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Parent FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions for Families

Please remember the concept of “Continuity of Education”  is new to everyone.  We will not be perfect and will need to make some adjustments and modifications as we move forward.  Below is a list of questions and the district's responses to those questions about how Lower Dauphin will be delivering their Continuity of Education Plan.  The document is organized into three sections - General Questions (grades K-12), Elementary Questions (grades K-5), and Secondary Questions (grades 6-12).  We recommend that you read  the entire document.  If you have any questions after reading through this document, please reach out to your building principal.

General Questions:

  • What if I still have money in students lunch account? (Revised 4/15/2020)

    Seniors:  Your remaining lunch balance will be sent in the form of a check by the end of the month.  This will be done automatically.  No Correspondence is necessary.

    Grades K-11:  You have several options:

    1. You can leave the money in the account and it will be carried over for the 2020-21 school year (This will happen automatically even if your child is moving from the elementary to the Middle School or the Middle School to the High School).
    2. You can request to have your money returned.  In order to do this the following steps must be taken.
      1. Send an email requesting reimbursement to Marsha Sheibley (msheibley@ldsd.org) and copy Brad Mettle (bmettle@ldsd.org)
      2. The email must include your name, your current address, and your child’s name.

Upon receipt, Lower Dauphin will issue a check for the remaining balance.  Please note this may take up to two weeks. 

  • At what point should will the district cancel field trips, Camp Hebron, prom, Commencement, etc.? (Revised 4/14/2020)

    • On April 9, 2020, Gov. Wolf officially closed all Pennsylvania schools for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year and schools are supposed to finish the academic year through virtual instruction.  Based on that closure, all field trips for the remainder of the year are cancelled.

    • Camp Hebron has been cancelled for this year.  The administrative team will be working on setting the dates for spring 2021 and getting a reservation set with camp.

    • Prom – is currently scheduled for May 23.  The administrative team is waiting on further information and will be communicating the final decision at a later time.

    • Commencement – is currently scheduled for June 4. The administrative team is waiting on further information and will be communicating the final decision at a later time.

  • What if we have tech problems?  
    • Please email the LD helpdesk at:  helpdesk@ldsd.org
    • If you do not have Internet access call (717) 566-5392
    • Hardware support, for Lower Dauphin computers only, will be offered on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  This will be by appointment only.  You will need to contact the helpdesk to schedule an appointment.  Contact the helpdesk via email at: helpdesk@ldsd.org or call at (717) 566-5392.  Hardware support will be conducted at the district office only.
  • How will my child know where and when to find assignments?
    • Some families would appreciate an outline for the week so that they could prepare around their own schedules to be able to support their children as the students work through the activities we send home. Some of the families have multiple children and will be sharing resources. Giving families the information at the start of the week will help them to be able to build a family schedule would be very helpful to them.
    • We also understand there are families who are living very much day-to-day and trying to get everything accomplished with their children being home and the parents having to work.  We understand a week’s worth of work at one time might overwhelm some. For that reason, we are also encouraging teachers to post daily assignments. 
    • Teachers will make a daily post by 8:00 AM with your child’s assignments, expectations, and a way in which the teacher can be reached and their hours of availability.  
    • The method for posting will vary from teacher to teacher and will most likely be the platform or method that was in place prior to schools closing.
    • Teachers are encouraged to put into place a means of delivering activities and support to your students in a way that they are able to maintain and provide consistently.
    • The district recognizes that families have many different levels of concerns and situations that they are trying to juggle during this unprecedented time. 
  • How soon are teachers expected to respond to parent and student emails?
    • Select your child’s school
    • Under “Faculty” menu select the desired faculty member
    • All teacher emails can be found at ldsd.org
    • The expectation is that teachers respond to any emails from parents and/or students within 24 hours.  If you have any concern with the lack of communication please email your building administrator
    • If you or your child send a communication to a teacher on a Friday, the teacher will respond during the next scheduled work day.  The same would be true for a communication sent to a teacher the day before a weekday that is not a scheduled school day.
    • Principal emails are below:
  • Will the school be dropping off packets at doorsteps or in mailboxes? 
    • No.  We want to make sure that we are doing our part to model proper social distancing and working to not spread the virus. We are hoping that we do not get to the point that we feel we have to deliver work to the students.
  •  What are the guidelines for video conferencing with students? 
    • Definitions: 

Asynchronous Learning - refers to students learning the same material at different times and locations (we recommend using this type of learning more frequently due to trying to coordinate student schedules for a common meeting time to video conference).

Synchronous Learning - refers to a learning event in which a group of students are engaging in learning at the same time in a common learning environment (Used less frequently and used for support rather than direct instruction).

Video of Instruction or Tutorial - a video of the teacher is uploaded and is asynchronous (not live), and students can access any time after the video is posted. This can be instruction delivered initially or based on an identified need post initial instruction.

