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    Back to School: Ready to Learn 

    As a school district, Fort Smith Public Schools is committed to working with district stakeholders to continue preparations for the reopening of schools for on-site instruction for the 2020-2021 school year. Consistent with guidance from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, our goal is to offer on-site instruction enhanced by the use of blended learning strategies beginning August 24, 2020 in all FSPS school buildings. In this context, Blended Learning means that students will have access to the coursework for their classes in a traditional on-site classroom, as they have participated in the past, or through the use of lessons uploaded by their instructors. The online education content and assignments are expected to be comparable to in-person classroom instruction. In addition, programs that are more geared to meet the needs of students who want an exclusively online experience are available through FSPS Virtual Option for students in Kindergarten-9th Grades, and Virtual School for 10-12 Graders at Northside and Southside.

    Unique Challenges

    This year, we face unique challenges in our efforts to provide on-site instruction and other key services. Conditions continue to change on a daily basis. Due to construction in many of our buildings and other factors, we must be prepared to modify and adjust our approach as the year progresses. Meeting these changing needs is likely to require continual review and varying degrees of modification to traditional procedures and practices. It may require shifts to different modes of instruction for days or weeks at a time. Flexibility, coupled with a continued commitment to meeting the needs of students, will be key to our success.

    Building on Experience

    The community can take pride in the way that district team members rallied to respond to the needs of students and families when school buildings closed in March in response to the pandemic. Teachers provided resources such as engaging web sites, optional activities, and live video conferences. Based on this experience, the acquisition of new equipment, and the implementation of a new professional development program, the district is now better equipped to pivot to off-site instruction for all learners if it becomes necessary.

    • We are acquiring portable Wi-Fi hotspots for students

    • We have accelerated our district-wide 1:1 implementation so that all students in grades K-12 will be issued a Chromebook

    • FSPS Teachers are participating in an 18-hour Blended Learning Academy

    More information will follow. It is important to acknowledge that there are limitations to what we can accomplish. Your patience is appreciated, and your questions help to ensure that we do not miss an important issue.

    Questions, Comments or Concerns

    If you have questions, comments or concerns, please send an email to: questions@fortsmithschools.org.