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Academic Protocols

Westlake Academy utilized a committee to organize and develop the academic systems for the start of the 2020-2021 school year.  The committee, led by the International Baccalaureate (IB) Coordinators, is composed of members from various departments and grade levels to build upon a diverse set of knowledge, perspective, and expertise.  The committee met weekly throughout June and July in preparation for August 2020. All information contained in this document is in DRAFT form and was published effective 7/29/20.

 

The following information is based on official guidance given by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) as of July 17, 2020. Any changes in official TEA guidance may lead to changes in the instructional delivery options. All instructional options must address the required curriculum per the Texas Education Code 28.002.

 

Instructional delivery for August 24, 2020, through September 18, 2020 (and if a mandatory school closure occurs)

 

During mandatory school closures, remote learning offered by Westlake Academy will consist of both synchronous and asynchronous learning activities, aligned with the Planning Guidance provided by TEA.

  • The remote learning aspect of hybrid learning will use both asynchronous and synchronous learning.
    • Synchronous learning is defined as two-way, real-time, live, instruction between teachers and students, through the computer, or other electronic devices.
    • Asynchronous learning is a curricular experience where students engage in the learning materials on their own time, interacting intermittently with the teacher via the computer or other electronic devices.
  • Parents will support their students to encourage preparedness for the remote learning environment.  This includes managing the device to ensure it is charged, creating an appropriate place to work at a table or desk, and engaging their child in remote learning activities. 
  • Students will be expected to be engaged and will be held accountable for their learning, including homework assignments, and both informal and formal assessments.
  • Due to these rigorous demands of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, the requirements of the IB, and TEA attendance guidelines, students will be required to participate in learning activities Monday through Friday. 
  • Teaching and learning will embrace the mission and vision of the IB through a focus on Approaches to Learning, the Learner Profile, International Mindedness, and an inquiry-based approach. 
  • Attendance will be taken synchronously at the beginning of each class. It is expected that students are logged in and ready to engage in learning activities on time. 

PYP teachers will provide a detailed schedule for students to follow for their synchronous lessons.  Students will have both scheduled and flexible learning times daily.  Families can expect to spend the following average times per week:

  • Kindergarten-2nd: 2 hours 30 minutes (synchronous) plus and additional 3 hours 30 minutes (asynchronous)
  • 3rd-5th grade: 3 hours (synchronous) plus and additional 3 hours (asynchronous)
    • These times are an average and these times will vary depending on a variety of factors such as student strengths, the type of assignment, and the work assigned by all the teachers cumulatively (including art, music, PE, and Spanish)
  • Flextime has been built into the daily schedule.  This allows for students to complete assignments independently, attend small group instruction, and conference with teachers as needed.
 

The following is a DRAFT of the PYP weekly remote learning schedule.

 

Draft of PYP weekly remote learning schedule

 
Our Middle Years and Diploma Years Programmes (grades 6-12) will follow these guidelines:
 
  • Each course will be synchronous and asynchronous each day, with a minimum threshold of 50% of class time each week taught synchronously or actively engaged with a teacher.
  • Teachers have the flexibility to provide more than 50% synchronous learning depending on the content, place, and order of the learning, or to provide additional support or enrichment.
  • Synchronous learning, conducted via Google Meet, will fully embrace the IB philosophy, promoting discussion, inquiry, and reflection. 
  • Assignments undertaken during asynchronous learning will allow for individualized feedback from teachers.
  • Asynchronous learning may also take the form of students watching their teacher’s pre-recorded lecture, which will be followed by synchronous discussion. (This is often referred to as a “flipped classroom”.)
  • In the Diploma Programme, asynchronous learning time, where appropriate, will also be used strategically to focus on the Internal Assessments.
  • Additional student support is available each day during the flex time at 2:40-3:15 pm. 
 
 

Westlake Academy families with students in grades K-8 will be asked to choose either in-person or fully remote learning. Families with students in grades 9-12 will be offered either a hybrid option or fully remote learning. This selection must be made prior to August 10, 2020 pending any other Tarrant County Health Orders.   It will come into effect on September 28, 2020 and remain in place for the first nine-week grading period. The exception to this is if a student is participating in on-campus education and develops symptoms of COVID-19 or must quarantine.

 

Fully remote learning for students in grades 9-12

  • Students will be assigned a normal class schedule and each day will be expected to complete assigned work for each of their classes which will count towards attendance.
  • Students will have opportunities for synchronous, remote learning with their teacher during the scheduled class times. Additional, synchronous support can be provided when it is needed.
  • Students will have opportunities to collaborate remotely with their peers who are following the hybrid model.
  • For families who choose to have their children learn exclusively from home, parents will be asked to partner even more strongly than usual with their child's teacher to ensure their child's academic progress.