Video Conferencing/Tutorial - is scheduling a specific time with a small group of students to provide remedial instruction and is accomplished synchronously (live) which is scheduled based on the need for remediation and availability of the students and teacher.

    • Teachers will need prior consent (via email) from parents, and teachers should not video conference with less than two students in one synchronous video tutorial.  
  • How will teachers gain parental consent to have students join a synchronous video tutorial session?
    • This can be accomplished by a teacher telling a student, via email, if they want to join a video conference/tutorial session they need to have their parent email (the teacher) stating they approve of their child being provided instruction in this manner.  One confirmation of approval from a parent will suffice for the entire school closure.
    • “Your email response provides approval for me to work with your child in synchronous (live) interactive learning sessions online.  Your email approval is for the entire length of the current school closure.  I will not be working alone with an individual child, there will always be more than one student in a scheduled synchronous (live) session.  The session will not be recorded.”
    • Please feel free to listen in on any Zoom session with your child.  This will give you insight into what is being discussed, the work assigned and ways that you might be able to support your child as they complete the assigned work.
    • If you have questions please contact the principal of your building.
  • How will attendance be taken when we move to planned instruction?
    • Attendance will be based on the student’s completion of the work assigned for that day.  We will not be able to expect synchronous class meetings.  Students will have to get the assignments and complete them when they are able. 
  • What do I do if my child is sick?
    •  If your child is sick and is unable to participate in the lessons for that day, please send the teacher an email letting them know.   
    • If your child is sick for an extended period of time, we will work together to address the missed assignments and get your child caught back up when they are able.  
  • The continuity of education plan includes bi-weekly communication from teachers to parents, specifically what am I required to do?
    • Every other week principals will be posting a letter on the building website page.  The principals will schedule a school messenger (phone call) to alert parents to the new information on the building webpage.
    • On the opposite week from the principal’s message teachers will correspond with parents to inquire about how the lessons are going at home, ways the teacher can support families with assignments and activities and ways to improve the delivery of instruction.  It is important during this time to keep communication open with our families as we work together to deliver instruction in this new environment. 
    • We ask that you provide any feedback that you feel would be beneficial to improving the way we are presenting instruction in this environment.·  
  • Will assignments be mandatory or remain optional? 
    • From March 30 to April 3, all activities provided to the students will be optional only.  The week of April 6, assignments will be mandatory and should be graded.
  • What communication system may I use? 
    • Teachers will be using the communication system that they have been using all year with their families.  We want to stay consistent.  This might include:  Class Dojo, See Saw, email, zoom, Remind, Canvas, and so on.
  • Will teachers be assessing students?
    • Yes - Our Continuity of Education Plan does indicate that students will receive feedback and grades for assignments.
  •  How will my child’s grades be determined?
    • Your child’s grades will be determined based on the lessons and activities assigned by the teacher.  This will vary by grade level and subject.  The teachers will ensure that they collect enough data through their assignments that they will be able to give an accurate measure of what your child has learned during this grading period.   
  •  How will we support our Level I EL students who do not speak English and their families do not speak English?
    • Our EL teachers  have been working very hard to address this issue.  We are asking them to reach out to the teachers who have ELL students in their classes to provide support and suggestions to help those teachers meet the language needs of these students when assigning activities and instruction.  
    • The EL teachers will also be reaching out to our ELL families to ensure that they are receiving district correspondence in a language that they understand and are able to gain access to needed community services. 
    • The EL teachers will be providing instruction to their ELL students to help them continue to improve their English Language Skills. 
  •  Will there be an opportunity for parents and students  to get back into the building to get items that were left behind? 
    • At this point, the district is waiting for guidance from the Governor and the state Department of Education on what will happen with the remaining school year.  When we get further directives, we will communicate out to our families on how and when you are able to return to the schools.

 

Elementary (Grades K-5) Questions:

