Alternative Learning Days

Overview—What is an Alternative Learning Day?

Monroe County Schools Board of Education, administration, and staff believe continuity of instruction in the event of the loss of an instructional day, due to weather or other circumstances, is a critical component to our students’ success. Therefore, our schools will provide the opportunity for students to continue to engage in learning on days when school is called off. Students will engage in Alternative Learning Days through reading traditional books, traditional “at home” paper-based assignments, and through use of personal devices, Google Classroom, email, and other electronic and digital media to ensure uninterrupted instruction.

What days will be utilized as Alternative Learning days for the school year?

If school is cancelled for any reason during the school year, that day will be an Alternative Learning Day as declared by the Superintendent.  

What will an Alternative Learning day look like for students?

All staff and students in our district access and utilize Google Classroom and GAFE (Google Apps for Education), in addition to other digital media, online texts, forums and resources, on a regular basis to communicate, collaborate, research and complete assignments and lessons.  On Alternative Learning Days, students will access assignments from their teachers through their Google Classrooms (or other digital sources) just as they would normally do while present at school.  In addition, the technology staff will be available for assistance.  Students who do not have internet access at home will have the following options available to them:

  • Go to a friend’s home where wifi is available

  • Go to one of the public libraries in our community that provides public wifi

  • Go to a business that offers public wifi

  • Students may, in some cases, work offline on assignments they have previously downloaded to their Google Drive

  • Complete the work at school once we return to the regular scheduled school days

What will an Alternative Learning Day look like for teachers?

Teachers will work from home, if at all possible.  They will ensure student lessons and assignments are posted their Google Classrooms.  If at all possible, teachers will be available during the day via email or video to assist students should they need additional help.

Why have Alternative Learning Days?

As a society that has embraced the use of technology in all aspects of our lives, we cannot ignore the importance schools should place on students’ ability to use technology responsibly and efficiently to expand their own knowledge.  

According to a study completed in 2013, 45% of college students take at least one online course in college, and 70% of students surveyed said they use their laptops for research and coursework.

Many face-to-face courses in college now require work be submitted electronically.

Many corporations are now using Alternative Learning for training purposes.

Most companies now require applications to be completed online, and many conduct much of their day-to-day business procedures online.

Teachers are provided much-needed professional development time within the school day.

How will attendance be taken?

Monroe County Schools has developed a plan to implement up to 3 days of "Alternative Learning Days" in the case of inclement weather or other extenuating circumstances during the school year. The "Alternative Learning Days" would count as one of the scheduled 180 days for students. Students would be counted present on these days if the ALD assignments are completed. Basic guidelines for these days are below:

1. Students would be given up to 5 school days to complete assignments. This would ensure students have a weekend to complete assignments. 

2. The assignments would be communicated electronically, as well with a hard copy, when applicable. 

3. Teachers in each grade band will develop assignments for students. 

We are hopeful this new initiative will sustain learning during unforeseen circumstances and reducing the number of make-up days required during a school year. The initiative will be implemented in the 19-20 school year.       

What if a student’s device is not working?

In the rare event a device stops working on an Alternative Learning day, there are options available:

· Since Google Classroom is an online system, as are GAFE and the student’s Google Drive, one does not have to access their assignments from his/her device.  Students may use any internet-connected device to access their assigned work.

· If a student does not have another internet-connected device, or access to wifi, he/she may be able to use a device (computer, laptop, Chromebook or iPad) made available to the public at the local libraries or restaurants like McDonald’s or Burger King. 

A reminder that lessons are accessible from any electronic device that is connected to the internet.

Considerations for Students with Special Needs

For those students who require special accommodations to meet their individual needs, teachers will work closely with special needs staff, support staff and students and their families to ensure their assignments reflect both individual education plans and expected learning objectives for the class.  Special Education staff will work closely with parents to ensure Alternative Learning days considerations are reflected in their children’s IEP’s.  

Lesson/Assignment Design Expectations

All lessons and assignments created by teachers for Alternative Learning days will be delivered online through Google Classroom (or other digital media) and available for students to complete electronically.  Assignments will include “direct instruction” (which could include reading a document or reviewing a website, watching a video created by the teacher or from some other source, etc.) and a “processing activity” (which might include creating a review or counter position, virtual discussion or forum participation, creating a project, answering questions, etc.) —the possibilities are limitless.  Though students may organize the day in a manner that suits them, should the teacher wish to engage with students in a “virtual discussion,” students in that class would be required to participate at a designated time.

NOTE:  Alternative Learning Days will be used whenever school is cancelled.

Alternative Learning Day Tips for Students

Before an Alternative Learning Day

  • Save and share teacher and tech contact information with parents. 

  • Make sure that you know how to log into and access your Google Classrooms. If not, ask a teacher for help. 

  • Make sure you know how to use the digital communication tools your teachers will be using during an Alternative Learning Day. 

    During an Alternative Learning Day 

    Before Learning 

  • Log into your teacher’s Google Classroom. 

  • Make sure you have the information about when your teacher will be available for questions.

  • If you do not have power or can’t complete the work on the Alternative Learning Day, you will have an appropriate amount of time to make up the work (as determined at the building level).

During Learning 

  • Do your best.

  • Take breaks throughout the day, just like you would if you were learning in the school building.

  • If you have questions or need help reach out to your teacher(s).

After Learning 

  • Make sure your work is completed by the due date.

  • If you didn’t have internet access during the Alternative Learning day and weren’t able to complete the work on the specific day, you can schedule time to work with your teacher to make-up the work within the given make-up period.

  • Additional assistance questions, problems, or accessibility issues with instruction for the day.

    Please reach out to your teachers if you have any questions, problems, or accessibility with the content of the lessons he/she is asking you to complete for the Alternative Learning Day(s).

    Alternative Learning Day Tips for Parents

    Before an Alternative Learning Day 

  • Ensure you have received contact information for your child’s teachers and tech support

  • Ensure you can assist your child in logging onto wifi and Google Classroom

  • Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the digital communication tools your child’s teachers will be using during an Alternative Learning or Flex day

  • If you have any questions about the logistics of an Alternative Learning please reach out to your child’s teacher. 

    During a Alternative Learning Day 

    Before Learning 

  • Assist your student in logging into Google Classroom to get directions and lessons for the day 

  • Ensure that you have the information about when your child’s teacher will be available throughout the day 

  • If you do not have power or your child is unable to complete the work on the designated Alternative Learning or Flex day, he/she will have an appropriate amount of time to complete the work from an Alternative Learning assignment.

During Learning 

  • Encourage your child to do his/her best 

  • Have your child take frequent breaks throughout the day 

  • If you or your child has questions or need help reach out to your child’s teacher(s) 

After Learning 

  • Ensure that your child is completing and submitting their activities and assignments 

Additional Assistance 

Questions, problems, or accessibility issues with instruction for the day 

Please reach out to your child’s teachers if you have any questions, problems, or accessibility with the content of the lessons that the teacher is asking him/her to complete for the Alternative Learning or Flex day Questions, problems, or accessibility issues with technology 

Additional Resources:

MCS Alternative Learning Days TriFold

Online Learning Tips