By Adam Pagnucco.
On May 27, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) released a summary of responses from local school districts to its survey on distance learning. However, MSDE did not initially list the responses by school district. After Delegate Eric Luedtke (D-14) submitted a Maryland Public Information Act request to get the responses by district, MSDE published that data. Delegate Luedtke shared the responses with Seventh State. Below are the questions by MSDE and the responses submitted by Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) in early May.
Question: Are distance learning packets a part of your school system’s Continuity of Learning Plan?
Q: In the past week, what percentage of eligible students received at least one distance learning packet?
A: I have data about distance learning packets but cannot answer this question exactly as it is written.
Q: If you answered the previous question “I cannot answer this question exactly as it is written” or need to provide additional information about students receiving distance learning packets, please explain.
A: To date, MCPS has produced 405,583 instructional packets from the digital files provided by the Curriculum Office. These multi-page, two-sided, stapled booklets are grade-specific and course-specific.
Distributed to schools:
March 13: 109,023
Distributed to meal distribution sites:
Total of 296,550
April 8: 47,250
April 17: 77,950
April 22: 77,950
April 29: 46,705
May 6: 46,705
Q: Is your school system collecting data on student engagement with distance learning packets?
Q: How does your school system define student engagement with distance learning packets? (What “counts” as engagement?)
A: The weekly packets are designed for students to use in collaboration with the digital learning platform or for students to use in replacement of the digital learning platform. Students using the packets are expected to complete the assignments and tasks in the packets. Students who use the weekly paper packet should take a picture of one assignment page that best represents their work for the week and submit it to the teacher via email. Teachers keep the submitted packet assignments and use it to inform engagement levels as well as to inform the learning that is taking place.
Q: In the past week, what percentage of your students who received a distance learning packet have engaged with a distance learning packet? (For example, if 600 students received a distance learning packet, what percent of those 600 students engaged with a distance learning packet?)
A: I have data about engagement with distance learning packets but cannot answer this question exactly as it is written.
Q: If you answered the previous question “I cannot answer this question exactly as it is written” or need to provide additional information about students engaging with distance learning packets, please explain.
A: MCPS has just over 100 students engaging in only paper-packet activities. These students are working with their individual teachers on completion of work. MCPS is collecting engagement data from teachers in order to account for all students during distance learning. Teachers not only provide feedback through the use of the gradebook, but they also provide anecdotal data on individual students who are/are not engaging in remote learning.
Q: To your knowledge, what percentage of your students have access to the Internet, either at home or at a location suitable for accessing online learning activities? (Please answer this question to the best of your knowledge, even if your school system is not using online distance learning as part of its Continuity of Learning Plan.)
Q: Is online distance learning part of your school system’s Continuity of Learning Plan?
Q: Is your school system collecting data on students who sign on to online distance learning?
Q: How has your school system defined “signed on” to online distance learning? (What “counts” as being signed on?)
A: MCPS is using three core digital systems as part of the online learning experience: Canvas, Google Apps, and Zoom. We are able to track logins across each of these systems over time.
Q: In the past week, what percentage of eligible students signed on to online distance learning?
A: 95% signed on at least once between April 25 and May 1.
Q: Is your school system collecting data on student engagement with online distance learning?
Q: How has your school system defined/measured student engagement with online distance learning?
A: Engagement includes digital footprint data (logging in), completion of assignments, engaging in live sessions, and having interaction with the teacher. MCPS uses the digital footprint data to create an initial profile of the student’s online activity. We set a guideline of three logins per week per student, but recognize that some students may complete work in fewer, longer sessions, and the majority of students will engage in far more than three sessions per week. This data serves as a baseline indicator. From there, teachers provide anecdotal data and layer in additional engagement data that we cannot capture with the digital footprint data – paper packets, emails, phone calls, parent outreach, and effort. Together, this data is used to determine engagement for students.
Q: In the past week, what percentage of your students engaged with online distance learning?
A: I have data about engagement with online distance learning but cannot answer this question exactly as it is written.
Q: If you answered the previous question “I cannot answer this question exactly as it is written” or need to provide additional information about students engaging with online distance learning, please explain.
A: During the week of April 25th, more than 90% of students logged in to our digital systems more than 3 times. Teachers are in the process of updating comments about students’ engagement to provide the complete picture of activity for the first three weeks of marking period 4.
Q: Since your school system implemented its Continuity of Learning Plan, what percentage of students and/or families in your school system have not once been contacted, and/or contact has been attempted but failed? Contact may occur with either the student or family, and with a teacher, school staff member, school system administrator, or other educator.
Q: Since your school system implemented its Continuity of Learning Plan, what percentage of students in your school system have not participated in distance learning in any form, meaning they have not received a distance learning packet, have not logged on to online distance learning, etc.? These students may have been contacted for other reasons.
A: Between 3% and 10% depending on criteria used.
Q: This survey asked about student participation in distance learning for your school system as a whole. Do you have this information by grade span (elementary, middle, and high)?
Q: Please provide any additional information or comments about student contact and/or participation in distance learning.
A: About 3% of students have not engaged in distance learning of any kind or have not responded to emails, phone calls, or other outreach efforts. Some of these students were waiting on technology (which we are still centrally distributing or delivering to homes as requests come in). A small subset have indicated that due to illness, enrolling in community college courses, applying for early graduation, or opting out of distance learning, they will not be engaged in marking period four learning activities. As part of the engagement framework for marking period four, MCPS has set the minimum expected level of weekly log-ins to core digital platforms to greater than or equal to 3. While the majority of students are well above this minimum criteria, about 10% of students are not meeting this threshold. School academic and well-being support teams are charged with following up with these students in order to help improve quality and quantity of engagement in distance learning. MCPS has developed a comprehensive outreach plan that includes coordinated communication between counselors, school administrators, parent community coordinators, PPWs, and local law enforcement to connect with 670 students who have not yet engaged in any form of distance learning or replied to phone calls, emails, or other outreach efforts.