, grade level equivalence, and performance level. Student performance levels are Core Support (Tier 1), Strategic Support (Tier 2), or Intensive Support (Tier 3).I-Ready also reports the skills students know for each domain, so teachers may provide targeted instruction on skills not yet mastered.DIBELS 8 Benchmark Composite scores are predictive of later reading proficiency based on established reading skill acquisition milestones byage/grade level and time of year. Student performance levels are At or Above Benchmark (Tier 1), Below Benchmark (Tier 2), or Well Below Benchmark (Tier 3).

 

Projected Student Outcomes:i-Ready reports typical growth measures and stretch growth measures.Typical growth measures are those designed for students to achieve grade level mastery in one year.Stretch growth measures are those designed for students to achieve grade level mastery in two years.Since the desired projected outcome is grade level performance, teachers and school leaders will monitor individual student performance and set individual goals to work toward achieving typical or stretch growth.

 

Based on the DIBELS 8 performance benchmarks, a student’s scores on the DIBELS measures give information about whether or not a student is on track for grade-level reading success. Since the desired projected outcome is grade level performance, teachers and school leaders will monitor individual student performance and set individual goals to work toward ensuring that each child is on track to become an accurate and fluent reader.

 

Goal:Provide an indication of mathematics in the area of number, algebraic reasoning, measurement, data, and geometry.

 

Metrics:i-Ready provides a scale score, grade level equivalence, and performance level. Student performance levels are Core Support (Tier 1), Strategic Support (Tier 2), or Intensive Support (Tier 3).I-Ready also reports the skills students know for each domain, so teachers may provide targeted instruction on skills not yet mastered.

 

Projected Student Outcomes:i-Ready reports typical growth measures and stretch growth measures.Typical growth measures are those designed for students to achieve grade level mastery in one year.Stretch growth measures are those designed for students to achieve grade level mastery in two years.Since the desired projected outcome is grade level performance, teachers and school leaders will monitor individual student performance and set individual goals to work toward achieving typical or stretch growth.

 

Grades 9-12

Goal:Assessment of progression toward mastery of grade level standards in relations to grade level text complexity and MDCCR standards

 

Diagnostic Metrics:Teacher identified common formative assessments will be used to monitor progress. Based on monitoring student progress and performance trends, teachers will use the following performance levels to determine if a student is making progress toward end of grade level expectations:Meeting/Exceeding Expectations, Approaching Expectations, and Not Meeting Expectations. PSAT in grades 9 and 10 provide a standardized measure of a student’s performance according to grade level expectations and likelihood of achieving proficient scores on state and national assessments.

 

Projected Student Outcomes:Since the desired projected outcome is grade level performance, teachers and school leaders will monitor individual student performance and set individual goals to work toward student proficiency with grade level standards and grade level text.

Goal:Assess prerequisite skills necessary for success in course content

 

Diagnostic Metrics:ALEKs Initial Knowledge Check and Final Knowledge Check of students in Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2.The percent of prerequisite and on level standards mastered at the beginning and end of course will be reported

 

Projected Student Outcomes:A successful student in Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Geometry will earn at least 60% of the ALEKs pie which will indicate that at least 60% of the Algebra 1 standards were attained.

 

 

Timeline for Administration of Fall 2022 Diagnostics

  • Grades K-8 Testing Window: September 12 - October 14, 2022
  • Grades 9-12 Testing Window: 
    • Semester 1: September and January
    • Semester 2: February and June

Establishing Baseline Data and Monitoring Student Outcomes

The focus in Worcester County Public Schools will continue to be providing students solid, Tier One instruction.  By focusing on implementation science, fidelity to programs, and ongoing data collection, our goal will always be for at least 80% of our students to demonstrate mastery of grade level standards in Tier One.  When data demonstrates the need, Tier Two and Tier Three interventions will be utilized.

Teachers will begin the school year by utilizing End-of-Year Diagnostic Data (DIBELS 8 data for students in Kindergarten Reading, i-Ready for students in Kindergarten math, and i-Ready for students in grades 1-8) until a new baseline can be established (in the above windows) for the 2022-2023 school year.  Tier One students identified are those at or above grade level, Tier Two students are one grade level below and Tier Three students are two or more grade levels below.

