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RISD prepares to launch learning plan

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RISD Interim
Superintendent Mike Gottlieb

Parents who have not yet heard from their schools regarding the Roswell Independent School District Continuous Learning Plan should not yet be concerned, school officials said Monday.

Learning will begin April 13, pending approval of the plan by the New Mexico Public Education Department. RISD sent its plan to the PED Monday, two days before the deadline, and expects to have it approved for students to resume their studies next week.

That approval must come before the district can publish the details of the plan, Jennifer Cole, interim assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, said.

Interim Superintendent Mike Gottlieb said, “They have 89 school districts plus all the charter schools, so it’s kind of hard for us to say when we’re going to get that back. I know they’ve been working really, really fast on that issue, but they want to look at all the different parts to make sure we answered all the questions.”

This week is “launch week” to prepare for students and teachers to get back into learning mode, Cole said. Teachers and schools will be contacting families to communicate what the expectations are for their students and what the learning process will look like. Schools have begun making robocalls and posting information on their websites.

“All of that communication is taking place this week,” she said.

That communication is scheduled through Thursday, as Friday is a scheduled spring holiday for the district.

For the 53% of students who do not have internet access, Cole said, packets of material will be handed out. Some schools have already begun that process, with one high school distributing 70 packets Monday morning.

“Some of our students do not have access to devices or to internet, and so we’re really working to provide opportunities for all of our students,” she said.

Cole stressed that makes it important for parents to make sure schools have current contact information.

“I know this is one of those times when we have people who have lost their jobs, and we have people that have moved in with family members, so we need that updated information too,” she said.

A link will be posted on the RISD website, risd.k12.nm.us, where parents will be able to submit that information, she said. Parents can also contact the school principal.

A general schedule of the district’s learning plan is already on the RISD website under the calendar link and on the RISD Facebook page. Learning will be conducted April 13 through May 15, with the last days of instruction for students May 18 to 21.

Enrollment for new students is a topic the district is also receiving questions about, Gottlieb said. Information and documents will be available on the RISD website soon.

“We’re going to be having a folder for enrollment on each of the school sites and then on the district web page where they have all the enrollment paperwork there and how to contact a person for that,” Gottlieb said.

In the meantime, parents can find resources on the RISD website including family literacy activities and links to resources for topics like math, English language arts, daily content on PBS and more.

A physical education calendar and a YouTube channel for the Creative Learning Center were scheduled to launch Monday as well.

This week is also a virtual “spirit week” for RISD, with different topics and activities children and families can take part in.

Each day has a theme — STEM Madness Monday, Thankful Tuesday, Workout Wednesday and School Spirit Thursday. Children are encouraged to take a photo and post it to social media — with parent permission — using a hashtag for each theme.

“We really just want to engage our students and our families across the district in uplifting our community and students,” Cole said. “Number one, because we know that we’re emphasizing the social-emotional wellness and the family connectivity, and then also to prep for the full launch of continuous learning next week.

“It’s really just kind of layering in some fun and positive things for students and families as we begin this remote learning process,” she said.

To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.