This letter is to address the two scheduled asynchronous school days on the Verona Area School District (VASD) 2023-24 school calendar.
By definition, an asynchronous school day is one in which there is no planned online interactive learning or teaching. Students from grades Pre-K through high school stay at home to be self taught, and the day is counted as an instructional day that meets the student attendance and planned minutes of instruction as set by the Wisconsin Department of Instruction.
The mission statement of VASD reads, "Our success is built on a foundation of Equity, Mutual Respect, Cultural Responsiveness, the Pursuit of Excellence, and Shared Responsibility at School, at Home, and in the Community. We believe that each student should have access to the resources and educational rigor they need, at the right moment in their education, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, ability, language, family background, or family income."
Do asynchronous school days reflect VASD's mission statement, specifically in regard to equity and the pursuit of excellence? Are our most vulnerable students and families receiving the support they need on asynchronous school days in terms of nutrition, internet access, safety, and special services they would receive during an in person school day?
Is the curriculum sent home for these asynchronous days the equivalent of what teachers and staff teach in person, and are students able to learn in the same way from an asynchronous day as they are in an in person school day? Are asynchronous school days helping to close the gap in educational outcomes between our disadvantaged students and the students already meeting standards?
Ultimately, do asynchronous school days align with VASD's mission statement?
These questions need to be asked of VASD's administration as well as answered by VASD's administration. Just because we can schedule asynchronous school days doesn't mean we should. What is an inconvenience for some is harmful to others.
We have a choice now to remove asynchronous school days from the VASD 2023-24 school calendar.