Fall diagnostic data will be disaggregated in the same way as soon as the diagnostic window closes in mid-October.  

English Language Arts (K-8)

  • DIBELS 8 (Reading) Student Outcomes – Spring 2022 & Fall 2022 Administration
  • i-Ready Reading 1-8 Student Outcomes – Spring 2022 & Fall 2022 Administration
  • MCAP Data from 2021-2022 (projected availability January 2023)

Mathematics (K-8)

  • i-Ready Mathematics K-8 Student Outcomes – Spring 2022 & Fall 2022 Administration
  • MCAP Data from 2021-2022 (projected availability January 2023)

When students demonstrate deficits, the interventions described below will be utilized in Tier Two and Tier Three.

Interventions to Support Content Recovery and Readiness for New Content 
  • Professional Learning provided to the Curriculum Resource Teachers, Instructional Coaches and School Leadership Teams to support analysis of the diagnostics during Professional Learning Community (PLCs) meetings
  • Instructional teams should consider the following interventions to support content recovery and progress toward mastery of grade level content, based on analysis of the overall diagnostic results, and domain level results

 

Kindergarten - Grade 2

Reading

Mathematics

Wilson Fundations Targeted Support and Intervention - based on DIBELS 8 screening data, i-Ready Reading Diagnostic data, and Fundations classroom/ end-of-unit test performance

 

Amplify mClass targeted activities aligned to the areas of need revealed in DIBELS 8 benchmark and progress monitoring performance

 

Heggerty – Bridge the Gap (Grade 2)

 

100 Book Challenge Foundational Skills Toolkits - support individual student needs based on early literacy readiness skills

 

i-Ready Reading - seat license for 100% of students to engage in individualized i-Ready instructional activities, based on diagnostic level/performance (Grades 1 and 2)

 

Smarty Ants - adaptive online intervention program designed to support developing literacy skills

 

Wilson Reading System – an explicit, direct, cumulative, intensive, and multisensory program on the structure of language for students who have a language-based learning disability, such as dyslexia, or who have not internalized the sound-symbol system for reading and spelling (Grade 2)

 

OG Plus - reading and spelling intervention that is multisensory, sequential, incremental, cumulative, individualized, phonics-based, and explicit (Grades 1-2)

 

 

i-Ready Mathematics - seat license for 100% of students to engage in individualized i-Ready instructional activities, based on diagnostic level/performance

 

Bridges Intervention - BridgesIntervention lessonsare intendedfor Tier 2 or 3 Instruction

 

Do the Math - intensive program for students needing extra support in mathematics; appropriate for Tier 2 or Tier 3 Instruction

 

Grades 3-5

Reading

Mathematics

100 Book Challenge Reading Toolkits - support individual reading comprehension needs

 

i-Ready Reading - seat license for 100% of students to engage in individualized i-Ready instructional activities, based on diagnostic level/performance

 

Wilson Fundations – intensive multi-level reading intervention based on diagnostic need (Grade 3)

 

Amplify mClass targeted activities aligned to the areas of need revealed in DIBELS 8 benchmark and progress monitoring performance (Grade 3)

 

Wilson Just Words - a highly explicit, multisensory decoding and spelling program for students who have mild to moderate gaps in their decoding and spelling proficiency (Grades 4-5)

 

Wilson Reading System – an explicit, direct, cumulative, intensive, and multisensory program on the structure of language for students who have a language-based learning disability, such as dyslexia, or who have not internalized the sound-symbol system for reading and spelling (Grades 3-5)

 

OG Plus - reading and spelling intervention that is multisensory, sequential, incremental, cumulative, individualized, phonics-based, and explicit (Grades 3-5)

i-Ready Mathematics- seat license for 100% of students to engage in individualized i-Ready instructional activities, based on diagnostic level/performance

 

Bridges Intervention- BridgesIntervention lessonsare intendedfor Tier 2 or 3 Instruction

 

Do the Math - intensive program for students needing extra support in mathematics; appropriate for Tier 2 or Tier 3 Instruction

