Sehome High School- Mariner Memo
Week of March 23 - 27
School is Closed through April 24
Message from the Principal
We are hoping to streamline some of our communication as I know that you are getting a lot of emails and information from a variety of sources. I am working to put together information from several of our departments and continue to provide you with weekly information. Things are changing so rapidly, but I will work to include what information we do know. Remember that all information reflects what we know at the time of publishing the newsletter.
This week we have been focusing on the four district goals:
1) Protect life, promote safety and minimize the spread of the virus.
- Please continue practicing physical distancing (see below).
- The Lighthouse Mission moved into Bellingham High School.
- We are working to collect all medical supplies from our building for use in the community.
- All staff are asked to work remotely and access the school building only for essential needs.
2) Provide food to the young people in our community.
- Monday, we will start distributing meals to children between the ages of 0-18. See the information in the pictures below for additional details.
- We are working to ensure that students get the food they need while ensuring we keep with the recommended physical distancing.
3) Work with community partners in supporting child care options for our first responders, medical employees, and families in greatest need.
4) Develop innovative ways to support ongoing student learning.
- Coming this week, you will see communication from teachers about what remote learning will look like for each class.
- This week, students will not be expected to complete new learning. They will review or extend any previous learning. We recognize that families are in different places with their ability to focus on or complete learning activities.
- Please complete the Technology Request Form if you need any assistance with technology- including your district device, charger, and Internet services.
Please be safe and know that you remain in my thoughts! I miss you all so very much! Please let me know if you have any needs, questions, or concerns.
With so much love,
Drive-Thru/Pick Up Meals Information
It has been really fun to see students, staff, and families participating in the challenges. Keep it up!
Message from the Sehome Counseling Department
Hello from the Sehome Counseling Department.
We hope you and your family are staying socially connected while practicing safe physical distancing. Our counseling team is thinking of you during these unusual times and miss seeing your students in person. We also acknowledge many students are grieving the loss of opportunities to connect and participate in classes and activities this spring.
Traditionally at this time of year, we meet in person with our 11th graders to talk about their post-high school plans; we are unable to do this at present given the current situation. However, as we continue to work together as a school community over the next few weeks to address these and other issues, we (your SHS counselor team) would like to share some information coming from our college admission colleagues around the country. While we are hearing from many colleges, we can only share the messaging we’ve heard from those that have communicated.
We know there is concern from students and families about how the school closure this semester may affect their student’s four-year college admissions next fall. We are receiving almost daily emails from college admission counselors across the country addressing the present COVID-19 concerns. The main take away from these messages is “this is a shared experience”.
Colleges are aware that many secondary schools are transitioning to remote instruction and that spring dates for standardized exams have been canceled or rescheduled. Colleges are communicating support for the academic decisions school districts make to assist their communities through this crisis (for example pass/fail marks or alternative grading methods). Multiple colleges have pledged to work with school counselors to resolve future questions that may arise around grades or exams.
In response to the situation across our country, colleges are indicating that students who are unable to attend school in person, who have lost access to co-curricular opportunities, and/or who have been unable to participate in other educational opportunities because of COVID-19-related measures will not be penalized.
We appreciate this outreach and acknowledgment from many higher education institutes, as we know that this is an uncommon time for us all. We look forward to connecting with your students over the upcoming weeks and will continue to navigate this new territory together. Take care!
Letter to Seniors
Dear High School Senior,
On Friday afternoon a few seniors came into my classroom after the last bell rang. They were concerned about prom and their senior trip. It broke my teacher heart to listen. As you’re reading this, you most likely have similar concerns.
This is supposed to be your year. The year for your senior prom, sporting events, cheer competitions, senior trips, clubs, and the rest of what senior year has to offer. You were supposed to be the captain of that team, the officer of that club, or that student who wanted to be with their friends one last year before venturing into the unknown. This was THE year that your entire schooling was building up to. But it was robbed from you because of this global pandemic.
