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Dorchester County Public Schools

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Dorchester County Public Schools Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan

Dorchester County Public Schools Safe Return to

In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan

 

Mr. W. David Bromwell

Superintendent

Updated August 10, 2022

  

Board of Education of Dorchester County

Laura Layton, President

Sheri Hubbard, Vice President

Michael Diaz, Member

LeOtha Hull, Member

Susan Morgan, Member

 

Table of Contents

Executive Summary   1

Reopening Committee  2

Maryland State Department Guidance 3

Review of Phases  4

Equity   7

Special Education 9

Instructional Readiness Process and Plan 11

 Curriculum 14

Operations and Safety 18

Student Attendance  25

DCPS Communications  27

Athletics   29

Executive Summary

During  the 2020/2021 school year, a year with an unprecedented public health challenge, stakeholders from across Dorchester County Public Schools continued to join forces to monitor the DCPS reopening plan for the safe reopening of schools and resumption of service to students. Using the “Maryland Together: Maryland’s Recovery Plan for Education” as a guide which includes guidance from Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the Maryland Department of Health, the DCPS Reopening Committee continued to focus on the following principles: 

  • Prioritizing the safety and health of students, employees, and families including social-emotional well-being.
  • Making all decisions through an equity lens using the Maryland Equity and Excellence Guidelines.
  • Providing high quality instruction and maximizing face-to-face interaction to the greatest extent possible.
  • Return to full operational status as quickly as possible when safe health conditions exist.

During the 2020-2021 school year, the Superintendent kept the entire DCPS community informed through weekly updates.  The weekly updates were informed by the current health metrics in Dorchester County.  Any change in Phase status was communicated in a timely manner, keeping staff, families and the community aware. 

In July 2021, the superintendent announced that DCPS would open the 2021-2022 school year with ALL students back in school (Phase III).  As a result, the executive team began working on plans with the guidance of the health department, School Principals and Instructional Supervisors to ensure that the above mentioned principles continue to be the focus for DCPS.  The Reopening Committee was reconvened  to address an updated “Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan. 

DCPS continued with the Reopening Committee as we transitioned to our Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan.  Membership reflected district personnel (administrators, supervisors and teachers) from all school levels, support services, operations, food service and transportation as well as parents.  Community members included government officials, the Dorchester County Health Department, the local management board, the Chamber of Commerce and other agencies. 

The DCPS plan is a working guide, not a static document.  DCPS is committed to monitoring and evaluating implementation of the reopening plan to determine what is working and how we might need to improve our efforts to support student success.  Instructionally, this will focus on measures of student engagement in learning as well as growth towards meeting/exceeding grade level standards for learning.  School Improvement teams will meet quarterly to evaluate progress on goals;  grade level and content specific teams will be evaluating student progress on multiple measures throughout the instructional interval.  District progress monitoring will include quarterly data reviews conducted with school teams to review disaggregated data by academic/instructional levels, as well as by student groups.  The district Executive Team which meets weekly, will add a monthly agenda item to review the DCPS plan implementation.   The “Reopening” Committee will meet every six months to review and revise the plan as needed.    

           The Reopening Committee met on Wednesday, July 20th to review the current plan and provide feedback.  The meeting was held in person, with two meeting time options, 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.  Updates to the plan include providing EOY instructional data (pages 13,14 ) and changing the Health and Safety guidelines to reflect the updated CDC and MDH guidelines (pages 20-23 ).   All stakeholders will receive updated COVID 19 guidelines at the August 18 BOE meeting.  Additionally, school leaders will receive the updated guidance during the Leadership retreat to then share with school staff during our “Back to School” week. It will also be posted on the DCPS website.   Feedback from the committee:   the only suggestions from the committee was to make sure we communicate the updated COVID guidance to staff, families and the community.   The updated plan will be presented at August 18,  2022 board meeting. 

Reopening/Safe Return to In-Person Committee

Safety Committee:

Chair: Jerome Stover, Principal

  • Chris Hauge, Facilities and School Safety Planner
  • Roger Harrell, DCHD Officer
  • Marcia Spicer, DCHD Nurse Supervisor
  • Trey Mills, Teacher
  • Katie Holbrook, DE Leadership
  • Brittany Palmer, Parent
  • JaVonnda Bradley, Parent
  • Kerianne Hinerman, Parent
  • Elizabeth Thompson, Parent

Instruction Committee:

 Chair:  Patricia Prosser, principal

  • Lauren Howell, Teacher
  • Melanie Holliday, Teacher
  • Theresa Connors, Supervisor
  • LeAnn McWilliams, IT Manager
  • Kim Waller, Supervisor
  • Ragena Jalon, Supervisor
  • Kawana Webb, Supervisor
  • LaSina Branch, Supervisor
  • Kathryn Scarpati, Psychologist
  • Omeaka Jackson, Community member
  • Nancy Shockley, LMB Coordinator
  • Bonnie Kinsey, Parent Chloe Hackett, Parent

 

MARYLAND STATE DEPARTMENT of EDUCATION GUIDANCE

“Maryland Together: Maryland’s Recovery Plan for Education” established requirements for local school systems as they work to develop their plans for the 2021/2022 school year. Sections/Links for each requirement within this document are provided. These requirements include:

Requirement #1: Local school systems must have their recovery plans completed and posted to their website by August 13, 2021.

Requirement #2: The local school system’s equity plan must be reflected throughout the local recovery plan.

