On April 20, 2020, Elmhurst CUSD 205 announced all schools would remain shutdown for the remainder of the academic school year. April 15, 2020. (Photo by Ethan Thomas)
On April 20, 2020, Elmhurst CUSD 205 announced all schools would remain shutdown for the remainder of the academic school year. April 15, 2020.

Photo by Ethan Thomas

COVID-19 Update: Elmhurst CUSD 205 implements remote professional learning days

April 15, 2020

Starting on April 17, Elmhurst CUSD 205 will implement remote professional learning (RPL) days into the school week to improve the process of remote learning. Remote learning has been the primary method of education during the stay-at-home order issued by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker. 

On remote professional learning days, teachers will meet to discuss ways to enhance the remote learning experience. These days will take place every Friday for the next five weeks. Teachers will be meeting separately based on the level of education they teach. Some groups will meet based on grade level, such as elementary teachers, while high school teachers will meet with their Professional Learning Community (PLC), which is a group made up of teachers who all teach the same subject. All groups will also meet with their respective principals. In addition, teachers will receive instruction from the district to clarify and streamline some grading policies.

The state allows for five [RPL] days,” Elmhurst CUSD 205 Superintendent David Moyer said. “We believe that we can improve the experience for our students and families if teachers have more time to plan meaningful lessons and deepen their understanding of how to utilize technology and personalize learning.”

This benefits students by allowing their teachers to continue adjusting and making improvements to their lessons while using remote learning. Improvements will help ensure students complete an appropriate amount of work and will make practices, such as grading policy, more consistent. Both of these are hoped to reduce stress students are feeling.

“I think that anything that allows students to experience a bit less stress from academics is a good thing during this extraordinary time,” English teacher Andrew Bendelow said. “It’s not about rigor anymore; it’s about relationships, beginning with the student’s feelings about his or her situation.”

On these days, attendance will not be taken; however, teachers will be permitted to give their students work or enrichment activities over these days if they need to.

“There will not be a specific mandate, [but] there will be suggestions on how to plan,” Moyer said. “We will expect the [teachers’] learning plans to incorporate the equivalent of five days of learning under our plan, but we will not expect students to sign in on [the RPL] days.”

This flexibility will allow students and teachers the ability to better plan and complete work for the rest of the remote learning experience.

“While we are fully capable of our current workload, having a little less stress probably couldn’t hurt,” senior Matt Tully said. “If needed, teachers could still assign things, so I don’t see any real downsides.”

In addition, the plan for the RPL days is not strict, which means changes can be made if issues arise. Stay tuned to This Is York for more updates on this new plan and other COVID-19 updates from the district.

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