The Meyzeek Mystique
From the Desk of the Principal
Non-Traditional Instruction: A New Landscape for Learning?
Distance learning is not a new concept. Education historians trace distance learning back to as early as the 1700s. The concept of distance learning gained traction in the mid-1800s when English educator Sir Isaac Pitman would mail postcards to his students and they would mail completed assignments back to him. This process of mailing school work back and forth became more formally known as a “correspondence course”. The growing popularity of correspondence courses gave rise to the emergence of correspondence degrees and correspondence schools. Throughout the 1900s, technological advances changed the face of distance learning to today's elaborate digital platforms of learning in which students can interface with content resources, teachers, and peers without the limitations of physical boundaries. While the case is made that distance learning, or more appropriately recognized as digital learning, is not new; what is new is the breakneck speed at which our school district and local schools transitioned approximately 100,000 students from traditional classroom learning to Non-Traditional Instruction’s (NTI) digital learning environment in the wake of a global pandemic.
Providing NTI for our students has been one of our greatest challenges, yet one of our greatest opportunities. Our school district provided guidance to assist schools in developing a plan for NTI to ensure that students could still be meaningfully engaged with essential standards through core content and related arts instruction in a digital format. Meyzeek’s NTI plan ensures that all students have the opportunity to participate in interactive sessions with their teachers and peers. Lessons are also recorded for students to access at their convenience for review and as a support to their learning. Students also have the opportunity to complete Choice Boards both digitally and in traditional format. Choice Boards give students the option to choose learning tasks of high interest in every content area. Meyzeek's NTI instruction is closely monitored to gauge student participation, and to adjust levels of rigor and time requirements for completing assignments. Teachers have also established office hours for individual conferencing for both students and parents.
Offering quality instruction during NTI is a top priority for our school, however the imperative for strong academic engagement is coupled with an intentional focus on mental health. Meyzeek’s team of counselors, Mental Health Practitioner, Youth Services Center and our school-based Student Support Team are reaching out to every Meyzeek Bear to simply ask, how are you doing? and how can we help?. Students are provided with activities that promote mindfulness, self-reflection, and exercises that incorporate a variety of coping strategies. It is important to us that every student knows that we are just as concerned about them as individuals, as we are about their academic performance. (https://health.usnews.com/wellness/for-parents/articles/protect-your-familys-mental-health-during-the-covid-19-pandemic).
In addition to what we have learned about providing academic and emotional support to our students in a virtual learning platform, is that even in times of crisis, the best of what is within us is revealed. During NTI, I have seen the most innovative work from teachers and students that may not have been realized in the traditional classroom. This is a testament of the human spirit in creating calm from chaos and turning obstacles into opportunities. Take a look at some of the amazing work from Patricia Watson's Visual Arts class. Students were challenged to recreate the work of a famous artist using materials in their home. NTI at it's authentic best!
Dr. Ronda George, Principal
Parent Guidance on Staying in the Google Classroom Loop during NTI
- Visit the NTI Parent Toolkit https://sites.google.com/jefferson.kyschools.us/jcpsnti#h.k0qpyv2kf8rr
- View the Google Classroom Tour- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LsgknSL9QQ&feature=youtu.be
- Check the Meyzeek NTI Parent Portal Page for topics to be covered during the week.
- Encourage students to attend live classes or review the recorded teacher lessons and complete warm-up activities as well as assignments. This will help teachers to know what students are learning and identify where more support is needed.
- Request a "Guardian Summary" of your child's assignments from Google Classroom. This can be emailed to you, but be sure the teacher has your correct email address!
- Email teachers with questions or schedule a conference during their office hours listed in the Meyzeek NTI Portal which can be accessed through the JCPS' main webpage by clicking School NTI Portal.
- Congratulations to Prisha Tyagi! Prisha's Regional Science Fair Project "Can The Garlic Compound Allyl Sulfide be a Future Therapeutic for Preventing Alzheimer's Disease?" won first place at regionals and qualified for Broadcom. Prisha went on to the State Science Fair and again earned first place in Biomedical and Health Sciences and she was the only 7th grader to win in third place in Best Of Fair (second round of judging) for Life sciences.
