BCS Remote Learning Guidelines and Expectations

Buncombe County Schools

 Remote Learning Guide 2020-2021

Keys to Remote Only and Hybrid Remote Learning

Remote learning provides an opportunity for students and teachers to remain connected and continue learning by engaging with standards-based curriculum and collaborating while working from their homes. Educators are responsible for establishing positive and productive learning environments in which students can learn, when it occurs in the classroom as well as when it occurs virtually. Buncombe County Schools' students have the responsibility to participate in lessons and demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways. Families have a key role in supporting learning when it occurs in the classroom as well as when it occurs virtually. 

It is important to provide consistent opportunities for students, parents and teachers to connect during remote learning.


Teachers are expected to communicate with your students and parents about the following in a remote only and hybrid remote environment:

  • Communication method for parents and students

  • Office hours when you are available for contact

  • Setup a consistent time for questions and help. You may want to use a tool for scheduling individual time with parents or students  (ie: Doodle, Calendly)

  • The learning management system (LMS) students will use and how they can access and use the LMS

  • Expectations for attendance and behavior during remote learning

  • Grading policy during remote learning including how often grades will be posted

  • Focus is on core instruction

  • Instructional delivery must work for remote and face-to-face students

In addition, in a remote only environment, teachers should also:

  • Schedule times for direct instruction and recommended time to be spent on learning activities

  • The video tool that be used for synchronous learning or connecting in small groups  (ie: Zoom or Google Meet)

Learning Management Systems (LMS)

All teachers will use a learning management system appropriate for the grade level they teach.  In a hybrid remote setting, the learning management system will be used both in the classroom and during remote learning.

In Buncombe County Schools the following Learning Management Systems are supported for these grade bands:

  • K-2: SeeSaw 

  • 3rd-Intermediate: Google Classroom (some may opt to incorporate Canvas)

  • Middle School-12th: Google Classroom or Canvas

Video Conferencing

Choose one video communication tool to use during remote learning.  Make sure that your students and parents know how to access and use the tool.  Buncombe County Schools supports Zoom or Google Meet.

Students are to be engaged in learning activities for the duration of the school day in alignment with guidelines for face to face learning. All learning activities must align with the North Carolina Standard Course of Study, BCS Instructional Framework, and Core Documents.

Students will be actively engaged in, but not limited to, the following activities:

  • Live video conferencing (synchronous) and/or pre-recorded teacher videos (asynchronous) which may include assigned content-related videos (YouTube, PBS Media, CK-12, Learn360, etc.)

  • Independent practice and application

  • Inquiry based learning   

  • Assignment choice (e.g. can do/must do or choice boards)

  • Movement 

  • CASEL’s 3 Signature Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Practices

Please note: Activities at home can take up to 2-3 times longer than face to face instruction for some students. 

* Live and pre-recorded instructional videos should consider the recommended time limits:

  • K-1: 5-10 minute spans, a total of 45 minutes per day

  • 2-3: 10-15 minute spans, a total of 60 minutes per day

  • 4-5: 20 minute spans, a total of 90 minutes per day

  • MS:  30 minutes per class, 3 hours a day for all classes

  • HS: 30 minutes per class, 3 hours a day for all classes

    • HS students will meet synchronously with their teacher for 30 minutes per class period starting week 3

Best Practices:

  • Consistent scheduling and posted schedule each week 

  • Include movement after 15-20 minutes

  • Provide distributed summarizing activities after 5-10 minutes to give students time to reflect on what they have learned

  • Remote only teachers must follow the school schedule for synchronous class

  • Assign engaging activities where students have opportunities to unplug, create and explore their interests

  • Teacher-created videos help create relationships and are more powerful

  • Choice in activities will increase engagement and student participation

  • Keep direct instruction videos short. A series of five minute videos is more powerful than a 20-minute video

  • Digital tools should be introduced explicitly with multiple opportunities for practice

Types of student engagement with common measurements for virtual settings

Types of Engagement 


Common Measurements


How often and for how long learners engage in the course material.

