Subject: Schedule for learning starting March 30Good afternoon,
I hope this note finds everyone well and taking some time to enjoy the sunshine today. As promised, below is a link to the learning schedule we are starting on Monday, March 30. I hope you will take time to read through this email to understand the thinking behind the structured approach we are adopting, and please direct questions to me via email.
I wanted to share with you the thinking and parameters within which the schedule was developed along with the expectations of what “class” time will look like in the digital learning age. More than anything in a time of such uncertainty, creating a predictable schedule for our community is important. Knowing that so many of our students and families are stressed right now, we look to structure and predictability to help create order within the chaos of the “new normal”. Many of us are balancing working at home with supporting our children and even our parents, and none of us signed up for homeschooling, so we want our schedule to reflect the needs of parents and caregivers as much as possible. The goal of the scheduling committee was: To develop a schedule that incorporates and balances “instructional time”, one-to-one and small group meetings with teachers, advisory, planning and assessing, and adult committee time. Most importantly, we want our community to remain connected.
Online learning will look different for each class, subject, and teacher. We are focusing on essential learning with clear standards, learning outcomes, and keeping it simple. We are working with our entire teaching team, including Special Educators, Tutors, ELL, Guidance, and Social Work to support our students academically and emotionally.
Many of our teachers have been experimenting over the past two weeks with google meet classes, one-to-one meetings, small group work, online games for practice, offline assignment completion, and many other instructional strategies. Our students and teachers readily agree that they are working harder than ever! This is a steep learning curve and we will continue to develop our skills over time.
What you will notice about the new schedule is that there are two weeks – BLUE and WHITE. The differences in them are not major; Wednesday’s schedule for office hours is flipped and White weeks include FFA advisory. We begin March 30 with a BLUE week.
Each day (M, T, Th, F), three classes “meet” for 40 minutes each. It is important to state that planning those 40 minutes of “class time” is determined by each teacher and will be communicated directly to students. Here are some examples of how that time may be structured: 10-15 minutes of full class google meet, with the remainder of the time for small group or individual work; 40 minutes of less structured work time on assignments with opportunities to check in and ask questions of the teacher; full-group class discussions; peer-to-peer work time; and many other choices. Teachers and students are learning these methods and technology together so we will all need to practice patience and kindness. The main purpose of scheduling classes is to ensure that our community has structure on which to build learning. It also means that teachers won’t be scheduling google meetings at the same times.
Wednesdays are for “office hours” so students can reach out one-to-one to their teachers. That’s not to say students may not reach out at other times, and certainly emails are always encouraged, but on Wednesdays teachers can schedule one-to-one conferences, small group meetings, or just be available for questions.
As you review the schedule please keep in mind that we are all learning as we go. On Wednesday, April 8 when we have been using this schedule for almost two weeks, I will collect feedback from students, parents, and teachers so we can see if changes should be made to the schedule. I ask that until then, you keep an open mind and find what works for you in this structure. Again, please contact me if you have questions and thank you for being such an amazing learning community!
I miss you all and hope you are well!