  • Will teachers provide specific assignments using the pages in the students Ready Common Core? 
    • Yes, depending on the planned instruction developed by the teacher.  Some teachers might feel that other resources will be better suited for use in this new environment.  The Ready Common Core books are one of many resources that could be used.
    • You may even see some of the teachers using the Ready Common Core books as practice and review to help refresh the students on material that has already been covered.
    • If your child did not bring home their Ready Common Core books, please let the teacher know.  They have access to electronic versions of the materials and can email pages to you if needed.
    • Along with the Ready Common Core books, teachers may also ask the students to work from the “At-Home” i-Ready sheets.  These were also sent home prior to us leaving school.  Check with your student to ensure that they know where these sheets are if the teachers reference them in their assignments for practice and review.  And, if your child is not able to find the sheets, let the teacher know.
  • What has the district determined to be the appropriate amount of time for daily instruction of Math, Reading, Writing, Word Work and Science/Social Studies? 
    • This has always been dependent on the age/grade of the student.  As a guideline teachers will plan what they normally would have planned for an instructional block in the classroom.  If the teacher normally would have planned for an hour of math, the teacher will  plan the same amount of material as they would have for that hour block.  
    • Using this method, we know that the majority of the students will not need an hour to complete the activities when they are working independently.  Additionally, we do not want to overwhelm our students. This method should help to ensure that students have the time to accomplish everything.  
    • As a guide, but not a hard fast rule, we want to provide about an hour of activity at the K-1 level and about 2 hours at the grade 4-5 level.  These are just guidelines in that we know every child is different, works at a different pace and attends to activities in different ways.  If you find that your child is taking a lot more time than this to complete the assignments and is getting frustrated, please reach out to the teacher to discuss it.  We can adjust this as we go and get a feel for what the students can accomplish and what you can manage. 
  • Should “special” teachers (Library, Art, Music, Physical Education) communicate directly with parents or through the classroom teachers? 
    • This will vary based on each of our buildings.  Some of the buildings use Class Dojo as a communication tool and have given the special teachers the ability to communicate out to the families through the teacher pages.  Other buildings do not have Class Dojo in place and will be using the district website, Canvas courses and email as communication tools.  
    • In some cases (Library, Art, Music and Physical Education) teachers are not going to have an easy way of reaching out to all of the students in the building.  These teachers might be coming to the classroom teacher and asking them to post a reminder to their class to check out their webpage. 
    • It would be a good idea to regularly check the webpage for the special teachers to see what assignments have been posted for your child’s grade level. 
    • If you have any questions or concerns about any assignment posted by a special teacher, please email them at their district email address.
  • How often should special teachers post an assignment?
    • Special teachers (Art, Music, PE and Library) will post an activity per week for the number of times they would meet with the students in a cycle.  For instance, if PE meets with 5th grade twice a cycle (once for PE and once for Health) then the PE teacher would post two activities a week for 5th grade.  If the art teacher only meets with 5th grade once a cycle, then the art teachers would only need to post one activity for 5th grade per week.
  • What can we expect parents to do to help support their child’s learning?
    • We know and understand parents are also trying to juggle this unprecedented time.  Many of you are working from home or are making arrangements for child care because you have to continue to go to work.  And now, we are going to be moving to some type of online delivery of activities for our students that is going to cause even more need for help from adults at home.  We asked teachers as they plan out activities for their class, to think about the amount of adult support the activity is going to need. 
    •  For our K-1 students, we may be looking for a lot of participation from the parents.  Hopefully, this is the same kind of participation we would be asking for with a normal homework assignment.  For our older students, the district recommends teachers try to create activities that require a minimal amount of parent/adult support.  The activities are designed to keep the students engaged. 
    • If you find that your child is struggling to complete the activities please reach out to the teacher.
  • Will classroom aides help during zoom sessions? 
    • If a teacher has a classroom aide, they may be joining the video conferencing sessions.  The district strongly discourages our aides from conducting a Zoom session with a student without you, the parent, present in the session.

 

Secondary (grades 6-12) Questions:

  • How much instruction can I expect with this new method of delivery due to COVID-19?
    • At the middle school level we are starting with 20-30 minutes per day per course. 
    • At the high school level we are starting with 30-40 minutes per day per course. For example: 10-minute video of direction from the teacher followed by a 20 minute student activity using the new content.
    • If a teacher teaches a course that meets every other day (such as health at the MS), the teacher would post an assignment every other day.
  • Are there deadlines on when student work must be turned in or are teachers going to allow late work to be submitted?
    • Teachers are encouraged to be flexible knowing that many students may be facing very unique situations.
    • The third marking period will end April 15, 2020.
    • The fourth marking period will begin on April 16, 2020.
    • If you have questions please contact your building principal.
  • What is the expectation for completing the scope and sequence of the curriculum for my child’s courses?
    • We are aware and we all keep in mind that parents of our students are also trying to juggle many tasks during this unprecedented time - working from home or are making arrangements for child care because they have to continue to go to work.  
    • Online learning may work well for some students and not as well for others.  The district recognizes the unique circumstances we are facing for instruction in the fourth marking period and will make reasonable adjustments to the curriculum.
    • The administration asked the teachers to prioritize (decide what are the most important pieces) their curriculum during the first two weeks we were closed.  
  • Bi-weekly communication will be made by teachers.  What if the teacher does not have enough “graded” assignments after the first two weeks to fairly give students a percentage grade?
    •  If a teacher does not have enough assignments completed or graded  to determine a percentage grade, the teacher should identify students who are not participating in the instruction being provided and make parents aware that their child is not participating.
    •  We will do this every two weeks.  
  • What communication system will teachers use? 
    • Teachers should be using the communication system that they have been using all year with their families.  
      • Canvas
      • Email (school district email accounts)
      • Phone calls