Requirement #3: Local school systems must consult with a variety of stakeholders in the development of the Reopening Plan.

Requirement #4: Local school systems must establish a process to determine student instructional readiness early in the school year and a plan is established for student success.

Requirement #5: Local school systems must ensure that Maryland College and Career Ready Standards (MCCRS) and other State standards are taught in content areas.

Requirement #6: Local school systems must follow the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504), and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  

Requirement #7: Local school systems must follow procedures and safety protocols consistent with current guidance  from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Requirement #8: Local school systems must follow protocols for the safe transportation of students to and from school.  

Requirement #9: Local school systems must develop a system for tracking attendance when students are engaged in distance learning. 

Requirement #10: Each local school system must continue to implement or enhance their communication plan.

Requirement #11: Local school systems must implement the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) Athletic Program.

Requirement #12: Local school systems must establish a plan for the continuity of learning and services for any students who may need to quarantine due to COVID-19..

SAFE RETURN to In-Person Instruction

While DCPS is optimistic that we will begin the 2022-2023 school year in Phase III (in-person learning), it is important to reiterate all phases on the county’s continuum for a responsible return to school.  Working with the Dorchester County Health Department, decisions will be made on a school by school basis should an adjustment need to be made regarding a change in the current Phase III status. 

 

PHASE I: Distance Learning

Our goal is to use the lessons learned during Continuity of Learning and the original Responsible Return model, including formal and informal feedback from stakeholder groups, as we transition to a long-term Distance Learning Plan.  With a strong foundation already in place, DCPS has improved processes and understandings in regards to being  1:1 with  technology devices.  

PHASE I.5: Hybrid Learning  – MTSS Tiered Support Model

Dorchester County Public School System is committed to all students meeting academic success during the 2021-2022 school year. During this stage, students that require school-based MTSS Tier 2 and Tier 3 supports will be targeted to receive face to face instruction, as well as receiving their school-based identified interventions. All health and safety guidelines will in place.

PHASE II: Hybrid Learning - Alternating A/B Model

An alternating A / B model will allow for heterogenous grouping of our students and will also allow for teachers to differentiate instruction for students in order to meet their individual needs and to address closing any gaps that may have developed during our closure.  This structure will also allow for compensatory recovery for our special education students with special considerations being paid to those students who did not engage during distance learning or who did not have internet connectivity and received learning packets.

Our hybrid learning model for our elementary students, grades PreK-5, will be to bring as many students back as possible during their A  / B  assignment while maintaining physical distancing and possible limitations to the number of people who can be in the classroom.  Students who are an A  will return to class while students who are B  will remain at home receiving both synchronous and asynchronous instruction.  

During the hybrid learning model, middle and high school students will also be returning on an A / B  schedule.  As with our elementary students if students are an A student, they will return face-to-face during A assigned times.  During B assigned times, they will join their classes synchronously by video conferencing into their lessons following their daily schedules.  This model will allow for students to maintain their schedules through a synchronous hybrid model. Asynchronous work will also be required during this model.

When in the classroom, all students should have assigned seating.  At the elementary school level, students should be restricted to their grade level/homeroom class, with the exception of special area subjects, to the greatest extent possible (i.e. teachers rotate, not students).  At the middle school level, students should remain with their cohort/team throughout the day to the extent feasible, with the exception of special area subjects. For transition to special areas, schools will determine a safe process and procedure for movement throughout the building (i.e. Signage, monitoring, physically distancing, tape on floors, etc.)

High Schools should also consider ways to cohort or cluster students, though we recognize that this is more challenging at the high school level.  DCPS high schools are already using a block scheduling format which naturally limits the number of interactions between students and staff. 

As previously noted, physical distancing is another important practice to help mitigate the transmission of the virus.  Schools will be developing plans to maintain the recommended three to six feet of distance between individuals, as feasible.

In Pre-Kindergarten, the relative impact of physical distancing among children is likely small based on current evidence and the difficulty to implement.  Therefore, PreK should focus more on the effective mitigation strategies that have been discussed in this model.  These strategies include hand washing, infection prevention education, physical distancing from one another, wearing face masks/coverings if mandated, and spending time outdoors.

Phase III: Face-to-face Learning

All students would return in person with safety requirements in place. Classrooms, schedules, and protocols may need to be modified to meet health requirements.   DCPS will open schools in Phase III beginning Monday, August 29th.

Continuity of Learning During Quarantine

Students will follow our protocol for quarantine per our Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan.  Parents of students will be notified per our plan. Device and hotspot will be provided along with directions on accessing assignments on Schoology and access to Google Meet.  A sheet for troubleshooting will also be provided for students.  A sample has been provided under Digital Resource Guides - http://dcps.k12.md.us/especially-for/students

All students will receive asynchronous instruction via Schoology while quarantined. In the event a whole class or school is quarantined at the elementary school level, synchronous learning via Google Meets will be provided in addition to asynchronous instruction in Schoology.  Schedules will be sent home for students to follow that are tailored for at home instruction.

Teachers will contact students (could be through Schoology, email, or a phone call) to make sure students are able to access their asynchronous assignments and make sure they are actively engaging with the curriculum materials provided in Schoology. All schoolwork will be assigned, collected, and graded through Schoology. In the event additional technology support is needed, students and families are encouraged to contact their school’s computer technician (or the district Helpdesk) for assistance. Hotspots will be provided for students who do not have reliable internet access.