 

 

Grades 6-8

Reading

Mathematics

Achieve 3000 Literacy Learning Platform - (10% seat licenses per school) differentiated instruction designed to accelerate vocabulary and background knowledge building and increase reading ability and comprehension

 

100 Book Challenge Reader’s Workshop – individualized support for reading comprehension needs

 

i-Ready Reading -seat license for 10% of students to engage in individualized i-Ready instructional activities, based on diagnostic level/performance

 

My Perspectives Plus – standards-aligned teaching activities assigned to address individual needs

 

Wilson Just Words - a highly explicit, multisensory decoding and spelling program for students who have mild to moderate gaps in their decoding and spelling proficiency (Grades 6-8)

 

Wilson Reading System – an explicit, direct, cumulative, intensive, and multisensory program on the structure of language for students who have a language-based learning disability, such as dyslexia, or who have not internalized the sound-symbol system for reading and spelling (Grades 6-8)

 

OG Plus - reading and spelling intervention that is multisensory, sequential, incremental, cumulative, individualized, phonics-based, and explicit (Grades 6-8)

 

i-Ready Mathematics - seat license for 10% of students to engage in individualized i-Ready instructional activities, based on diagnostic level/performance

 

Bridges Intervention - BridgesIntervention lessonsare intendedfor Tier 2 or 3 Instruction

 

Math 180 - Math 180 is an intensive program for studentswho are more than two grade levels behind in mathematics; lessons focus on prerequisites required for success inAlgebra1

 

Delta Mathematics- Teachers can assign digital lessons based on student need

 

Grades 9-12

Reading

Mathematics

My Perspectives Plus – standards-aligned teaching activities assigned to address individual needs

 

100 Book Challenge Reader’s Workshop – individualized support for reading comprehension needs

Bridges Intervention - BridgesIntervention lessonsare intendedfor Tier 2 or 3 Instruction

 

Math 180 - Math 180 is an intensive program for studentswho are more than two grade levels behind in mathematics; lessons focus on prerequisites required for success inAlgebra1

 

Delta Mathematics – Teachers can assign digital lessons based on student need, and teachers can create formative assessments.

 

ALEKs for Algebra 1, 2, and Geometry - Students navigate through the content and are provided with prerequisite lessons

 

Readiness for Future Content - Connecting the Diagnostic Results and WCPS Instructional Frameworks/ Content Planning Documents in English Language Arts and Mathematics

 

English Language Arts

Mathematics

The return plan is based on the recommendations of the Maryland State Department of Education English Language Arts Instruction Office to continue providing instruction based on grade level MCCRS standards in all domains. In our Worcester County Public Schools instructional framework for ELA and curriculum documents, lessons are designed to provide teachers with time for targeted instruction and station rotation. Those instructional opportunities are intentionally built into the Stage 3 UbD lessons. Teachers use formative data throughout instruction to determine individual needs as they progress through units of study. Additionally, teachers will utilize interventions previously described as tiered support to ensure student readiness for new content.

The return plan is based on the recommendations of the Maryland State Department of Mathematics Instruction Office to provide instruction based on grade level MCCRS standards in all domains. Strategic use of diagnostic data (iReady and ALEKS) enables teachers to identify students requiring support to be successful. The iReady (K-8) and ALEKS (Algebra 1, 2, and Geometry) diagnostics identify student readiness to learn concepts. The curriculum documents for each Worcester County Public Schools mathematics course indicate the prerequisite standards necessary for each unit and provide resources to support students in accessing on-grade level content. Teachers use the iReady or ALEKS data and formative data throughout instruction to determine individual needs as they progress through units of study. Additionally, teachers utilize support resources and interventions previously described as tiered support to ensure student readiness for new content.

 

 

SPECIAL EDUCATION

Worcester County Public Schools Office of Special Education will follow all guidance from the Office of Special Education Programs and the Maryland State Department of Education Division of Early Intervention and Special Education Services. WCPS will continue to recognize provisions and agreements as part of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504), and Title II of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).