Following the guidance given by the TEA on July 17, 2020, in grades 9-12, school systems may offer a less than daily on-campus instructional experience if there is a need to reduce the total count of people on campus at any one time to maintain social distancing. Per TEA guidelines, for campuses that select a hybrid model (a combination of in-person learning and remote learning), in-person learning must be available for at least 40% of the instructional days during a grading period.

 

For grades 9-12, families will choose either the hybrid option or fully remote.  It is important to note that we will not offer face-to-face instruction 5 days a week for students in grades 9-12.  This is due to the logistical nature of the campus.

 

Hybrid schedule

Students in each grade level from 9 to 12 will be divided into two cohorts: Navy and Maroon. Navy will be for students with last names from A to L; Maroon for students with last names M to Z. Students living in the same household will be scheduled into the same cohort. Students will receive two days of in-person instruction using the traditional A/B block schedule, followed by two days of remote learning. Over the course of every four weeks, each cohort will receive ten days of in-person learning (five A days and five B days) and ten days of remote learning (five A days and five B days). In-person instruction will, therefore, be available for 50% of the time.

 

In-person learning in the hybrid model:

  • Fewer students on campus will allow for safety measures and social distancing to take place.
  • Smaller class sizes will allow for in-depth learning aligned with the respective IB programmes.
  • Smaller classes will allow for greater individualized support and feedback from teachers.
  • In-person classes will build directly upon the previous learning done remotely.
  • Instruction will remain student-centered and collaborative. 

 

Remote learning in the hybrid model:

  • During the remote learning portion, student learning will be largely asynchronous, though teachers will be available at certain times to provide support virtually when it is needed.
  • Participation in the form of completed assigned work during remote learning will be expected and will count towards attendance for that day.

Four Week Hybrid Schedule - DRAFT

 

For the 2020-21 school year, assessment will follow the guidelines as outlined in the Primary and Secondary IB assessment policies. The pass/fail model implemented in the Spring of 2020 will no longer be used.

 

IB assessment strategies, such as open-ended tasks, performance tasks, selected response tests and quizzes, and observations, are central to the assessment process. They cover a broad range of   approaches and provide a balanced view of the student.  Students are also required to complete external assessments as directed by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the IB.  These strategies apply not only to in-person instruction, but also to students participating in remote learning. 

 

Assessment Procedures 

  • Assessment procedures and tools will vary by grade-level and age-appropriateness.
  • Assessments will require students to demonstrate their learning in a variety of formats (written, visual, speaking, multimedia) using a range of digital platforms.  Teachers will provide students with age-appropriate instruction and practice with digital tools required for assessment.
  • Students will be asked to submit assessments in a variety of formats, including but not limited to: digital scan of handwritten responses, handwritten response in a digital document using a stylus, typed responses, selected responses in digital platform, image files, video recording, audio recording, multimedia, participation in Google Meet.
  • Some assessments may take place synchronously while others may take place asynchronously. 
  • If assessments require students to demonstrate their learning by performing a task in a timed situation, teachers may require students participating in remote learning to be available for synchronous assessment during a designated class time.  Students participating in remote learning will adhere to the same time constraints as students taking the assessment in person.  Teachers will plan and communicate procedures for students participating in remote learning to have access to assessment instructions, resources, and rubrics.
  • When an assessment requires access to physical resources (such as a science lab), teachers may replace the assessment with a comparable substitution such as a digital lab simulation if the materials are not readily available to the student at home.  In some cases, teachers may prepare kits of materials to make available for pick-up for families participating in remote learning.
  • If assessment involves collaboration, teachers will support students in defining roles and establishing time and procedures for collaboration both in-person and digitally.
  • All assessments (formative and summative) must be completed and submitted on time to ensure that the curriculum can be delivered effectively and efficiently.  Formative assessments are designed to prepare students for the summative assessment.  Submitting formative assessments late may result in the student not being able to receive feedback in a timely manner before the summative assessment.  Students participating in remote learning and in-person learning will be held to the same expectations for late and missing work as defined in the Westlake Academy Parent/Student Handbook.
  • In the event that technology issues prevent a student from completing or submitting an assessment, the student and parent should make the teacher aware of the issue as soon as possible and make arrangements with the teacher to make up the assessment in a timely manner. Please see “Technology Support” section below for more information on how to receive help for technology issues on school devices.

 

Assessment in the Primary Years Programme 

  • The PYP Assessment Policy will guide all assessment monitoring, documenting, measuring, and reporting practices. Link 
  • PYP teachers will use a blend of assessment strategies to inform learning and teaching in accordance with IB standards and practices.
  • Students who have opted for complete remote learning will receive the same holistic assessments that incorporate the concepts, skills, knowledge, and action students demonstrate. 
  • Students, regardless of the instructional delivery model, will be encouraged to self-assess themselves through rubrics, checklists, and reflections.  These tools allow students to set goals related to how they can continue to intrinsically demonstrate the attributes of the IB learner profile and the IB Approaches to Learning (ATL) skills.
  • PYP teachers will provide timely and effective feedback to students so they can reflect on their performance.
  • Beginning in the 2020-2021 school year, the Primary Years Programme (PYP) will implement a new K-5 Standards-Based Report Card that aligns with the International Baccalaureate’s stance on measuring and reporting on learning.  This new reporting process is designed in a manner that is objective and aligned with the state curriculum standards, the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).  PYP reports will now be issued at the conclusion of a 9-week period, dividing the length of the school year into four terms. A parent guide to the standards-based report card will be issued in September 2020.

