Principal's Corner

 
Pivoting Back to Hybrid
 
January 15, 2021

Dear Blue Duke Nation,

We thank you for your ongoing support as we continue with the Great Learning Challenge 2.0. We know that these are trying times and that there is no ideal way to educate our students. Neither hybrid nor remote gives us the opportunity to provide your child with the optimal educational experience. However, we also realize that there is no “ideal” as we continue living through a pandemic. What we do know is that we are all stronger when we come together - parents, teachers and students. As we prepare for our return to hybrid on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 we wanted to send you some important reminders. We realize that this is lengthy, so we thank you in advance for your patience.

Health & Safety
  • Students and staff will continue to be required to wear masks throughout the school day.
  • We are asking that all families take their child’s temperature each morning, as we will not be taking temperatures at school. If you need a thermometer, please contact our health office and we will send one home with your child.
  • We will be asking students the screening questions verbally as they arrive at school.
  • Students will continue to complete an online screener at the start of advisory class. Our nurses will continue to monitor the results and will check in with students who answer “yes” to one or more questions.
  • Staff will also be completing the screener each day.
  • Honesty is absolutely essential when responding to the screening questions. We understand that these are trying times. However, any student or staff who comes to school with symptoms, or after a known exposure, jeopardizes the health and safety of our school community. 
  • Please remember, if your child needs to quarantine or isolate they will still be able to attend school remotely.

Schedule
Students will be receiving four days of synchronous instruction each week. They will be following their current class schedule. This means that students who are not in school will still be Zooming in to their classes.
Please review this schedule:
A couple of other things to note:
  • At the start of quarter 3, all students will have their Exploratory class at their usual time. Remote students will no longer have Exploratory class during W.I.N.
  • Exploratory Classes take place twice per week on Cohort Days. A student in Cohort 1 will have their Exploratory Class on Mondays and Thursdays. This is the only class that will be asynchronous on their remote day. 
  • Performance groups will continue to take place on a student’s non-cohort day. So, for example, a student who is in Cohort 1 will have their performance group on Tuesday and Friday.
  • If we have a four day week, we will still keep Wednesday as a Flex Day. When we had a four day week earlier in the school year, we tried to change the schedule. This had caused a lot of confusion for students and families. So, we are staying with the same schedule.

Student Hybrid/Remote Status
As you may recall, we asked parents to make any requests for changes to a student’s hybrid/remote status by November 20, 2020. We have accommodated all of those requests.
As of this time, all students should plan on attending school in the manner they were attending prior to November 20, 2020 unless you have received notification of an approved change from your child’s school counselor. Over the weekend, each family will be sent a reminder of their designation: Hybrid or remote and their cohort.

A couple of other important things to note:
  • Students do not have the option of switching their hybrid days. For example, due to our safety protocols, a student may not decide to show up on a Tuesday when they are a Cohort 1 student.
  • In addition, students may not choose to become remote on a day when they don’t feel like coming into school. 
  • Any requests for any changes must be submitted to your child’s school counselor and formally approved prior to that change becoming effective. Please remember that the deadline for requests was November 20, 2020. We may not be able to accommodate requests to return to hybrid that have come in after that date

Attendance
Attending classes is critical for a student to be successful in school and ready to move on to the next grade level. Attendance tracking is crucial during the pandemic. Why? We want to make sure that our students are safe and they are accessing their education. We are continuing to follow our usual attendance process:
Absent 3 Days - Call from Counselor - Check in
Absent 6 Days - Letter from Grade Level Administrator - Check in and attendance reminder
Absent 9 Days - Meeting request sent to parent/guardian. This meeting is to  develop a plan to improve the student’s attendance. This may include interventions from various resources and could lead to DCYF and/or court involvement.

In addition, teachers continually monitor student participation, work completion and overall mental health. If a teacher is concerned, they reach out to the student and their parent/guardian. If concerns continue, teachers reach out to their grade level school counselor.
We care about our students.

