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Distance Learning

What are Distance Learning Days?

Updated 5/4/2020

St. Francis Area Schools students will engage in distance learning with access to appropriate educational materials and instruction from their licensed teachers to continue their learning. Distance Learning utilizes similar aspects to the traditional school day, such as course expectations, class announcements, and learning objectives. Teachers will provide students with a variety of learning opportunities, not all will be digital in nature. 

Instructional Delivery

May 22, 2020 will be the last day of distance learning instruction for students who have met grade/course expectations. Students will be counted as present during these Distance Learning wrap-up days (May 26-June 3)  unless parents/guardians call and report them as absent.  Teachers will use the remaining eight instructional days for the following purposes:

  • Additional support and interventions for students not meeting course/grade level expectations
  • AP/CIS course instruction
  • Enrichment activities

Beginning Monday, March 30, 2020 staff will communicate course/class expectations using the following:

  • Early Childhood-Grade 12
    Teachers will communicate with students through Google Classroom, packets that were sent home via material pick-up during the week of March 23-27, or email. Accommodations will be made for students with IEPs or 504 plans.  Click here for a tutorial video on Google Classroom
K-12 Attendance

Attendance will be taken daily. At the elementary school level, classroom teachers will send a daily email to families. Families will need to respond daily to this email to mark their student present for the day. Students in grades 6-12 are required to log into Google Classroom or a Google Form daily and participate in an online activity to register their attendance.  For students without access to Google Classroom, students/families will call the designated teacher on a daily basis and leave a voice message or send an email to the teacher.

For the period May 26-June 4, 2020, the school district will assume positive attendance. Student absences for illness, doctors appointments, etc. will be reported following the same procedures as previous to Distance Learning. Please call the schools’ attendance lines to report student absences.

Teacher Office Hours

The expectation is for all staff to be available by email or phone (via voicemail) daily. Each school’s office hours as follows:

  • Early Childhood and K-5 elementary schools: 9:00 am-3:30 pm
  • St. Francis Learning Center, St. Francis High School: 7:45 am-2:25 pm
  • St. Francis Middle School: 7:35 am-2:12 pm
  • Transition 15: 7:30 am-1:30 pm

Staff will respond to all communication requests in a timely manner (within 24 hours) during scheduled hours via phone, Google Meet, Zoom, or email. Teachers may communicate outside of office hours as needed.

Contacting your Child's Teacher on a Distance Learning Day

Teachers, principals and other licensed professionals will be available by email or phone (via voicemail). Ways to contact your child’s teachers:

  • Send staff an email to their school email address. Staff contact information can be found in the staff directory on the website.
  • Call your child’s teacher and leave a message on their school voicemail. All voicemails are forwarded to staff emails. If you request a call back from your child's teacher, please leave your phone number and a specific time for a return call.

Staff will respond to all communication requests in a timely manner (within 24 hours) during scheduled hours via phone, Google Meet, Zoom or email. Teachers may communicate outside of office hours as needed.

Special Education

Special education services will continue to be provided from May 26 to June 3. Students who are on IEPs will continue to receive special education support from their special education teachers until June 3, 2020.

Please know that your child will continue to receive a modified version of special education services, accommodations, and modifications from what is currently identified on their Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). The methods and strategies to deliver specialized instruction will look different with a Distance Learning Plan. For example, starting March 30, 2020, services will be delivered through an alternative method that may include consulting with parents on specific learning strategies, using technology to demonstrate skills or ideas, phone calls or video conferencing with students, and/or printed instructional resources. Your child’s case manager has been working with you, other special education service providers (as appropriate), and classroom teachers to participate in developing this interim Distance Learning Plan. Each child’s plan has been specifically and uniquely modified to best meet their special education needs, within the parameters of all of the governor’s pandemic directives and restrictions.

Over the last ten days, your child’s case manager has been gathering input and ideas and is developing a proposed interim IEP/IFSP Distance Learning Plan. This plan will be electronically shared with you by the end of the day March 27, 2020. This will be an addendum to your child’s IEP/IFSP and should be reflective of the conversations/communications you have had with the case manager in the past couple of weeks. It is our intent to partner with you to try to support both you and your child as best we can during this challenging time.

Support for American Indian Students

In order to ensure that the St. Francis Area School District is meeting the needs of American Indian (AI) students and families during distance learning, the American Indian Education Program will seek guidance from local and regional tribal leaders representing our AI students: ISD 15 American Indian Education Parent Advisory Committee, MN Department of Indian Education and the MN Indian Education Association. 

The American Indian Education Program will provide outreach, referrals, education, and cultural support to ensure AI students and families have their basic needs met and the ability to engage in distance learning. American Indian Education staff will continue to have ongoing communication and collaboration with: AI students, parent/guardians,  administration, teachers, and support staff in order to identify barriers, provide support to and advocate for all of our American Indian students during distance learning – i.e., academic support, emotional wellness check-ins, attendance support, meal program needs, monitor technology/devices/internet needs, and assist students and families in seeking needed resources.

The American Indian Education Program will periodically post supplemental/enrichment cultural resources on the school district's American Indian Education web page for students and families.

For questions and support contact: Carline Sargent, American Indian Education Coordinator, or Lisa Cicha, American Indian Education Liaison,

Parent Technical Support & Access to Devices

Need help using class materials or websites?

Please contact your teacher for help by sending an email or leaving a voicemail. It may take a day to hear back.

Technology Support

Please submit a help desk ticket. On the help ticket, please choose the school you attend and add your contact information.  For questions, Monday-Friday, 7:00 am-4:00 pm, please call 763-753-7124 or 763-753-7158.

Additional resources are listed in the column at right under the Technology Support tab:

  • Connecting your Chromebook to Wifi
  • How to clean your Chromebook
  • Technology Equipment Check-out Agreement
  • Technology Support Letter
Internet Filtering at Home

To help protect students against harmful and inappropriate online material, as well as to keep a “scholarly” focus when learning online, SFAS uses online services provided by GoGuardian. This web-based protection operates both when in school and at also at home for school managed accounts (i.e. when a student is logged into Chrome or a Chromebook with their school email address).

While filtering takes place both at school and at home, parents play an important role in supervising their child's internet access and usage. Parents are encouraged to discuss rules for appropriate internet usage, and reinforce lessons of digital citizenship and safety.

Additional Information

Visit the St. Francis Area Schools COVID-19 Resource page for additional information

We know that your schedules are wide and varied. We are here to support you and your child during these evolving times, so please reach out to us as we are in this together.

Art: SFAS Distance Learning Graphic