Updated April 16, 2020
Are classes and assignments optional?
We expect meaningful engagement between teachers and students; students are expected to complete their work and respond to teachers. We are working hard to balance common expectations with autonomy and flexibility. It’s challenging to say the least. The state and district have given some parameters and guidelines, and those continue to change. We expect to share more specifics to high school students and families about grades, earning credit and graduation requirement very soon.
We have some families frustrated by the increasing expectations because they are focused on getting food on the table, juggling work and child care, and trying to get WiFi. Others wish we had the capacity to provide class time for 6.5 hours per day via Zoom lectures.
We also recognize there are some very real obstacles in students’ lives that may make it difficult for them to be their best student selves right now, including mental health. If students are not engaging with assignments, our teachers and other school staff will be reaching out to connect with families to find out how we can support them engaging in class expectations.
I haven’t heard from my child’s teacher. What’s going on?
Our teachers are engaging students in many different ways, and what we’re realizing is that many families are not using or aware of the tools our staff are using.
Elementary families and students can access all learning menus on this webpage. Menus are updated weekly.
At the elementary level, teachers are mainly utilizing the app SeeSaw to connect with both students and families. See Seesaw help and how-to guides here. Many teachers are sending messages and learning menus weekly to families via email.
Students in grades 6-12 receive assignments via their district email accounts (which we encourage students to check regularly), Teams and OneNote via Office 365 every Monday and Tuesday. If you are not sure what your middle or high school child is supposed to be doing, please ask them to check their district email and review their messages and assignments with them. Here is a link that provides guidance for families using Teams for the first time.
If you still have questions or wonders, we encourage families to reach out to teachers first, then principals to help clarify. Go to “contact” on the district website. Remote learning is new to all of us, so we also ask that you give students, staff and families grace as we create new routines and establish expectations that work for a variety of learners.
Can teachers use Zoom or Teams to connect with students?
Some teachers may utilize teleconferencing tools like Zoom to connect with students. We have circulated some guidance on how teachers can connect, along with best practices and safety guidelines.
We will also be using a different tool called Teams, which is within our Microsoft Office 365 platform, in the near future. It provides some enhanced features (live captioning, integration with existing classroom tools). It has a tighter integration with other tools our students and teachers regularly use, especially at the high school level. Here is a link that provides guidance for families using Teams for the first time.
Connecting with full classes via Zoom/Teams as part of regular or ongoing remote learning has not been recommended (e.g. a standing lecture time similar to a college class). Right now our staff who are using teleconferencing are primarily using it to provide chances for connection with classmates, continue social-emotional learning, provide opportunities to ask questions or clarify assignments, and for students to receive instruction from special educators and other specialists. However, our use of teleconferencing tools are evolving and may change down the road.