Return to School Roadmap - 2020-21
January 11 Update - Return to In-Person Learning Plan Approved
On January 11, the Board of Education voted to approve the Extended COVID-19 Learning Plan Update - January 11. This means elementary students and special education categorical programming will have the option to return to the classroom beginning February 1, middle school students have the option to return to the classroom beginning February 8 and high school students have the option to return on February 22. Beginning in September, the Oakland County Health Division (OCHD) epidemiologists and health officials released weekly school reports reporting a weekly school risk level. Previous Board approval of a Return to School Plan included returning to in-person learning when the County was in a ‘D’ risk level. The state released their new guidance for schools last week, and now the county risk level matrix is obsolete. The District will continue to stay in touch with OCHD to evaluate community spread, percent positivity and cases per million to understand the levels of COVID-19 in our communities as we move forward.
To read more details of a message from Superintendent Dennis McDavid, visit our News webapge.
January 8 Update - Proposal to Return to In-Person Learning
On Friday, January 8, Superintendent Dennis McDavid sent an update to the community with a recommendation that will be made to the Board of Education with a new timeline to return students to the classroom with an option for virtual learning for anyone who wishes to remain in a remote setting.
November 2 Update - Elementary Return Plan On Hold
During November 2, 2020 Board of Education Study Session a Board member proposed a motion that said, “I move to pause implementation of the plan that was approved at our October 19 meeting until Oakland County Health Division can report a “D” or safer risk level and the Superintendent is ready to safely implement the plan.” After great discussion, this motion passed unanimously. This was not a recommendation from the administration, but was a motion made at the Board table.
This decision means that due to the significant increase and prevalence of COVID-19 in Oakland County, the Berkley School District will be putting a pause on our elementary in-person start and Online Academy plan, following the recommendations by the Oakland County Health Division as noted in their guidance for in-person instruction document. Our phase-in plan that was set to begin on November 9 is now on hold. This means our students will continue with their current teachers and classroom communities in a remote environment. While we are not moving forward with our elementary in-person plans at this time, we are also not dialing back the programs and in-person opportunities we have in place for students. This pause does not change the Berkley Building Blocks program or the in-person opportunities currently taking place with students with special needs. We will continue to work with the administration as we move forward to bring all our students back safely.
Read more of this message from Board of Education President Keith Logsdon on our news page.
October 19 Update
On October 19, 2020, the Board of Education approved the Berkley School District Extended COVID-19 Learning Plan Update, calling for the return to in-person learning for elementary students beginning on November 9 (grades TK-2) and November 11 (grades 3-5). Secondary students will return when the District has a feasible plan and is ready for secondary students to return.
August 4 Update
Currently, the Detroit Region of Michigan is in Phase 4 the Economic Plan. Beginning the school year in Phase 4 means Berkley Schools will open following the guidelines for Instruction, Option I - Online for All, in the Return to School Roadmap. Once it has been determined safe to return to the classroom, the District will survey families to see if a continued virtual option is needed.
On August 3, 2020, the Board of Education approved the Berkley School District Return to School Roadmap linked below.
Berkley Schools Return to School Roadmap
- Berkley Schools Return to School Roadmap - Official
- Recommendation to the Board for Returning Online
- Berkley Schools Extended COVID-19 Learning Plan - Approved
- Berkley Schools Extended COVID-19 Learning Plan Update - Approved 10/19/20
- Berkley Schools Extended COVID-19 Learning Plan Update - Approved 1/11/21
The 27 page Berkley Schools Return to School Roadmap outlines how school will be handled in each phase of the Governor's plan.
The Extended COVID-19 Learning Plan Updates outline how the District will bring students back into the classroom while also providing a virtual option for elementary students.
The community is encouraged to read both plans in their entirety. The plans includes details on safety protocols, mental and social-emotional wellness, instruction and operations.
- Safety Protocols: mask wearing, cleaning procedures, responding to positive tests, food service, gathering capacities, athletics, and more
- Mental & Social-Emotional Wellness: curriculum, student lessons, staff & student wellness, partnerships, surveys, and more
- Instruction: details on learning in each phase, details for online and in-person options, systems for delivering instruction, considerations for all levels, and more
- Operations: budget, food service, enrollment, staffing, facilities and technology details
Board of Education Meetings on the Extended COVID-19 Learning Plan Updates
October 15, 2020 Meeting
October 19, 2020 Meeting
Return to In-Person Learning Timeline
- January 12-14: Survey is open for elementary families to make their final selection for learning (virtual or in-person).
- January 14-19: Survey is open for middle school families to make their final selection for learning (virtual or in-person).
- January 19-22: Place elementary students and teachers for both virtual and in-person classrooms.
