Guide to Distance Learning for Families

  • As SMMUSD families you may be wondering, "What does distance learning mean?" Distance Learning is an instructional approach in which the student and teacher are in different locations. This may include interacting through the use of digital devices, as well as delivering instruction and check-in time with their teacher. Distance learning may include video or audio instruction in which the primary mode of communication between the student and teacher is on-line interaction, instructional video, or other instruction that relies on a computer or communication device (phone). It may also include the use of print materials incorporating assignments that received written or oral feedback.

    As we more fully implement distance learning it is important to remember that it is not a minute-for-minute replacement of the school day; rather, it is an altered and abbreviated schedule that reflects the reality of our current situation. Our teachers and administrators are working extremely hard to adjust lessons and utilize new delivery methods so your student(s) may continue to be engaged, enthused and learning. Our team continues to be flexible, creative and understanding as they become more proficient in digital platforms and engaging students remotely.

    Distance Learning Frequently Asked Questions - English

    Distance Learning Frequently Asked Questions - Spanish

    In SMMUSD we are incorporating a blended distance learning approach to meet the needs of our students and families. In phase one of our distance learning plan (March 13th - April 3rd), we are implemented the following:

    • At the elementary level (PK-5), all teachers created a learning packet with three-weeks of academic lessons and activities to maintain continuity of learning for our students that can be completed with some parent facilitation.

    • At the middle school level (6-8), teachers created three-weeks of academic lessons and activities to be delivered through a blended model of learning packets and digital format on Google Classroom. Students had the opportunity to pick up their textbooks, resources, and devices on March 13th and 16th.

    • At the high school level (9-12), teachers created three-weeks of academic lessons and activities to be delivered digitally on Google Classroom. Students had the opportunity to pick up their textbooks, resources, and devices on March 13th and 16th.

    In phase two  (March 23rd – April 3rd) , the Ed Tech team distributed over 850 Chromebooks to students, across all grade levels, to support with the full implementation of distance learning upon our return from Spring Break. As part of this work, the Educational Services team provided online trainings to staff on the four platforms that we are using district wide: 1) Google Classroom; 2) Seesaw; 3) Screencastify; and 4) Zoom. To further support these efforts, sample distance learning schedules were created with guidelines for schools to use as they created their own site based distance learning schedules.  The sample schedules are as follows:

    > PK Sample Distance Learning Schedule
    > TK Sample Distance Learning Schedule
    > K-2 Sample Distance Learning Schedule
    > 3-5 Sample Distance Learning Schedule
    > 6-8 Sample Distance Learning Schedule
    > 9-12 Sample Distance Learning Schedule

    Each school principal engaged their staff to develop a schedule that would best meet the needs of their respective school community; while adhering to common district-wide agreements. Your student’s school principal and/or teacher will be sharing further details on their schedules.

    Phase three will begin on April 20th, with students and teachers re-engaging in distance learning after two-weeks of Spring break.  During the first week back, we will distribute Chromebooks to students that are still in need of a device. Please contact your teacher or administrator if your student needs a device and/or internet access for distance learning or complete this form: https://bit.ly/SMM0420.

    In the days and weeks to come, we will adjust our instructional approach to distance learning based on student, staff, and family feedback and ask for your understanding as we all work through this new way of teaching and learning.

    Please remember to be gentle with your children as they figure out how to navigate learning through an online platform, while resisting the call of their bed and/or toys. Be gentle with our teachers as they figure out how to transition to a completely online approach to teaching and learning while taking care of themselves and their families. Be gentle on yourself as you figure out how to facilitate this new learning experience for your children, while working remotely and taking care of yourself and your family.  We are all being called to do things differently and we will make it through together.

    I encourage you to communicate with your student's teacher and/or principal if you have any wonderings, successes, or appreciations you want to share regarding your student's distance learning experience.


    Updated on April 14, 2020

    Click on the links below for ideas on how you can continue supporting your child’s learning at home.

    Stay Connected with your Teacher with Google Classroom and Seesaw

    Virtual meetings with Google Meet and Zoom

    How Does my Child Log Into Clever?

    Books/Audiobooks

    Resources for At-Home Learning from Common Sense