Inspire Family Newsletter

News and updates for families of Inspire students

August 28, 2020

Dear Inspire Families:

For many of us, the words "distance learning" conjure up images of bored students locked in front of screens all day, and frustrated teachers struggling to translate their classroom content for the virtual world. While I know Inspire students and teachers are still struggling to adjust to the new school structure and model, I have also begun to see a return to learning as a joyful experience.

Our school is really centered around the idea that educators should start by drawing on student interests and passions, and using those as a jumping-off place to engage their learning in other areas. For instance, our math department has been working with Jo Boaler's "Limitless Mind" concepts, understanding that students often come to math class with trauma from past experiences, and an ingrained idea that they aren't "a math person." Boaler's work suggests that teachers can help kids move out of negative mindsets around math, understand that failure is an important part of learning, and take joy in tackling mathematical challenges.

Math and Engineering teacher Danielle Reynolds described an interaction with her own daughter this week. Opal got frustrated because she used the "wrong" Lego in her building project. When Danielle coached her to remember that getting something wrong helps us learn, Opal tackled the project again, discovering that she forgot to count a row, which led her to the "right" answer.

That is joyful learning, and that is what Inspire is finding our way back to, one Zoom at a time.

With gratitude and hope,

Becky Brown


Inspire School of Arts & Sciences

(530) 230-7758

What's Happening in Math Class...

In Alan Kauffman's Integrated Math 2 class, he and student teacher Karlye Hankins began with a fun activity. Alan took roll while Karlye used PearDeck (an online student engagement tool) to ask students to share their favorite math jokes. Here was one gem: "What did the tree say to the mathematician? Gee, I'm a tree!" Get it? Geometry?

Then, students responded via Peardeck to the prompt: "Show how you would multiply 25 X 14 without a calculator." The teachers then showed student responses. Students were surprised to see how many ways--visual and textual--you could represent the answers. I shared with students that responding to the prompt was really hard for me! I've never seen myself as a "math person," so I froze up a bit in responding. They were so encouraging, and immediately noted that what I was feeling was brain growth. This introduction led to amazing lesson on distributive properties. You can see a snapshot of the class interaction below...

Big picture

Kids and Screen Time: Tips for Parents

Need help understanding how to support your child make healthy choices about screen time? Check out this article from the Institute of Digital Media and Child Development.

Getting Too Many Schoology Notifications?

If you are overwhelmed by the number of messages from Schoology in your inbox, you can go into your account settings to customize your notifications. See the article attached here for help, or contact Dinah Weller at for support.

For general needs, call our office at (530) 891-3090

For technology help, email Ken Hardy at

For enrollment questions, contact Dinah Weller at

To contact the Inspire principal, email

FAQ and further resources, visit the "Students/Parents" page at

Title IX and Non-Discrimination Information? Click here!

Attendance During Distance Learning

It's important to note that attendance is still mandatory for students during distance learning. School starts at 8:30, and students need to log into their Zoom class session on time. Otherwise, they will be marked absent.

If your child cannot attend school, or is having technology issues that prevent them from attending on time, you will need to call the office at (530) 891-3090 to excuse the absence.

DON'T FORGET: Advisory is held on Fridays at 1:00. Attendance is mandatory for Advisory.

Inspire School Calendar, 2020-21

Daily Schedule