Ladysmith Elementary School is offering numerous avenues for support for students during the COVID-19 pandemic that has closed facilities for the rest of the school year but have not halted instructional and other offerings.

School staff are asking for 2-1/2 hours of academic engagement for students in grades 1-5 and two hours in kindergarten and pre-kindergarten. Independent reading is included in that recommended time. 

n Ladysmith Elementary School is providing learning packets and a collection of books for all students every two weeks. The next distribution day is May 4. Staff stand outside the elementary school front doors from 6-8 a.m., 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 4-6 p.m. They are practicing social distancing, wearing masks and sanitizing the materials that are collected. On May 18 and May 26, staff will not distribute new materials, but they will be available to collect packets and books. Every time parents and students come to the school for one of these distributions, it is important to bring back previous materials and books in order to provide enough books to students. The books are selected specifically for each child’s independent reading level and should be somewhat easy for a child to read with the purpose of building fluency and solidifying reading skills that are addressed at that level on the reading continuum. School staff continue to advocate for 1 hour of reading each day. Kindergarten students should strive for 30 minutes of reading each day. Pre-kindergarten students should be read to during that 30 minute window.

n School staff are also providing on-line resources for students. All teachers have developed a website to communicate with their students and parents, and this website can be found on the school district website by going to the COVID-19 site and clicking there or, going directly to the staff directory and clicking on a child’s classroom teacher, encore teacher, reading specialist, guidance counselor or principal. Children are being encouraged to visit this website every day if they have the capability to access the online learning. In that website is a student schedule for the week and links to websites specifically selected for the learning targets at that grade level. One of the main resources in those links is Moby Max. This is a perfect place to receive individualized instruction for math.

n  A really great way our elementary teachers are connecting is through video. All teachers put out a video on Monday morning to start the week. This will either be on a teacher’s website, through an email or with an app. “We want our students to see their teachers interacting with them in the form of a morning message each week,” Elementary Principal Laura Stunkel said.

n Teachers are reaching out to all students and families on a daily basis. This may be a phone call, an email, a message on the website, or a message using a parent app that is set up in advance. These parent apps include Class Dojo, ClassTag and Remind.

n Teachers are setting up conferences with students using GoogleHangouts, Facetime or

another option that is working for the parents. These conferences are provided to

specific students based on classroom data collected through FastBridge, the district’s universal screener used three times per school year.

n Guidance Counselor Leah Bunton and Title One teacher Kathy Zuck are leading the support in social emotional learning and academic learning, respectively. They are continuously providing support to teachers, students and parents during the school closure.

n Art, Music and Physical Education are not forgotten during this time. The encore teachers are providing videos, challenges and messages for students to stay active and creative during the school closure.

n Stunkel is providing weekly videos to students on her website. She will also communicate using Facebook, district website, email and phone voice messages.

n For something fun to look forward to during the closure the elementary school is having Spirit Week Monday through Friday, April 27-May 1. Each day will be a different dress up day, providing different challenges for students to complete and sending out videos that will make students smile, laugh, and feel part of a community during social distancing and the school closure. “We want to create some energy and excitement around being part of the community at

Ladysmith Elementary School,” Stunkel said.

Safety and well-being, socially and emotionally, are main concerns.

“We know these are challenging times for everyone. We will continue to do our best to support our students and families,” Stunkel said. “Because school is a place of learning and academic growth, we will continue to support our learners and help prepare them for the expectations that are required at each grade level.”

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