  • Amount of time a student spends on a virtual learning module

  • Number of logins to a course site

  • Consistency of interactions with course materials

  • Assignments completed

  • Level of participation in online discussion forums


How learners think about and make connections with what they are learning.

  • Performance on assignments

  • Interactions within threaded discussions

  • Quality of interactions within a synchronous session

  • Word usage in online discussion forums


Level of connectedness and caring that learners feel in their learning community.

  • Student satisfaction with the course and instructor

  • How students communicate and interact with the teacher and peers

  • The quality and quantity of parental involvement

  • Emotional reaction to school and whether students feel valued

Information gathered from Edsurge

Teacher Communication Ideas to Increase Student Engagement

  • Post regular announcements

    • Include instructions for assignments that are short, specific and in multiple formats.  (Audio, video, text, graphics)

    • Take time to engage with your students daily either in person through Zoom or Google Meet or record a video using Screencastify.

    • As a classroom norm create a daily agenda using the calendar feature inside your chosen LMS, on a choice board, inside a google slide presentation, etc.  Keep it consistent.

  • Use feedback to build relationships

    • Give personalized feedback to let students know their work has been reviewed.

    • Give specific standards related feedback that points back to the learning objective.

    • Video and audio feedback are extremely effective in the virtual environment.

  • Reply early and often

    • Keep students connected to your feedback with regular responses to their questions and needs.

  • Vary communication tools

    • Use a combination of communication tools to meet the needs of diverse learners. 

    • Learner preferences should be considered when choosing the appropriate communication method.

Planning and Delivering Instruction

Since the level of independent learning increases in a remote setting, it is more vital to provide a variety of engaging activities to maintain student enthusiasm and motivation to learn. (Instructional Design Principles for Remote Teaching and Learning)

Each specific task needs to have concise directions from the teacher created in a format that is accessible to all learners and available for reference later as needed.

Elearning Day Template K-5

Use templates to design remote lessons.  

SMART Learning Suite Online - SLSO

Learn how to deliver engaging interactive lessons from any device using SLSO - SMART’s online learning solution. Synchronous and Asynchronous possibilities exist for sharing multiple types of content (Google Drive files, PDF’s, YouTube videos, etc.) to your students.

ISTE Standards for Students 7c states: Students contribute constructively to project teams, assuming various roles and responsibilities to work effectively toward a common goal.  

Examples of possible remote learning collaboration activities include:

Learning Activities for Students without Internet Access

Remote Learning 101

What is my most important goal in ensuring equitable learning experiences for students? (FLOWCHART

  • Equity in learning content in a Virtual Environment

    • Student Services (Counselor Support, School Resources, Instructional Coach, Media Specialists, DLF, etc.)

  • Equity of accessing the content Virtually

Feedback builds capacity for students and families. Feedback also builds in accountability--students know that you are checking on their work.

Virtual Feedback Best Practices Article

The article clearly lays out six best practices for giving feedback to students. Be sure to be timely and precise with feedback so that students can learn from it and grow.

  • Seesaw

    • Record audio or video and send to individuals, groups, or class

    • Submit comments on individual work samples from students

    • Use the draft feature for student work revision and growth (How-To Use the Draft feature)

  • Google Classroom

    • Private feedback can be given on student work (Private feedback tutorial)

    • Work can be returned to students for revision

    • Audio (Vocaroo.com) or video (Screencastify) feedback can be linked in the private message within Google Classroom

  • Canvas

  • OneNote/Teams

  • Student Conferences might be done using a video conferencing tool (Zoom, Google Meet, Teams conferencing tool)

  • Email can also be an effective tool for feedback

Feedback should play a large part in the evaluation of student work. Learning takes place in the journey and not just the final product. These two (feedback and evaluation) go hand in hand.

