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PLSD Continuity of Education Plan Phase III Letter to Families 4-27-20

Purchase Line School District
Continuity of Education Plan

Phase III - Planned Instruction: Project Based Learning

Dear Purchase Line School District Families,

Beginning April 27, 2020 the Purchase Line School District will move to the third and final phase
of its Continuity of Education Plan for the 2019-2020 school year: Planned Instruction through
a Project-based learning methodology. New guidelines provided by the Pennsylvania
Department of Education make participation in this project a REQUIREMENT for all students in
the Purchase Line School District.

● Project-based learning (PBL) is an approach to education which invites students to
explore real-world problems and challenges while acquiring deeper knowledge through
doing a project within a set of specific guidelines.
● The PBL projects will be designed to be discussed and supported with teachers and
other academic support staff via Zoom meetings, email, Google Docs, and more, or by
phone if students do not have reliable Internet access.
● Students will be given approximately four weeks to complete their PBL project. It is due
on May 26, 2020.
Participation Requirement
As stated above, participation in this PBL project is REQUIRED of all students in the Purchase
Line School District. Engagement will be monitored twice weekly and will be categorized as
follows:
● Highly Engaged – means a student is actively participating by attending sessions,
completing work/tasks, and is proactively communicating with the teacher and
classmates.
● Engaged – means a student is meeting minimum expectations and/or is partially
engaged, attends some learning sessions, and completes some work/tasks.
● Not Engaged – means a student is not engaged in the learning process, does not attend
learning sessions, does not complete tasks/work, or has been unreachable.
Grading/Evaluation
The final evaluation of the PBL project will be marked Pass or Incomplete.
● Pass – means a project was produced by the student that met the guidelines outlined by
their teacher.
● Incomplete – means the student either was not appropriately engaged, did not
participate at all, or did not, in the estimation of the teacher, make a good faith effort to
complete the project as outlined.
While the final evaluation and levels of engagement will not be formally calculated into
a student’s final grade for the fourth quarter, participation is REQUIRED; therefore, a
student with an Incomplete:
● May not earn credits for all courses in the fourth quarter.
● May not be promoted to the next grade level for the 2020-2021 school year.
● May not be considered for the National Honor Society (NHS).
We know there may be many reasons why a student’s engagement may be affected, and we
will continue to do everything we can to support them. Please discuss any issues that might
prevent completion of the PBL project with your child’s teacher prior to the end of the four
weeks.

The PBL Projects
The PBL projects will have three key features:

1. Interdisciplinary. PBL focuses on engaging students with real-world problems. This is
an interdisciplinary approach because real-world challenges are rarely solved using
information or skills from a single subject area. Projects require students to engage in
inquiry, solution building, and product construction to help address the real-world issue
or challenge presented. As students do the work, they often use content knowledge and
skills from multiple academic domains to successfully complete the project.
2. Rigor. Project based learning requires the application of knowledge and skills, not just
recall or recognition. Unlike rote learning that assesses a single fact, PBL is more
complex and can be used to assess how students apply a variety of academic content in
new contexts. As students engage in the work of a project they follow a process that
begins with inquiry. Inquiry leads to deeper learning, not just related to academic
content, but also related to the use of content in real world applications. Inquiry
processes can help lead to the development of solutions that address the
problem/challenge of the project and the creation of products to communicate
solutions to an audience based upon the application of content and skills.
3. Student-centered. In PBL, the role of the teacher shifts from content-deliverer to
facilitator/ project manager. Students will be expected to work more independently
through the PBL process, with the teacher and support staff always available to provide
support. Students are encouraged to make their own decisions about how best to do
their work and demonstrate their understanding.
Independent Study Projects
Students also have the option of designing their own project. If your student is currently
working, doing a home project, or just has an idea for a project they’d like to try, a proposal
form is available from their homeroom teacher. The independent study must be formally
approved before it will be considered eligible for a Pass grade.
For households that have more than one student in them or students at multiple grade levels, a
Family Study Project could also be an option; however:

● the PA Core standards would have to be met for each grade level of the students
participating.
● the development of the project would have to be coordinated and approved by all of
the students’ homeroom teachers.
● the group as a whole would achieve the Pass or Incomplete grade upon completion.
Please contact the curriculum director, Thomas Grierson (griersont@plsd.k12.pa.us), by April
29th if your family wishes to explore this option.
Submitting the PBL Project or Independent Study
Once the PBL project or independent study is chosen by the student and approved by their
teacher, they will discuss the required “deliverables” by the end of the four weeks for the
student to receive a Pass grade. These deliverables may include written work, photographs,
graphs, drawings, or a combination of materials depending on the project type.
● For those students with projects that can be submitted electronically, deadlines will be
established with their teachers.
● For those students with projects that have components that need to be handed in in
print or physical form, there will be drop off times scheduled at the Elementary and
JSHS schools in conjunction with desk and locker clean out days.
Details about the final schedule for project drop-off and desk/locker clean out will be
forthcoming, but must be completed the week of May 26th, 2020. Please watch for further
announcements.

Student Expectations

Students are expected to:
● Choose a Phase III PBL project or design an independent study and have it approved by
their teacher by (at the latest) April 30th.
● Monitor Google Classroom or whatever communication tool is set up with their
homeroom teacher.
● Establish daily routines for engaging in the learning experiences and be prepared to talk
about the progress they are making on their project.
● Be responsible and maintain a positive growth mindset.
● Engage in all learning with academic honesty.
● Be an advocate for themselves and communicate with teachers if they need help.
● Complying with all School Internet Safety policies including expectations for online
etiquette.
● Complete all work by May 26, 2020.

Communication

Starting today and through this week, every student will be personally contacted by their
homeroom teacher to ensure a clear understanding of the requirements and expectations of
the projects in Phase III - Planned Instruction: Project Based Learning, and to ensure there are
clear lines of communication open for the remainder of the school year.
If you have updates to your student’s phone number, physical address, or email address, please
contact the school and let us know so that your child is not penalized for lack of participation in
this final phase.