Distance Learning Plan for KDES & MSSD

KDES/MSSD Distance Learning: Spring 2020

In response to the need for social distancing and physical school closures, KDES and MSSD began phasing in distance learning after the last day of on-campus classes on Friday, March 13.

Stage I: Technical Readiness and Closeout of 3rd Quarter

In the fall of the 2019-2020 academic year, all demonstration schools students in grades K through 12 received iPads. Prior to students’ departure at the end of the third quarter on 3/13 and during the week of 3/16-3/20, Clerc Center personnel:

  • Ensured all iPads were functioning properly in students’ home environments.
  • Identified and downloaded learning apps to student iPads to encourage independent learning activity exploration.
  • Arranged for the provision of MiFi hotspots for students lacking Internet access at home.
  • Closed out the third quarter, provided IEP progress reports, and completed report cards for students in all grades.
  • Developed learning packets for students in all grades distributed electronically and in hard copy.

Stage 2: Student Practice and Learning Resources

The week of March 23, members of the school leadership teams and lead teachers provided live online learning activities to reconnect with students and help orient both students and families to digital platforms. Starting March 30, Clerc Center teachers provided learning and interactive activities via videoconference to provide students and families with opportunities to become proficient with the technology required for online instruction. This also provided teachers with the experience they needed to develop online lessons that reflected students’ needs and preferences for learning virtually. Students, and parents/guardians when appropriate, did the following:

  • Received an introduction to the ClercCenter@Home online learning portal.
  • Re-connected students with their teachers after the extended break.
  • Practiced using Zoom videoconference technology, including use of assigned Gallaudet.edu domain logins and other online security strategies to protect the privacy of students and mitigate the possibility of hacking attacks. See our Zoom Privacy Statement (HYPERLINK TO ZOOM PRIVACY LETTER) for additional information.

Stage 3: Online Instruction

The fourth quarter of the 2019-2020 academic year will begin Monday, April 20 and run through June 4. Teachers at KDES and MSSD will use their learning management systems (LMS) to provide instruction online. The majority of instructional materials will be bilingual in nature, in ASL and written English.


PIP and 2-year-old class:

Teachers will share pre-recorded ASL stories twice a day each Monday through Thursday while school is in session. Immediately after the recorded story, there will be a live, interactive on-line session to discuss the story.

Teachers will also conduct a virtual home visit with each family once a week.

Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten:

Teachers will conduct two live, interactive lessons each day Monday through Thursday.  On Fridays, there will be prerecorded read aloud sessions and other learning enhancement sessions, as well as fitness activities.

Kindergarten – Grade 5:

On Mondays through Thursdays when school is in session, students will participate in small-group, live instructional activities in English and ASL Language Arts and math. These classes are required and graded on a pass/fail basis. Students will also choose among curriculum enhancement activities in between class sessions. On Fridays, there will be prerecorded read aloud sessions and other learning enhancement sessions, as well as fitness activities.

Teachers will maintain virtual office hours to offer extra support to individual students from 2:30-3:30 p.m. each day.

Grades 6-8:

On Mondays through Thursdays when school is in session, students will attend on-line classes following the same schedule they were following when the third quarter ended on May 13. Classes have been shortened to 30 minutes to allow for visual breaks in between each lesson. Attendance and participation in all classes are required; grades will be assigned as Pass/Fail. On Fridays, there will be fitness activities as well as other learning enhancement opportunities.

Teachers will maintain virtual office hours to offer 1:1 support during specific time slots on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

Communication of Schedules for Students in All Grades:

Schedules of classes and activities will be e-mailed to students and families each Friday before the upcoming week.


