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OKC schools planning lesson packets at meal sites, virtual learning

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A distance learning plan is still in development for Oklahoma’s largest school district, but on Friday, officials discussed initial strategies to expand access for at-home instruction.

Oklahoma City Public Schools will provide both online and physical lessons for its 39,000 students. The district Board of Education met by videoconference Friday to discuss plans to complete the school year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The board unanimously voted to keep salaries intact for the district’s 1,500 support staff employees while school buildings are closed. The board also approved a new date for the last day of school, moving it to May 8 instead of May 20.

Teacher salaries will stay in place in accordance with state law and collective bargaining agreements.

Superintendent Sean McDaniel said the district will finalize its Continuous Learning Plan next week before distance learning begins April 6.

The plan will follow guidelines from the Oklahoma State Board of Education, which voted Monday to close all school buildings in the state and ordered districts to finish the academic year with distance learning.

“It takes us weeks and months to prepare for a new school year,” McDaniel said. “They basically gave us 12 days to come up with a very comprehensive plan (that is) brand new for how to serve our kids. Twelve days. And so, this is a work in progress.”

Teachers will not grade assignments for the rest of the year unless students, teetering on the edge between passing or failing, could ensure they graduate or advance to the next grade by completing lessons.

Teachers will prepare a variety of virtual lessons, including online assignments and instructional videos. The district is conducting surveys to find out how many of its families lack home internet service and necessary devices to do online schoolwork.

Starting Monday, the district will hand out lesson packets at all meal distribution sites to give learning opportunities to students without technology access.

Packets will provide physical learning materials organized by every grade level. They are expected to last students a full week before new lessons are distributed the following Monday.

Lesson packets will be available every weekday at all school meal sites, including all 33 elementary schools in the district and select public parks. As with school meals, children will not have to present an ID or proof of enrollment to pick up lesson materials.

The district has reached thousands of students through its meal sites. Feeding locations served more than 82,000 grab-and-go meals in the first week of school closures, and it will open three new sites on Monday.

Board member Ruth Veales questioned whether generalized lesson packets would be effective for all students, many of whom might have different learning levels compared to others in their same grade.

McDaniel said packets will mirror what happens in a typical school. Students hear the same lesson in their classroom, but some receive extra teacher support as needed.

Plans for students with special needs, language barriers or Individualized Education Programs are still being developed.

Teachers will be crucial to success in distance learning, particularly for students who have little support at home, McDaniel said. The district is planning for every student to have a teacher responsible for his or her progress.

Veales suggested teachers communicate one-on-one with all of their students every week, if possible.

“Not only do I see this as a benefit academically, I also see that as a benefit for the district to show that we are engaged with our students and that we are concerned about what they’re doing and how their education process is going to move forward for the following year,” Veales said.

McDaniel recommended finishing the school year on May 8 to give five weeks of distance learning instruction. The superintendent said he feared students and teachers would become fatigued after five weeks of the new instructional system, and a “let down” in performance could compromise learning.

The district will start summer learning programs as soon as possible after May 8, he said. Staff will continue distributing school meals and lesson packets through summer break.

“Potentially we’re looking at different ways, different routes we can take to remediate (and) add additional instructional layers,” McDaniel said. “We’re not going to quit on May 8. We’re simply saying that the regular school year ends on May 8.”

Related Photos
<strong>A family arrives at a meal distribution site drive-thru at Rockwood Elementary on Monday for Oklahoma City Public Schools' free breakfast and lunch service. The district is providing free meals to students at 42 sites around the district while schools are closed for the coronavirus pandemic. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]</strong>

A family arrives at a meal distribution site drive-thru at Rockwood Elementary on Monday for Oklahoma City Public Schools' free breakfast and lunch service. The district is providing free meals to students at 42 sites around the district while schools are closed for the coronavirus pandemic....

