Mequon-Thiensville School District


Since we implemented our emergency distance learning program in spring 2020, we have reviewed the feedback from families and have analyzed best practices to support our ongoing improvement.

How does Distance Learning in 2020-2021 differ from the Emergency Learning in Spring of 2020?

During the Spring of 2020, MTSD had to transition into emergency distance learning. While MTSD will still offer students the opportunity to choose a distance learning option for the 2020-2021 school year, the learning experience is dramatically different than last spring. For this school year, the academic rigor, expectations, and instructional scope-and-sequence for distance learning are the same as it is for on campus learning. It includes a 5-day a week learning model and follows the 2020-2021 school year calendar.

Read more about our enhanced distance learning experience

What is Canvas?

Canvas is the new district Learning Management System (LMS) for MTSD. Canvas allows teachers to facilitate, document, and track learning in an online environment. Parents and guardians can use Canvas to see important class information including assignments, due dates, assignment feedback, teacher engagement, and more using their Canvas Observer Account. Daily lessons will be provided in a structured format using asynchronous (not happening in real-time, e.g. pre-recorded videos, texts) and/or synchronous (virtually, in real-time with teacher) methods. All assessments and grading practices and procedures will mirror on-campus practices and procedures.

Software and Technology

Investments in software and technology will support those students and families who will not be able to participate in On Campus Learning but will need to access instruction remotely. A Learning Management System (LMS) is a platform that helps instructors manage and organize educational materials online and conduct online courses. Learning management systems help streamline the learning process by providing a central location for accessing material online and developing content. MTSD will be using Canvas as the LMS platform for grades kindergarten through grade 12.

Daily Schedules

All distance learning students must be available to participate in distance learning on a daily basis. Schedules for distance learning school days are listed below:

  • Elementary School: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
  • Middle School: 8:00 a.m. - 2:55-3:05 p.m.
  • High School: 7:25 a.m. - 2:37 p.m.

Expectations for Students

  • Log into their Canvas courses on a daily basis to access daily lessons.
  • Complete all assignments for all content areas.
  • Attend and engage in all learning activities (synchronous or asynchronous) in all content areas. Daily attendance will be taken Monday through Friday. Students will be marked absent if they are not present during a synchronous lesson and/or if no participation occurs with distance learning lessons for a class. Parents will need to call the school office to excuse an absence.
  • Actively communicate your questions/concerns/needs with the teacher.

Support for Families

Professional Development

Educators have spent the summer preparing for distance learning across all scenarios. A team of approximately 90 teachers worked together to develop and refine faculty guidelines for distance learning to make instruction as synchronous as possible through the use of lesson design templates and frameworks. These templates/frameworks were developed after extensive research of best practices that ensure high-quality, engaging distance learning lessons.

Additionally, teachers are receiving ongoing professional development specific to Canvas LMS to grow their capacity for teaching at a distance. Lessons are being developed without the reliance of a physical space to carry out instruction. This ensures that students will have access to high-quality instruction no matter where it takes place.

Read More About Distance Learning: MTSD Distance Learning Parameters