COOLIDGE — In light of school closures mandated by the state, many students of the Coolidge Unified School District resumed learning in an online fashion this week.
CUSD released a finalized curriculum plan on Thursday, outlining that the district will provide home-based learning through an online format. Students, including those who attend virtual class through GradPoint, will use iPads provided by the district to access the online curriculum.
Home-base learning for Coolidge Junior High, Coolidge High School and Coolidge Alternative Program students began on Monday.
The purpose behind the online learning program for grades seven through 12 is for students to gain the essential skills they need in the four core academic areas — English, math, science and social studies — and earn the credits necessary for them to graduate, Superintendent Charie Wallace said.
In addition, work completed through the online program will be graded for junior high and high school students since grades will be necessary for college and National Collegiate Athletic Association eligibility, she noted.
Students will receive their current grades for all electives but have the opportunity to specifically request projects from elective teachers to improve their grade if necessary.
Lessons will be provided through an app called Schoolwork for prekindergarten and grades K-12. For students at the junior high and high school levels, teachers will also be delivering instruction through Khan Academy and CommonLit.
The district also outlined that teachers will communicate by phone call, email, text messages or via apps like FaceTime on a weekly basis with parents and students to ensure academic progress.
Each lesson, CUSD’s plan emphasized, will typically take about 30-45 minutes to complete and is not designed to last the whole day.
But for students of Heartland Ranch Elementary and West Elementary schools, home-based learning won’t begin until iPads are distributed, which was scheduled from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.
Parents will be able to pick up the iPads in a drive-thru manner at both elementary schools and have been asked not to leave their vehicles.
However, no additional grades for K-6 will be added to the grade book.
For elementary school students, teachers will communicate with parents by phone or email on a weekly basis. Teachers will be on call throughout the school day and will have remote office hours from 9-11 a.m. and 3-5 p.m. every day to assist.
In a letter informing parents about the curriculum plan, CUSD also reiterated that all district offices and campuses are currently closed to the public, but the district will continue to serve drive-thru breakfast and lunch to students ages 18 and under at the Coolidge High School cafeteria parking lot.
In addition, all extracurricular activities — including athletics— have been suspended until further notice.
Parents with questions or concerns can reach out to the district by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the principal for their child’s school site.
On Monday, Gov. Doug Ducey announced the closure of Arizona schools for the remainder of the school year. Officials from CUSD confirmed that the extended closures will not impact the district’s curriculum plan.
Wallace indicated that teachers will continue to provide instruction and lessons to students in an online format throughout the remainder of the year. However, she asked that parents and students exercise patience as district staff familiarize themselves with web meeting programs like Zoom and work to troubleshoot technical glitches.
“We’re asking for patience for this new way of delivering (education),” Wallace said. “Online learning is not as simple as it appears. We are asking for patience from parents and students as we deploy the iPads to the elementary students, as we push out delivery programs and as we assist the high school (students) with their Apple IDs.”