What will the 2020-21 school year look like?

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July 21, 2020

By: Haley Hall, B.A. Learning Specialist and LEAP Instructor

This question has been asked lately numerous times by families, teachers, administrators, children, and our ETLC staff alike. Typically, our Language Enrichment Academic Program (LEAP) is an in-person classroom program, designed to teach students in a small-group environment with minimal distractions. Along with many programs across the globe, the design of LEAP has shifted this year in order to make everyone’s health a priority. Our focus is to provide the best possible education in the safest way while still taking into considerations each family’s wants for the upcoming school year.

Not even the pandemic stopped our students from growing and reaching their goals. In March 2020 our classroom shifted to virtual learning for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. Regardless of where our students were learning, we know their success continued. These are just a few of the highlights from our 2019-20 school year:

  • In six months of LEAP, a student gained 3.5 years in reading accuracy, 3.25 years in comprehension, 2.5 years in subtraction, 3 years in multiplication, 1.5 years in division, 2.75 years in problem solving, and 1.5 years in reading/interpreting charts, tables and graphs. Also, his ability to write logical sentences improved from the 37th to the 98th percentile, sentence combining skills improved from 50th to 98th percentile, story composition went from 2nd to 50th percentile. 
  • In six months in LEAP, a student improved in his story composition writing skills from the 37th to the 91st percentile, and sentence composition from the 16th to the 63rd percentile. He also gained 4.5 years in addition skills and 2 years in subtraction skills. 
  • A LEAP student improved from the 63rd to the 95th percentile in sentence combining, gained 2 years in subtraction skills, 2.5 years in multiplication skills, and 1.5 years in all other math subtest skill areas. 

As we look forward to the 2020-21 school year, we are excited to continue seeing wonderful progress with our LEAP students. One way our students may learn is through online classes.

What will the online classes look like?

Our online classes will include a daily one-hour session for social studies, science, social skills, and language. If a student is in the full-day program, they will get 2 one-hour group sessions. We will also have small-group and individual sessions that will focus on reading, writing and math for students. The groups will be determined by the student’s abilities in that subject area. The length of these sessions will depend on how many students are in the group (with a maximum of 4 students per group).

We find it best practice to use our small group time to teach students new concepts and practice strategies related to those concepts. Students will have a materials kit that they will use daily during their small group or independent instruction time, allowing for hands-on learning from home. We will use the Zoom platform to conduct all online sessions. Students and teachers are able to see and hear each other, remote control is occasionally given to students to interact with the online instruction materials, and data is collected during sessions to track student’s progress on their goals.

We also plan to provide a daily schedule and checklist for students to help keep him/her on track at home, and to help organize his/her learning time. As you know, students need time to do independent work related to specific subjects, giving them an opportunity to generalize the skills they are learning in their small groups. Similarly to in the classroom, students will be expected to complete independent work each day, outside of the time they are online with the instructor. The independent assignments and homework will be tasks that students can feel successful with and won’t be frustrating for you and/or your child to complete.

Some activities that students may do during their independent learning time may include: keyboarding practice, handwriting, math workbook assignments, spelling practice, expressive writing assignments, independent reading, and more.

Consistent communication with our LEAP teachers will be vital in helping us to determine the levels that keep each student engaged and processing, yet are not overly frustrating. One of the benefits to our program over other general online programs is that we go at your child’s own pace so that they can experience success and you can avoid frustrating homework experiences, yet still achieve amazing growth throughout the year. It is a balancing act sometimes!

How will my child’s abilities be assessed?

Students who are new to LEAP will go through an initial assessment that will be administered one-on-one with a teacher. If the teacher believes this assessment will be best given in-person instead of online, arrangements can be made to conduct the assessment in our office. The assessments give baseline scores in the academic areas of reading, math and, when age-appropriate, writing. Once this assessment is completed, the teacher will use the information to set goals that the student will work to achieve throughout the school year. During the individual and small-group sessions, data will be collected to track student’s progress towards their goals. Conferences are held twice throughout the school year to share updated progress with each student’s parents.

What programs and curriculum will be used?

We use many of the same programs and curriculum in our LEAP classroom as we do online. A few of the core programs we use are: Lindamood Bell’s Visualizing and Verbalizing and Seeing Stars programs, Learning A-Z, Easy Grammar, Singapore Math, Everyday Speech, Learning Without Tears, Core Knowledge, Mystery Science, and Generation Genius. Other supplemental programs may also be used.

What would a sample online schedule look like for my child?


Note:  Times will be slightly different for each child.  The Reading/Math and Writing online group instruction may also be a different amount of time depending on how many students are in the small group.  Social studies and Science will be rotated each unit.

Note:  Times will be slightly different for each child.  The Reading/Math and Writing online group instruction may also be a different amount of time depending on how many students are in the small group.  Social studies and Science will be rotated so if they do science in the morning, they will do social studies in the afternoon. 

What questions should I ask my child’s current school to best weigh school options?

If your child’s current school is doing in-person classes, we would recommend asking the following:

  • What precautions is the school taking to ensure children’s safety (i.e. daily routines, protection, cleaning measures, etc.)?
  • What is the maximum number of children in the classroom?
  • What actions will be taken if a case of COVID-19 occurs in your child’s classroom? In your child’s school?
  • What are expectations for children and families attending school? If families travel, are they allowed to come back to school or do they need to quarantine for a period of time?  Who is monitoring this and to what extent?
  • How often will your child’s math, reading and writing skills be assessed to ensure progress?
  • Will your child’s IEP be amended? If so, how?

If your child’s current school is doing online classes, we would recommend asking the following:

  • How many children will attend the online classroom at a time?
  • How will your child be assessed for current abilities and progress throughout the year?
  • How will the school handle reading groups?
  • What would a sample schedule look like for your child?
  • How will your child’s reading/math/language needs specifically be addressed?
  • What would an amended IEP look like?
  • Would your child be seen independently or in groups for IEP needs?

What are some advantages to enrolling in LEAP?

  • LEAP is unique in that we have smaller classes, with no more than 10 students in the group for online classes, and no more than 7 students in the group for in-person classes
  • We have had more than 10 years experience on online education.  
  • There will be no more than 4 students in each reading, math and writing group.
  • We continually assess each student’s abilities and progress towards their goals in math, reading and writing.
  • Our program is individualized so we are able to address any academic needs that arise.
  • We ensure collaboration and coaching with families to achieve academic success.
  • We offer both 1/2-day and full-day programs.
  • A daily schedule and independent checklist are given to students to work on in-between online coursework and instruction.

What next?

We’d love to hear from you! If you’re interested in LEAP, or if you have questions about our 2020-21 school program, give us a call. You can reach our Des Moines office at 515-419-4270 and our North Liberty office at 319-626-2553.

Haley is a Learning Specialist at Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center.  ETLC has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area.  We provide individual speech language therapy and tutoring as well as offering a unique group Language Enrichment Academic Program (LEAP).  At Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success.  Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed. 

1210 Jordan Street, Suite 2A
North Liberty, IA 52317
319-626-2553

2570 106th Street, Suite E
Urbandale, IA 50322
515-419-4270

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