May 27, 2020

MDE Releases Guidance on Summer Programming

The Minnesota Department of Education has released a document titled Minnesota Summer Programming Guidance for Schools. The guidance covers a variety of areas, including a section specific to special education. The guidance is summarized below:

  1. Two Models: There are two models of learning schools can implement over the summer: distance learning and a hybrid learning model with some components of learning happening in-person and some happening via distance learning. In a hybrid model all students are on an alternating schedule of being in the school building while maintaining social distancing and doing distance learning from home. At a minimum, multi-lingual learners and ESY students should receive additional opportunities for face-to-face instruction – like an A/B/B schedule, in accordance with MDH guidance.

  2. Hybrid Model Considerations: It is acceptable to offer differentiated programming to specific grade levels (e.g. offering hybrid programming to grades K-8, and distance learning to grades 9-12) as long as all students within a specific grade level are receiving equitable opportunities. A hybrid class is designed to integrate face-to-face and distance learning activities so that they reinforce, complement, and elaborate on one another, instead of treating the online component as an add-on or duplicate of what is taught in the classroom. During classroom instruction time, students can be engaged in authentic, collaborative learning experiences. The distance learning components can include multimedia-enhanced content, learning practice, and channels for ongoing discussion.

  3. Timeline: The start date can be any time after the end of the school year but is recommended for late June to allow for planning. At least two planning days are required for staff delivering services.

  4. Staff to Student Ratios: Based on the size of classrooms, MDE suggests a 1:6 staff to student ratio with a maximum of a 1:9 staff to student ratio (to not exceed 10 people in a room). If social distancing cannot be attained with a 1:6 staff to student ratio, then the number of students must be reduced.

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