THE HENTON HEADLINES
August 12, 2021
Here’s the scoop for the week
Recommendation on completing the provisional online learning application:
As of this morning, MDE reported that roughly 140 school districts and charter schools have applied to become provisional online learning providers. MDE has highly recommended that school districts should complete the provisional application even if they do not intend to offer online learning during 2021-2022.
In speaking with superintendents who have completed the provisional application, they have shared that it is a seven to ten-minute process to complete the application and that MDE has quick turned around approval of their application. I have heard of one school district having to make a correction to its application before receiving approval. If some districts are being denied approval, that has not come to my attention, and as most of you know, I am in a lot of meetings with superintendents! In other words, MDE is being very flexible during the approval process.
I recommend that you complete the provisional application so that you have the ability to provide online learning, even if at this time you have no plans to implement online learning. This may be a tool you will need for emergency situations. We have no way of knowing how many students and staff will become ill with the new variant/s, how many will quarantine due to close contacts and not be vaccinated, if whole grade levels will be in quarantine, and so on. If you are provisionally approved to provide online instruction, you may be able to serve those students not onsite in this manner.
As an aside, we are still waiting for homebound instruction guidance from MDE.
With provisional approval you have a choice to offer online or not to offer that mode of instruction. You are not required to offer online instruction just because you have that approval. It is OK to let families know that your district sought provisional approval to offer online learning as an option only during emergency situations. There are many reasons you may not be able to offer online learning as a daily option, which of course includes staffing both online and in person instruction, funding and much more.
- Once you receive provisional approval you are not placed on the approved online providers list from the state.
- The application is due by August 27. Here is a link to the form program proposal and assurances form
- You will be able to decide in late fall/early winter if you want to move forward with becoming a fully approved online provider as the provisional approval is only temporary for this school year.
- The 30 day option still applies even if you have the provisional online approval.
- There are many other excellent ways to provide online learning as an option that do not require provisional approval. For example, you could work with a Service Cooperative that is an approved online learning provider, join with another school district that is approved as an online provider to purchase those services for your district, align with another district/s to provide what used to be referred to as ITV-having one teacher in a district providing service digitally to students in other school districts, or share the approved online learning provider list from the state with your families who want that service that is not available in your district
- Here is a helpful Q & A from MDE: Online and Blended Learning Options for 2021-22
Please let me know if there is any support I may provide you as the school year approaches. Last June we thought the light at the end of the tunnel was bright. Unfortunately, it has dimmed. Together we will get through this pandemic and all its effects on our profession and our personal lives.
It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.