All teachers will update their Schoology classes and assignments daily. Technology support will be available at the school and district levels to assist with connectivity issues.  Asynchronous attendance will be taken by one of several possible indicators: documentation of logging in, submission of work, email communication with teacher, phone call with teacher, and/or home visit by school staff.   All attendance will be recorded and stored on our PowerSchool platform. 

EQUITY        

 All DCPS students have equitable access to educational rigor, resources and support designed to maximize academic success and social/emotional well-being. 

Educational rigor and resources:  DCPS classroom teachers and instructional support staff receive training every school year which is provided by the DCPS team of Instructional Supervisors, Coordinators and Instructional Coaches.  New teachers are oriented to all DCPS curriculum, instructional resources and assessments during the New Teacher Academy.  All teachers receive professional development on curriculum that is based on the Maryland Standards and are provided instructional resources through the support from Supervisors, Coordinators and Instructional Coaches to deliver instruction so that ALL students achieve academic success. 

Social/emotional well-being:  DCPS recognized the need to provide resources to assess, monitor and provide supports to our students social/emotional well-being.  Through the use of ESSER and Blue Print funding streams, DCPS has been able to:   purchase the social/emotional curriculum  “Move This World” , increase the number of Social Workers to support our students and families, and provide additional resources to support students through therapeutic support classrooms.  The “Move This World” curriculum was piloted during summer school at all seven of our elementary schools with 100% participation.  School Administrators and School Counselors were trained during a “kickoff “ event in June prior to the start of summer.  Teachers were then provided training by each School Counselor.  Lessons now take place daily at all elementary grades.  Move This World will be implemented at the middle school level with daily lessons as well.  All teachers will be trained and then supported by the School Counselors.   All students and staff will have same “language” to use, age-appropriate to support a positive learning environment.   Any student that may need additional social-emotional support to be successful in the classroom will be referred to the MTSS team, as described later in this document.

Schools must ensure equal access to ALL students. This means that students need to be able to participate in their learning equitably and have access to all relevant services and supports.

 

Considerations include, but are not limited to:

  • Ensuring all students in the school or district will have equal access to the learning and required materials.
  • Ensure that activities can effectively support the district’s unique learning and teaching needs, including the ability to provide differentiated instruction as well as one-on-one support for students who need it. Regardless of where the learning is happening, supports identified on a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan must be provided. Individual Learning Plans for English Learners must also be followed.
  • Schools should provide materials for students to continue their learning. Each school would determine the most appropriate way to communicate and provide instruction for each student which could include some/all the following:
    • Textbooks
    • Online resources (consider availability of broadband)
    • Instruction via the school’s learning management system (LMS)

Planning for A Range of Learners

Teachers will use many strategies to facilitate remote learning. Classroom teachers will work with other support staff and administrators to develop and moderate learning environments that engage all learners and support their growth. At all levels, considerations will be made for accessibility for learners and manageability for families. Teachers will be expected to differentiate instruction to meet the diverse needs of learners and all students with an EL plan, a 504 plan, or IEP.  Students will continue to receive their accommodations. 

Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)

DCPS has adopted MTSS as our framework for supporting all of our students, both academically, socially and behaviorally.  DCPS began this work in the spring of 2021, working to inventory the available resources and supports available in DCPS.  ESSER funds were used to purchase diagnostic and intervention tools to support this tiered approach.  The Office of Student Services realigned current “care team” and “student study teams” into MTSS teams that will use the framework as the guiding resource.  All administrators, supervisors, school counselors, social workers and instructional coaches were provided professional development on MTSS by an outside consultant.  The DCPS MTSS manual was updated and presented to all administrators and supervisors during the 2022-2023 Leadership Retreat.  Each school administrative team will present the MTSS process and manual to their respective staff during the “Back to School” week.  At the heart of the MTSS system is the data, which then will inform action.  Assessment data will be collected on every student as presented later in this document.  The link to our DCPS MTSS website is:  https://sites.google.com/dcpsmd.org/mtss/home

Mental Health

School MTSS teams will continue to review the mental health concerns identified by students, families, and their teachers. Administrators, school counselors and social workers will continue to reach out through wellness calls to families to discuss student engagement, social-emotional wellness, and mental health concerns. Through this partnership, school teams will identify needed family support. School personnel will intentionally engage with students to identify students needing extended support through the MTSS Tiers.  

In addition, DCPS mental health support has increased this past school year to address the growing needs presented during the covid-19 pandemic.  Monthly Mental Health provider meetings were established and held with community mental health providers to strengthen the partnerships created to provide school based mental health support.  This year 2 additional partnerships with community mental health providers were added to the schools bringing our total to 8 partnering agencies.  One of our new partnerships is with a certified art therapist who will be providing services to elementary school students.  Grant resources allowed us to have a school social worker assigned to each DCPS school.  The school social workers connected students/families with resources, supported crisis intervention, food assistance, social emotional learning programming and other therapeutic needs. 

 

SPECIAL EDUCATION

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dorchester County Public Schools and the Dorchester County Infants and Toddlers program provided services to all families through a virtual platform. Considering the current circumstances, Individual Education Programs (IEP) and Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSP) with parental input were amended to provide services. All services were provided virtually to help ensure the health and safety of staff, families, and children. Our children were always our TOP concern during this pandemic.

