In response to our extended school closure, Dalton Public Schools has developed a distance learning plan to support our exceptional students. This plan includes the interim good faith efforts and provision of special education and related services to the greatest extent possible. Our Exceptional Student Services teachers and therapists are working hard to connect with students to provide specialized activities, lessons, and accommodations to support each child's access to grade level standards and mastery of IEP goals. This summary below describes our digital learning plan and how students are receiving special education supports and services during the extended school closure.
Phase 1: March 16, 2020 to April 5, 2020
Students were offered a school device to access digital learning provided through Canvas, Microsoft Teams, and/or other virtual platforms. The student's Case Manager and/or Service Provider(s) provided a personal introduction to digital learning through an email or phone call to the student or student's caregiver. Students were offered digital learning through an online platform, with telephone conversations and check-ins, email check-ins, and virtual conferencing capability.
Phase 2: April 6, 2020 to May 15, 2020
Students used a school issued device or personal device to access lessons provided through Canvas, Microsoft Teams, YouTube, email, and/or other virtual platforms. In addition, supports were provided by special education staff through email check-ins, telephone conferencing, and dynamic instruction through Zoom and/or other virtual conferencing platforms.
All new instruction stops on May 8, 2020. The week of May 11th to May 15th will be a week of make-up work for students. If students have incomplete work or need additional and/or intensive time and instruction to complete assignments, IEP supports and services will be provided to support work completion. Supports and services related to IEP goal mastery will continue during the week of May 11th to May 15th.
During this phase, School Psychologists are working to communicate with parents of students needing an initial comprehensive evaluation or reevaluation. Any assessments that can be administered virtually are being addressed. Our Exceptional Student Services office staff have also continued to process records requests and community Child Find referrals to support the needs of our students and their families.
Phase 3: Preparation for the Reopening of Schools
Upon the reopening of school, the current IEP (even if expired) will remain effective as a starting point for resuming specially designed learning in the school setting. If a student's IEP has expired before school reopens, an IEP meeting will be scheduled to occur as soon as is reasonably possible. Upon the reopening of school, data will be collected regarding each student's skills to determine if alternate supports and services are necessary to address skill development impacted by the extended school closure. An appropriate plan will be pursued by the IEP team.
Any individual evaluations that cannot be completed virtually by our School Psychologists will be completed as quickly as possible when school reopens. Evaluations that are nearing or exceeding our required timeliness guidelines will be a top priority for completion.
If you have questions regarding your child's services, please contact your child's case manager. Our Dalton Public Schools Exceptional Student Services team has embraced this opportunity to learn about our students as virtual learners. Our team looks forward to resuming in-person services with students as soon as it is healthy and safe to do so!