DENVER — When older students return to schools for in-person learning in late October in the Denver Public School District (DPS), they'll receive at least 10 hours of face-to-face instruction per week as part of a hybrid learning model, according to an update Tuesday from the district.
Students in the sixth through 12th grades are also expected to begin in-person instruction on Oct. 21.
"Each school has very different circumstances," said DPS Superintendent Susana Cordova.
She noted the vast difference in sizes of schools across the district. She also said the number of students who selected in-person learning and teachers who requested accommodations varies from school to school.
"Our guidance to secondary schools for hybrid instruction will look different depending on what school your child attends," Cordova said. "Some schools are scheduling classes on an AM and a PM basis where students would go in the morning and not in the afternoon."
She said some schools are looking at two days of in-person instruction while other smaller schools might be able to offer more. Cordova said at the bare minimum, there would be at least 10 hours of face-to-face instruction as part of the hybrid model.
Teachers who requested accommodations will only be assigned to grade levels or subjects that they're licensed to teach, but may have to teach a grade level that they have not taught before or haven't taught previously. Cordova said the district is offering training and resources for those teachers.
Some staff might also be temporarily assigned to a different school for this year based on need.
Students have the option to continue with 100% online learning. The deadline for middle and high school families to choose between in-person and remote learning was extended until the end of the day on Monday, Sept. 28 (11.59 p.m.)
DPS said it needs that information in order to plan schedules and staff. That decision is binding for the duration of the first semester (end of December) but could be revisited after that, according to DPS.
If district officials do not receive a student’s preference by the deadline, that student will be automatically enrolled in the virtual program.
If a family’s situation changes, and they want to change their learning option during the first semester, families can connect with their school leader to find out if the school will be able to accommodate the request.
The district's youngest students are set to return to 100% in-person learning next week, with kindergarten students and some first graders beginning to phase into in-person learning between Sept. 28 and Oct. 2.
All first graders will phase in from Oct. 5-9. Plans will vary by school, and be distributed by individual principals. Students in second through fifth grade will return to full in-person learning on Oct. 21, which coincides with the beginning of the second quarter.
Montbello campus high school
DPS also announced Tuesday that they're moving forward with plans to provide a comprehensive high school at the district’s Montbello campus. The district is also working to determine a plan for a feeder middle school.
Officials said the decision came after years of community feedback and said in 2017, DPS received a recommendation from the Far Northeast Commission to bring back a comprehensive high school to the campus.
There has not been a high school there since Montbello High School closed in 2010. DPS said surveys found that most community members and school staff on the campus support the return of a comprehensive high school in Montbello.
They're now gathering information about what that space might look like and said depending on the outcome of a bond proposal in November, the district will either build a new facility or renovate the existing building.
“We’ve heard from many voices in the Montbello community,” Cordova said. “We want to bring back a comprehensive high school to the far northeast area, filling a gap that has been missing for almost a decade.”
The district will begin recruiting principals for the middle school and high school campuses in the winter of 2020-21. Planning for school design and overall vision will launch this spring and continue through the spring of 2022, with both the feeder middle school and comprehensive high school opening in the 2022-23 school year.
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