- January 19-22: Survey is open for high school families to make their final selection for learning (virtual or in-person).
- January 25: Elementary and middle school teachers return to the building.
- February 1:
- Elementary students, including elementary special education and secondary categorical program students (ASD, CI, EI, ATP), return to school in person following the half day model. Students complete lessons in Schoology during their opposite in-person time (AM or PM).
- Virtual learning begins for grades TK-5.
- GSRP and Head Start begin in-person opportunities.
- February 1: High school teachers return to the building.
- February 8: Middle School students return in person following a hybrid schedule - two days a week in person, three days online, following the current A/B schedule. Students who choose to remain virtual will live-stream into classrooms.
- February 22: High School students return in person following a hybrid schedule - two days a week in person, three days online, following the current A/B schedule. Students who choose to remain virtual will live-stream into classrooms.
It is up to our community to help us remain in-person for learning by observing safe practices at home:
- Keeping sick kids at home
- Washing hands often
- Not gathering in large groups
- Wearing masks while in public
- Notifying the school about possible exposure
January 11, 2021 Update
Since the first week of school in August, special education staff have been actively reaching out to families of students with special needs to discuss any adjustments needed for remote learning. This collaboration between parents, guardians, and teachers has helped to ensure students are receiving what they need to learn.
Starting the week of September 21, 2020, through the December 8, 2020 pause, all students TK-12 and Adult Transition with IEPs were offered a schedule of in-person learning opportunities. A similar model will begin starting January 19, 2021 to help students transition to a regular in-person schedule.
For those who choose to learn virtually, we anticipate most IEP and 504 plans will be followed as written, including accommodations, programs and services, understanding that some IEPs and 504s may need to be adjusted based on the individual needs of the students.
Some special education classes may return to in-person classes on a schedule that is different than the rest of the building. These decisions will be made based on the individual needs of each child with an IEP by their IEP team.
Categorical classrooms (e.g., EI, CI, ASD, ATP) throughout the District will return to in-person along with the first wave of elementary students on February 1.
October 19, 2020 Update
Since the first week of school in August, special education staff have been actively reaching out to families of students with special needs to discuss any adjustments needed for remote learning. This collaboration between parents, guardians, and teachers has helped to ensure students are receiving what they need to learn. As of the week of September 21, 2020, all students TK-12 and Adult Transition with IEPs have been offered a schedule of in-person learning opportunities. This model will help students transition to a regular in-person schedule.
For an Online Academy option, we anticipate most IEP and 504 plans will be followed as written, including accommodations, programs and services, understanding that some IEPs and 504s may need to be adjusted based on the individual needs of the students.
Some special education classes may return to in person classes on a schedule that is different, and perhaps longer, than the rest of the building. These decisions will be made based on the individual needs of each child with an IEP by their IEP team.
Categorical classrooms (e.g., EI, CI, ASD, ATP) throughout the District will return to in-person along with the first wave of elementary students.
November 9, 2020
- Special education categorical programming will begin an enhanced in person schedule. Caseload teachers will contact families to discuss these plans.
- Grades TK-2nd students return in person for a half day of learning through the end of the first semester, January 15, 2021. Students complete lessons in Schoology during their opposite in-person time (AM or PM). The Online Academy begins for grades TK-2.
August 6, 2020 Message to Families
Heather Lackey, Director of Student Services, sent the following message to all families with students with special needs on August 6, 2020.
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Heather Lackey and I’m the Director of Student Services for the Berkley School District. Now that our Return to School Roadmap is out and our Board of Education voted to begin the school year online, I wanted to touch base with our families with students with special needs.
The Return to School Roadmap committees were broad representations of all stakeholders in our community. Special Education was represented in every committee and was considered in every aspect of our planning. While Special Education may not have its own section in the Roadmap document, certainly when we talk about “all” students in the document, our students with special needs are always included.
Like their general education peers, students with special needs will experience a more robust online experience than the spring. Instruction will include live teaching and supports, and one access point - Schoology - for parents to engage with their child’s learning. One component of Schoology I’m most excited about is the ability for our teachers to use breakout rooms. This will allow paraeducators to support students in smaller groups.
We have heard from parents that many are concerned about the need for in-person instruction for their child. We are actively looking into the possibility of students with IEPs who require in-person instruction to have opportunities for face-to-face learning in small groups with safety precautions in place.
We are also working through what assessments will look like for all our students. New guidance is expected from the State as well as county-wide professional groups. As soon as we receive and process the new guidance we’ll share with our families who have a child in need of assessments.
