The Firebird Flash

August 11, 2020

Updates from the Principal

Greetings Firebird Nation Families -


I hope everyone continues to stay healthy and safe during these challenging times. With the announcement yesterday, our staff worked to refine some pieces today to ensure a smooth start to the 2020-2021 school year with E-Learning. We know last Spring was not optimal and there were many areas for improvement across the board. We have incorporated feedback from last year to completely transform our E-Learning process and make it more beneficial to our students, parents, and families. We are putting together a video to highlight our process and show everyone how our systems will operate. We hope to have this ready by the end of the week, or Monday at the latest.


To quickly highlight some aspects, all of our classes will be taught in a synchronous manner. This means that students will follow their schedule in PowerSchool and participate in classes with live virtual instruction conducted by their teacher. Teachers will be available during the class period for students to ask questions and get help with various assignments and projects. We understand that the time on a student's schedule may conflict with what is taking place at home on a specific day. In this case, teachers will record the lesson and post it within the Schoology class for students to view at a time that works that day. Teachers will be taking attendance based on students participating in their instruction and activities during that day.


We are also creating a "Landing Page" on our E-Learning website. This will create a one stop location for students and parents to know what is taking place for instruction in a specific class on a given day. This is a process we will be using for In-Person learning when we return as well so that it can be used in either learning environment to keep students and parents informed of what is taking place in classrooms daily. We will highlight how to access this landing page and the features behind it in our video that will be sent out soon.


With the change to E-Learning, we know that there are some families that now need to request the use of a device to support E-Learning. If you are needing to check out one of our Chrome Books to use for E-Learning, please complete the form located here. We will be distributing devices on Thursday, August 13th and Friday, August 14th. There is a place at the end of the form for you to select your preferred time. Please complete this form as soon as possible so that we can work to prepare your device for you and have it ready for pick up.



Additional information about E-Learning at FMS:



  • The curriculum will be taught at the same pace and in alignment with standards for that grade level, with the intention of virtual students making a seamless transition back into the classroom when they return.

  • Students should anticipate 3-5 hours of on-screen learning with teacher interaction each day. Independent work will be assigned for students to demonstrate their understanding.

  • Teaching will follow the same schedule as in-person learning throughout the day and will take place from 7:50 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Students will follow their normal daily bell schedule and attend classes based on the class times in PowerSchool. Schedules should be ready for review beginning on Thursday, August 13th. We will send another email letting you know once schedules are finalized.

  • Almost all of our work will be completed digitally and turned in through Schoology. If there is a need for textbooks, workbooks, or any other materials, then we will coordinate a pick up process to obtain these items.

  • It is our goal to have 1:1 devices for each student in the household. If you do not have enough devices in your home, FMS will provide a Chromebook per student in need.

  • Classes will be taught five days a week and attendance will be taken daily.

  • The standard platform to be used for E-Learning will be Schoology, but may be supplemented with other online platforms. All of these will be linked directly from our "Landing Pages" to simplify this for students and parents.

  • Services for plans and intervention will be scheduled. Case Managers will be in contact with their families.



We are planning to conduct our 6th Grade Orientation virtually on Monday, August 17th. We will send out links to our families once this is finalized. We are also coordinating a new student welcome to FMS for any new 7th and 8th grade students. Our counselors will be providing this information soon as well.


We will communicate more once we have schedules finalized and when the video overview of our "Landing Pages" is ready. You will also be able to see some awesome introduction videos of all of our staff and teams! We want to create a fun and welcoming start for everyone as we begin this new year. While the start of this year is different, we want to continue to promote the positive culture and school spirit at Firebird Nation to ensure everyone has an outstanding experience overall. We are committed to making this an awesome school year for all!



Sincerely,


Brian Smith

Executive Principal

Falcon Middle School

Free and Reduced Lunch Meal Program Information

All D49 families are welcome to apply for the federally assisted free and reduced meal program. Many who apply are surprised to discover they qualify. The free and reduced-price meal program provides more than healthy meals for qualifying students, it provides much needed funds for school districts, and can provide many other benefits to your family as well!

New to District 49? Register and apply online by clicking the link to PaySchools Central

Returning for school year 20-21? Update your D49 PaySchools meal account and re-apply by clicking here. Families must apply annually.

*Paper copies of the application can be picked up and turned in at school as well.

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Mark Your Calendar

Aug 17: Professional Day to communicate with students and families to overview the start of the year. (6th Grade WEB Introduction and new student orientation taking place).


Aug 18: First Day for all Students!


Aug 27: Virtual Back to School Night (more information to come)


(Please keep in mind that due to the current situation, these dates may change.

Be sure to check the FMS website often and watch for updates in your email.)

Falcon Middle School

Executive Principal: Brian Smith


6th Grade Assistant Principal: Tim Scheck

7th Grade Assistant Principal: Kava Lientz

8th Grade Assistant Principal/Athletic Director: Elena Forehand


6th Grade Counselor: Carrie Clay

7th Grade Counselor: Amber Villani

8th Grade Counselor: Lisa Murdock