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Districts address student progress during closure

Districts address student progress during closure

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The empty halls of Memorial Middle School in Albany.

Some mid-valley students are set to be passed to the next grade despite the shutdown of schools in the state due to the coronavirus outbreak, while others are still waiting on guidance.

Greater Albany Public Schools Superintendent Melissa Goff announced Wednesday that the district is working to distribute workbooks to students in grades K-8 and Chromebooks to high-schoolers in need. The materials, Goff said, are to be considered supplemental and will not substitute for classroom instruction. 

Instruction on how grading, advancement and graduation will be handled is still forthcoming from the Oregon Department of Education, GAPS Assistant Superintendent Lisa Harlan said. 

In the Corvallis School District, Superintendent Ryan Noss said he is also still waiting on guidance from ODE on how grading should proceed. Noss said the highest priority is meeting senior requirements, then focusing on ninth through 11th graders, followed by the remaining K-8 students.

Gov. Kate Brown closed all public schools in the state until April 28 in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. An extension of that closure had not been announced as of Wednesday.

“We understand the stress that they're under right now,” Noss said. “And we want to provide our students with academic content so they can learn. There's a fine balance.”

If they’re not in high school, Noss said, Corvallis students shouldn’t be concerned about being held back in the same grade. But he said ODE is still ironing out how high school class credits will be awarded.

While individual districts can determine supplemental learning for K-11, seniors still need to meet state requirements for graduation.

"We will work with seniors individually to meet these requirements," Goff said, noting that the majority of Albany seniors were on track to graduate prior to the six-week setback.

Albany seniors who were not on track to graduate, or who are otherwise affected by the change in requirements issued by ODE, will be contacted by school administrators to develop a specialized education plan that will improve their chance at graduating.

Those requirements may include having teachers adjust curriculum next year to focus on topics that would have been taught in classes this spring during the closure.

Corvallis schools will still be providing students with supplies, work and follow-up from teachers, Noss said, and parents should feel free to reach out with feedback on course materials to help stir up “more robust” content as the lockdown progresses.

Noss added that he hopes to see his schools reopen before the year is up.

“I'm thinking about our transition to a more technology-based educational model when kids are at home,” he said, “and the transition when kids come back to school.”

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