In closing, I’d like to stress that more than ever we are a team - you the parent/guardian and us the educators. IEP teams will be contacting you to review IEPs to discuss what if any changes may be needed with the addition of a “virtual plan” to be referenced on the accommodations page. We will do our best to continue to individualize for our students, which has always been a hallmark of our district. We want to serve our students as best as we can. If you have any concerns, please share them with your child’s teacher or with me so we can resolve anything that comes up during the online learning period of time.
I wish you well and hope you enjoy these last few weeks of summer break. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me and share any questions or concerns you may have.
Director of Student Services
Berkley School District
August 3, 2020 Update
The Special Education Team has been working to outline all details for families with students with special needs. The team continues to meet regularly to finalize a plan to deliver instruction in the online environment. As soon as all details are ready, it will be shared with all families.
Family Choice Options
Families will have the option of making a choice for the learning path for their child. Families will receive a form to complete the third week of October 2020. There will be an adjustment window opened in January 2021 to allow families to change their choice as well, as outlined below.
For the entire 2020-21 school year, families will always have the option to have their child remain in the Online Academy. The first Online Academy commitment will be through January 15, 2021.
Making a Change
The District will offer students who are in both the Online Academy and in-person classrooms an opportunity to re-evaluate their learning choice and potentially make a different choice. The District will not survey all families again, but will open a window for anyone to request a change. If a request is made by the parents/guardians to change the learning options, each building will place students into classrooms where there is space available.
Starting November 9 with TK-2nd grade, the District plans to begin half-days of in-person learning for families who make this choice through at least January 15, 2021. An uptick in COVID-19 cases in Oakland County, an elevation of risk level by the Oakland County Health Division or other unforeseen circumstances could require the in-person learners to return to remote learning. If this occurs, students who are in-person would remain with that classroom cohort while learning via Schoology in a remote setting until it is deemed safe to return in person.
Return to In-Person Learning Elementary Surveys - October 2020
The PDF links below are the graph results from the elementary Return to In-Person learning surveys asking families their preference for remaining in an online learning environment, returning to the classroom for face-to-face learning and their preference for half day or full day.
Safety Protocol Documents & Videos
We have received questions about the PPE options for students and staff as well as understanding the difference between cleaning and disinfecting in our schools. We have created the following documents:
Safety Protocol Videos
Cleaning vs Disinfecting Video
2019-20 Teacher and School Support COVID Grants (Hazard Pay) Programs
Teacher and School Support COVID Grants (Hazard Pay) Programs
The Michigan Legislature recently passed into law Public Act 166 of 2020 creating the Teacher COVID-19 Grant and School Support COVID-19 Grant Programs that appropriated funding of up to $500 for TK-12 classroom teachers and $250 for TK-12 school support staff. Eligible staff members are those who worked additional time outside of normal working hours, experienced hazardous conditions, or incurred additional costs related to ensuring our Berkley students could effectively participate in the District's Continuity of Learning Plan during the period of school closure in 2019-20, mid March through the end of the school year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The District's Human Resources and Business Office departments sent an email to all potentially eligible staff on November 9, 2020. If you think you are eligible, please check your email. If you did not receive an email, and you think you are eligible, please reach out to Erin Haley in the Human Resources Department.
- November 9, 2020: District will notify (potentially) eligible staff by sending Form 5734.
- December 4, 2020: Deadline for staff to complete and submit Form 5734 to the District certifying eligibility.
- December 16, 2020: Deadline for the District to review all Forms 5734s, compile relevant data and submit to the State of Michigan.
- February 25, 2021: Checks mailed to eligible staff by the State of Michigan.
Additional detail surrounding eligibility, key time lines and a robust FAQ, among other solid information can be found on the Michigan Treasury website.
Elementary Half Day In-Person Overview
The District will offer a half day hybrid model of in-person instruction to our TK-5 grade students, beginning November 9, with grades TK-2, and November 11 with grades 3-5.
We recognize that developmentally our elementary students need consistency with learning routines, socialization, and connecting with their teacher and classmates on a daily basis. The approach of bringing students back to the classroom five days a week for half days supports health and safety by reducing the number of students in a building while offering a consistent daily routine.
Elementary In-Person Structure & Schedule
- AM students will attend 8:15-11:00 am
- PM students will attend 12:30-3:15 pm
- Classrooms will be sanitized in-between the AM and PM sessions
- Sample daily in-person schedule
Having students attend a half day of school in-person means they will attend five (5) days a week and will remain in either an AM or PM grouping. Students with a last name in the first half of the alphabet will receive in-person lessons in the AM. The second half of the alphabet will receive their in-person lessons in the PM.
During their in-person time, students will complete their Math and English Language Arts lessons, hold group meetings, and may complete social studies and science lessons, too.
