DMCS Workers

Photo by Tom Sparks

Mary Vander Molen and Donna DeKryger prepare materials for the families of DeMotte Christian Schools to pick-up for their students to work on at home during the school shutdown.

DEMOTTE/WHEATFIELD — Both the Kankakee Valley School Corporation and DeMotte Christian Schools continued to adapt their plans of education this week in light of Governor Eric Holcomb’s decision one week ago to keep all schools in Indiana shuttered through at least May 1.

Holcomb’s original decree had given schools 20 waiver days that would count towards the state-mandated 180 days of education. Some districts, such as Rensselaer Central School Corporation, had opted to begin using those days consecutively, adopting a wait-and-see posture.

KV School Corporation, which had a strong e-learning plan already in place, opted to take a more vigorous approach and had all teachers report on Monday, March 16, to plan for three days of e-learning that would take place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of that week. They also decided that all teachers would be available daily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to answer questions and offer guidance as needed to students via the Schoology Learning Management System. KV used waiver days for Monday and Friday of that week.

DMCS, which did not have an e-learning system in place, initially waited but began working towards getting a plan up and running as soon as it became evident that the kids were not headed back into the physical classrooms anytime soon.

Calling their plan “Extended Learning,” the DMCS School Board ordered up a plan similar to KV’s that will incorporate more physical items and not just being almost-entirely virtual. Even more impressively, they pulled it together in just two days, distributing workbooks and materials on Friday, March 20.

“I am super impressed with the teachers and staff that have come together to create and explore the new framework,” said DMCS Superintendent Devon K. Brinks.

Superintendent Don Street was equally effluent in his praise for the teachers and staff at the five schools that make up Kankakee Valley School Corporation.

“Everyone has pulled together to provide essential services to the students,” said Street. “I appreciate all the work that everyone is putting into making this a positive educational experience for our students.”

“We are working with KV as a community to get through this together,” said Brinks. “We continue to do our best as we navigate uncharted territory during these extraordinary and unique times.”

KANKAKEE VALLEY SCHOOL CORPORATION PLANS:

Following the previously-scheduled Spring Break week of March 23 — 27, all Kankakee Valley School Corporation students and teachers will follow a schedule similar to the one used for March 16 — 20 in that teachers will plan and prepare on Mondays. Teachers may work either from home or at the schools. Schoology and Google Classroom will be used but packets of the materials also will be provided to students who may not have Internet access at home.

Students are expected to complete work on Schoology or Google Classroom on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Families without Internet may arrange a packet pick-up time by phone. No student access to buildings will be possible.

Teachers will be available electronically on each of the work days, as well as the Friday of the week to answer questions, provide support and monitor work. All on-line work will be due by 11:59 p.m. each Friday.

Two exceptions to this schedule occur on April 10 and 13 which were regularly scheduled days off. Teachers will not be available on those days and the deadline for work is extended. Only two student workdays are scheduled that week, April 14 and 15.

“We are anticipating and hoping to return to school on May 4,” said Street. “Concerning e-Learning, it is imperative that students keep up with their school work. Due dates have been established in order for students to keep up with the curriculum. Please be mindful of these dates and work with your child’s teacher to avoid falling behind.”

KVSC also worked with the state to put a meal plan in place to assist families who need assistance. Starting Monday, March 30, KVSC families with children under the age of 18 will be able to pick up one grab and go breakfast and lunch per child daily, Monday-Friday. Calvary Assembly will continue to provide lunches through March 27.

Pick up at the elementary schools will be between 10 and 11 a.m. Curbside pick-up locations are as follows: Wheatfield Elementary at the main entrance (door 1) and DeMotte Elementary at the pick-up/drop-off line location (door 10). The schools will be asking for student names in order to verify KV families. In order to be placed on the meal list, please call or email the food service department at 219-987-4711 ext. 1117, mflick@kv.k12.in.us. Please provide the name of your student, how many children you’re feeding, and which school you will pick up from. You do not need to call again once you have placed your name on the list. Should your family need meals delivered because you have no transportation, please contact Calvary Assembly at 219-987-4280 and they will facilitate this process.

DEMOTTE CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS PLANS:

Both DeMotte Christian School and Covenant Christian High School will begin a plan that will also take them from now until the anticipated return date of May 4.

DMCS will also follow the format laid out above in that teachers will prepare on Mondays, students will complete the required materials on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and teachers will grade and complete assessments on Fridays.

All assignments will be made available on Google Classroom by 9 a.m. each Monday and due by 5 p.m. each Friday. Students are encouraged to turn in their work as soon as it is completed. Students may communicate with teachers via email or on Google Classroom. Teacher “office hours” will be Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9 a.m. — 3 p.m.; however, teachers will be available to answer questions throughout the week.

Pre-kindergarten through grade 5 will use a combination of online learning activities, a learning log, and classroom workbooks at home. They will be using a learning program called Seesaw, available as a website or app. This allows teachers to post videos, assignments, and messages to students. Students can upload responses to assigned activities in many different ways including pictures, videos, voice recordings, notes, drawings, and more. Seesaw can be used on a computer, smartphone, or tablet.

The junior high will be using Google Classroom as the platform to complete all assignments. This allows teachers to post textbook readings, assignments, or videos, and refers students to other resources to complete work in a timely manner. Students will also fill out a weekly log to record their time for each class. This time log will allow teachers to manage workloads to ensure students are being challenged academically but not overwhelmed.

High school students will also use Google Classroom to complete activities in each assigned class.

E-mails and letters have gone out to every family with students in either corporation with all details listed. Additional information may be found on each corporation’s websites. Comcast and Netnitco are currently offering free Internet to those who qualify. Both corporations have made additional electronic devices available to their students.