Thursday, January 14, 2021 - 8:02 am

Superintendent Dana Monogue, Deputy Superintendent Sherri Cyra and Assistant Superintendent of Operations Lori Ames provided a planning update on the blended instructional models at the Board of Education regular meeting on Monday, Jan. 11.

Board president Annette Ashley presided over the meeting at the District Services Center, while other Board members participated remotely. The School Board has been meeting virtually since mid-March.

Ames noted operations has been focusing on virus mitigation protocols and reviewed them with members. She noted other districts have reported they haven't had issues with students refusing to wearing masks. Educators will review expectations with students when they re-enter buildings and she reviewed the process the District will follow if a student refuses to wear a mask.   

A third-party consultant will conduct walk-throughs of the middle and high schools and review the District's plans for each building. Ames noted Board tours are scheduled for Jan. 26 (Glacier Creek), Jan. 28 (Kromrey) and Feb. 2 (MHS). Each tour will begin at 6 p.m.

Cyra noted about 700 students moved into the Fully Virtual instructional model after latest opportunity to confirm or change models. She noted about 19 percent of all students are in the Fully Virtual model, which is lower than other Dane County districts are reporting. Cyra reviewed the breakdown by grade level before and currently along with by building. She noted the percentage of Fully Virtual students is highest at the elementary level with Pope Farm having the highest percentage.

The District will need to move teachers to the Fully Virtual model. The employee services department has been working with staff to determine where and how the shifts will occur. The department is also working with staff who may need a leave or accommodation.

Cyra noted elementary universal model virtual enhancements began on Jan. 4. Those students will see an increase in daily synchronous instruction this month. The District is also hoping to provide additional synchronous instruction in the Fully Virtual model.  

Cyra also reviewed how cohorts work in the Universal model. She noted after the first two weeks of in-person instruction, students will have opportunities to join class remotely on days they are not in buildings. The goal is to add more remote opportunities, especially if students need to isolate or quarantine.    

Cyra reviewed the technology needed in Universal classrooms and noted it will cost nearly $100,000. The District already has the needed equipment for elementary classrooms. Training videos will be developed to show staff how to use the technology. She noted Title IV funds will cover about half of the cost.  

She briefly reviewed sample schedules at all three level and said the high school schedule looks the most similar to schedules from a year ago. She said the middle schools are going to longer periods, which will result in fewer passing times for students. She also reviewed how special education and EL administrators and staff have been part of the planning for in-person instruction and what programming looks like.  

Monogue noted the District has been advocating to makes sure educators receive the vaccine. Some MCPASD educators in Group 1A have already received the vaccine, she said. Monogue also heard educators in Group 1B may receive the vaccine sooner than originally expected.

The Board had questions and offered feedback for approximately 15 minutes.