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Stilley Announces Virtual Expectations for Spring 2021 Semester - 12/16/20

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Tangipahoa Parish School Superintendent Melissa Stilley
(985) 748-2502

AMITE—School Superintendent Melissa Stilley says one lesson the Tangipahoa Parish School System has learned in 2020 is that virtual learning is here to stay, and as a result, all local public school students will participate in scheduled “virtual learning” days moving into the spring semester.

Stilley said the district plans to keep Wednesdays as virtual days for high school students during second semester. The district will also sponsor at least one scheduled virtual day per six weeks for students in grades PreK-8 starting in January.

“2020 has been such a difficult year for all of us. We recognize that our families have struggled to choose whether or not to send their child back to a traditional classroom or work within the virtual instructional option. While we are all adjusting to these changes, educational trends across the country and around the world suggest that virtual instruction is going to be part of our new ‘normal,’ and as such, our district leaders strongly agree that all students need to be well-versed in how to access educational content on the virtual platform,” Stilley said. “These scheduled virtual days will be set aside to ensure that all students are fully prepared for full virtual learning in the unfortunate circumstance the we ever have to close our school buildings again.”

Stilley said Jan. 27, March 10, April 14, and May 5 are currently scheduled as those virtual days for students in grades PreK-8. These scheduled virtual days will be used to help students practice the skills they need to participate in online instruction. Teachers will also have the opportunity to offer small group intervention, hold parent conferences, provide academic feedback on assignments, and continue with their own professional and content development, Stilley said.

“We want all TPSS students to be fully-prepared for the world they will enter upon graduation. These virtual days will prepare them for continued academic success, no matter the their learning environment in which they find themselves working.

Stilley said families can make plans now to help support their students by implementing five best practice measures to encourage students success:
*Check Oncourse Connect to ensure your child’s assignments are being completed;
*Email your child’s teacher if you have any questions or concerns;
*Make sure your child wakes up and logs in on virtual days to keep the school schedule as “normal” as possible;
*Provide a designated work space for your child and encourage others in your home to respect the time designated for instruction, so students can focus and be engaged when participating in school activities;
*Check with the school to update your contact information so you can receive timely notifications about your student’s school plans.

“We have all had to adjust to the 'new normal' in 2020. I want to thank our families, our students, and especially our employees for being so flexible and so willing to work with us in making these changes. I sincerely believe that these lessons we have learned in 2020 will serve us well moving into 2021 and beyond, and I am hopeful that these preparations will help our students find greater success in the new year,” Stilley said.

Thursday, Dec. 17, is the final in-person instruction day for Tangipahoa Parish public school students. Dec. 18 is a full-virtual day for all TPSS students, and it marks the final day of the fall semester. Students will return to class with a fully virtual day on Jan. 4, 2021, and in-person instruction resumes on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021.