During their at-home, independent work time, students will use Schoology to access live virtual Specials classes at a consistent daily time, additional materials for science and social studies lessons and finish homework or other assignments.
Students will not eat lunch at school, however, the Food Service staff will develop a plan to allow families who would like their child to receive meals the opportunity to do so.
Each school building is developing plans to minimize crowds in concentrated areas at arrival and dismissal times. This will include having students enter through different doors or other methods unique to that school. More detailed information will be provided by each school closer to the in-person start date.
Students may enjoy recess with their class following the Oakland County Health Division playground guidelines.
In-Person Safety Commitment
If you choose to return in person, you will be asked to commit to the following safety parameters within the Intent to Return form.
- Conduct daily health screening of your children at home and report results to school if there is a concern. This is a requirement of the Oakland County Health Division.
- Notify the school principal immediately if anyone in the household exhibits symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19.
- Adhere to guidance from the Oakland County Health Division regarding self-quarantine for exposure to COVID-19, whether that exposure is in school or outside of the school environment.
- Abide by all protocols and procedures outlined by the Berkley School District, including requiring students to wear masks at all times, with the exception of documented medical exemptions.
- Keep my child at home if they are feeling ill.
Elementary In-Person Classroom Size
One of the drivers for the decision of a half-day recommendation was classroom size. Having half of the class attend at a time allows our class sizes to remain in an 8-13 range at a time. Reducing class sizes in this way allows the District to keep students as spaced out as possible in our elementary classrooms.
Elementary In-Person Classroom Adjustments
Returning to in-person, along with creating an Online Academy, will likely cause adjustments to the elementary classroom communities. We understand that this may be difficult for some children. It is the most challenging aspect of creating an in-person option at the card marking break.
However, no matter which teacher a child continues with, know that all Berkley Schools’ teachers are outstanding, and will do their absolute best to make fast connections, relationships and vibrant classroom communities. We know our students have the capacity to adapt to their new class community and continue to thrive. Teachers are experts in forming classroom communities and their top priority will be making connections with all learners, especially to those new to their classes.
Elementary In-Person Missed School Work
Missed School Work Due to Illness
The District’s current practice of allowing students to make up any school work missed while sick will continue. Teachers will have access to post resources for students inside of Schoology. For in-person learners, the students would miss access to live instruction if home sick. With the Schoology technology, students may be provided videos to accompany lessons if deemed necessary.
Missed School Work Due to Quarantine
The District understands there may be situations where students are exposed to COVID-19 and asked to quarantine. In this situation, where a child is not sick, but cannot be in school, the District will work to provide each individual student with learning options that best meet their needs.
Click on the expandable menus below for access to details about online learning for all. This plan is active August 31-October 30, 2020 for elementary students.
Letter to the Community
August 4, 2020
Dear Berkley Schools Community,
Over the past few months our administrative team along with teachers, custodians, secretaries, and paraprofessionals worked diligently to create a Return to School Roadmap. This guiding document was created following the Governor’s MI Safe Schools Return to School Roadmap as well as guidance from the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics. In addition to committee meetings, we surveyed our parents and staff to garner as much input from our stakeholders as possible as well as held meetings with the PTSA Council and students. Once we were nearly complete with this phase of the work, our Cabinet team met with the Board of Education for two workshops to discuss planning, concerns and educational options. All of this was with the goal of returning to school in person.
After considering the work the team completed, outlining all the steps needed to return to our buildings, as well as balancing all of the required safety protocols, the what-ifs and unknowns, last night, at a Board of Education Special Meeting, I recommended to the Board of Education that we begin our school year fully online. The Board approved this recommendation. We believe safety is our number one priority, and if we really stand by that principle, then I could not recommend opening our buildings to in-person instruction. We will begin the year all online at least through the end of the first marking period, October 30, 2020.
I’d like to take this opportunity to share how I arrived at this recommendation. As our teams worked to find solutions to all requirements in the Governor’s plan, it became very clear to me that we would hit many roadblocks as we returned to school in-person. With every fiber of my being I want our students back in our schools, but as we worked through the issues we found more and more blockers to a safe return. We began to focus our work on the “what-ifs.” What if staff and students became sick and we had to close classrooms or buildings? What if we had a year that was full of starts and stops because of a need to quarantine students or staff because of a suspected case? How long would those disruptions last and how often would they happen? And how many of those disruptions do you need to have before you lose any value you gain from in-person learning? What if the coronavirus spread through our schools and infected our community on a large scale? What if our custodians became sick and we didn’t have enough staff to disinfect our buildings? What if we couldn’t hire enough staff to complete the required cleaning protocols? And many more. We believe we could start the year with some kind of in-person option, probably hybrid learning, but given the fluid nature of the virus we remain concerned about how long we could stay open because of the kinds of disruptions mentioned above. In the end we believe that a consistent, stable and safe learning environment is key to moving forward.