Even though KUNA was canceled for this year, they still held elections online for Presiding Officers for next year. Felix Rogers, a Meyzeek Eighth grader, was elected Secretary General. This is the highest office at KUNA. We are very proud of this accomplishment.
During the weekend of March 31st, Meyzeek Middle School students demonstrated great performance in the KY state Science and Engineering Fair. In addition to winning many prizes in most of the categories, and special awards, three students were placed in the Best of Fair namely Shraman Kar, 1st Place Best of The Fair, Physical Sciences (2nd consecutive year in the best of fair), Anirudh Srinivasan, 1st Place Best of Fair, Life Sciences and Prisha Tyagi, 3rd Place best of Fair, Life Sciences. The results can also be found at https://kysef.stemwizard.com/ Award winners will also receive certificates, ribbons, plaques, and/or cash awards. a USPS.
KY-SEF Earth and Environmental Science
What Meyzeek Students Miss About Being At School: In Their Own Voices
Here is what Meyzeek students had to say about their first weeks at home during the "Stay at Home Order" and the start of NTI:
"The schedule. I like having the day organized and I like knowing what time I’m going to do something/be somewhere. The day is planned out."
"Seeing acquaintances. There are people in my class that I only talk to inside of school. I don’t really talk to them outside of school."
"Seeing my teachers. Sometimes teachers can be really annoying, but after a while of not seeing them, I kind of miss them."
"Doing work-during the corona-cation I don’t really have anything to do. I cycle through the same things. I miss having stuff to do and things to keep me busy. Doing work isn’t even that bad when you’re talking to your friends".
“The hardest thing about the “Quarantine” has been the uncertainty of when we’ll go back to normal life. When we started staying at home, I just assumed we’d wake up on April 6th and everything would be fine and we would go to school as usual. Now, I’m having a hard time believing that we will even go back to school as the back to school date has been getting pushed back further. And while NTI is working well and is definitely much more flexible than school, it’s missing a few elements (friends, lunch time, etc.) that we won’t get back. While it might not be the most major concern right now, I’ve also been sad that our grade won’t get to walk across the stage at the end of the year, and do all of the fun things that the teachers had been planning. It feels like the celebration for a lot of hard work has been lost. My heart really goes out to seniors, who’ve been promised for 12 years.
Another hard part of the “Quarantine” is watching the situation fold in front of us as we watch helplessly. It’s almost like a game of chess; you can control what you do, but you can’t control what your opponent does - unless the rules are changed. I really wish there would be some measures taken in order to implement a lockdown before more people die and this becomes even worse than it already is. I really feel bad for how negatively this pandemic has affected everyone: whether people are struggling from the actual virus itself, to families who have lost someone due to it, to the medical workers who are struggling to keep patients alive, to those who have lost their jobs, the whole situation is a nightmare. Even if you aren’t suffering from any of these problems, and have been able to quarantine safely at home, like me, all of these headlines and news videos definitely negatively affect everyone. That’s why I’ve been trying to limit my intake of the news.”
"Seeing all of my best friends. We still text each other and talk but it’s not the same as actually seeing them and interacting face-to-face".
Meyzeek Students Send Cheer to Treyton Oak Towers Senior Living Community
We are proud to announce that Meyzeek students will have the wonderful opportunity to partner with the Treyton Oak Towers Senior Living Community in the Old Louisville neighborhood. Treyton Oak Towers offers independent living, assisted living, and nursing care living for seniors. Our outreach to this community is timely and needful as several Treyton Oaks Towers families have been affected by COVID-19. Due to their high risk age status, residents are significantly limited in any physical contact with others during this time, including no visitors. Our students will make a difference by writing a letter, poem, drawing a picture or any other positive creative expression for these residents. The messages will be shown to the residents through their message/announcement TV screen in each individual’s room and undoubtedly bring smiles and feelings of care and connection. Building relationships between youth and seniors has far-reaching benefits for both populations. You can read some research here: Bringing old and young together benefits both | Stanford News). Go Meyzeek Bears!