Christina School District will begin the third phase of its reopening plan Monday, moving to four days of in-person instruction per week for some students.
Currently, Christina has two learning cohorts, which meet on Monday/Tuesday, and Thursday/Friday, respectively. The new phase will introduce a third group that will meet on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, with Wednesday remaining virtual for all students.
Membership in the new cohort was offered to students through invitation only.
“What’s been missing during this very challenging time has been connections to families,” said Deirdra Aikens, Christina’s deputy superintendent and chief academic officer. “We’re really looking to not only reconnect and restore, and recruit academics, but we’re also looking to do that same thing with our family connections and building relationships. So we thought this personal touch was a better way to get families. You know, just to get an idea what they needed, see how they were doing and then offer the invitation.”
The district prioritized inviting English Language Learners, students with disabilities, students with accommodation plans, students who are struggling academically, along with kindergarten, first- and second-grade students.
Students can still choose two days of in-person classes or completely virtual learning. Approximately 25 percent of students are enrolled in entirely virtual classes.
As of Tuesday, district officials did not have a count of how many students are choosing to attend four days per week.
Starting next week, Wednesday will become a normal virtual learning day, with a standard class schedule for all students. It is currently an asynchronous learning day, focusing on small group instruction. The district will also expand the high dosage tutoring offered by current staff and private tutoring spots, focusing on specific skills such as reading or math.
It takes four days to secure transportation for a student after a student accepts an invitation to begin four-day instruction. Christina began sending invitations for four days of face-to-face learning in February.
Aikens said students will receive many benefits from returning to in-person learning, including increased hands-on time with teachers and more social interaction with their peers.
“Kids will get an opportunity to connect with their friends and their school in a way that they haven’t since last March,” Aikens said. “And we’re also getting an opportunity to see exactly what kids know, understand and do because we will have them in front of us.”