Inside of our Return to School roadmap you will see details on safety, wellness, instruction and operations. We have detailed what online learning will look like, how much time will be required in front of a device daily and which systems we will use to make this fall a very robust and successful time of learning. We are happy to share we purchased an online Learning Management System, Schoology, to have one system where all teaching and learning will take place, rather than multiple systems like we offered in the spring. We also detailed what returning for in-person instruction will look like and what safety precautions will be required, when it is safe to do so.
I appreciate all who spoke at our Board meeting sharing their concerns. We heard you and will work to address all concerns over the next month. As we begin discussions on evaluating if it is safe to return to the classroom, we’ll be sure to let the community know when those are happening and how they can participate.
Please understand the recommendation for beginning the year fully online was not made lightly. I know this is not the direction we were leaning three weeks ago. I know that starting online creates many challenges to all of our families. We also know that families who have students with special needs will be particularly impacted. Those families will receive an email this week from Director of Student Services Heather Lackey outlining what her team is working on to prepare for the school year, including how services will be delivered online.
In the time of a global pandemic, flexibility is the word I keep coming back to. As frustrating as unknowns and course changes are, the nature of a novel virus is that it’s new, experts don’t know everything about it and as scientists learn more they change their recommendations for safe practices. And, as the science changes, our response needs to change, too. Recent studies are now saying children as young as 10 spread the virus just as rapidly as adults. And, because the virus is not well controlled in Michigan, the Governor just last week, reduced indoor gathering maximums to 10 people. I’m not sure why we believe the virus will behave differently in schools where 100s gather inside for prolonged periods every day.
In the coming weeks you will learn more about online learning. Our team is also thinking through potential options for child care for our families in greatest need as well as what food service distribution will look like. There are more components to returning to school that will be finalized and shared as they are completed.
You can view the complete 27 page plan on our Return to School website as well as Frequently Asked Questions. We will continue to develop this website as additional back to school planning is completed. Please also know that this is a 60 day plan. If other schools choose to open for face-to-face learning and don’t have the kinds of issues that we anticipate, we can pivot to in-person learning as outlined in our Phase 4 Instructional Plan under Option II - Return to the Classroom.
We all care deeply about the health and wellness of our students and staff and will always make decisions in the best interest of their safety. I welcome any questions or concerns, and I wish you all well through the last month of the summer break.
Berkley School District
Online for All Details - Through October 30, 2020
All students will begin the 2020-21 year in remote instruction and continue online through at least the first card marking period (October 30, 2020). Once it has been determined safe to return to the classroom, the District will survey families to see if a continued virtual option is needed.
In order to hold more robust learning for both in-person and online instruction, the District invested in an online Learning Management System, Schoology. All teachers will use this system, which has the capacity to deliver live instruction, post assignments, assign grades and communicate with students. Schoology will support an online learning environment in the following ways:
- All teachers will use Schoology to deliver instruction
- Schoology offers students the opportunity to see assignments and grades, participate in group discussions, interact with teachers and other students, track their progress, turn in assignments, monitor progress and homework due dates, plus much more
- Schoology is a tool that students use daily to interface with the teacher on assignments and coursework. It also allows parents to manage their child’s academic progress, including combining children into one parent login.
In addition to Schoology, families will be provided with the material lists they may need to help implement learning at home. Consideration will be made to also provide packets of information for students to complete without their electronic devices.
Expectations for participation, assignments and attendance will also be shared with all students and parents prior to the school year beginning.
Elementary Online Schedule: Grades TK-5
Once the finalized schedule is ready, it will be posted here and emailed to all. Below are important details to know about the elementary online daily schedule.
- Teachers will deliver live lessons daily
- Daily lessons will include math and English language arts, with half the class at a time
- Science and Social Studies assignments and projects will be posted in Schoology
- Students can expect to participate in online instruction for 1.5 - 3 hours per day broken up by breaks, depending on the grade level
- Specials will be offered to all students
- Berkley Schools will provide a detailed schedule for all grade levels
- Time is added in to the day for students who need accommodations, small conferences, and/or resource room support
- Students with special needs will also receive online instruction and teachers will work closely with families to deliver content in an appropriate way
- Families will be provided with the material lists they may need to help implement learning at home.
- Consideration will be made to also provide packets of information for students to complete without their electronic devices.
Secondary Online Schedule: Grades 6-12
Below are important details to know about the secondary online daily schedule.