Let’s be abundantly clear – you were robbed, and it’s unfair. If you’re upset, then you should embrace those feelings. Commiserate with one another. Some folks will downplay the situation because they won’t know what it feels like to have their senior year stripped at the last moment.
I, for one, will not downplay it as it happened to me. Hurricane Katrina devastated my community when I was a high school senior. I remember leaving my school on a Friday afternoon with my buddies only to never return to that school. I was supposed to be the captain of my soccer team, go to prom with my longtime crush, and finish the year with my lifelong friends. But it was all canceled. Instead, I stayed in a shelter and finished my high school in a different state. It was tough, and I had to find solace in places I never envisioned. It was hard, but we made it through. And I’m reliving that pain as I think of your disruption to your senior year.
Most do not need to experience Katrina to know that this is tough on you. Those of us who work in schools do so because we care above all else. That caring does not stop once you leave those school walls. In situations like these, we worry more about you. There is a lot of uncertainty, but rest assured, districts across the nation are working in creative ways, from potentially abbreviated school years to organizing social events when this subsides, to make this situation the best they possibly can for you. Some educators are working endlessly to transfer to virtual learning and accompany those without the internet. Administrators are working to get those meals together for those who need them. We are all in crisis mode but know that we are all doing everything we can to help during this tumultuous time. You are not forgotten. We are thinking about you. We are here for you. We care.
There’s nothing I, or anyone, can say to make up for that time you are losing in what is supposed to be one of the best years of your life.
But I can offer some encouragement. Right now, you have the power to make the most out of this unfortunate situation. If a decade of teaching has taught me anything, it’s that people your age are resilient and innovative.
Your generation can navigate multiple worlds and bounce between physical and digital spaces with ease. You are part of the most racially and ethnically diverse generation, and you embrace those differences in ways adults seem to struggle. You courageously put yourselves out there for the world to see and criticize. You push boundaries and challenge norms. You find ingenious ways to compensate for any gaps you may have accrued without the help of educators, whether it’s through Khan Academy or a sibling. It’s a small wonder why “post-Millennials are on track to become the most well-educated generation yet.”
I can also offer some advice. Help one another and your family. They need you. Do your grandparents or your elderly neighbors need groceries? Offer support. Some teachers may even need your help as many try to transition to online learning. We need you. Utilize your tech-savvy ways to bring yourselves closer together. Practice “social distancing,” or physical distancing, but stay as social as ever. FaceTime. Text. Tweet. Snapchat. Make Tik Tok videos (I don’t know if that’s still a thing so don’t laugh if I’m already out of date). Use these platforms to connect and uplift.
Binge Netflix and Disney+. Make memes. Exercise. Read books – maybe even those boring ones your English teachers were stoked for you to read. Or just read manga. Read something! Reach out to those friends you know don’t have internet access. Call and check up on ‘em. Listen to podcasts. Make a podcast. Start a hobby. Journal for posterity. You’re living through history. Your bold reaction to this is going to make history.
Lastly, I can offer some support. You may not know me, but I feel your pain; it stings. We as educators mourn with you. Again, you are not forgotten. We see your hard work. We value your unique perspectives. We hear your audacious voices. We cherish all of it, and we will continue to do so even from afar.
I am sad for you; truly, I am. I feel deeply for you; truly, I do. It makes my heart hurt as I write. But if there is any group that can plow through this in creative ways, it is your group. There is no pandemic strong enough to silence you or dent the passion of your generation. Keep your head up and keep fighting. Our country needs you because you provide hope for our future. This year may not be what you envisioned, but I’m eager to see what you do with it.
After all, it is still very much your year.
Chris Dier, a high school teacher
AP TESTING UPDATE
March 20 Update:
As schools and communities navigate the unprecedented challenges posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the health and safety of educators and students are the AP Program’s top priorities. Here’s how we’re supporting schools:
- We’re providing free remote learning resources.