CHILD FIND

Worcester County Public Schools will continue to identify, locate, and evaluate students suspected of having a disability and needing special education and/or related services. Evaluations will be conducted remotely and in-person while adhering to health guidelines for the identified stage of return. 

INFANTS AND TODDLERS

The WCPS Infants and Toddlers Program will provide services using the Primary Service Provider Model. Meetings will be conducted in person and virtually depending on the preference of families. Referrals will continue to be processed to determine eligibility for an Individualized Family Service Plan. 

LEAST RESTRICTIVE ENVIRONMENT (LRE)

To the greatest extent possible depending on the stage of return, IEP teams will preserve each student’s LRE - meaningful access to general education grade-level content and opportunities to engage with nondisabled peers in academic and non-academic activities.

RECOVERY

The IEP Team will analyze multiple data sources to determine whether a student has experienced regression and/or a lack of progress when returning to school following an extended emergency condition defined as 10 days or more. The IEP team will consider factors including, but not limited to: data from county-wide diagnostic assessments; data on the student’s progress during the school closures (progress monitoring); data on the student’s ability to recoup skills and make progress on IEP goals; length of school closure, including time without any instruction and time with virtual and/or long-distance learning; documentation of accommodations and/or services provided (e.g., amount of instruction and services including dates, times, and duration); accommodations and/or services the IEP team was unable to provide; additional special education needs that result from the extended school closure.  

If the IEP team determines the student has experienced regression and/or a lack of progress, the team will consider compensatory/recovery opportunities that address the specific needs of the student.  Therefore, missed services do not automatically result in a one-for-one compensatory award. Some examples of compensatory/ recovery services that may be tailored to the specific needs of the student include tutoring, additional related services, weekend/evening/summer programming. Services are intended to address the regression and/or lack of progress; therefore, these additional and/or new services should supplement – not supplant – the student’s IEP. 

504 PLANS

Worcester County Public Schools will continue to support the individual needs of students identified for accommodations and modifications under Section 504.  The case managers will honor the district process and conduct meetings virtually.   Case managers will contact parents in accordance with the return to school guidance below.  Decisions of the 504 team will be based on medical diagnosis and academic need resulting from the disability.  The process will remain fluid, with teams meeting as student needs arise in both the virtual and face-to-face classroom.

IFSP/IEP/504 DEVELOPMENT, IMPLEMENTATION, AND EVALUATION

IFSP/IEP/504 Timelines and Meetings

  • IDEA timelines remain in place and will be followed as required by law. 
  • Alternative formats for IFSP/ IEP/504 meetings such as videoconferencing and phone calls will occur when necessary to safeguard the health and safety of participants while ensuring meaningful participation for students and families. 
  • IFSP/IEP/504 case managers will contact student families to determine the format that best suits their situation prior to all scheduled meetings.
  • Worcester County Public Schools Office of Special Education will follow all guidance from the Office of Special Education Programs and the Maryland State Department of Education Division of Early Intervention and Special Education Services. WCPS will continue to recognize provisions and agreements as part of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504), and Title II of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Service Delivery

  • Regardless of the instructional delivery model, students with disabilities remain entitled to an educational experience in the least restrictive environment. Special educators, general educators and related service providers will collaborate virtually and in-person within all instructional delivery models (virtual, distance, blended, face-to-face) to ensure all students access the general education curriculum and progress toward IEP goals. Worcester County Public Schools Office of Special Education will follow all guidance from the Office of Special Education Programs and the Maryland State Department of Education Division of Early Intervention and Special Education Services. WCPS will continue to recognize provisions and agreements as part of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504), and Title II of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • When schools are closed for 10 days special educators, general educators, and related service providers will follow the IEP Planning for Emergency Conditions in all IEPs. 
  • General education teachers will monitor student performance for students receiving accommodations as part of a 504 Plan and communicate needs to the case manager and/or 504 team. 
  • Teachers and related service providers will provide Specially Designed Instruction within the virtual and in-person classroom. Services will be delivered as dictated by the IFSP/IEP/504. 