- Students will follow a block A/B schedule
- Norup, Anderson and BHS will send out building specific schedules
- Middle School instructional blocks will be an hour and fifteen minutes each and include live teaching
- High School instructional blocks will be an hour and a half each and include live teaching
- A support block of time will be available for interventions and individual student conferences
- Students will follow their in-class schedules for the live online lessons
- Secondary students can expect to participate in online instruction for 3 - 4.5 hours per day broken up by breaks, depending on the grade level
- Schoology will be used to support at-home learning on students’ off days
Mental & Social-Emotional Health
Mental and Social-Emotional Health will take a front seat during the 2020-21 school year. Berkley School District recognizes that mental health among staff and students needs to be a priority based on survey data from both groups. In a summer 2020 survey, 71% of parents reported behavior changes in their children since the pandemic began. 63% of staff reported anticipating feeling overwhelmed, anxious, depressed or otherwise upon their return to work.
Knowing this data, it is imperative that the District take a close focus on serving the mental health needs of all our stakeholders. Without this focus, teaching and learning will be challenging.
The Berkley School District will implement the following strategies for Phase 4.
- Adopt a new social-emotional curriculum, Second Step, for students grades TK-8
- All students, grades TK-8, will engage in a weekly social and emotional lesson
- Continue the Sources of Strength program at Berkley High School as well as access to counselors
- Students will be asked to respond weekly to a mental health screening assessment to evaluate if any supports are needed
- Survey families to assess the mental health needs of our students
- Provide parent resources to help their children with mental health needs
- Partner with community mental health agencies to provide mental health support for students and staff
- Establish the position of a Wellness Coordinator. The Wellness Coordinators will be filled by current Berkley Schools mental health professionals. They will provide assistance implementing the social-emotional curriculum, present at staff meetings, and check in with staff in the building.
- Actively share mental health resources to staff through the bi-weekly staff newsletter, the staffHUB
- Develop a regular check in mechanism for staff members during remote learning
- Provide staff with training to identify students at risk while delivering online instruction
Wellness Screeners - August 14, 2020, Update
As stated in our Return to School Roadmap, the District is making social-emotional wellness a priority as we return to school and throughout this school year. In order to understand where our students are as we begin remote learning, school principals will be sending screener surveys for all students to take before school begins. The answers to these surveys will help our District mental health professionals plan lessons and prepare teachers with additional resources as needed. We have separate screening surveys for each grade level - elementary, middle and high school. Be on the lookout for these surveys in upcoming communications from principals and be sure to have your child fill them out.
Before the school year begins, the District’s technology team will survey families to identify tech needs for each student, including computers and internet hotspots. Berkley School District is not a 1 to 1 district, but devices will be available to support online learning for staff and students.
Low Cost Internet Options
If you are in need of low cost internet here are options for you to explore that offer assistance to families.
- Xfinity has an Internet Essentials plan for $9.95/month.
- AT&T has an affordable internet plan for $10/month.
- EveryoneOn has a locator tool to see what low cost plans and devices you may be eligible for.
If your child is in need of a device from the District, or your family needs a hot spot to add internet to your home, please fill out our survey. In order to receive a device on Monday and Tuesday of next week, we ask you to fill out this technology survey by today, Wednesday, August 19.
What is a hot spot?
A hot spot is a device that adds the internet to your home, when you have no other internet access for computers and tablets. Only one hot spot is needed per family and the service is limited to websites that will support remote learning. Anyone who indicated they needed a hot spot will receive a follow-up survey on Thursday, August 20.
If you don't have a need for a device or hot spot, there is no need to fill out the survey.
Distribution Schedule - Mark Your Calendar: Week of August 24-28
Monday, Wednesday & Friday
- BHS, AMS, Norup
- 9-11 am & 3-6 pm
Tuesday & Thursday
- Angell, Burton, Pattengill, Rogers
- 9-11 am & 3-6 pm
If you fill out the technology survey by Wednesday, August 19, you may pick up your device from your child’s school building during the above times/dates, starting on Monday.
If you complete the technology survey after Wednesday, August 19, you will not be able to pick up your device until Wednesday, August 26 (BHS, AMS, Norup) and Thursday, August 27 (elementary schools), to allow our technology team to prepare and assign devices.
Schoology - Online Learning Management System
Schoology is the online Learning Management System teachers will use to deliver online instruction.
We also heard loud and clear in our surveys from the spring that while parents and guardians were proud of our teachers for their rapid switch to deliver instruction online, they also wanted less logins, less systems and as much streamlining as possible. We believe Schoology accomplishes all of these requests.
Schoology has the capacity to deliver instruction live, post assignments, assign grades and communicate with students.
