The Washougal School District has announced its plans for returning to school this fall. The school year will start Sept. 2 with students engaged in an all-remote learning model named impactED Washougal.
Similar to Camas School District and Battle Ground Public Schools, Washougal has adopted a mixed schedule of synchronous and asynchronous periods for students. Five days a week, synchronous periods will be held virtually over Zoom for a couple of hours each day and asynchronous periods allow students to complete assigned work on their own time.
Sample schedules for K-12 students can be found on the district’s website.
Washougal Superintendent Mary Templeton said this model is an effort to give students a typical school experience despite schooling being remote. She said these circumstances will help students develop skills that will help them succeed later on in life.
“There’s a responsibility component — that’s what we call the ’21st century learning skills,’ ” Templeton said. “It requires organization, accountability, connection and collaboration.”
The district will also be offering an online program called Washougal Learning Academy for K-12 students who are looking for a little more flexibility. Learning will be mostly completed independently, with weekly check-ins with teachers as students complete their work at their own pace.
“We’re excited to offer these opportunities, and one of our main focuses this whole time is meeting children where they’re at, meeting parents where they’re at, providing what they need so they continue to move forward academically,” Templeton said. “So having two options is really helpful.”
For Washougal Learning Academy, attendance will still be taken based on the continuous engagement with classes such as completing work or reaching out to instructors. For impactED Washougal, attendance will be taken every day during the daily synchronous periods.
Templeton said she’s excited to see the district’s new meal plan take form. Washougal recently moved to a scratch cooking-based nutrition plan and hired an executive chef to oversee the program. She said the school will continue to offer grab-and-go meals for students to come pick up and will be developing a delivery system to bring meals to homes.
“We’re thinking about high standards in reference to our cuisine,” Templeton said. “We’re trying to provide restaurant-style meals for our children because it’s important what children get to eat at school.”
In-person learning options will be available to students furthest removed from educational justice during a remote learning plan. Templeton said this group may include students with special education needs, students whose first language is not English or students who don’t have access to the internet.
Templeton said it’s been challenging navigating through this uncertain time, but she emphasized that through challenge, comes an opportunity.
“When we had school looking the way that it looked for a 100 years, we knew that for some families, that wasn’t the fit for them,” Templeton said. “We just didn’t have structures and training and opportunity to say ‘here is a palette of opportunities for public education.’ We’re excited to move forward.”