Haslett Public School District administration talks business; next steps getting back into in-person schooling

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Image by Xavier Thompson.

Haslett schools are having a grand reopening of sorts, welcoming students back to classrooms.

Haslett Public Schools’ Board of Education hosted its third virtual regular meeting of the 2021 spring semester on Monday, Feb. 8, to discuss various topics such as a back-to-school update, a responsive return to school plan update, COVID-19 extended learning plan monthly reconfirmation, and more.

Superintendent Steven L. Cook said secondary students had begun hybrid module learning that day. Elementary school students began in-person instruction Feb. 1

Cook and other district officials plan to offer more in-person learning. 

The first step will be to send a survey to parents and guardians addressing preferences to change or adjust for more in-person learning. 

Second, the district will look at staffing to see how more in-person learning can be resored.. A timeline of how soon this can happen is being made.

Cook will be working with administrators and teachers on schedules.

As part of the Responsive Return to School plan, Haslett Public Schools introduced the Two-Way Interactions. As part of the required COVID-19 plans, Michigan’s Return to Learn legislation modified attendance requirements from a measure of scheduled physical attendance to a measure of participation through two-way interaction.

According to the website (https://www.haslett.k12.mi.us/Page/4494), two-way interaction means communication between the teacher or another district employee who has responsibility for the pupil’s learning, grade progression, or academic progress and the student. Click on the link for a full view at the Haslett Public Schools Two-Way Interactions: Attendance Data.

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Chart courtesy of Haslett Public School District.

Although Haslett has two-way data available on its public website, parents still wonder about student learning success.

 Nicole Waters, the mother of a Haslett student, asked about student success data.

“Especially in this covid environment and having online school now for almost a year, what that has done to student success data, I am waiting to hear about that,” said Waters.

Waters said she is curious about how students have been performing online compared to in the classroom. She said she thinks online schooling is a viable way to prepare students for college, she is curious how they have managed thus far into remote learning.  

Public comment is not a two-way dialogue between the board and individuals, but rather an opportunity for those to express comments or concerns. Necessary follow-up is delegated back to administrators or staff when appropriate.

As for vaccinations, Cook reported that about 92 teachers are scheduled to get the second vaccine dose between Thursday and Friday of this week.

“Our goal is to have everybody have their second shot by the end of February,” said Cook. By then, it will give everyone the first two weeks of March to be fully inoculated.

Haslett plans online summer classes to help students make up for lost learning opportunities

Typically, Haslett runs annual summer school programs for four to six weeks at the elementary level. Last year, there was more summer online learning for secondary students than ever, Cook said.

Haslett has not usually offered in-person summer opportunities for secondary students in the past.

The district plans to extend In-person sessions at the elementary schools, as staffing allows. Cook said he hopes to see the summer school program double compared to prior years, but critical factors will be staffing and what kind of opportunities can be offered.

Haslett is also looking to offer online summer school as it has in the past for things like credit recovery. 

Additionally, two grants were awarded from the Foundation for Haslett Schools. The first is the Mindful Practices Program Grant in the amount of $3,800, which will benefit students at Murphy Elementary and Vera Ralya Elementary School.

Mindful Practices’ software program is a simple online tool that helps students with online strategies and was piloted two years ago at Vera Ralya to its 3rd graders. Because of additional funding, the software program can be offered to all students, grades 2-5, at Murphy and Vera Ralya.

The second award is an ExploreLearning Gizmo grant for $1,750 to provide close to 300 students with individual access to ExploreLearning Gizmo. This program allows students an opportunity to investigate concepts through inquired learning and observe outcomes in real-time.

ExploreLearning Gizmo is being used at the high school science department and was piloted during the 2021 school year.