Evaluation Resources:

  • Rubrics are built directly into many Learning Management Systems: Google Classroom tutorial, OneNote tutorial, and Canvas information

  • SchoolNet- standards-based assessments and lessons in NCEdCloud/IAM

  • iReady/ Imagine Learning/ Dreambox- online standards-based Reading & Math leveled programs

  • Formative- in Clever (6-12)

  • Peardeck- add-on for Slides and Powerpoint

  • Google Forms- can be embedded in LMS; can be auto-graded; ticket out the door, brief quiz

  • Daily Formative Assessment- can take many forms

  • Digital journaling (shared with teacher)

  • Digital assessments (Kahoot, Quizizz, etc.)

  • Other digital tools:

    • Product based assessments (create a product, such as a presentation--think Sway, Slides, Canva, etc.--or other digital product, such as a website, digital brochure, or video)

    • Students can easily explain learning verbally using their camera/video, Flipgrid, Seesaw, etc.

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is the foundation piece of education. The sense of community isn’t lost in the remote learning environment, it’s just different. Educators will use different skills to build and maintain community in a remote learning environment.


Why is social emotional learning important during remote learning? 

What are strategies I can use to address SEL in a remote learning environment?

  • How can I assess the social, emotional needs of my students?


  • How can I model stress management and strategies to build resilience for students?

    • Our goal as a teacher is NOT to add to the trauma a student is already experiencing. Stress is about loss of control.

    •  To combat this teachers can use strategies to give control back to students.

  • How does predictability reduce the feeling of threat? Structure and Classroom procedures reduce stress and provide a sense of trust. 

    • Maintain predictable schedules (MiniLesson Guide)

    • Create remote leaning procedures

    • Continue some procedures from your physical classroom

    • Remember Maslow before Bloom 

      • See Example Schedules in Instructional Time Section of the Remote Learning Guide

Required and Recommended Professional Development for Teachers

Learning Management System:

  • In 2020-21 all K-2 classes will use Seesaw as their primary Learning Management System and will access and submit work through Seesaw. All teachers in grades PreK-2 will become Seesaw Pioneers by completing the BCS Seesaw Pioneers Canvas Course (1 hr CEU) by August 21, 2020.

  • In 2020-21 all 3rd grade through Intermediate classes will use Google Classroom as their primary Learning Management System and 3rd grade through Intermediate teachers will complete the BCS Google Classroom Getting Started Canvas Course (1.5 hrs CEU) by August 21, 2020 and are encouraged to complete all Google Level 1 Certification modules.

  • In 2020-21 Middle-13 classes will use either Google Classroom or Canvas and teachers will complete BCS Google Classroom Getting Started Canvas Course (1.5 hrs CEU) and/or BCS Canvas Teacher Orientation Canvas Course  (2 hrs CEU) by August 21, 2020 and are encouraged to complete all Google Level 1 Certification modules.


Professional Learning 

  • All teachers K-13 will complete a BCS Best Practices for Remote Learning Canvas Course (1 hr CEU) by August 21, 2020.

  • Instructional staff are encouraged to take Matt Miller’s Remote Learning 101: Tips and tools you need to teach remotely.

  • Buncombe County Schools provides synchronous and asynchronous online learning opportunities categorized by department and topic for teachers..  Professional learning opportunities include courses developed by Buncombe County Schools and outside vendors.

Remote Learning Resources

  1. BCS Digital Learning Resources Database

  2. BCS Resource Matrix

  3. BCS Virtual Days Website

  4. Blended Learning Teacher Competency Framework

  5. Do This, Not That Online Teaching: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1uepJzyqzqtYsjdIysqSy3anfWBPVsG2B/view

  6. Friday Institute Remote Learning to Support NC Educators

  7. https://continuouslearning.ksde.org/Continuous-Learning-Framework-2020

  8. K-12 Remote Learning Best Practices for Teachers: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CIaTLRCYMc8H-mFCoE5Li-b6F5IKkzUjwPDXM4EaiyE/edit?usp=sharing

  9. Model for Managing Complex Change

  10. NC Digital Learning Competencies for Administrators

  11. NC Digital Learning Competencies for Classroom Teachers

  12. NCDPI Remote Learning Recommendations  

  13. NCDPI Remote Learning Resources

  14. Quality Review Tools for Digital Learning Resources