High School News

April 21, 2020

Big picture

April 21, 2020


Dear Methacton Parents and Students,


As always, it is my hope that this communication finds your families in the best of health and spirits. This week our virtual education program includes instruction and learning for the second week of the fourth marking period. As we continue with virtual learning, there are several components of our virtual instruction that I would like to share in greater detail.

There are generally two forms of instructional delivery that can be conducted through virtual learning, asynchronous and synchronous. Asynchronous instruction provides the use of resources and assignments disseminated by the teacher that the student can complete according to their respective schedules. As an example, our teachers are using asynchronous delivery model by assigning reading and reflecting activities using content-based resources, viewing content-specific videos, assigning creation of authentic work products related to academic subject areas, and administering limited assessments such as quizzes. Our teachers are approaching instruction on a chapter or unit basis, which allows work completion to be spread out over a week or more with staggered due dates so that all work is not due at the same time.

The use of synchronous instructional delivery requires students and teachers to participate at the same time. For example, a teacher would schedule students for a specific time and the teacher would communicate while students watch and respond. While our teachers are predominantly using the asynchronous delivery method, we provided guidelines last week to our teachers so they could begin to engage in synchronous interactions with their students, if needed. A teacher looking to leverage the synchronous delivery model will require a consent to participate form to be completed for each subject area prior to your child participating. Please be advised that participation in synchronous instruction is not mandatory for any student should his/her teacher elect to engage in this manner.

One of the most essential components of providing an education during this unprecedented time is the importance of ensuring equity in all tasks. While all measures are exhausted in the brick and mortar environment, it is difficult to apply this same standard to a virtual instruction environment. In light of this, most instruction for the remainder of the year will be in an asynchronous manner. Additionally, we do not expect, in most cases, for student work in the home to exceed a maximum of three hours per day, a determination that was made to provide equity for all students.

The exception to the three hours per day standard involves some Advanced Placement courses. The curriculum and timing of instructional delivery for AP courses is determined by College Board. Summative AP exams administered by College Board begin on May 11, thereby accelerating the time in which AP teachers must complete the delivery of content that may appear on the test. In light of this, some AP courses will include additional content dissemination and student work between now and the scheduled May AP exam for that course.

Teachers established 1.5 hours of office hours per day with major subjects spread out so the hours do not completely overlap. These dedicated office hours times were created so students would be aware of a time when they could receive either immediate or timely feedback to questions or concerns, as well as assistance with understanding the content and associated assignments during the day. Teachers continue to prepare daily for instruction, grade assignments, and answer student and parent communications throughout the regular school day.

As we progress forward together, please encourage your child to contact his or her teacher via email or through Google classroom communication if your child has any questions or concerns about content and assignments, or any difficulty understanding the virtual learning platform. If issues persist or are unresolved, parents are encouraged to contact the respective teacher by email. If the issue continues to be unresolved or is more complex in nature, parents should contact the student’s school counselor and/or grade level administrator. Teachers, school counselors, and administrators will work to be understanding and flexible in addressing issues and concerns. Please see the following email contact information for school counselors and administrators:


o School Counselors (assigned by alpha of student last name):

§ Last Name A-CL: Mr. William Peck wpeck@methacton.org

§ Last Name Co-G: Mrs. Roxane Henning rhenning@methacton.org

§ Last Name H-Ll: Mr. John Midgley jmidgley@methacton.org

§ Last Name Lo-Pa: Mr. Dave Ruminski druminski@methacton.org

§ Las Name Pe-Sr: Mr. Robert Howard rhoward@methacton.org

§ Last Name St-Z: Mrs. Cindy Hartson chartson@methacton.org


o School Administrators

§ Principal: Dr. Jason Sorgini jsorgini@methacton.org

§ 9th Grade House Principal: Mr. John Smink jsmink@methacton.org

§ 10th Grade House Principal: Dr. Paul Spiewak pspiewak@methacton.org

§ 11th Grade House Principal: Mr. Dan Bontempo dbontempo@methacton.org

§ 12th Grade House Principal: Dr. Karey Kochenour kkochenour@methacton.org

§ Supervisor of Secondary Special Education: Dr. Jamie Gravinese jgravinese@methacton.org


On a few other matters:


Attendance: The school district continues to have responsibility for ensuring student engagement, even in a virtual learning environment. Daily attendance documents were created and disseminated to all students. The student needs to click one box per day on the attendance document to indicate their participation. In the event that a student does not complete the attendance form for a period of two or more days, parents will receive a contact via email and potentially a phone call from attendance staff.


Items in the Building/Items to Return: The abrupt conclusion of in-person schooling on March 11 created a situation where many student items were left in the school building while other items such as library books and textbooks are still in the students’ possession. Please know that the school district is formulating a plan for resolving this issue. Some students also have medications in the nurses’ office. School Nurses Mrs. Cheryl Peiffer and Mrs. Kathy Thompson will be contacting parents in the coming week to schedule a time to collect these items.


Course Selection 2020-2021 (Juniors, Sophomores, and Freshmen): The period of course selection for all underclassmen for the 2020-2021 school year took in February and March during individual meetings between students and school counselors. Please be advised that those course selections can be viewed by parents through the PowerSchool parent portal. Parents are asked to please view these selections and, if there are any questions or concerns, contact your child’s school counselor no later than May 6.


Working Papers: Any parent of a child in need of working papers for employment purposes should reach out to Mrs. Pam Linn at plinn@methacton.org

I recognize and apologize for the many frustrations that are inherent in our current world where so much of our human interactions take place through the often cold and impersonal world of computer screens and emails. Please know that I am grateful for your patience and understanding as well as your collaboration as we all work together to make the end of the school year productive and meaningful for our students.

Sincerely,

Dr. Jason Sorgini

Methacton High School

April 17, 2020

MHS Administration

Dr. Jason Sorgini, Principal jsorgini@methacton.org

Mr. John Smink, 9th Grade House Principal jsmink@methacton.org

Dr. Paul Spiewak, 10th Grade House Principal pspiewak@methacton.org

Mr. Dan Bontempo 11th Grade House Principal dbontempo@methacton.org

Dr. Karey Kochenour 12th Grade House Principal kkochenour@methacton.org

Dr. Jamie Gravinese, Supervisor of HS Special Education jgravinese@methacton.org