Board receives blended learning update

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Superintendent Dana Monogue and Assistant Superintendent of Operations Lori Ames provided an update on the District's blended learning efforts at the Board of Education meeting on Monday, Feb. 22.

The meeting was held at Kromrey in Community Room 510 and included eight of the nine Board members and select administrators. It was the Board's second consecutive in-person meeting after holding virtual meteings since mdi-March 2020.
Monogue reviewed MCPASD's celebrations and opportunities for improvement with the elementary blended model and its implementation. She noted students like eating lunch in classrooms because it is quieter and they are able to focus while troubleshooting technology and staying vigilant about mitigation strategies are areas for improvement.

She reminded the members that middle school held orientation for fifth-graders was last week. Cohort 1 students started today and Cohort 2 students will start on Thursday. High school staff returned to their respective buildings on Monday and ninth-grade orientation will take place on March 4-5. Juniors will take the ACT on March 9 and Cohort 2 students will begin in-person learning on March 11.

She reviewed the Fully Virtual instructional model, noting onboarding of new students and staff has taken place over the past few weeks. Staff have been using several strategies to engage students and there has been lots of positive feedback from students and families. She also reminded the School Board that students must remain in their current instructional model for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.

The District plans to bring forward a recommendation about increasing in-person learning for elementary students but wants all staff to be vaccinated before it happens. Area schools would also need Public Health Madison Dane County to adjust their current physical distancing requirements, she noted.

The vaccination schedule for school staff in Dane County was released on Feb. 19. Mass vaccinations are scheduled to take place at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison on March 5-7 and March 12-14. Monogue noted this will only happens if PHMDC receives the approximately 14,000 doses of the vaccination requested. Additional weekends may be needed if PHMDC doesn't receive that amount, she said.

Ames noted the Joint Finance Committee recently approved with modifications the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction's funding plan for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER II). The District originally thought it would receive $2.9 million but MCPASD is expected to receive $718,275.

Instead of additional funds being based on a per pupil minimum, JFC voted to use a formula that is based on how much time a district has had in-person learning, she said. Ames also said the District likely won't know until the fall the final amount it will receive. Funds will be used for summer school programming.

Members had questions about how the funding will impact 4K, the District's COVID dashboard, the impact of funding on summer school programming, how the District is contacting staff and families when a positive case occurs. and communication to families about attendance related to travel if need to quarantine.