RED OAK – COVID-19 and school closures in the spring understandably left some parents feeling uncertain and apprehensive for the start of the upcoming school year. While some families are eager for their child to return to on-campus learning, other families have concerns due to COVID-19.
In an effort to provide a supportive and collaborative learning environment that will meet the needs of all of its families, Life School students will have a choice to either return to the traditional classroom on campus for in-person learning or participate in remote instruction from their homes for the 2020-2021 school year.
“Safety of our students and staff is the No. 1 priority for Life School,” Life School Superintendent Dr. Brent Wilson said. “Therefore, it is important to everyone that we provide the type of learning environment that meets the needs of our students and families during this unique time.
“We are working hard to ensure our students thrive and continue to be ready to learn, ready to lead and ready for life, regardless of the physical location of their learning environment,” he said.
Expanded Learning Capabilities
After evaluating last spring’s distance learning platform and incorporating valuable feedback from parents and teachers, Life School has made a $1.7 million investment in new technology that will help deliver instruction effectively in the classroom and remotely.
The foundation of the technology is the new LMS that will be incorporated into everyday learning on campus and at home. The LMS will serve as the central learning location for accessing all assignments, grades and instruction and will include the online learning platforms Canvas for secondary students (7-12) and Google Classroom for elementary students (K-6).
Students and parents will receive training and support on the LMS so they’re well equipped to use the LMS in the classroom or remotely, allowing for a seamless transition should Life School have to move to a remote learning environment for all students during the year.
The investment also includes more technological devices for students and increased training for teachers. For secondary students, Life School will adopt a 1:1 device ratio. This means all students, grades 7-12, will have access to a technology device for use throughout the school year. For students in grades K-6, Life School is adopting a 2:1 device ratio to further integrate technology in the classroom. Life School will continue to assess programs and make adjustments based on how best to serve students.
To prepare teachers to deliver remote instruction, Life School has implemented a Blended Learning Academy, providing all Life School teachers access to training over the summer. Additionally, Life School is exploring other options to maximize the remote learning experience, based on the feedback provided by families and teachers.
“Our investment in technology and online infrastructure will provide students and staff the equipment and operational platforms to further close opportunity gaps that exist among historically underserved areas,” Wilson said. “We are making an investment in our students and the communities we serve.”
Safety Is No. 1 Priority
To provide the safest environment for staff and students, Life School will follow all guidelines and recommendations set forth by the Texas Education Agency and local health officials. Life School is working to finalize plans for cleaning and sanitation protocols, guidance for use of staff/student sanitation stations, staff/student attendance expectations and stay-at-home guidance and social distancing while on campus.
To ensure safety for students and staff while they are on campus, the Texas Education Agency will distribute more than 60,000 face masks, 18,000 sets of gloves, 41 thermometers, more than 500 adult face shields and nearly 600 gallons of hand sanitizer to Life School.
Because of the uncertainty surrounding the start of the school year, some families may not have enrolled their children in school yet. Life School enrollment is still open and space is available.
“We want to make sure families know that there are still available spots in selected grades at our schools,” Wilson said. “We are confident our new technology offerings and the new virtual learning platform will help families in their decision-making process for August. The start of school is less than two months away, so we want to share with families the steps Life School is taking to create a safe learning environment for our students.”
To learn more about Life School or to apply, visit https://lifeschool.net/enrollment/life-school-enrollment.