When inclement weather threatens Atlanta, we take precautions to ensure the safety of our precious students and staff. Taking those precautions can sometimes mean closing schools in light of impending bad weather in the area. At this time of year, that bad weather can come in the form of freezing temperatures and icy road conditions.
Safety is always our top priority, but, as educators, we know that students who miss multiple school days could suffer learning loss in their subject areas. That’s why it’s so important in times when schools are closed due to inclement weather that we not only protect our students and keep them safe, but we must also find ways to protect the valuable instructional time our students need to master the curriculum at hand.
In this age of technology and online access, a day without school should not have to be a day without learning. That’s why we’ve launched APS WeatherWise, our new online learning platform that helps prevent learning loss by supplementing missed classroom time.
Online learning is a natural remedy to the loss of class time during school closures because students are already adept at using technology. In addition, our students already have access to the lessons at home through the myBackPack platform, and this easily allows students to continue learning online without the need to extend the school calendar.
APS will make the determination on when an APS WeatherWise Day would kick in and we will announce that plan in the same way that school closings due to inclement weather are announced: robo calls, direct emails and texts, the APS mobile App, on our District website and through our social media channels.
On an APS WeatherWise Day, students will work on grade appropriate assignments provided by their own core-content teachers (Math, English Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies). If students don’t have the ability to complete their assignments during the inclement weather day, they will have up to two weeks to complete them.
We know that having access to the Internet outside of school is becoming more and more critical for our students. That’s why I was so excited to surprise every 6th and 7th grader in APS — all 6,000 of them — with the announcement that they will all be receiving a free Windows laptop equipped with a T-Mobile 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot for access to high-speed internet at home!
Thank you T-Mobile for investing nearly $1.5 million in this initiative!
We made the announcement in front of 6th and 7th graders at Brown Middle School on Friday, February 8th, and you should have seen the look of surprise on their little faces! The energy in the room was palpable! I was thrilled to join with T-Mobile executives to share the news.
This effort is part of our Digital Bridge Program, which is working to bridge the digital divide and ensure that students have a seamless experience with digital resources and 21st century learning from school to home. This program truly comes at a time when technology is integral to our students’ success, and especially now with our APS WeatherWise initiative.
I know some of you may still have questions about the program, so I’ve provided a Q&A here with some of the more frequent questions we’ve gotten:
- What is APS WeatherWise?
- APS WeatherWise is an online program designed to provide students with assignments from their core teachers when APS is closed for inclement weather.
- Why APS WeatherWise?
- Online learning is a natural remedy to the loss of class time during school closures because students are already adept at using technology and they have access to the lessons at home through the myBackPackplatform.
- How does APS WeatherWise work?
- The District will announce an APS WeatherWise Day and students will be instructed to access assignments in their APS WeatherWise folder in their Google Classroom.
- What if I don’t have power or access to the Internet ?
- If students don’t have the ability to complete their assignments during the APS WeatherWise Day, they will have up to two weeks after they return to school to complete those assignments.
- How do I access APS WeatherWise?
- Students should enter their APS student computer login ID.
- The myBackPackscreen will load with your unique username and password.
- Locate your Google Classroom and navigate to your WeatherWise lessons for each of your classes.
In addition to the APS WeatherWise assignments, students are also able to access the CLASS Pass in their myBackPack platform. The CLASS Pass, a library card program with Atlanta-Fulton Public Library system, provides access to dozens of resources, including online databases, eBooks, eAudiobooks and streaming videos.
If you have any additional questions about APS WeatherWise, please contact your classroom teachers. More information and other technical resources are also available in myBackPack.
We’re excited that learning in APS is seamless — it continues from school to home, and it unleashes limitless possibilities for our students, helping them build a successful future.