North Smithfield Schools has recently submitted a plan to the Rhode Island Department of Education to conduct virtual instruction when schools have been closed due to inclement weather.
If approved, Virtual Instructional Days will be used to sustain the momentum of learning, reducing the disruption typically caused by snow days. Providing opportunities for virtual instruction also supports the district’s goal of integrating technology into instruction.
The North Smithfield Schools' “Virtual Instruction” application/plan aligns with the guidance provided by the department of education which allows up to three days to be used for virtual instruction. We look forward to receiving feedback from the department of education, fine-tuning our plan and sharing with all stakeholders.
Below are some details from the draft plan:
Who will participate in Virtual Instructional Day?
All K-12 students. On Virtual Instructional days, AM and PM Preschool will be closed.
What is a Virtual Instructional Day?
Students will not report to school due to inclement weather or other emergency, but will engage in learning activities using digital resources.
How and when will students and parents know if a Virtual Instructional Day will take place?
Inclement weather cancellations and announcement of a Virtual Instructional Day will be relayed through the school’s notification phone & email system, district website, Facebook , and local TV/radio stations.
How will students be informed about assignments during a Virtual Instructional Day?
Students will be able to access instruction via the School Website. Google Classroom/Google Suite will be the platform used in grades K-12 to post student assignments, facilitate discussions, and submit work. Students regularly access Google Classroom on typical school days. All teachers will post assignments on Google Classroom by 8:00 a.m. and will be available for online communication 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
How will students obtain assistance from teachers on Virtual Instructional Days?
Teachers will be available via their northsmithfieldschools.com email directly from Google Classroom or any other email product. Google Classroom will be the platform used in grades K-12 to post student assignments, facilitate discussions, and submit work. If students need technical assistance or have general technical questions and/or concerns, they may call the school Virtual Instruction Information Line: 401-597-6100 x4220 or email email@example.com. If needed, the message will be relayed to the teacher.
When will class assignments be due?
Three school days after we return to school.
What if a student does not have access to the internet?
According to a recent survey, 98% of North Smithfield families have home internet access. Teachers are aware that not all students have internet access at home and will provide accommodations when necessary for students without home internet access. Coursework assigned on a Virtual Instructional day will not be due until three school days after we return to school. If the Virtual Instructional Day is announced or acknowledged to be likely before students leave school, students can open the files they need while in school, work on them offline at home, and the changes will sync when they return to school. Students without internet connection have the opportunity to complete work over the three days following return to school, allowing for students to make arrangements to use the after-school open computer labs. Some “paper-based” options will also be available to early elementary students, when appropriate.
Do students with identified special learning needs have an alternative means to
access their education on Virtual Instructional Days?
Yes, individual supports, services, and accommodations for students with an Individual Education Program (IEP), Individual Learning Plan (ILP), or a Section 504 Plan are reviewed, discussed, and agreed upon at the student’s annual meeting, a Section 504 meeting, or general education plan meeting.
How does North Smithfield School Department safeguard my child while online?
North Smithfield School Department takes student privacy very seriously. We meet all FERPA, COPPA, and CIPA requirements, and we filter student internet activity via ContentKeeper when students are logged in with their northsmithfieldschools.com username and password.
What training is available for how to access and use online services and resources?
North Smithfield Schools is a GSuite district. This means that North Smithfield students and faculty use Google’s suite of education tools: Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Drawings district-wide. Every employee and student is given a gmail address and login and has access to the education tools and some core organizational tools such as individual Google Drive space, email, calendar, and others. Teachers and students interact on a platform called Google Classroom where teachers can distribute announcements , assignments, and email students. Students can see all of their work, access all related files, turn in their work, and email their teacher(s) directly.
Because use of the GSuite of tools is embedded in our daily routines, teachers and students have frequent and ongoing opportunities to use the GSuite tools and to engage in learning opportunities to enhance their skills.
Clare Arnold, Assistant Superintendent