Schoology offers students the opportunity to see assignments and grades, participate in group discussions, interact with teachers and other students, track their progress, turn in assignments, monitor progress and homework due dates, plus much more. Schoology is a tool that students can use daily to interface with the teacher on assignments and coursework. It also allows parents to manage their child’s academic progress.
Parents can merge their children inside of the system to allow one access to see all work for all children. Parents will access Schoology with their MISTAR Parent Portal logins and students will access it with their school Google login credentials. In addition, Schoology has an App for families to use.
As we merge MISTAR with Schoology, we’ll send additional communications on how to access the system, and the difference between Schoology and MISTAR.
Elementary Online Academy Overview
An online elementary academy will be available for students who choose to remain in remote learning.
- Students will have a Berkley Schools teacher.
- Students will use Schoology to access their live lessons as well as any asynchronous (recorded) lessons.
- The Online Academy schedule will adjust to mirror the in-person schedule, allowing for live science, social studies and Specials lessons.
- Students whose last name is in the first half of the alphabet will receive their live core lessons in the AM, second half of the alphabet in the PM.
- Sample daily schedule for the Online Academy.
- The Online Academy will stay closely paced to the in-person delivery of lessons.
- Keeping students connected to their home school is important to the District and will continue. Students will remain connected through daily Specials lessons, PTA events, school newsletters, etc.
- The District will assign an administrator to oversee the Online Academy program, since it will include students from all elementary buildings.
Elementary Online Academy Staffing
This academy will be a District program and will be staffed by Berkley teachers from all elementary schools, and potentially new Berkley teachers. The District will do its best to keep the online classes composed of students from the same school, but may also need to combine students from different schools to complete sections.
Elementary Online Academy Classroom Adjustments
Creating an Online Academy will likely cause adjustments to the current elementary online classroom communities. We understand that this may be difficult for some children. It is the most challenging aspect of creating the Academy.
However, no matter which teacher a child continues with, know that all Berkley Schools teachers are outstanding, and will do their absolute best to make fast connections, relationships and vibrant classroom communities. We know our students have the capacity to adapt to their new online class community and continue to thrive. Teachers are experts in forming classroom communities and their top priority will be making connections with all learners.
The percentage of students who may change teachers will likely vary by grade level and by building. It is anticipated that the online classrooms will remain with consistent teachers throughout the course of the school year. Classrooms would only change if a large number of families choose to change their course of learning (online to in-person or vice versa) in January 2021.
Elementary Online Academy Missed School Work
The District’s current practice of allowing students to make up any work missed while sick will continue. Teachers will post resources for students inside of Schoology. With the Schoology technology, students may also be provided videos to accompany lessons if deemed necessary.
Online Learning Survey Results
Online Learning Survey Results
The Berkley School District checked in with our families and staff to hear what they were feeling about returning to school in the fall. The results are posted below, minus the open-ended question results.
Parent/Guardian Survey About Returning in the Fall - June 2020
June 1, 2020 Results: 2910 Responses
Parent/Guardian Survey About Returning in the Fall - July 6, 2020
July 6, 2020 Results: 3439 Responses
Parent/Guardian Survey About Returning in the Fall - July 14, 2020
July 14, 2020 Results: 3637 Responses
Food Service - Current Distribution Schedule
This week, the USDA allocated funds to resume the summer food program, changing the meal distribution plan we sent out last week. This change resumes the summer meal rules and regulations, and makes meals free and available for all children 18 and under in the community. Please see the updated details below, and if you have a need for food, please come see our Food Service staff starting this Friday.
Meal Distribution - Every Friday!
Breakfast and lunch will be available for pick-up on Fridays at Anderson Middle School from 11 am - 1 pm.
Meal distribution details:
- One day a week for pick up, seven days worth of meals per child
- 11 am - 1 pm at Anderson Middle School (pick up behind the building in the parking lot)
- Each child will receive a breakfast and lunch per day, for a total of 14 meals per child per week
- Meals will be distributed in a grab-and-go style pick up
- The meals are available to any child in the community 18 and under, no questions asked. Students in our Adult Transition Program are also eligible for meals.
Meals will contain all required food components, including milk. Breakfast food will be served cold and lunch will have food packed to be reheated/cooked as necessary and will contain reheating/cooking instructions. Meals will need to be stored in a freezer or refrigerator. Most meals will contain wheat and dairy. If you have dietary restrictions or food allergy concerns, please contact Food Service Director LaVon Larson prior to coming to pick up meals. Ms. Larson can be reached at 248-837-8122 or via email.