Accommodations

  • Accommodations and modifications will be provided in all educational settings, during all phases of return as dictated by the student’s IEP/504. 
  • Related service providers, general education, and special education teachers will collaborate in determining the appropriateness and success of a student’s accommodations and modifications through data collection and monitoring. 
  • The IEP/504 team, (general education teachers, special education, related services providers, and families), will work collaboratively to identify alternate solutions if the team believes an accommodation or modification is not helping the student access appropriate content in all phases of return.

Progress Monitoring

  • Special educators, related service providers, and general educators will utilize a consistent data collection format to track student progress on IEP goals and in the general education curriculum.
  •  IFSP/IEP/504 teams will utilize collected progress monitoring data to inform decisions related to instruction, goal progress, accommodations, and service delivery. 
  • Data collection and analysis will be utilized by teams to determine the impact of instruction on student’s progress within all instructional phases. Teams will make the appropriate changes to accelerate student progress.

ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY

All students have been issued an iPad to support virtual and in-person instruction. Laptops will be issued to students who demonstrate a need. Training was provided to teachers to support the use of accessibility features. Additional assistive technology will be issued as needed. The county assistive technology teacher will remain available during school hours for audio and audiovisual coaching to ensure all students can access their needed technology. The assistive technology teacher will provide coaching to teachers, students, and student families when requested. 

HEALTH & SAFETY STRATEGIES

At this time, the use of face coverings in Worcester County Public Schools is optional; however, for those students returning to school on day six following a positive test for COVID-19, face coverings are required through day 10. 

WPCS recognizes the use of masks or other face coverings can be challenging for some young learners and students with significant disabilities, extreme sensory issues, or other healthcare needs. For their own health and safety, and that of other students and staff in the school environment, helping students increase their tolerance for wearing a mask is important. With intentional, proactive, individualized instruction and behavior support, many students can learn to wear a mask properly for sustained periods.

Students who present difficulties wearing a mask or are unable to wear a mask will be provided specially designed instruction to increase their tolerance for wearing a mask. 

Worcester County Public Schools will reference the Maryland State Department of Education Division of Early Intervention and Special Education Services Technical Assistance Bulletin, Tips to Support Mask-Wearing for Students with Disabilities when addressing the unique needs of each individual child who has difficulty wearing a mask. Staff will follow masking recommendations from Worcester County Public Schools to decrease the likelihood of the transmission of COVID-19. 

 

ADDITIONAL STUDENT POPULATIONS

ENGLISH FOR SPEAKERS OF OTHER LANGUAGES (ESOL) PROGRAM

WCPS remains committed to supporting English learners (ELs) and their parents/guardians. The equitable education of ELs is safeguarded by various civil rights law and policy, as well as by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Maryland school systems are required by COMAR to provide instructional assistance and services to enable ELs to attain English proficiency, develop high levels of academic language, and achieve at high levels in academic subjects. English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) services and instructional support will continue to be delivered to all ELs. In order to serve ELs in all grade levels, at all proficiency levels and from all backgrounds, we use more than one Language Instruction Educational Program (LIEP). The LIEP of each EL is indicated on the MSDE EL Parent Notification Letter, included in the EL Plan, recorded in PowerSchool, and communicated by the ESOL instructor to the classroom teacher(s), administrator, parent/guardian(s), and other designees. In addition to the continuation of ESOL services, parent/guardian outreach will also continue. ESOL instructors are responsible for outreach to ensure that ELs and their parent/guardian(s) stay connected and to foster a school-community connection. The three focus areas of ESOL are:

Services and Instructional Support

  • Collaborate with content teachers to provide wraparound services. 
  • Utilize formative assessments to identify learning gaps. 
  • Differentiate learning plans and provide opportunities to support the language and academic success of all identified and provisional ELs. 
  • Provide appropriate academic support, instructional feedback, and assistance to ELs, ensuring that they understand and can complete assignments. 
  • Communicate with applicable staff and administration regarding any EL situation (barrier) that may have an impact on equitable access to learning; prepare and deliver academic alternatives to support the EL. 
  • Facilitate any necessary professional learning, focusing on ELs and parent/guardian outreach.