DCPS will comply with Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 504 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  DCPS will work with special education staff to provide ongoing professional development on the implementation of these provisions at the start of the school year and periodically throughout the school year.  The Special Education Department will continue monitoring procedures by those responsible for monitoring that DCPS is providing services that comply with federal and state regulations. 

Students will receive Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) by accessing their special education and/or related services in person. Services will be delivered by a qualified provider as delineated by their IEP.  Beginning October 1, 2021, DCPS will include IEP planning for emergency conditions within all annual review and new IEP development meetings to develop a plan for IEP implementation if there are emergency conditions resulting in the physical closure of a school for 10 or more days.  In the event that this occurs, DCPS will continue to provide services as delineated by that plan through a virtual platform.

 IEP Meetings and Assessments Due to no extensions in timelines under IDEA, DCPS must meet all IDEA obligations to locate and find children eligible for special education services. All assessments will be administered in person.  Precautions will be taken by staff and families to help prevent further transmission of the virus among students and staff.  All testing will be completed in a school building located closest to the child’s home when possible. If transportation is needed to complete this testing, case managers must contact the Special Education Office to arrange these services. All participants will follow the DCPS masking requirements during the assessments and while in the school building.  Additionally, PPE will be available and utilized as needed.  

IEP meetings will be held in person, with a virtual option for the parent and other team members. Parents will continue to receive all IEP documents as outlined under IDEA timelines. If parents have questions, these questions are to be directed to the Office of Special Education.  It is important that the IEP team continue to collaborate with the parents/guardians on how to further support the student and if necessary, IEP meetings will be held to re-evaluate the child’s circumstances to ensure that he/she is receiving FAPE.

Masking Requirements:  Students with disabilities will follow the DCPS masking requirements.  If a student is not able to use a mask, staff will present opportunities to learn the skill of wearing the mask through instructional opportunities provided through the day.  While this skill is being taught, the student may be presented with alternate forms of barriers such as face shields and adapted forms of face coverings.  The approach will be individualized for the student.  DCPS is following MSDE provided tips (#20-07) to support mask wearing for students with disabilities.

Transition Planning and Programming. All students ages fourteen and up will receive transition assessments in person to drive their transition planning process. Additionally, students will meet with their special education case manager to discuss the assessments and to develop transition services and activities that will assist in meeting their post-secondary goals. Case managers will continue to work with students to complete transition activities outlined in the student’s IEP. Students that are involved in community-based experiences will return to that setting as it is deemed safe and the proper precautions are followed.

Services Plans and Parentally Placed Private School Students. Students who are placed in private or parochial schools by parents may be eligible for services as outlined in the approved Parentally Placed Private School Students (PPPSS) agreement. These students will receive their services as outlined in their approved service plan. If the private school is not open for in person services or allowing outside community partners in their buildings, services may be provided at the child’s home school or through a virtual platform.

Infants and Toddlers. Services to families will be provided in person, with a virtual option.  Service providers will discuss in person options with each family and will agree on the setting that is agreeable to the family.  If in home services are not the best option, there will be community settings available for those services to be provided.  If the child is in a childcare setting in a home or center, the service providers will follow the protocols for the childcare setting and will only provide services in that day care setting if it is agreed upon with the child care provider.  It would be the parent’s choice regarding how the services are provided.  A virtual option will continue to be available to all families. The Infants and Toddlers program director will work in collaboration with DCPS to develop a safety protocol for entering homes that will include the use of PPE and the disinfection of materials utilized during a session and will share that plan with families prior to the first home visit.  Evaluations, TPMs and IFSP meetings will be in person, with a virtual option if the parent makes that request.

504 PLANS. Dorchester County Public Schools will continue to support the individual needs of students identified for accommodations and modifications under Section 504. The case managers will honor the district process and conduct meetings virtually (when necessary). Decisions of the 504 team will be based on medical diagnosis and academic need resulting from the disability. The process will remain fluid, with teams meeting as student needs arise in both the virtual and face-to-face classrooms.

DCPS Relationship with Dorchester County Health Department

Throughout the COVD-19 pandemic, DCPS and the Dorchester County Health Department have worked collaboratively to support our students and families as well as the community.  Regular meetings are held between the DCHD Health Officer and the Superintendent.  All steps to support in person learning have been supported by the DCHD.  Daily COVID 19 status updates are relayed between school nurses, the Director of Student Services and the DCHD.  The DCHD is the contact to our families regarding testing results and contract tracing.  DCPS communicates with our staff, students and families all screening and vaccination opportunities provided by the health department through multiple methods (email; school message; website).  Student services (PPW’s; Social Workers) are available for home visits to assist families in supporting their students be successful for in-person learning and if necessary offer resources such as home hospital or home instruction.

Instructional Readiness Process and Plan

Dorchester County Public Schools recognizes the urgent need to gather data on our students’ readiness so that informed decisions are made to support unfinished learning, learning loss and acceleration of learning.  DCPS will follow our Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) framework to determine which tier our students are in, based on diagnostic data.  Using the tiered process, students may receive whole class, small group, intervention group or individual supports during the instructional day.  Students may also be offered afterschool tutoring.

DIAGNOSTIC TESTING

It is a top priority for DCPS to complete diagnostic testing early in our students return to school each Fall to assist us in determining progress toward grade level standards for all students.  All diagnostic assessments in grades K-12 will be administered face-to-face.  Individual student results will inform student readiness for new content.  As gaps are identified, students will be matched with appropriate instructional interventions to support content recovery in Reading/English Language Arts and Mathematics. 

PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITES/DATA CONVERSATIONS

As diagnostic data is gathered, school teams (grade level; content) will meet to determine what the data says in regard to student academic needs.  Administrators, instructional coaches, special educators and classroom teachers will dissect the data by student to determine which MTSS Tier is appropriate. 

READING:

In grade levels K-5 we will provide an indication of reading development and possible risk for future difficulty learning to read. We will use the Universal Screening/Diagnostic: DIBELS 8.  DIBELS 8 Composite scores are benchmarked based on typical performance by age/grade level and time of year. Student performance levels are Core Support (Tier 1), Strategic Support (Tier 2), or Intensive Support (Tier 3).

In grades Prek-12 we will also use LEXIA Core 5.  LEXIA Core 5 is an adaptive blended learning program that accelerates the development of literacy skills for students of all abilities, helping them make the critical shift from learning to read to reading to learn. The performance predictors of “On target, Some risk and High risk” will help us assist with placing students into the intervention block that they need.

For grade 6-12 we will use Lexia PowerUp Literacy. LEXIA PowerUp Literacy accelerates literacy gains for students in grades 6-12 who are at risk of not meeting College and Career Ready Standards.  Student progress is marked by their performance levels (Foundational/Intermediate/Advanced) in word study, grammar, and comprehension.

MATHEMATICS:

In grades K-12 we will use iReady Math which is an online program that provides students of all ages with differentiated instruction and support them on their individual paths to success. iReady allows students to demonstrate any areas that may need to be supported based on the 4 domains (Number and Operation, Algebra and Algebraic Thinking, Measurement and Data, and Geometry).  From this data teachers can design specific interventions using iReady to address these areas of weakness.

INTERVENTION TIME:

Interventions are built into the schedule for reading and mathematics at the elementary, middle, and high school levels during the day. 

ASSESSMENT CALENDAR: 

DCPS Draft (2) Assessment Calendar 22/23

Establishing Baseline Data, Identifying Gaps and Monitoring Student Outcomes

The focus in Dorchester County Public Schools will continue to be providing students solid MTSS Tier 1 instruction.  Teachers will begin the school year by utilizing End-of-Year Diagnostic Data until a new baseline can be established (in the above referenced assessment calendars) for the 2022-2023 school year.  Once new baseline data is established, teachers and other support staff will identify the MTSS Tier level of support needed to address learning gaps.

During the summer of 2022, DCPS held a districtwide School Improvement Retreat.  During the retreat, school teams conducted a “root cause” analysis with the support of the MSDE Office of School Improvement.  Over a two day period, teams were lead through the process of drilling down through the data to determine the key goals and outcomes that would need to be addressed in their individual plans.  Once teams understood the process, the work continued during the summer at their school sites, with the support of district Directors and Supervisors.  Linked to this document are the DCPS School Improvement Plans that show baseline and projected student outcomes as well as activities, strategies and timelines for monitoring student progress.  All School Improvement plans are considered “live” documents and are the result of a review of multiple data sources.   Once fall diagnostics are complete, every school improvement team will meet to review new data and revise plans as necessary. 

SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT PLANS:

DCPS School Improvement Plans   *2022-2023 plans will be updated by September 15, 2022.

Paths for Instructional Success and Recovery

Our local data will be calibrated with the state early fall 2021 assessments (MCAP) that are designed to provide information on student understanding on the previous year's content. The promised quick turnaround time on how each student performed will be a significant measure to inform our efforts. The aggregate information available within various reports on how groups of students are performing will assist us in determining areas of focus for upcoming instruction, prioritizing the most critical prerequisite skills from unfinished learning to be addressed in each new learning unit. This fall 2021 MCAP data, in conjunction with local screening data, will serve as the basis for establishing baseline data as well as growth targets disaggregated by student groups, an essential component of accelerating student learning.

Once data is reviewed, MTSS Tier level will be determined.  Tier I is classroom based and delivered by the classroom teacher.  Schools have also built intervention/enrichment periods to meet academic and social/emotional needs.   Tier II could be delivered in the classroom as small group instruction and/or could be delivered in an intervention group with additional staff supports.  After school tutoring will also be offered during the 2021-2022 school year with transportation being provided. 

DCPS Fall/Winter Data

DCPS Early Fall ELA and Math 2021 Demographic Data

i-Ready Diagnostic prepares and equips teachers by delivering actionable data that addresses the first part of the learning process—knowing exactly where each student is. i-Ready Diagnostic provides teachers with a complete picture of student performance relating to their grade level and national norms.  Our second round of assessments take place in February.  iReady assists teachers in knowing what deficits they need to address in their regular math class while working on those specific skills during the intervention block.

Dorchester K-8 and AGA D1 Data_21-22

Lexia® PowerUp Literacy® accelerates literacy gains for students in grades 6–12 who are at risk of not meeting College-and Career-Ready Standards.  PowerUp enables students to make multiple years of growth in a single academic year.  Teachers are able to assist students in their areas of weakness while reinforcing these needed skills in other content areas.

PowerUp January 2022 Data

Lexia® Core5® Reading is an adaptive blended learning program that accelerates the development of literacy skills for students of all abilities, helping them make that critical shift from learning to read to reading to learn.  The usage reports allow schools to evaluate time students have to practice this intervention and to monitor progress with the program.  There is a direct correlation between usage and gains made using the program.