- We’re investing in the development of a new at-home testing option.
Through our members across the country, we understand the new time constraints on everyone in the education community. These solutions are meant to be as simple and lightweight as possible for both students and teachers — without creating additional burdens for school leaders during this time.
- Traditional face-to-face exam administrations will not take place. Students will take a 45-minute online free-response exam at home.
- Some students may want to take the exam sooner rather than later, while the content is still fresh. Other students may want more time to practice. For each AP subject, there will be 2 different testing dates.
The full exam schedule, specific free-response question types that will be on each AP Exam, and additional testing details will be available by April 3. We'll also unlock any relevant free-response questions in AP Classroom for digital use so students can access all practice questions of the type that will appear on the exam.
About This Year’s AP Exams
Students remain eager to take AP Exams and to have a chance to earn credit and placement. We surveyed 18,000 AP students and 91% indicated they want to complete this important step, urging us not to cancel this opportunity they have been working toward.
We’ll continue to support students with free resources through exam day. And while we encourage students to wait until closer to the test date to decide, any student already registered for an exam can choose to cancel at no charge.
The AP Program will invest heavily over the next month in the following ways:
- For the 2019–20 exam administration only, students can take a 45-minute online free-response exam at home. Educator-led development committees are currently selecting the exam questions that will be administered.
- AP curricula are locally developed and we defer to local decisions on how best to help students complete coursework. To be fair to all students, some of whom have lost more instructional time than others, the exam will only include topics and skills most AP teachers and students have already covered in class by early March.
- Colleges support this solution and are committed to ensuring that AP students receive the credit they have worked this year to earn. For decades, colleges have accepted a shortened AP Exam for college credit when groups of students have experienced emergencies.
- Students will be able to take these streamlined exams on any device they have access to—computer, tablet, or smartphone. Taking a photo of handwritten work will also be an option.
- We recognize that the digital divide could prevent some low-income and rural students from participating. Working with partners, we will invest so that these students have the tools and connectivity they need to review AP content online and take the exam. If your students need mobile tools or connectivity, you can reach out to us directly to let us know.
Test security is a concern.
- The exam questions are designed and administered in ways that prevent cheating; we use a range of digital security tools and techniques, including plagiarism detection software, to protect the integrity of the exams.
- Scoring at-home work for an AP Exam is not new to the AP Program. For years the AP Program has received and scored at-home student work as part of the exams for the AP Computer Science Principles and AP Capstone courses.
Course-Specific Exam Information is available on the link above.
Beginning on Wednesday, March 25, students and teachers can attend free, live AP review courses, delivered by AP teachers from across the country. These mobile-friendly classes are:
- Designed to be used alongside work that may be given by schools.
- Will be recorded and available on-demand so teachers and students can access them any time.
- Not dependent on current AP teachers continuing instruction. We know many AP teachers now face challenges that would make that impossible.
- Will focus on reviewing the skills and concepts from the first 75% of the course. There will also be some supplementary lessons including topics from the final 25% of the course.
Teachers who are providing remote instruction can continue to leverage AP Classroom, which we introduced at the start of the school year.
- Within AP Classroom, free-response questions that were only available for in-classroom use due to security concerns will now be unlocked.
- Teachers will be able to assign questions to students digitally.
FREE RESOURCES: AUDIBLE
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Sehome Points of Contact
Sonia Bell, Principal: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Couto, Assistant Principal: A - K email@example.com
Bethany Barrett, Assistant Principal: L - Z firstname.lastname@example.org
Kimberly Kirk, Dean of Students: Kimberly.email@example.com
Jeff Smith, Counselor 9th Grade: Jeffrey.Smith@bellinghamschools.org
Amy Hjelt, Counselor A - G: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hana Schutz, Counselor H - M: email@example.com
John Vandermolen, Counselor N - Z: firstname.lastname@example.org