Apply for Free/Reduced Meals
While this new food distribution program is free to all children, all parents are still encouraged to complete an application for free or reduced meal benefits, if you think you may qualify. Once this new program ends, it will be important for the free/reduced application to be completed for the next food plan. If you qualified last year for free or reduced meals you must apply every year. Last year’s meal benefit status is effective for the first 30 days of school. To learn more about qualifications, please visit our Food Services webpage. The free and reduced meal applications are located in the MISTAR Back to School Packet and paper forms are available at the Anderson Middle School meal distribution location.
This new food plan is set to expire on December 31, 2020, or if the USDA no longer has funds to support it.
Please call the Food Service office at 248-837-8122 with any questions or concerns.
As the Return to School committee worked throughout the summer to plan the District’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the responsibility was the safety of staff and students. The priority was a comprehensive plan for instructional options for all families. As the work progressed, the group referenced the work of the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the State of Michigan plans. The CDC and the Oakland County Health Division provided health guidance.
Return to School Committee
Return to School Roadmap Committee
The Berkley School District formed the Return to School Roadmap Committee with representatives from the administrative team, teaching staff, Thinc leaders, union leaders and will include input from staff and parent/guardian surveys. There are four subcommittees that comprise the larger committee. All members are listed, below.
Chaired by Larry Gallagher, Deputy Superintendent of Finance, Facilities & Operations
Jon Barth, Operations Facilitator; Jenna Romain, Accounting Supervisor; Bob Merkle, Custodian - Angell; Barb Tombrillo, Executive Assistant to Larry Gallagher; Paul Yowchuang, Norup Principal; Jen Simone, Teacher - BHS; Beth Krehbiel, Burton Principal; Katie Fotiu, Early Childhood Supervisor; Natalie Hill, Secretary - Rogers; Lauren Wexler, Teacher - Angell; Amy Sarris, Teacher - BHS; a representative from ServiCar, transportation provider
Chaired by Chris Sandoval, Assistant Superintendent of Schools & Human Resources
Jen Poston, Pupil Accounting Supervisor; Molly Bascom-Keller, Teacher - Burton; Megan Blackwell, Teacher - BHS; Cindy Barna, Secretary - AMS; Steve Lyskawa, Teacher - Norup; Erin Haley, Executive Assistant to Chris Sandoval; Andy Meloche, BHS Principal; Jen Hiltunen, Teacher - AMS; Chris Smallwood, Custodian - Norup; Meghan Ashkanani, Pattengill Principal; Vince Gigliotti, Angell Principal; Lori Stone, BHS Athletic Coordinator; LaVon Larson, Food Services Director
Chaired by Heather Lackey, Director of Student Services
Jennifer Gebbie, CASA Director; Ruth Sochacki, Norup Assistant Principal; Shamika Womble, BHS Assistant Principal; Jen Rogers, Teacher - Rogers; Sheri Sienkiewicz, Paraeducator - BHS; Jackie Whitehead, Executive Assistant to Heather Lackey; Jim Cowdrey, AMS Assistant Principal; Laurie Ovies, Teacher - Angell; District Social Workers; District School Psychologists; District Counselors
Chaired by Scott Francis, Director of Teaching, Learning & Technology
Mary Coughlin, Supervisor of Instructional Services; Christine Halliday, Shared Time Supervisor; Kristi Metz, EL Teacher; Beth Meacham, Rogers Principal; Mike Ross, AMS Principal; Carolyn Cregar, BHS Assistant Principal; Kathy Milia, Teacher - AMS; Julie Smith, Teacher - AMS/BHS; Molly Bascom-Keller, Teacher - Burton; Lauren Villaluz, Technology Integration Specialist; Wes Prescott, Director of Technology – Field Services; Lara Overy, Executive Assistant to Scott Francis; Suzanne Tyner, Executive Assistant to Scott Francis; Nic Farquhar, Special Education Supervisor; Jeanette Rossiter, Administrative Intern; Julie Decker, Paraeducator - BHS; Shana Ramin, Teacher - Norup; Stacie Angell, Instructional Support Specialist & Teacher - AMS; Jennifer Wilcox, Instructional Support Specialist & IB Coordinator - Norup; Megan Throm, Instructional Support Specialist & Teacher - Norup; Rikki Kwas, Early Literacy Coach; Sandra LaRaia, Math Coach
Berkley Building Blocks
Berkley Building Blocks, including tuition and Early-On programs, will follow Executive Orders, licensing requirements and family demand for the program. Berkley Building Blocks anticipates remaining open in Phase 4.
Children enrolled in the Early Childhood Special Education, Head Start and GSRP programs will learn through online instruction. Further communication will be sent from the teachers and programs to their families.
Berkley Building Blocks has established its own COVID-19 response plan and will continue to follow this plan while the program is open.