Students can choose to sign up for in-person instruction

Madison Dias

Wilson’s hybrid learning plan gives families the option to either volunteer for an in-person seat through contacting guidance counselors, or accept an invitation from teachers. Students may decide to attend in-person up until the last day of Term 3, April 12, as long as a cohort has not reached the maximum of ten students. 

Wilson’s Data Coordinator Joseph Bellino has created a data system, Elsie, to aid teachers in inviting students for in-person learning. This program grants teachers access to data from Aspen, specifically student schedules, current grades, both weighted and unweighted GPA, and attendance. 

According to Social Studies and ESL teacher Jonathan Shea, Elsie is “very powerful for teachers,” allowing them to utilize a search feature, that for instance, would allow a teacher to say, “Tell me every eleventh grader with a current GPA that is under three, and it’ll just give [them] that list.” Teachers are able to use this information when deciding upon which students to invite back into the building. 

Counselors have also been collecting names of students who wish to take advantage of hybrid instruction and are sharing the request with their assigned Term 3 teachers. In turn, some teachers have been using the requests to review their Term 3 roster and decipher students who are to be invited to return to school. 

Families only have the option to accept a seat if invited and must respond to a teacher if they have reached out to invite their student. It is not mandatory to accept a seat, however once a family does accept one, it is expected for that student to attend each day in the assigned in-person class. 

Though in-person attendance is being kept by teachers, “It’s just listed as a separate item… their grade books are unaffected by it,” Shea said. 

Teachers are given the freedom to decide who to invite into their cohort. Science teacher Dani Moore “invited all students back and had fewer than 10 responses.” Moore invited all students within her AP Biology class in order to “see what the interest was [first] and if I had more than 10 students, then I could have gone into a more in depth process to establish what students had the greatest need for in person learning, but I figured, most likely I wasn’t going to have 10 students.”

In her weekly newsletter, sent on January 7, Principal Kimberly Martin acknowledged the difficulties of the situation. “The guardrails made it very difficult to invite students back in a meaningful way in class sizes of [ten] or fewer in a cohort model.” In order to prioritize instruction, students invited back into the building to attend their first-period class and/or third-period class will have “live instruction” for those periods. When not in a live session class, students will remain within the same classroom, attending their second or fourth period classes online, and being supervised by a non instructional staff member. 

Students may be invited in by either both or one of their first and third period teachers, however, they may only join one cohort, or in other words, accept one seat. 

 There is flexibility in regards to students being able to stop attending in-person classes and joining if there is an open spot. According to the DCPS reopening strong website, “Any family may switch to learning at home at any point by contacting their school. If a student does move to learning at home, they may not be able to return to in-person learning during the current term.”