A Letter to TUSD Teachers From Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction

A Letter to TUSD Teachers From Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction

The following is a letter sent out to all TUSD staff on March 26, 2020:

Dear TUSD Principals and Teachers,

Thank you so much for your work and leadership during this time. I am sure you are eager to get started in providing instruction to our students and to have some clear directions from your leadership team as to what will happen around instruction moving forward. We appreciate all of your messages, your ideas and your support during this time. This communication is to inform you of the steps we have taken thus far, and the steps that we will be taking in the near future as we plan for extended offsite instruction for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.
I have listed the action steps in sequential order and have addressed some general questions. For specific questions, please go to your site principal for additional direction.

Week of March 23 to March 27
 TUSD sent out a home survey to identify technology and internet needs across our TUSD families and community. o Survey results revealed that the need for technology is larger than what our current capabilities cover.
o Based on these results, TUSD will target to deliver devices to students that need them. We will begin with our Seniors, then we will move down to grades 11-9 and K-8 in the
weeks to follow. For the week of March 30th our initial goal is to ensure seniors have devices and connectivity.
o We are working with Technology Services to deploy devices to the students that need them as fast as possible, but this may take weeks. We appreciate your continued
patience through this process and will keep you posted.

 TUSD set up the Learn from Home link (http://www.tusd1.org/LearnFromHome) for parents to have sample daily schedules and links to activities for at home learning. This
page is organized by grade level, and it provides online and offline learning opportunities for students.
o In this platform students can access their clever accounts, login to Office 365 and communicate with their teachers.
o Parents have access to sample daily schedules, online and offline activities, as well as television activities while their students are at home.

 TUSD Curriculum and Instruction team worked diligently to create an instructional framework by grade level for the upcoming weeks. This framework includes lessons that
were developed with the following guiding principles:
o Differentiated tasks for Online/Offline/TV activities
o Provide options for student choice
o Common Objectives focused on priority Highly Leveraged standards and skills
o Allows teachers to focus on individual students

Lessons are for the following grade levels and subjects:
 K-8
o ELA, ELD, Math, Social Studies and Science (TWDL included)
 9-12
o ELA, Math, Social Studies, Fine Arts, Science, ELD, CTE and Foreign
For elective courses: The Curriculum and Instruction Department recommends that teachers use the first and second week (March 23rd through April 3rd) to plan lessons for online and
offline opportunities for students to officially kick-off on April 6 and include electives. Keep in mind that this first week is a “Soft Rollout” and the focus will be on essential courses and
 TUSD Technology Department provided training on the main online platforms that TUSD will use including: Clever, Zoom and Office 365 to familiarize our teachers on these
platforms. There will be more opportunities to sign up in the upcoming weeks so please stay tuned.

Week of March 30th to April 3rd
This week is a “Soft Rollout” of online and offline instruction. It will not be perfect. We have varying degrees of proficiency in technology across our district and that is alright. The goal this
week is to plan for rest of the week, setup your online classroom platforms, and plan for the weeks ahead. Reach out to your colleagues, attend online trainings, practice recording an
online lesson.
 The TUSD Curriculum and Instruction Department, in collaboration with the Communications and Transportation Departments and schools, will provide students with workbooks for each school by grade level for students that have no accessibility to a device and/or internet for the first five days of instruction.
o The workbooks are aligned to the lessons that have been developed. Teachers will receive copies digitally and have the flexibility to adjust and deliver instruction as they know their students best. Do not expect the workbooks back, this is an initial solution until we have every student who needs a device with a device. We do recommend that you use the workbooks as a reference when you get in touch with your students. (We will work with principals on a distribution plan of student workbooks starting early next
o This action is to alleviate our schools from having to develop alternate paper based materials in such a short time frame.
o It provides equity across the district as all students will have at a minimum, the same materials to start with.
o If schools decide to add additional supplemental materials to go home with the district provided workbooks, they can do so.
o Teachers are expected to check in on students via phone or online (If students have access) to review the skills provided from the lessons that were developed for each week. If some of the lessons have already been covered prior to spring break, this is a good opportunity to review skills.
o Teachers are to use the district level developed lessons and have autonomy on adding supplemental lessons and skills.
o At this point, it is not required for teachers to grade students or require assignments from students, teachers should be monitoring students to check on their progress. We are waiting for direction from our State Board of education on grading. This is because requiring assignments from students opens up issues around equity and accessibility for our most at-risk student population.
 During this week, the Curriculum and Instruction Department will be working diligently in:
o Continuing to provide online training for teachers on the different online platforms.
o Work with schools and principals in developing educational kits for students who have no accessibility for the upcoming weeks. (These kits may include: readers, consumables and other resources that teachers can reference when they provide instruction).
o Continue to develop grade level lessons that guide instruction for the upcoming weeks.
 General Instructional Parameters for Online and Offline Learning:
“Relationships before Rigor, Grace before grades
Patience before programs, Love before lessons”
Dr. Brad Johnson
o Familiarize yourself with Zoom, Clever and Office 365 (A schedule of online trainings follows this communication).
o Schedule your day to have times available to monitor and check in on your students (See sample schedules on the teacher resources page).
o Be cognizant of assignments and student accessibility. Not all students have devices, scanners, printers etc.
o Be kind to yourself, for some of you, these platforms are new, give yourself the opportunity to learn.
o Practice delivery of lessons using the technology available.
o Reach out to your colleagues for support.
The Curriculum and Instruction team along with our district leadership is committed to providing high quality instruction regardless of the circumstances. We could not do this without you, our principals and our teachers. We thank you again for your patience, understanding and support.

Flori Huitt | Assistant Superintendent
Curriculum and Instruction
Tucson Unified School District