Grading
The purpose of grading is to provide feedback to students, parents and teachers about how well a student is progressing toward proficiency in a specific competency. Our grading scale is as follows:
1 - Student is making limited or no progress towards grade level competency
2 - Student is progressing towards grade level competency.
3 - Student is meeting grade level competency.
4 - Student is exceeding grade level competency.

We have also added another indicator. This indicator is IE. This stands for insufficient evidence. If you see an IE when you check powerschool to check on your child’s progress, this means that your child has not submitted any work and therefore cannot receive a grade.
When you see this, we encourage you to have a conversation with your child to find out why they did not turn in the assignment. We have had many students who are earning an IE designation and this is a huge worry for us. Please reach out if your child is struggling.

Technology Support
Our students depend on reliable technology to access their education. Our Digital Learning Specialist and her assistant are constantly monitoring student access and have been very busy responding to any student needs. These needs include a broken Chromebook or charger; difficulty accessing the internet and overall assistance navigating the world of remote learning.

We are also piloting Relay - a notification system that alerts administrators if student online activity is concerning.

Social-Emotional Well Being
Lastly, but perhaps most important is that we are acutely aware of the social/emotional impact that this pandemic is having on our students. This is why students will continue to have Advisory five mornings per week. This allows students to check in with the same adult each morning. This is when teachers get to put eyes on their students, take attendance and provide a daily kickoff to the day. Advisory is a very important part of the day. 

In addition, teachers continually monitor student participation, work completion and overall mental health. If a teacher is concerned, they reach out to the student and their parent/guardian. If concerns continue, teachers reach out to their grade level school counselor.

We have a variety of supports and interventions that are available to students. These include:
  • Scheduled meetings with school counselors
  • Referrals to our SAP Counselor 
  • Daily check ins to support students with executive functioning and emotional support
  • Social/lunch groups 
  • Referrals to outside agencies
  • Blue Duke Care Closet
  • Home visits (when possible)
We also collaborate with other outside agencies to provide support for students and families that may be struggling. These include:
  • Riverbend
  • Waypoint
  • DCYF
We are continuing to expand all of these resources as the pandemic continues and we see an increased need for students and families.

We understand that this is a lot of information to take in. Please reach out if you have any questions or concerns. Please keep an eye out for your reminder of your child’s designation:
Hybrid or remote and cohort (1 or 2).

Thank you, again, for your ongoing support as we do our best to provide an education for your child during this most challenging time.

RMS Administration and Staff

Archived Newsletters:

Principal's Corner 8_14_20.pdf
Principal's Corner 8_23_20.pdf
Principal's Corner 8_26_20.pdf
Principal's Corner 8_30_20.pdf
Principal's Corner 9_6_20.pdf
Principal's Corner 9_13_20 .pdf
Principal's Corner 9_20_20.pdf
Principal's Corner 9_27_20.pdf
Principal's Corner 10_4_20.pdf
Principal's Corner 10_9_20.pdf
Principal's Corner 10_11_20.pdf
Principal's Corner 10_12_20.pdf
Principal's Corner 10_18_20 .pdf
Principal's Corner 10_25_20.pdf
Principal's Corner 10_30_20.pdf
Principal's Corner 11_1_20.pdf
Principal's Corner 11_8_20.pdf
Principal's Corner 11_15_20.pdf
Principal's Corner 11_19_20.pdf
Principal's Corner 11_22_20.pdf
Principal's Corner 11_29_20.pdf
Principal's Corner 12_7_20.pdf
Principal's Corner 12_13_20.pdf
Principal's Corner 12_20_20.pdf
Principal's Corner 1_3_21.pdf
Principal's Corner 1_10_21.pdf


Other Archives:
Virtual Parent Night - Hybrid Transition
Hybrid Transition Slide Show
GLC2.0 - Opening Week of School
Virtual Parent Night held on September, 1st, 2020
Virtual Move Up Day



Paulette Fitzgerald
Principal
(603) 225-0862
pfitzgerald@sau8.org


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