  • Teachers will be in touch with individual students within each course that they teach via an email to students’ @gallaudet.edu accounts that explains their plans and approaches.
  • Due to the fact that students enrolled at MSSD are from a variety of time zones across the western hemisphere, all instruction will be asynchronous. This means teachers will be posting materials (i.e., pre-recorded instructional videos, assignments and grading rubrics) on their LMS for students to peruse independently. One of the strongest benefits of utilizing an asynchronous approach is that students will have the opportunity to view their teachers teaching lessons multiple times.
  • Teachers will have daily “office hours” through Zoom in which they will be using that time to support students with coursework and to answer any other questions they may have.
  • Teachers will continue to design and provide assignments that are standards-based, relevant to content, and connected to students’ transition goals.
  • For the 4th quarter, students will still need to earn grades in order to receive credit towards graduation. By June 4th, students will earn grades of either A, B, C, or INC. Students who have grades in the D or F range will be given an incomplete grade and then a set deadline to meet. If students do not meet the terms of their incomplete grade, they may still earn a D or an F. In these individual cases, the MSSD Instructional Leadership Team will be reviewing each situation to determine whether there is an alternative way of supporting the student to complete the coursework.
  • Students who are taking Advanced Placement (AP) courses and/or Dual Credit courses will still need to fulfill the grading requirements as outlined by the AP College Board and/or respective university with whom the teacher is partnered to provide the course.
  • In the area of transition planning, our priority right now is continuing to provide post-secondary transition support for seniors at MSSD. We have composed a team that includes the Coordinator of Instructional Support, IEP coordinators, transition specialist, school counselors, and as needed, case managers. This team will provide support both on a 1:1 basis and via videoconference training and sessions to students and parents.
  • To support students’ social-emotional and extracurricular opportunities, Student Life personnel have been planning and providing daily activities as well as weekly challenges through the ClercCenter@Home portal. Student organization meetings will continue to take place, as will officer elections, which normally take place in the spring.

Both schools: Online security

The program we are using for providing instruction via videoconferencing is the pro version of Zoom. This program has multiple privacy and security protections, including the use of individual Zoom accounts only for students with Gallaudet.edu email addresses, a waiting room to approve attendees prior to allowing them into the online class session, and domain authentication.

When there are class activities where the full class is participating, the teacher or staff member leading the activity will record the session. These recordings will be used for only two purposes:  Teacher reference and administrator oversight.  Recordings will be protected as educational records and kept confidential; they will not be released or shared with anyone, including students who may have missed the lesson, other than for the above stated purposes.

In the case of teacher- or staff-led lessons with no student participation, they may be recorded and shared with students and/or posted on the ClercCenter@Home learning portal.  These recordings will include only the teacher/staff member.  No student video or audio will be included in these recordings.  This way, students may view and re-view the lesson, or view the lesson if they were unable to view it at the original broadcast time.

Stage 4: Planning for academic year 2020-2021

At this time, there is not enough information to predict the most likely scenario for the opening of the 2020-2021 academic year. Some models, for instance, forecast a second peak in cases during the fall of 2020. The Clerc Center is therefore preparing for three possible scenarios:

  • Full physical return to campus for classes. This involves a review of programs/services where we may need to revise procedures to provide more opportunities for physical distancing – i.e., meal times, dorm spaces. A review of extracurricular activities such as athletics and performing arts exhibitions will be completed as well.
  • A hybrid of online and on-campus options.
  • A continuation of all instruction via distance learning.

Throughout the fourth quarter, the Clerc Center will continue to assess all aspects of the distance learning program, with a focus on students who face challenges to full participation in online learning due to technological limitations, economic issues, or greater academic challenges.

Compliance with IDEA Part B

During the fourth quarter instructional period, the Clerc Center will remain in compliance with Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, in order to continue providing a free appropriate public education to students:

  • IEP team meetings will be conducted virtually
  • Lessons and individual assignments developed by teachers will reflect students’ needs for accommodations and modifications
  • To the extent practically and legally permitted, student services will continue to be provided. At this time, there are licensure, privacy, and other issues involved in providing certain student services to students outside of the school building and online. We are working on those issues and exploring avenues for continuing to provide support to students within what we are legally allowed to do.
  • School personnel will confer with families of individual students who have needs and challenges that may not allow full and independent access to online learning, and modify their learning plans accordingly.