Ricchezza's Weekly News

February 10-14, 2014

Benchmark Due Date This Friday!

For everyone in the 18, 16, and 14 week schedule groups, work is due this Friday, February 14. If you're confused, that means everything that appears in bold type on your schedule between February 3 and 14 is due before midnight on the 14th. If in doubt, ask, and don't wait until the last minute!

I will post screenshots in the news feed for each group, but you are advised (again) that this is just a service I'm doing to be helpful, and it is your responsibility to read your own schedule.

Here are some example screenshots -

News and Notes

I have to say I'm very pleased overall with the effort level and dedication to getting work done on time! However, there are of course exceptions to this... so please read on, just in case you're one of the exceptions... and because there are other notes for everyone to read:
  • Several people in Physical Science B and a couple of people in Earth Systems B did not select a schedule group. Since this is the second week of the 14 week group, we're now to the point where there's really only one choice left - 12 week. So I have enrolled those people in the 12 week group, and have notified them and their facilitators of the action via their school email. For those who may have avoided picking a group because they thought it got them out of having due dates, the vacation ends next week. Anyone who was enrolled in the 12 week, whether by their choice or mine, can still work and turn in assignments, but the official start date is next Tuesday, February 18. Please note that the first quiz item only shows up if you're enrolled in a group, so if you've been working already, you've got something new showing up based on the first material of the semester.
  • Monday, February 17 is a school holiday - Presidents Day. You are not expected to login, check school mail, or work on that day (although you should be able to do that if you want to at home). For purposes of late work penalties, that day is considered a school day, so the penalties will be just like a normal week - 10% Saturday-Monday, 20% Tuesday, 30% Wednesday, 40% Thursday, and 50% Friday the 21st, which is the final day that work from this benchmark will be accepted. For those who think that counting a school holiday as a "late day" is unfair, you can get around this by turning the work in on time.
  • This holiday is the LAST holiday for GaVS this semester except for Spring Break in April. You are reminded that even if your school takes other days off, that has nothing to do with GaVS. If your school has Spring Break on another week than we do, you're going to have to deal with that somehow, especially if you depend on your school for computer access. It is your responsibility to figure out how to get around schedule problems!
  • Communication must be through school email. I write students from time to time, and I will always use your school email address for that purpose. "I didn't get the email" isn't a good excuse, especially if it's because you didn't bother to check the account. If you don't know how to check your school email, go into the older news announcements and read the newsletter on that topic.
  • I've seen some great discussions in all courses. The snippy behavior has stopped, and I appreciate that. The only complaint lately is people essentially wasting space on the board having personal conversations. If you wish to communicate with each other and are doing so respectfully, that's fine with me, but that's not what the discussion boards are for. Use email or some other external method. (If someone is abusive toward you in private communication, please notify me or someone else in authority immediately.)
  • Are you allowed to work ahead? Yes, sort of. You may work as far ahead as you wish... but if you're taking quizzes and getting poor grades, it's not doing you a favor, and I'm going to tell you so if that happens. I know some of you just want to be done, so you're willing to push ahead just to get through it all. At the very least I encourage you to wait until you see grades and feedback from one quiz or test before you move on to the next one.
  • Physical Science Students: There have been comments that the content does not match the quizzes perfectly. This is not intentional, and I would prefer that this were not true at all, but sometimes it is. You are notified here that you should not only depend on course content for information. Watch outside videos, check outside alternate texts, come to my office hours, send me emails, call me on the phone, or use peer tutoring. Most of you will be taking an EOCT at the end of the semester and I promise it won't match our content (or anyone else's) perfectly. What's being checked in this course is whether you understand the concepts.
  • Physical Science Students: One person asked me whether they have to take the EOCT. There is only one answer I can give: I don't know. I am in charge of a lot of things regarding your education, but that's not one of them. If you need to know, ask your school facilitator or support specialist. EOCTs are not administered by GaVS, so for those who take them, all we do is put the score into the computer and report a final grade. My advice to you is to assume you do have to take it, as being prepared without need is always better than being surprised and unprepared in need. But ask the right person to be sure.

Contact Mr. Ricchezza

Keeping your confusion secret doesn't help you in any way. If you don't understand something - whether it's the class and assignments or the actual content topics - you need to let me know!