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-922bf82574bf6ab6269a63512135de40.jpg" alt="Photo - A family arrives at a meal distribution site drive-thru at Rockwood Elementary on Monday for Oklahoma City Public Schools' free breakfast and lunch service. The district is providing free meals to students at 42 sites around the district while schools are closed for the coronavirus pandemic. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title=" A family arrives at a meal distribution site drive-thru at Rockwood Elementary on Monday for Oklahoma City Public Schools' free breakfast and lunch service. The district is providing free meals to students at 42 sites around the district while schools are closed for the coronavirus pandemic. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> A family arrives at a meal distribution site drive-thru at Rockwood Elementary on Monday for Oklahoma City Public Schools' free breakfast and lunch service. The district is providing free meals to students at 42 sites around the district while schools are closed for the coronavirus pandemic. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-ef14e1ac43531e695c7ec068546f8f3d.jpg" alt="Photo - " title=""><figcaption></figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-82af2431dede52b444e308239b88017f.jpg" alt="Photo - Lacie Morgan, left, and her children, fifth-grader Paizley Morgan, 11, sixth-grader Sheckler Morgan, 12, and fourth-grader Journey Morgan hold signs as an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan drives through their neighborhood around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] " title="Lacie Morgan, left, and her children, fifth-grader Paizley Morgan, 11, sixth-grader Sheckler Morgan, 12, and fourth-grader Journey Morgan hold signs as an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan drives through their neighborhood around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Lacie Morgan, left, and her children, fifth-grader Paizley Morgan, 11, sixth-grader Sheckler Morgan, 12, and fourth-grader Journey Morgan hold signs as an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan drives through their neighborhood around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-b4a213153291a9a982e9b03d2902ba48.jpg" alt="Photo - Families wave as an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan drives through their neighborhood around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. 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[Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Families wave as an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan drives through their neighborhood around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-b337a06caf464d3d1800f35a8fa6ecb0.jpg" alt="Photo - Families wave as an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan drives through their neighborhood around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]" title="Families wave as an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan drives through their neighborhood around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Families wave as an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan drives through their neighborhood around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-a47dd92f7b197a7543bfaf149af07d21.jpg" alt="Photo - Families wave as an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan drives through their neighborhood around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]" title="Families wave as an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan drives through their neighborhood around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Families wave as an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan drives through their neighborhood around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-95a7b4b5fa7f7373030c8d026070a72c.jpg" alt="Photo - Families wave as an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan drives through their neighborhood around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]" title="Families wave as an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan drives through their neighborhood around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Families wave as an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan drives through their neighborhood around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-5211526f22948b0714e1d2a51c1b838c.jpg" alt="Photo - Families wave as an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan drives through their neighborhood around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]" title="Families wave as an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan drives through their neighborhood around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Families wave as an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan drives through their neighborhood around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-85b7586be4d800eb6ee68bc054f16cef.jpg" alt="Photo - Oakridge Elementary students first -grader Isaac Madden 6, left, fifth-grader Emma Madden, 11, third-grader Evan Madden, 8, along with their three-year-old brother Hudson Madden hold signs as an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan drives through their neighborhood around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]" title="Oakridge Elementary students first -grader Isaac Madden 6, left, fifth-grader Emma Madden, 11, third-grader Evan Madden, 8, along with their three-year-old brother Hudson Madden hold signs as an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan drives through their neighborhood around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Oakridge Elementary students first -grader Isaac Madden 6, left, fifth-grader Emma Madden, 11, third-grader Evan Madden, 8, along with their three-year-old brother Hudson Madden hold signs as an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan drives through their neighborhood around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-93f04a90d4550399c18be715df303f4d.jpg" alt="Photo - Vehicle line up at Oakridge Elementary before starting a faculty caravan through neighborhoods around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]" title="Vehicle line up at Oakridge Elementary before starting a faculty caravan through neighborhoods around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Vehicle line up at Oakridge Elementary before starting a faculty caravan through neighborhoods around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-ee355cc3d8701f28e2f423b2c3148a4c.jpg" alt="Photo - Cars are decorated as they wait to start an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan in neighborhood around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]" title="Cars are decorated as they wait to start an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan in neighborhood around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Cars are decorated as they wait to start an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan in neighborhood around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-007d247df661b27ea9adc6f060beba98.jpg" alt="Photo - Families wave as an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan drives through their neighborhood around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]" title="Families wave as an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan drives through their neighborhood around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Families wave as an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan drives through their neighborhood around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-9f39f51696786d2c31091d86a4dace28.jpg" alt="Photo - Michelle Flipski, a kindergarten teacher assistant hands kindergarten teacher Lindsey Scott poster baord to decorate before an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan through neighborhoods around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]" title="Michelle Flipski, a kindergarten teacher assistant hands kindergarten teacher Lindsey Scott poster baord to decorate before an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan through neighborhoods around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Michelle Flipski, a kindergarten teacher assistant hands kindergarten teacher Lindsey Scott poster baord to decorate before an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan through neighborhoods around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-23eb9edf2c50e10b27299d32b792ea36.jpg" alt="Photo - Julie Rutledge, a secretary Oakridge Elementary, waits in a car before an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan through neighborhoods around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]" title="Julie Rutledge, a secretary Oakridge Elementary, waits in a car before an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan through neighborhoods around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Julie Rutledge, a secretary Oakridge Elementary, waits in a car before an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan through neighborhoods around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-648fad880c25a92b97e2d3ce6f7c446c.jpg" alt="Photo - Michelle Flipski, a kindergarten teacher assistant, gets in her car before starting an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan through neighborhoods around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]" title="Michelle Flipski, a kindergarten teacher assistant, gets in her car before starting an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan through neighborhoods around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Michelle Flipski, a kindergarten teacher assistant, gets in her car before starting an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan through neighborhoods around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-eb68d5d07605bb00aa45396f7eb357f2.jpg" alt="Photo - Noah Garvie, 6, an Oakridge Elementary kindergarten student, holds a sign as he waits for an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan through neighborhoods around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]" title="Noah Garvie, 6, an Oakridge Elementary kindergarten student, holds a sign as he waits for an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan through neighborhoods around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Noah Garvie, 6, an Oakridge Elementary kindergarten student, holds a sign as he waits for an Oakridge Elementary faculty caravan through neighborhoods around the Moore school, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure>
Nuria Martinez-Keel

Nuria Martinez-Keel joined The Oklahoman in 2019. She found a home at the newspaper while interning in summer 2016 and 2017. Nuria returned to The Oklahoman for a third time after working a year and a half at the Sedalia Democrat in Sedalia,... Read more ›

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