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Allegany County Schools will begin the fall with virtual learning; September 8th will be first day

August 4th, 2020 by WCBC Radio

Allegany County School Superintendent Jeff Blank announced Tuesday that Allegany County will begin the upcoming school year virtually. The board issued the following release following Tuesday's meeting:

The Allegany County Board of Education voted to start the 2020-2021 school year virtually, utilizing a new learning management platform that will offer learning opportunities that can very closely mirror face-to-face instruction. Students will begin their virtual learning on September 8, 2020, and educators will return August 19-21, 2020, and September 2-3, 2020, in preparation for the start of the school year.

              Schoology is a learning management system (LMS) that has all the tools necessary for educators to create engaging content, design lessons, and assess student understanding. With Schoology, teachers can quickly and easily create media-rich lessons, reuse past courses, and even embed content from Google Drive, Microsoft Office, YouTube, and more. Additionally, teachers will have the ability to pace and track students individually, connect them in collaborative groups, and differentiate and blend instruction.

              ACPS will begin the year online with shortened class periods and schedules that will allow for time in the afternoons for teachers to be available to answers questions and address potential concerns. Parents should also be on the lookout in the near future for information about attending small group sessions to learn more about the use of Schoology.

            ACPS educators have been participating in virtual sessions with representatives from Schoology in order to learn the platform’s basic features, including how to create virtual live classrooms, how to create assignments and assessments, and how to provide “offline” opportunities for students without reliable access to the Internet at home.   One requirement included in MSDE’s Recovery Plan is that all school systems ensure that Maryland College and Career Ready Standards from Pre-K through grade twelve are taught in all content areas and that state frameworks are followed. For this reason, ACPS content area supervisors are working collaboratively with teachers to create courses that meet this requirement.

            According to ACPS Coordinator of Professional Learning, Dr. George Brown, “The really good thing about Schoology is that teachers will have the autonomy to ultimately create and deliver lessons, which wasn’t possible this spring due to limitations with Google Classroom.”  Dr. Brown went on to say, “I am confident that if each teacher is prepared to provide high-quality instruction via Schoology, he/she will be prepared to provide high-quality instruction, regardless of the instructional situation. Will there be a learning curve for all involved? Absolutely! But we will provide support to educators, students, and parents/guardians as we, together, learn to navigate Schoology.”

            The school board’s decision to open the school year virtually will also postpone all athletic and extra curricular activities effective as of the time of this release (8/4/20 at 2 p.m). Central office leadership and school system administrators will continue to work in collaboration with the local Health Department to monitor COVID-19 to provide updates to the ACPS Recovery Plan, including athletics and extra curricular activities.

6 Responses to “Allegany County Schools will begin the fall with virtual learning; September 8th will be first day”

  1. August 04, 2020 at 1:46 pm, George said:

    My nephew’s wife was teaching summer school in Ohio and into the 3rd week she was admitted to the ICU after going to the ER. Less than a week later, she had to put on a ventilator. About a week later, her husband and 2 children had to say goodbye on an iPad being held by a pulmonologist. He got COVID into her hospital stay, and was hospitalized and later released. He still can’t smell or taste anything and his ears ring constantly. Mr. Jeff Blank is an exemplary leader during this difficult time. Thank you for your advocacy for safety for our kids and teachers.


  2. August 04, 2020 at 3:09 pm, Rock Cioni said:

    Hats Off to all of our teachers , administrators , all staff. There is no play book. I can only imagine how tough the Summer prep has been. I admire all of you.


  3. August 04, 2020 at 3:24 pm, mac said:

    Frankly I’m surprised but I’m pleased to see that the voice of reason has been heard in regard to our children.
    It’s also good to hear that ACPS is not participating in the ridiculous Mountain Maryland Pledge to Prevent. What an absurd idea!


  4. August 04, 2020 at 5:00 pm, Chuck Park said:

    The pledge is not new. The governor’s office had this pledge released in early May as many prepared to begin entering Phase I of opening up. So it has been around, just repackaged.


  5. August 04, 2020 at 8:07 pm, Beth said:

    Wise decision Mr.Blank.


  6. August 05, 2020 at 6:01 am, DPM said:

    Sad that it has to be this way, but as long as folks won’t wear masks & we can’t get tested widely & timely (because our government has failed us at all levels) the virus is here to stay. Makes one wish they lived in an advanced nation where people care for each other.


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