September 7, 2020: Update from Principal Hanson
Good evening, Caleb families!
I hope that, despite the heat and the smoke and the pandemic, you were able to enjoy at least part of this long weekend. We are back to business tomorrow, with our full Distance Learning Schedule, which you can find here. This means school begins tomorrow at 8am sharp, on Zoom, for ALL students. As a Sac City school and in order to ensure equitable access to teachers and instruction for all 43,000 children in our district, we are required to follow the schedule provided by the district. While you may be aware of the political strife around labor negotiations and may have strong opinions about the schedule, please know that schools and individual teachers are not at liberty to make adjustments that modify the start time or number of minutes students are in synchronous learning sessions with their teacher. If you experience anything different than this or have concerns, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m excited for our students to have more time with their teachers and classmates this week. Your teachers are sending out their Weekly Learning Plans this evening or first thing tomorrow morning, so just to recap: please plan for your child to be available and engaged with their teacher and classmates for the duration of synchronous learning everyday. For our kinders that’s 8-11 and 12-12:20, for first through third grade that’s 8-10:55 and 11:55-1:10, and for fourth through sixth grade that’s 8-10:55 and 11:55-1:20. Break times may move around within those sessions depending on student need, especially as we work to build stamina and digital learning skills. I know it’s going to be quite the transition to longer school days after nearly six months of pandemic life, but I want to assure you that we know it’s going to be tough and we are all ready for the challenge… all of us, kids, teachers, and even you, parents.
Our teachers and I have worked together to calibrate our thinking about synchronous learning in such a way that allows for flexibility, both online and hands-on work, and plenty of supported practice. While our school days will consist several hours on Zoom, our collective goal is to emulate the kind of research-based learning that takes place in the classroom, with instruction and modeling from teachers, frequent checks for understanding and feedback, collaboration with peers, and lots of breaks and practice, all through Zoom in order for students to have access and support from their teacher as we lead them from productive struggle to mastery in our digital setting.
We are not yet experts at this though! So we ask that you keep an open mind and exercise patience and kindness as we work out the kinks and teach our students to be productive digital learners and build their stamina back up. And please, be willing to give this new schedule a try BEFORE deciding it’s too much. It’s going to be messy and imperfect, but we’re ready for it. We just need to keep those minds open!
We have student materials distribution tomorrow and Wednesday. Every child has a box or bag of materials that are necessary for full engagement in distance learning, including textbooks, workbooks, journals, and numerous other items prepared by each classroom teacher. Teachers are expecting students to have these materials in hand by Thursday, so you will want to make sure you pick up tomorrow or Wednesday. We begin at 1:15 until 2:30 for last names A-M and 2:30-4 for last names N-Z. On Wednesday, we swap those hours, with 1:15-2:30 for last names N-Z and 2:3-4 for last names A-M. Please arrive in your vehicle, enter the playground from the gate on Camellia and follow the cones. We will take your child’s name and bring materials out to your vehicle. You must remain in your vehicle and follow all health safety precautions, including maintaining social distance and wearing face coverings. Please do NOT come if you are ill. You may pick up materials for other families, which I recommend for those of you who are not able to make it to campus during our distribution windows. If you are unable to pick up materials at the assigned pick up time or have someone else pick up for you, you may stop by the school on Friday, 8am-2pm, call the front office from the front doors, and someone will bring materials out to you. You can find more information and directions here.
As we embark on our first days with a full distance learning schedule, our IB attribute Open Minded, is going to be our best friend. Worried about squirrely kids and long hours on Zoom? Have no idea what to expect? Not sure how your family is going to manage? Take some deep breaths, please, it really does help and decide to have an open mind. When your mind is open, anything is possible, even productive distance learning.
Yesterday’s email and website update includes lots more information, required emergency forms and tech support, so please be sure to check it out this evening
Let’s do this, Cougars!