To our LCTI families,
Let me first thank you for your flexibility, patience and support as we work through the process of providing “continuity of education” for our students. This is a very challenging time period for many of our families as we all deal with and work through social distancing, business, school closures and the associated challenges of COVID-19.
LCTI is an extension of your school district and we are working closely with our member districts to be in lockstep with their educational delivery, as well as working to provide career and technical education in an eLearning environment, which has not been implemented on this scale previously. Please understand that this is a process and will be in continual development and refinement as we progress from week to week. Our students are accustomed to a structure and routine that mirrors a work environment, so in our drive to continue their career and technical education, we ask for your support and flexibility as our students begin to enter an eLearning environment.
Gov. Wolf announced on Monday (March 23, 2020) that Pennsylvania public schools will remain closed through April 6, 2020. School is then scheduled to open for staff to prepare schools and classrooms and subsequently receive children on April 9, 2020, but due to the effort to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, this might not be possible.
As a result, beginning the week of April 6, 2020, all LCTI students will begin required eLearning education, where learning continues through a series of structured activities that are teacher directed, student implemented and assessed for progress. Click here for a link to the timeline for implementing LCTI’s eLearning plan.
Using the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s guidance for continuity of education, LCTI is working with our staff to implement instruction in an online format. We are transitioning from our Flex Curriculum, which offers students employability instruction that is both non-graded and voluntary to planned instruction. This will include required engagement and formal teaching that is similar to what occurs in a classroom setting while students learn new concepts that are aligned to grade-level academic and career and technical education standards. However, the hands-on component of our instructional delivery will be a significant challenge.
To that end, our teachers are working to develop instruction that will, to the best of our abilities, continue our student’s education and training in their programs given that equipment needed will not be available in an online environment. In order to receive grades and credit, students must engage regularly and complete the course requirements. Attendance will be taken and each day will count as a regular school day. Again, LCTI will begin our online instruction during the week of April 6 and we ask for your support and patience as we deliver instruction in an environment that we have had a very limited time to plan and transition.
Our plan is dependent on our teachers’ ability to communicate with your child virtually and this is a significant departure from our typical delivery. Our current delivery, non-graded and voluntary will now transition to mandatory. LCTI is working to support all staff with tools, resources and professional development designed to enhance teaching and learning during the school closure.
As with any new venture, there will be growing pains and adjustments as we move into an eLearning environment. This will require your support from home as this will greatly enhance the impact and success knowing that it will take patience and again flexibility. For that, we thank you in advance. Because our mission is workforce development and training, this situation will teach our students critical thinking, adaptability and the and value of teamwork — all vital skills for success in today’s highly technical and connected workplace environment.
There will however be an adjustment as the routines and structure provided by LCTI have been absent for some time, so we need to work to reestablish this as an early framework for success. Know that every member of the LCTI family is committed to continuity of education and to provide learning and specific interventions for every student, but it will pose many challenges. Following an expected adjustment period and adherence to the process, we believe that it should become easier over time. We are confident in the adaptability of our very technology savvy students and I believe that they will be successful in their new learning environment.
During the next two weeks, as we move to the launch for the week of April 6, LCTI is working to orient everyone to the new eLearning format. As a first step, we want our students to make the connections with their teachers and become engaged in the new format. We will certainly walk before we can run so, again, patience and flexibility are key during this initial implementation phase as we are committed to their success.
Because this is a new process for everyone, there are recommendations for structuring your home to help ensure your child’s success as this will be vital to early adoption and smooth transition to the online environment. LCTI recommends the following guidelines:
• Identify a space, such as a dining room table, that could become the study space. It is beneficial to make this space different from a bedroom or other location with distractions.
• Develop a structured schedule for school work (e.g., 8:00 – 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.). This structure will begin to form a routine.
• Eliminate other distractions, such as cell phones and television, from the environment.
• Take a few moments to help your child get a feel for the “weeks’ worth” of assignments. This is a new skill. Students are not used to looking at a large batch of learning activities at one time and then developing a plan to tackle bite-sized chunks. This is an important life skill and will get easier.
• Ensure some “brain breaks” and exercise opportunities within the work times. The balance of mind and body will be especially important given the stress and anxiety of this global pandemic.
• Reinforce the importance of consistency in sleep patterns. We want to avoid “summer mode” when some students stay up very late and then “sleep until noon.”
• Reach out with questions. We want students and parents to ask for help or direction if they need it.
All LCTI teachers and staff are accessible via email during the school day. Click here to view our staff directory. Our administrative team, along with the Information Technology and Student Services departments, have worked to develop the plans for this transition. Click here to familiarize yourself with LCTI’s eLearning plan timeline.
We will keep you updated as we move through this transition and remain confident that, if we work together as a team, this will be successful.
Thomas J. Rushton, Ed.D.