Dear District Administrator,
This email covers updates related to 2019 Wisconsin Act 185, which was signed into law yesterday, UW admissions, and resources for learning during school closures.
2019 Wisconsin Act 185
Act 185 suspends the state testing requirements for the 2019-20 school year, prohibits the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) from issuing state school and district report cards in the 2020-21 school year, and requires DPI to publish a report on school operations during the period school was closed due to COVID-19. School boards are required to provide information for this report to DPI by November 1, 2020. DPI will create a form to collect this information, which DPI is required to report to the legislature by January 1, 2021. The report is required to address the following measures:
- Whether or not virtual instruction was implemented in the school district during the public health emergency and, if implemented, in which grades it was implemented.
- If virtual instruction was implemented in the school district during the public health emergency, the process for implementing the virtual instruction.
- For each grade level, the average percentage of the 2019−20 school year curriculum provided to pupils, including curriculum provided in−person and virtually.
- Whether anything was provided to pupils during the 2020 summer to help pupils learn content that pupils missed because of the public health emergency and, if so, what was provided to pupils.
- Recommendations for best practices for transitioning to and providing virtual instruction when schools are closed.
- Any challenges or barriers the school board faced related to implementing virtual instruction during the public health emergency.
- By position type, the number of staff members who were laid off during the public health emergency.
- The number of lunches the school board provided during the public health emergency.
- The total amount by which the school board reduced expenditures during, or because of, the public health emergency in each of the following categories:
- Food service.
- Personnel. This category includes expenditure reductions that result from layoffs.
- Contract terminations.
Additionally, under the act:
- The school board and the operator of a charter school established under s. 118.40 (2r) may not consider pupil performance on statewide assessments and may not include pupil performance on those assessments in the evaluation score assigned to a teacher or principal under the educator effectiveness evaluation system.
- DPI is required to provide guidance on transitioning from virtual to in-person instruction.
University of Wisconsin Admissions
In recognition of the challenges posed by COVID-19, the University of Wisconsin System announced a series of changes to admissions policies that will make it easier for students to enroll this fall. Per the release, “The changes include reducing the undergraduate application fee effective immediately, accepting unofficial high school transcripts for admission consideration, and holding students harmless for changes in admissions testing, grading formats, and other standard requirements.”
Additional Resources for Learning During School Closures
Planning for the remainder of this year, summer school, and next fall will require schools to have in place plans for continuity of learning should closures continue or be required in the future. The following resources are provided to aid in your planning:
- Chief Council of State School Officers (CCSSO) recommendations for remote learning (attached). This document provides free high quality instructional materials aligned to different types of remote learning from packets to virtual instruction. The DPI is a member of CCSSO.
- The Wisconsin Public Service Commission, in partnership with DPI, developed a map where people can get free emergency wifi access while following Wisconsin Department of Health Services orders and recommendations.
- Wisconsin Public Broadcasting System (PBS), in partnership with DPI and Milwaukee PBS, continues to provide a dedicated broadcast and streaming channel as well as a related website for at home learning related to Wisconsin standards providing additional videos, lesson plans, and activities. Wisconsin PBS also offers support to educators in weekly Zoom sessions.
- The DPI District Planning and Implementation Resources for VLT - Continuity of Learning web page is updated daily and includes resources on planning, leadership resources, school operations in extended closures, instructional supports, related services during virtual learning, and online summer school.