Core 5 January 2022 Data

Fall 2021 Kindergarten Readiness Assessment

The Kindergarten readiness assessment evaluates students’ skills in several domains including social foundations, language and literacy, mathematics, and physical well-being and motor skills.  Students fall within three ranges: emerging (at risk), approaching (some risk), and demonstrating (negligible or no risk).  The KRA provides teachers with actionable data that allows them to plan instruction specific to the domains of greatest need and specific to each student based on student level data.

DCPS KRA Demographic Results_2021-22

2022-2023 Lexia and Lexile Score Summary and Goals by Student Group

Student Group

BOY Test Takers

Avg & Above Beginning of Course

EOY Test Takers

Avg and Above End of Course

Goal

Met

All Students

2736

41.8%

52%

2 or more

185

35.7%

46%

AI

20

20%

30%

AS

26

73%

80%

BL

1121

35%

40%

PI

13

38.5%

40%

WH

1366

48%

55%

HIS

258

40%

45%

FARM

1657

37%

40%

Special Educ

245

32%

35%

ELL

164

28%

38%

Female

1340

44%

50%

Male

1382

40%

50%

Non-binary

0

-

Grade K

215

44%

75%

Grade 1

312

27%

60%

Grade 2

295

15%

50%

Grade 3

331

18%

45%

Grade 4

332

17%

30%

Grade 5

294

11%

30%

Grade 6

187

64%

70%

Grade 7

217

85%

90%

Grade 8

227

82%

85%

Grade 9

130

87%

90%

Grade 10

107

89%

90%

Grade 11

47

81%

85%

Grade 12

13

61.5%

65%

*Diagnostic data does not include students enrolled in English courses Semester Two of the 2022-2023 school year.



2022-2023 iReady Math Score Summary and Goals by Student Group

Student Group

BOY Test Takers

Avg & Above Beginning of Course

EOY Test Takers

Avg and Above End of Course

Goal

Met

All Students

2953

8%

40%

2 or more

191

6.3%

35%

AI

26

0

30%

AS

34

50%

60%

BL

1181

1.8%

30%

PI

14

57%

60%

WH

1508

12.6%

40%

HIS

327

3.4%

40%

FARMS

1787

3.8%

35%

Special Educ

320

4%

30%

ELL

156

0

30%

Female

1190

7.5%

40%

Male

1515

9.6%

40%

Non-binary

1

0

Grade K

50%

Grade 1

319

5.6%

50%

Grade 2

281

2.8%

50%

Grade 3

316

6%

40%

Grade 4

317

11%

40%

Grade 5

297

11%

35%

Grade 6

279

10%

35%

Grade 7

303

10%

30%

Grade 8

329

9%

30%

Grade 9

154

.6%

30%

Grade 10

150

0

30%

Grade 11

113

0

30%

Grade 12

97

0

30%

*Diagnostic data doesnot include students enrolled in Math courses Semester Two of the 2022-2023 school year.

Maryland College and Career Ready Standards

INSTRUCTIONAL CONTENT

The Maryland College and Career Ready Standards (MCCRS) are essential in ensuring that students have a strong command of the skills and understanding associated with the critical areas.  These skills and understandings are critical to building the foundational knowledge needed for the success of our students. 

All courses have a scope and sequence to ensure that MD College and Career Ready Standards PreK-12 are taught in all content areas and the State Frameworks are followed for each content. Grade-level standard mastery is the focus for every unit. Scaffolding and differentiating allows teachers to address possible lost learning without sacrificing the priority of teaching grade level standards.     

READING / ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS

DCPS Literacy curriculum for Pre-Kindergarten to grade 5 has been designed to reflect a structured literacy approach to instruction. The literacy block in grades K-5 is comprised of the American Reading Co. 100 Book Challenge and American Reading Company Core Labs (K-3) and in order to reinforce tier one learning and provide differentiated, personalized instruction one-on-one in student conferencing. Our K-2 students receive explicit, systematic instruction in foundational reading skills through our use of Wilson Fundations. For Kindergarten and First Grade phonemic awareness instruction, DCPS utilizes the Heggerty curriculum.

Our English Language Arts curriculum for grades 6-12 builds on this solid foundation by continuing to provide students with multiple opportunities to build standard mastery with increasingly complex text across each grade level scope and sequence. Utilizing HMH Resources gradual release instructional path, teachers provide explicit, standard-aligned instruction and modeling with a complex whole group anchor text. Armed with formative assessment data, 6th-12th grade teachers then reinforce and differentiate learning in small groups. All of this leading to an independent learning performance task in which students apply their learning and synthesize ideas across many texts.