Parent/Guardian Outreach

  • Ensure meaningful communication with the parent/guardian of ELs in a language and format that they can understand and access. 
  • Provide the parent/guardian of ELs with training and support focusing on the use of instructional technology and available educational resources. 
  • Share updates regarding the School Meal Program, Parent Guide, Technology Help Desk, School Material Kits and other WCPS initiatives
  • Coordinate efforts (wraparound services) to assist the parent/guardian of ELs to become active participants in our school-community.

Screening of New ELs

  • Utilize state-identified English language development (ELD) screening tools to test students for ELD services eligibility.

HOMELESS STUDENTS

WCPS will provide support and services to those students and families identified to be homeless as outlined in COMAR 13A.05.09.00 Programs for Homeless Students. In order to provide support, WCPS will: 

 

  • Develop, review and revise policies to eliminate barriers to the enrollment, retention and success in school of homeless students. 
  • Coordinate with local social services agencies and other agencies or programs providing services to homeless children, youth and their families. 
  • Coordinate with other local school systems on issues, such as transfer of school records. 
  • Provide services to eligible homeless students that are comparable to services offered to other students in the local school system, ensuring that homeless children and youth are identified by school personnel, are enrolled in school and have a full and equal opportunity to succeed in the distance learning environment.

It is the intent that all students identified as being homeless have full access to learning resources. WCPS will also: 

  • Identify barriers to learning which may include, but are not limited to, access to electronic devices used for learning, access to internet services and access to community-based resources. 
  • Communicate with applicable staff and administration regarding any barriers that may have an impact on equitable access to learning.
  • Collaborate with students, families, school administration and staff through telephone calls, electronic mail and home visits. 
  • Share updates regarding the School Meal Program, Parent Guide Technology Help Desk, school material kits and other WCPS initiatives. 
  • Coordinate efforts to provide wraparound services to assist the parent/guardian of homeless students to become active participants in our school-community.

HOME AND HOSPITAL INSTRUCTION

Worcester County Public Schools home and hospital program provides instruction to students who are unable to attend their regular school of enrollment due to a verified physical illness or injury, emotional condition, pregnancy, or a chronic health impairment. Home and hospital schooling is a short-term instructional service mandated by state law with specific guidelines for program implementation and delivery. Home and Hospital Schooling provides students the opportunity to continue education under the guidance of a qualified educator as they prepare for their return to the school building.

To qualify for home and hospital teaching services, the student must be expected to be absent from school for a projected period of fifteen (15) consecutive school days or more as a result of physical illness or disability, emotional crisis (including substance abuse) pregnancy or concurrent enrollment or chronic illness.

Students enrolled full-time will receive six (6) to eight (8) hours of instruction per week.  Students enrolled part-time will receive three (3) to four (4) hours of instruction per week.

Physical illness/injury, pregnancy, or chronic health impairment

Obtain a Medical Professional’s Recommendation for Home and Hospital Instruction form. Complete the parent/legal guardian section and forward the form to the appropriate medical professional. The completion of the form authorizes Worcester County Public Schools staff to communicate with your medical professional. Please note that failure to sign the release of information may result in denial of Home and Hospital Instruction services.

  • Physical Illness/Injury: A licensed physician or certified nurse practitioner (CNP) must complete all information in the medical professional section, including the anticipated date the student will return to school.
  • Pregnancy: Pregnant students are expected to attend school during their pregnancy. The medical professional must provide an estimated date of delivery on the home & hospital teaching recommendation form. Home & hospital teaching services are provided for six (6) weeks postpartum.
  • Chronic Health Impairment: Students diagnosed as having a chronic health impairment (such as cancer, asthma, sickle cell anemia, kidney failure, juvenile diabetes, cystic fibrosis, or cardiac disorders) may be eligible for full-time, part-time, or concurrent home & hospital teaching services. For concurrent approval, the physician’s statement must indicate that the illness will cause frequent intermittent absences of 20% or more of the school year.  Concurrent home & hospital teaching services are provided to the student during intermittent absences of at least three (3) consecutive school days due to the chronic illness.
  • Emotional Condition: Obtain a Medical Professional’s Recommendation for Home and Hospital Instruction form. The recommendation for home & hospital teaching must be made by a licensed psychiatrist, licensed psychologist, or certified school psychologist.  A treatment plan must also be submitted. The recommendation will be reviewed by the school psychologist assigned to the student’s school, as well as other school staff. A transition plan must be developed by the licensed psychiatrist/psychologist to return the student to school. Failure to develop a transition plan may result in denial of services.

