Des Moines Public Schools began the 2020-21 school year virtually for all students. This was done as a precaution for the health and well-being of our students, staff and community as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to spread.
Because virtual learning was the only option at DMPS in September and early October – and not a voluntary choice for families – the Iowa Department of Education determined that the school district was not compliant with state requirements.
DMPS and the Iowa Department of Education have been in discussions over the past few months on how to make up instructional time during the non-compliant period.
Several of the steps, outlined below, will have a minimal impact to our families while meeting our obligation to providing students with the required instructional time.
The high school extended learning sessions will begin on Monday, February 8 and all other changes will be effective Monday, February 15.
In our original 2020-21 school year calendar, classes were not going to be held on the following four dates set aside for either conferences or professional development. Classes will now be held on these dates for students at ALL grade levels:
- Monday, March 1
- Tuesday, March 2 *
- Friday, April 23
- Thursday, June 3
June 3 will be the last day of classes for this school year, and classes will be dismissed early.
* High school juniors at DMPS are eligible to take the ACT exam on this date; further details will be forthcoming.
During the school day, the following changes will be in place:
- “Lunch Lessons” – schools will provide access to learning during the lunch period in areas such as literacy, math and social emotional learning in order to increase instructional time in areas aligned with the School Board goals.
- Additional Instructional Time – adjustments will be made to the morning schedule at schools that will provide 15-30 minutes of additional instruction time each school day.
NOTE: These changes DO NOT change the current school hours.
The following will be provided at high schools:
- Extended Learning Sessions – sessions will be offered to students every Monday-Thursday from 3:45 to 5:45 PM. The sessions will be staffed by certified teachers and offer students additional academic instruction and support in the areas of literacy, math, science and social studies.
- Students participating in extra-curricular activities will be afforded the same opportunity to engage in the extended learning sessions after school. The choice to participate in these valuable learning sessions will be supported by activities staff without penalty. Students will be required to communicate directly with coaches and/or sponsors concerning their schedule.