Pre-Kindergarten - Grade 5

Curriculum Resources

American Reading Company 100 Book Challenge (K-5) Level 2 MSDE

American Reading Company Core Labs (K-3)

Wilson Fundations (PK-3)

Sample Scope and Sequence

Wilson Fundation Scope and SequenceEdreports Fundations 

ARC Core Scope and Sequence; ARC Core Edreport 

Grade 1 Literacy Guide 

District Intervention(s)

MSDE MTSS Core/Intervention

Grades 6-12

Curriculum Resources

Houghton Mifflin Introduction to Literature (2020) (pilot)  Edreports; Vetted by MSDE (multiple grade levels) 

District Unit Overview

Curriculum Planning Units for Middle/High School 20-21.docx

Sample Curriculum Map/Pacing Guide

MSDE Grade 11_Unit 2_Building a Democracy: The Revolutionary Period

MSDE 11th Grade ELA Curriculum Map.docx

District Intervention(s)

LEXIA  (see attached PDF)  MSDE MTSS Core/Intervention

APEX Recommendation for ELA APEX 

 

MATHEMATICS

Mathematics instruction focuses on the assigned grade level or course’s Maryland College and Career Ready Standards (MCCRS) with strategic and intentional just in time support with critical prerequisite standards. The Scope and Sequence for each course identifies the MCCRS for the assigned course as well as the prerequisite skills needed to be successful in each unit; teachers will use formative assessment checks to determine which students need acceleration, remediation, or intervention to access the grade level concepts. DCPS uses Illustrative Math – Learn Zillion for grades K-Algebra 2.  IM is a problem-based program that uses the Universal Design for Learning.  It has embedded supports and extensions for students who are ready.

DCPS Scope and Sequence - Mathematics

Elementary Mathematics

Grades Kindergarten - 5

Scope and Sequence

Middle School Mathematics

Grade 6

Scope and Sequence

Grade 7

Scope and Sequence

Compacted 7

Scope and Sequence

Grade 8

Scope and Sequence

Algebra 1

Scope and Sequence

High School Mathematics

Algebra 1

Scope and Sequence

Geometry

Scope and Sequence

Algebra 2

Scope and Sequence

SCIENCE

DCPS Science curriculum for kindergarten to grade 12 is designed to fully support the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) with a strong focus on 3-dimensional teaching and learning. All grade levels and courses follow scope and sequences that identify the NGSS performance expectations, key focus points, Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs), and Crosscutting Concepts to be addressed in each unit.

The NGSS Topic Arrangement K - High School (DCPS uses the topic arrangement of the Next Generation Science Standards as do most states)

Scope and Sequence Chemistry

Core Science Instructional Resources

Elementary Science Units of Study

Middle School Science Units of Study

All NGSS performance expectations will be taught in each grade band, consistent with previous years.  For the upcoming school year, additional priorities and focus will be placed on utilizing several practices and crosscutting concepts in instruction, going beyond those indicated by specific performance expectations for that grade/course. 

 

SOCIAL STUDIES

DCPS Social Studies instruction includes Pre- kindergarten to 12th grade which focuses on supporting all MSDE Social Studies standards and the connection between Social Studies and literacy. Students in Pre-kindergarten through grade 5 follow MSDE content/frameworks and expose students to literacy and historical thinking skills.  

In our secondary grades 6 through 12, students in Social Studies classes continue with their rigorous curriculum aligned to the content standards, with an additional emphasis on skills and processes. Local curriculum lessons have been crafted to include evidence-based argument sets (EBA’s) which teach students historical thinking skills and contextualization. 

Students in grades 6-12 complete service-learning hours to fulfill their graduation requirement and supporting their community. Writing like a historian is also a focus of social studies; students in grades 6 through 12 are exposed to research and participate in the National History Day competition both locally and statewide.

 Grade 5 Pacing Guide Unit 1

 Government Scope and Sequence 2021-2022

 

Career Technology Education

Dorchester County is proud of the Dorchester County Technology Center and all that it has to offer DCPS students.  A comprehensive list of offerings is included in the DCPS Program of Study (DCPS High School Program of Study) .  Our goal is that our CTE students successfully complete CTE and technical assessments to earn college and industry certifications. 

 

OPERATIONS AND SAFETY

SAFETY PROTOCOLS

DCPS is following CDC and Maryland State Guidelines.  The following pages (25-29) highlight DCPS practices and  provides COVID-19 Guidance Updates. 

Please visit the following websites for further information:

Maryland State Department of Education:    www.marylandpublicschools.org

Center for Disease Control:   www.cdc.gov

 

STUDENT ATTENDANCE

Per the direction of MSDE, and COMAR attendance requirements will not change. DCPS will continue to follow our current attendance policy. DCPS will continue to emphasize the importance of daily student attendance.   Attendance is recorded and managed in the Power School platform.   Every absence receives a robo call and robo text which is automated.  Calls are made by 10:30 a.m. daily.

Attendance is monitored at the school level.  Principal, attendance secretary and school counselors play a roll in monitoring attendance data.  DCPS process calls for the following steps to be followed for unexcused (unlawful) absences:

  • Three (3) unexcused absences: meet with student; call parent; follow up letter to parent
  • Up to five (5) unexcused absences: meet with student; call/meet with parent; refer to MTSS team or Social Worker for next steps which may include: home visit, mental health referral
  • After eight (8) unexcused absences: referral by PPW to appropriate court; attendance continued to be monitored

For students with multiple excused absences, contact may be made with the parent and if needed, a referral to the MTSS team may be made to discuss the student’s absences and to work on a plan for engagement if necessary.

If DCPS should enter any Phase other than Phase III, Elementary, Middle, and High Schools will address both synchronous and asynchronous attendance documentation. Synchronous and in person attendance will be taken as indicated in DCPS policy (roll, per class/period daily). Asynchronous attendance will be taken by one of several possible indicators: documentation of logging in, submission of work, email communication with teacher, phone call with teacher, and/or home visit by school staff.   All attendance will be recorded and stored on our PowerSchool platform. 

