Westville School District Parents and School Community,
This message is to help students, teachers, parents, and the school community understand the purpose of E-Learning Days and answer some frequently asked questions about an E-Learning day in the event these days are used in the near future.
What is an E- Learning Day?
An E-Learning Day is a day where students would stay home and have opportunities to extend learning when weather conditions make it hard to conduct school in-person.
How is an E-Learning Day different than a traditional Snow Day?
An E-Learning Day provides students an opportunity to continue learning even when they are not present at the school. This means E-Learning Days do not have to be made up at the end of the school year. A traditional Snow Day would require the school and students to make up the day at the end of the school year.
Why would the District Use an E-Learning Day instead of a Snow Day?
The district would likely use an E-Learning Day instead of a Snow Day to provide kids an opportunity to learn without extending the school year.
Canceling a school day is disruptive for students, teachers, and families no matter the reason for the cancelation. Using a snow day keeps the kids physically in school more (by adding the day at the end of the school year), but there are challenges with a snow day.
At the end of the year senior and eighth grade students have finished and they are not present to make up the snow day they missed. It can also be hard for students to maintain academic focus in late May and June. Finally, there is some benefit for families in having a fairly clear idea of when the school year ends for events like graduation, final exams, prom, and the start of summer break. These issues are considered when the district opts to use an E-Learning Day instead of a traditional Snow Day.
What kind of work should students prepare to do on an E-Learning Day?
The district understands that when students are not in school it is harder to learn and engage in school activities. The primary focus on an E-Learning will be for review and enrichment. This means students will have opportunities to review concepts their teachers have already covered with them, or take an opportunity to go deeper into a topic that has already been covered. The overall approach for the district on an E-Learning day will be to provide opportunities to benefit a student and avoid going into new concepts that would be hard for students to complete without greater teacher instruction.
Elementary students should have all received review and enrichment packets to help provide opportunities for them in the event an E-Learning day were to be called. Junior high and high school students will have information shared with them electronically via email, Google classroom, or other normal electronic communications the teachers use with their students during the year.
The district understands that learning at home has significant challenges and that is why we have decided focus this time on review and enrichment. This will minimize potential for academic loss. The more students put into an E-Learning Day the more benefit they will receive; but for those challenges that will inevitably occur, this approach should reduce stress for students and families.
How do E-Learning Day or Snow Days impact any extra-curricular activities?
Activities like practice, games, concerts, and other extra-curricular activities will be considered on an event-by-event basis. There may be situations with cold temperatures that make bus transportation a challenge for elementary students waiting at bus stops in the morning, that may not affect the ability to safely host a home athletic competition later that evening. Likewise, there may be days where school is in session during the day, but poor weather conditions in the afternoon would necessitate canceling practices and/or games. Safety will continue to be the primary focal point when making decisions about extra-curricular events, regardless of whether it is a normal school day, E-Learning Day, or a Snow Day.
How will the school community be notified if there is an E-Learning Day?
The district’s primary notification will be via text message and a cell phone call to the phone numbers provided to the schools during registration. Additionally, this information will be shared on the school website, social media, and local news outlets.
It is the goal of the district to safely be in-person for school each and every day of the school year. When this is not possible, we will notify the school community as quickly as we can so planning adjustments can be made. I hope this information about E-Learning and Snow Days helps people better understand the difference between the two types of days and what goes into the decision-making process when any school closure is made.
Thank you for your support of Westville Schools,
Seth Miller, Ph.D.
Westville School District