 

Assessment in the Middle Years Programme 

  • MYP teachers will use a blend of formative and summative assessments, with teaching using their knowledge of IB summative assessment expectations and practices to help students improve performance.
  • Students who have opted for complete remote learning will receive the same holistic assessments that incorporate the concepts, skills, and knowledge students demonstrate (see below for more details on academic integrity).
  • Formative and summative assessments will be assessed as usual utilizing the MYP criteria for each subject.
  • It is expected that for each quarterly reporting period (usually every eight to nine weeks), MYP students will have undertaken either one or two summative assessments, supported by multiple formative assessments. 
  • For students in Grades 9 and 10, it is expected that Semester exams will still take place.

 

Assessment in the Diploma Programme 

  • DP teachers will use a blend of formative and summative assessments, with teaching using their knowledge of IB summative assessment expectations and practices to help students improve performance.
  • Students who have opted for complete remote learning will take equivalent assessments as those who have elected hybrid, in-person learning  (see below for more details on academic integrity)
  • Formative and summative assessments will be given a percentage grade, from 0-100.
  • It is expected that for each quarterly reporting period (usually every eight to nine weeks), DP students will have undertaken either two or three summative assessments, supported by multiple formative assessments. 
  • It is expected that Semester exams will still take place.
  • Grade 12 students will be registered in October 2020 for the May 2021 IBDP exam session.


Academic Integrity

  • Whether taking part in remote or in-person learning, students are expected to adhere to the same academic integrity expectations as defined by the Westlake Academy Academic Integrity Policy.  Teachers will use age-appropriate methods to review the policy with students to ensure that all students understand how to be principled and maintain academic integrity in their learning.
  • In remote and in-person learning, students are expected to only access resources allowed by the teacher for the summative assessment.  
  • If students need assistance during an assessment, they should reach out to the teacher through the method designated by the teacher (i.e. Google Meet, email).  Students may not receive assistance from a family member, classmate, tutor, or any other individual during an individual summative assessment.  
  • If students need assistance during formative assessments, any assistance they receive beyond the teacher should only be supportive in nature.  In order for teachers to best assess student progress, student work needs to reflect the student’s individual ability.
  • When necessary, teachers will utilize technological tools to help maintain academic integrity.  For example, teachers may require students to submit typed assessments to Turnitin.com to check for originality and proper acknowledgment of original authorship (citations and references).

All K-12 students will have access to Westlake Academy issued iPads with keyboard cases for in-person and remote learning. Technology staff will be available in both instructional models to assist students and staff with technology support.

  • All support will be remote unless physical access to the device is needed, arrangements will then be made via appointment for in-person access to the device. Students and staff should not visit the IT offices without an appointment.
  • If in-person support is necessary, arrangements will be made to provide support in the safest way possible - IT Staff will wear protective gear, practice social distancing, and do as much work as possible outside of the classroom or office area.
  • Staff will continue to use SchoolDude to report issues or request support.   
  • Students will use this Google Form to report issues or request support.  If a student is unable to use the Form (due to age or broken device), a parent or teacher should complete the Form, or Staff can complete the Form on the student’s behalf.

Westlake Academy will fulfill the student's IEP as laid out by the ARD committee, in accordance with federal law, regardless of the delivery of instruction chosen by the parents.

Westlake Academy will fulfill the student's 504 plan, in accordance with federal law, regardless of the delivery of instruction chosen by the parents.

Professional learning is critical to the success of remote and face-to-face learning.  It requires a specialized skill set including establishing online norms, identifying expectations for synchronous and asynchronous learning, building relationships with remote learners, crafting teacher clarity at a distance, establishing students’ submissions protocols, and more.

  • Teachers will receive expert training on the full use of ManageBac to provide rich, rigorous learning opportunities aligned with the tenets of successful distance learning. Teachers and students are capable of integrating tech, apps, and digital tools within the ManageBac ecosystem to personalize their learning experiences. 
  • Teachers will receive expert training on those social and emotional learning aspects of teaching in a COVID-19 environment.
  • Teachers will receive expert training on developing a classroom management plan for distance learning.
  • Teachers will receive expert training on identifying expectations for synchronous and asynchronous distance learning.
  • Teachers will receive expert training on crafting teacher clarity at a distance.
  • Teachers will receive expert training on how to engage students at a distance.
  • Teachers will receive expert training on how to establish student submission of learning.