Supporting our Students in Grades K-8

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Date:    April 22, 2020 
To:        Superintendents and Principals
From:   Colt Gill, Director of the Oregon Department of Education 
RE:       Supporting our Students in Grades K-8

Thank you to all the students, parents, educators and other leaders who are diving into Distance Learning for All and making the most of this historic challenge.

Today we are releasing guidance for students in grades K-8.

The Supporting our Students in Grades K-8 Guidance (Section 6 of Distance Learning for All) remains focused on Care, Connection, and Continuity of Learning for all students in elementary and middle schools during this challenging time.

In short, Supporting our Students in Grades K-8 Guidance:

  • Centers the mental, social, and emotional needs of K-8 students and prioritizes well-being. 
  • Emphasizes family and community engagement by including families and critical community-based organizations as partners in students’ learning.
  • 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 to ensure no student is held back or denied access to opportunity due to extended school closure;
    • Focusing on promising practices that promote and support student learning.
  • Requires a Pass or Incomplete (or local equivalent) marking system for report cards.
  • Requires district-wide application of end-of-year reporting practices, including a report card (or district equivalent) for every student.

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 the sixth section of Distance Learning for All guidance that ODE has released to support districts in the delivery of instruction during school closure. As contexts change and needs evolve, we will continue to update this guidance and link it to the ODE Distance Learning for All webpage.