Learning Packets on their Way to YOU

Learning Packets are being prepared for your student(s) now, and will be mailed to your home (or the student’s group home) early next week. Please review the details in the following letter from Ruby Van Meter Administration.


Ruby Van Meter Students, Families, and Caregivers,

This past week, our superintendent, Thomas Ahart, made the decision to finish the 19-20 school year through distance learning (full transcript follows).  We support this very difficult decision and will continue to follow the recommendations and guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  The administrative team will continue to work with the district leaders to lay out a plan to support our learners at Ruby Van Meter School through distance learning.

In order to maximize opportunities for voluntary learning, our teachers were asked to reach out to all families and ask them to complete a survey on behalf of your student at Ruby Van Meter.  If you have not completed this survey, please contact your teacher or look for an email with the survey link.  It is important we understand what our students have access to at home in order to provide meaningful learning engagement.

Teachers are also working on a learning packet that will be completed this week and mailed out to families the week of April 20th.  Electronic copies can also be emailed from your student’s teacher.  This packet will provide access to learning activities around the essential elements for Reading, Word Work, and Math.  Social skills lessons and lessons from our Related Arts team will also be included.  We will also be providing information around behavior tips, communication support, daily schedules, and other resources for you and your student to provide support and structure during this learning time.  There will be a variety of lessons so feel free to choose what you feel would be best for you and your student.

We will continue to work with the district on getting internet and devices out to students that need these to access online and virtual learning.  The information in the RVM Student and Family Survey will give us the information to know what families are in need of this resource.

Your teacher and/or SLP (Speech Language Pathologist) will be in contact with you if you requested access to your student’s communication device. Building access is very limited so we will provide families with a day and time for you to pick up your student’s communication device.  Parents/guardians/caregivers coming to pick up device MUST stay in car while an administrator brings the device to your vehicle.

Our staff members are engaging in adult learning and virtual collaboration. We always spend time sharing stories of our students.  They are all greatly missed and we are very excited about the potential of seeing your student in a virtual classroom! Feel free to send picture to your teachers and let them know how your student is doing.  As always, we hope you and your family continues to stay safe and healthy.

Ruby Van Meter Administration,

Cindy Weisz, Jennifer Brindle-Rothman, Laurel Friedman
710  28th Street Des Moines, Iowa 50312 515-242-8220    Fax: 515-242-8223

DMPS to Complete School Year Through Distance Learning

Des Moines Public Schools, Iowa’s largest provider of PK-12 education, will complete the 2019-20 school year through distance learning, beginning next week for high school seniors, April 20 for other high school grades, and April 27 for all other students.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic projected to peak in Iowa in late April, returning to school immediately afterwards is not in the best interest of the health of our students, staff and community,” said Dr. Thomas Ahart, superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools. “On any given school day, 40,000 people pass through the doors of public schools in Des Moines. By keeping our school buildings closed, we will help mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus in the metro and hopefully lessen a second round of the virus.”

“We realize this is a significant change for our students, staff and families. Frankly, I wish we could see our students back in school tomorrow. But this is the right thing to do for the health and well-being of the entire community,” added Ahart. “I feel especially bad for our seniors – this is no way to end your time in high school – but we will be working on ways to celebrate the good work of the Class of 2020.”

Some key points in the plan being implemented by Des Moines Public Schools:

• The school district has been surveying and contacting all students and families about their access to computers and/or the internet at home; • Computer and/or internet connections will be distributed to high school seniors later this week, with distance learning beginning on Monday, April 13; • Distribution of computers and/or internet connections to students in other grade levels will begin next week; • Distance learning will begin on Monday, April 20 for students in grades 9-11. • Distance learning will begin on Monday, April 27 for students in grades PK-8.

The final five weeks of the school year will focus on essential standards of English Language Arts and Math, in addition to coursework offered in science, social studies, world language, art, music and physical education. Learning opportunities and resources will be provided to families in three ways: 1. A library of high quality, independently accessible online resources will be available for families to choose from on our district website. 2. Print materials for grades PK-8 will be made available weekly at each of our meal sites, and via download on the school district website. 3. The development of grade level, standards-aligned learning content will be available via Canvas, the district’s online learning management system. These materials are being built now and will be available as grade levels return to lessons as noted above.

Teachers will play a critical role in maintaining contact with students each week to answer questions, engage with parents, provide assistance, and maintain equitable access to course content. Depending on student needs, teachers will work with families to create a personalized learning plan for the remaining five weeks of school.

The school district has set up DMPS@HOME (dmschools.org/onlinelearning) as a clearinghouse for information and resources for the final weeks of the 2019-20 school year.

710  28th Street Des Moines, Iowa 50312 515-242-8220    Fax: 515-242-8223
DMPS will be communicating further details with students and parents in the days and weeks ahead through its daily emails. In addition, schools will also be reaching out directly to their students and families to provide assistance and answer questions. “I realize students and families will have lots of questions, and we are working hard to find the right answers to make this change as smooth and positive an experience as possible. We are changing an educational system built over the course of a hundred years in a matter of weeks. But I promise that we will provide our students with a meaningful end to what has been one of the most unusual school years any of us will have ever experienced,” added Ahart.

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020

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