The medical professional should return the completed form to the Office of Student Services. If the service is determined to be appropriate and is approved, an instructional plan will be developed with the student’s home school. Worcester County Public Schools provides home and hospital instruction with an individually assigned home and hospital instructor at the student’s home or designated agreed upon location. Worcester County Public Schools require that a responsible adult (18 years of age or older) must be present throughout the duration of the home and hospital teaching session if the home & hospital instructor is coming to the home.  The assigned home and hospital instructor will contact the parent/legal guardian directly to schedule teaching sessions. When appropriate, online instruction will occur through the use of a school-based robot to provide the student under Home and Hospital Instruction the opportunity to interact live with the child’s classroom teacher and peers. 

BLENDED LEARNING PROGRAM

Families of students in grades 6 –12 not wishing to return to in-person learning will be provided the opportunity to enroll in the ESMEC Blended Virtual Program for the 2022-2023 school year.

ATTENDANCE MONITORING PROCEDURES

Students in blended or distance learning will be counted as present in a synchronous class if the student is logged in, has the camera on, and participating for the duration of the synchronous session. For asynchronous sessions, students are counted as present if they have logged into the class and have completed assignments for the day. A student’s absence from distance or blended learning is coded the same as it is during traditional face-to-face learning and is coded using the codes for excused and unexcused absences. A student’s absence can be excused by a school administrator if it is determined that a circumstance outside the student’s control existed (internet or device issue) that prevented the student from accessing online instruction on a given day and a solution is identified in collaboration with the family to prevent recurrence.

For students in grades 6-12 participating in the Eastern Shore of Maryland Educational Consortia Blended Virtual Program (ESMEC BVP), attendance will be relayed on a weekly basis to the attendance clerk at each school who will enter the information into PowerSchool following the same protocols as face-to-face learning.  

Students consistently marked absent who are approaching chronic absenteeism (10% or more absences) or habitual truancy (20% or more absences) receive more intense support. This may include home visits by school personnel (student services workers, counselors, and central office staff) and referrals to wrap-arounds services if needed. Students may also be referred to Truancy Court if all other supports have not been successful.

INSTRUCTIONAL CONTENT

The Maryland College and Career Ready Standards (MCCRS) are essential in ensuring that students have a strong command of the skills and understanding associated with the critical areas.  These skills and understandings are critical to building the foundational knowledge needed for the success of our students.  

As a district, we employ a backward designed format following the Understanding by Design (UbD) process for instructional curriculum writing, from McTighe and Wiggins.

The Understanding by Design framework has teachers, with the support of district instructional coordinators, begin by unpacking the standards and analyzing curricular aims (Stage 1 portion of UbD template). This deep level of understanding includes reflecting and deciding on the knowledge and skills students will gain, the big ideas that students should be able to transfer to other learning, and the enduring understandings that students should retain long after the unit has concluded. Following Stage 1, instructional coordinators and teachers carefully design performance-based assessments (Stage 2 portion of the UbD template) that, by the end of the unit, should reveal if students acquired the learning designated in Stage 1. For daily lesson planning, teachers have a clear vision of what learning events (Stage 3 portion of the UbD template) students will need to experience in order to be prepared for the final assessment task. This backward mapped design for WCPS curricula and our strategically crafted scope and sequences ensure that MD College and Career Ready Standards PreK-12 are taught in all content areas and the State Frameworks are followed for each content. Grade-level standard mastery is the focus for every unit. Teacher lesson planning then addresses the question, how do I get my students to access this learning? This scaffolding and differentiating allows teachers to address possible lost learning without sacrificing the priority of teaching grade level standards.      

For content-specific instructional information, please consult the full Responsible Return 3.0 document on the return plan homepage here.