Distance Learning for All: Supporting our Students in Grades 9, 10 & 11

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Date:    April 15, 2020 
To:        Superintendents and Principals
From:   Colt Gill, Director of the Oregon Department of Education 
RE:       Supporting our Students in Grades 9, 10 & 11

Our commitment to safeguard our students’ future and mitigate negative consequences from lost learning time due to COVID-19 remains strong. We are focused on care, connection and continuity of learning for all students.

Last month we released Distance Learning for All. Last week we released Graduation Pathways 2020, which ensures a clear pathway to graduation for our high school seniors.

Today we are releasing new guidance, Supporting our Students in Grades 9, 10 & 11. This guidance (Section 5 of Distance Learning for All) recognizes students in high school are at a critical period of intellectual and social-emotional development.

In short, Supporting our Students in Grades 9, 10 & 11 guidance:

  • Centers the mental, social, and emotional needs of high school students and prioritizes well-being. 
  • Emphasizes family and community engagement by:
    • Including families as partners in their student’s learning;
    • Co-creating Credit-Earning Assurance Plans with families, students, schools and community-based organizations; 
  • Emphasizes equity by:
    • Honoring the culture, language, ways of knowing, and perspectives of the families and students we serve;
    • Allowing flexible options for students to demonstrate learning;
    • Naming a Safeguarding Student Opportunity Clause that safeguards students’ path to graduation while protecting them from further impact due to the school closure.
  • Focuses on promising practices that promote and support student learning.
  • Maintains the current Oregon Diploma, Oregon Modified Diploma, and Oregon Extended Diploma subject-area and credit requirements for Class of 2021, 2022, and 2023.
  • Suspends Essential Skills and Personalized Learning requirements for Class of 2021.
    • Note: ODE will pursue State Board of Education action and OAR revision.
  • Requires Pass/Incomplete grading (maintaining GPAs while students continue learning).

This guidance provides a framework for a common approach, but does not resolve the deeper inequities or fully address the complexity of challenges presented by the extended school closures. We must collaborate on solutions and strategies--now and in the years to come--in order to support our students’ long-term success and well-being. Our collective effort must leverage the assets, roles, and strengths of our children, families, educators, Tribal Nations, community partners, school districts, educational association leaders, state and local leaders, and business and industry partners. Guided by a shared approach and leading with a mindset of innovation and creativity, we will learn from each other, develop ideas and promising practices, and harness new ways of relating in a landscape we have not seen before. 

This is part of a series of updates to guidance ODE will release to support districts in the delivery of Distance Learning for All. As contexts change and needs evolve, we will continue to update this guidance and link it to the ODE Distance Learning for All webpage.