Students are required to follow the school calendar, which includes 180 school days.  Attendance only occurs on in session school days as listed on the DCPS 2022-2023 school year calendar available on the district website. 

DCPS Attendance Policy

http://go.boarddocs.com/mabe/dcps/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=AZXG2S41BC13

If Dorchester County returns to Virtual/Distance Learning, the following guidelines are followed: 

  1. Teachers should take daily attendance as always and record in PowerSchool.
  2. Teachers can also use the log on record in schoology as an attendance verification.
  3. For students unable to get access online, we can make weekly phone calls.  Teachers would need to discuss progress on the assignments and or concepts to determine engagement, and then indicate attendance for the week.
  4. Teachers will have 7 calendar days to go back into PowerSchool and update attendance as using the schoology log in or phone verification will mean there is a multiple day delay. 
  5. Attendance auto dialer will continue as is but we will have the notice go out later in the day to accommodate the AM/PM option.

 

DCPS Communications

Dorchester County Public Schools anticipates the need for particularly clear, consistent, and timely communications to all stakeholders as the 2021-2022 school year opens and develops with ongoing changes to schedules and logistics.  DCPS will begin the school year in Phase III, all students back for in-person learning.  However, DCPS recognizes the need to anticipate challenges which may  include fluctuations in the status of schools, operational modifications, changing health advisories, and governmental actions.  Communications must be responsive and flexible to maintain optimal student learning while ensuring the safety of students and staff.

The goal of Dorchester County Public Schools’ Office of the Director of Operations is to inform, engage and inspire trust from all stakeholders and our community, regardless of circumstances like those presented by the COVID-19 pandemic through the DCPS “Communication and Community Outreach Specialist” (CCOS).   Whether the school system operates in a traditional manner, implements hybrid learning or a distance learning plan, the office of the Director of Operations will continue its efforts to keep Dorchester County Public Schools’ employees, students, their families, and the Dorchester County community informed about the work of the school system. 

No matter the environment, the CCOS relays vital information to all stakeholders, supports crisis situations, continues to build and enhance the Dorchester County Public Schools brand, directs community relations, responds to the media, and leads many other “business as usual” communication efforts. Considering the changing dynamics of the 2021-22 school year and Dorchester County’s plan to potentially deliver alternative learning modes simultaneously, we anticipate an increased complexity in our communications efforts. These complexities will also be triggered by potential fluctuations in status of schools (open or closed in response to virus outbreaks), changing health advisories, operational or central system modifications, increased needs to generate additional resources, national or local government actions, and multi-layered crisis situations. To succeed, we must remain agile, flexible, creative, and responsive. Dorchester County Public Schools anticipates the need to simultaneously deploy targeted messages through varying communication channels to reach the multiple stakeholder groups it serves. As schools open with modifications to schedules, classes, or logistics, smooth transitions will require clear and consistent communication.

Information specifically targeted to employees will be provided by:

  • Email: ACE (All County Employee) email serves as the main conduit of internal information. ACE emails regarding the recovery plan will be flagged as such.
  • Automated notifications: School Messenger provides a platform for communications to staff by both the district and individual schools through both telephone and email.
  • Microsoft Teams and/or Google Meets

External Communications

Timely updates to inform all stakeholders will be available through:

  • Dedicated web page with reopening news and information (www.dcpsk12.org)
  • Automated notifications via School Messenger
  • Use of local media: Two weekly newspapers, local radio station, two regional TV stations
  • Social media (DCPS Facebook)
  • FAQs: Dynamic list of questions and answers grouped by topic, available via web page
  • School status line: An information line, accessible by phone
  • Video: Use of livestream (Town Hall) for Board of Education meetings, major announcements

All aspects of communication will be continually monitored as to effectiveness, with adjustments in strategy as necessary.

 

ATHLETICS

Dorchester County Public Schools will operate interscholastic athletics for the 2022-2023 academic school year following the guidelines, and policies set forth by the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA), and the Bayside Athletic Conference. A full pre-season, regular season, and post-season are scheduled for the Fall, Winter, and Spring athletic seasons in Phase III, In-Person Model.

Health-Related Guidelines

  • Pre-Participation Physicals with medical practitioner clearance
  • COVID-19 Risk and Guidance Information from MSDE/Department of Health
  • COVID-19 Safety Guidelines from the Dorchester County local health department and adherence to protocols upon a positive case

Operational Guidelines

  • Facility Assessment, Preparation, and Equipment Needs
  • Facility Assessment, Daily Equipment, and Facility Disinfection- routine and systematic
  • Face Coverings optional for student-athletes and staff provided by DCPS when needed
  • Hygiene Practices reviewed with student-athletes/coaching staff and information present in all medical kits for all sports
  • Hydration, Heat Acclimatization, and Nutrition information reviewed with student-athletes/coaching staff
  • Certification training for all athletic coaches in the areas of CPR/Basic First Aid/AED, the Care and Prevention of Sports Injuries (16-hour course) or Refresher Course, and the required National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) coursework: Sudden Cardiac Arrest, Heat Illness Prevention, Sportsmanship, and Concussion in Sports

Dorchester County Public Schools will continue to monitor and to consult with local and state agencies pertaining to any changes or modifications needed to mitigate COVID-19 exposure and to keep student-athletes/coaches/officials safe while participating in interscholastic athletics in all indoor and outdoor venues.