Ram Nation News

Distance Learning and COVID 19 Times

Vision

A middle school that cultivates scholars to be catalysts of change, life-long learners, innovators, and competitors in a global society
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#EXCELLENCE, Back At It Again

Welcome Back Remarkable Rams!!!

I trust you had a chance to enjoy your well-deserved break sharing with your immediate family or pets, were able to catch up with your sleep or favorite T.V shows, put up your holiday lights or Christmas decorations, started your spring cleaning or other rituals, or enjoyed some leisure time in the couch or favorite spot reading a good book or just chilled doing nothing. I know we were forced to stay home and change our way of interacting. While I was able to spend quality time with my family, I normally use this down time to stop and reflect about the progress we have made so far with our students and with our staff. I trust that each one of you had an opportunity to renew your energy to help our children have a great end of the school year as we continue to prepare them for the next grade level. Of course, our circumstances are different this year and we are facing some difficult times; however, we must show the power of educators and we will ensure our students get what they need to be successful.

I can't help but think about how our kids have "Sprung Up!" It has been awesome to observe

the growth our students continue to make this school year despite some of the challenges we have had. I have watched leaders emerge, I have observed students caring not only for themselves, but supporting and celebrating each other’s successes, and I have witnessed the desire to improve and be beacon’s of hope for our community. Our students are now

thinking about their various options for high school, planning for their future thinking where they will attend college, and how they can make the world a better place. This is awesome!!!!

We know our work is impacting lives. Again, let's keep our light beaming bright and show our students that we will change our instructional delivery for their benefit of not interrupting their education, their dreams!


As we come back full force to making an impact in the lives of our kids, let's make sure that

we....


  • Remember to focus on providing quality learning opportunities for our kids through our virtual platforms.
  • As we reach out to students, be the calm voice in the middle of the storm. Engage in meaningful conversations and inquire about their feelings and their needs – Reconnecting with our students after break shows that we value our kids as people increasing the likelihood that they will in turn show interest to the course materials now that more engaging activities may not be able to be executed.
  • congratulate accomplishments to help students sense their mastery of the materials and to encourage further learning. A sense of mastery is a major motivational issue in learning. Students who sense achievement perform better than students who feel lost or overwhelmed. Spend some time getting students to recognize what they already have mastered and emphasize its importance. Encouragement goes a long way.


Our newsletter this week is a little bit different from what you may be used to receiving. At this time, I want to provide as much information as I have regarding our next steps as we will resume school, remotely, tomorrow. Let's build and support each other to make the best of this situation as we can, making sure that we continue to impact our community.


I am very proud of your commitment and dedication to our school, making a positive difference in the lives of our kids.

Happy Birthday -

We want to wish you the best and many blessings for the years to come.


  • Lindsay Molla 3/14

  • MacKenzie McCloud 3/20

  • Erin Miller 3/22
  • Karina Miranda 3/27

Staff Meeting

Monday, March 23rd, 10am

Virtual Meeting


To join the video meeting, click this link:

https://meet.google.com/tsy-chom-wkz


Otherwise, to join by phone, dial

+1 716-638-0210 and enter

PIN: 796 755 858#

Reminders

Teachers and staff, know that we value your safety as a top priority!!! We are working closely with School Leadership following all CDC recommendations. Here are some reminders:
    • All schools will have been disinfected by Monday.
    • We are working with a skeleton crew on the campus Mon & Thu.
    • The building will be locked/secured with very limited access. We will post a note with a phone number for needs.
    • Principal, APs, Counselors, Mr. Maymi, Nurse Surber, Mr. Ramirez, and Ms. Gomez will be coming to school on Monday to support and finalize plans. If anyone has been exposed or is sick in any way, he/she should stay home.

Distance Learning Plan of Action

Monday and Tuesday - March 23 and March 24


Teachers:

  • Review At Home Learning Guidelines, Expectations, and Best Practices for Teachers & Students.
  • Teachers establish and communicate course platforms, expectations for on-line learning and schedule. Prepare lesson plans and virtual test runs; Khan academy is an option for early next week (3/23) for teachers who don’t have a strong virtual platform presence right now. Ensure the information on our Master Directory is correct. There are still several teachers who have not set up their Goggle Classroom. Please, let us know if you need assistance with this task; however, there is video tutorial below.
  • Review and set up Google Voice as a secure way to communicate with students and parents. If you already have a district phone number assigned to you, you do not need to do this step; however, you will need to ensure you are using Skype for Business if you do not want to use your personal phone number.
  • Review and work with Google Translate or Google Translate App to support with parent communication for our non English speaking parents. For our new comer students, Ms. Vasquez, Ms. Perez, and Ms. Calderon will be paired up with specific students to support content learning in the core subjects.
  • Teachers will be accessible online or via phone through the instructional day (9:00 a.m. -12:00 noon &1:00 p.m - 4:00 p.m.).
  • SPED Case Managers will collaborate with teachers of record; personally reach out to students they case manage to ensure they have access and assess needs; and collaborate in making proper accommodations and modifications based on IEP.


Counselors:

  • Will develop a script for teachers to use during the week for student check-ins and support. We will determine which period will be used as an "Advisory Period", most likely 1st period. Teachers will call all of their "Advisory" students at least once a week. This is an essential part of the @HomeLearning transition as we identify areas of need and provide SEL support to our students during this difficult times. If you are already starting with student contacts, keep in mind the following Daily Check ins questions: How are you doing? How’s your family? What’s your daily routine? Here’s an idea of how you can structure your day? What help do you need with instruction? Food? Technology? Do you need to have a call with a counselor?
  • They will provide follow up for those students reported by teachers who have not engaged with the new virtual setting.


Administration:

  • Update websites, plan communications
  • Coordinate and support food distribution - Monday 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
  • Coordinate additional Chromebook pick up for Monday afternoon 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
  • Admin team will communicate with teaching teams to establish a regular meeting schedule for virtual PLCs.
  • Respond to parent and student questions and concerns via email.
  • Review & Setup Microsoft team, Zoom, or Google Hangout for PLCs & team meetings


Nurse:

  • Provide gloves to core team who will support with food and laptop distribution.
  • Contact parents and coordinate medicine pick up of students who had medicine on campus - Monday 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.


Office Manager:

  • Answer phones connect families with resources
  • Purchase Orders – reconcile
  • Cash on hand – Brinks providing new service
  • Deliveries – provide signage for schedule



Wednesday - Friday - March 25 thru March 27


Teachers:

  • Teachers will be accessible online through the instructional day (9:00 a.m. -12:00 noon &1:00 p.m - 4:00 p.m.). Each teacher will have an online designated platform for courses, which can be found on our school Master Directory directly:
  • Teachers will meet with their classes according to the schedule below. These should be recorded and saved for flexible student access. (I will get more details about this item)
  • Students needing assistance will be reaching out the teacher directly via email, the classroom platform, or phone.
  • Review work completed and submitted by students, provide feedback, and assign grades. Two grades/week will need to be recorded in the Powerschool Gradebook.
  • SPED Inclusion teachers will follow existing schedule of classes, assist teachers, and provide support to students according to their IEP. Please note that the courses are only 45-60 minutes, so please divide the time appropriately.


Counselors:

  • Follow up with students who have academic plans to ensure they are on track with online and material access to ensure they are successful with work completion and passing grades.
  • They will provide follow up for those students reported by teachers who have not engaged with the new virtual setting.
  • Follow up with students who were receiving psychological as well as Youth and Family Services to provide support and guidance.


Administration:

  • Coordinate and support food distribution - Thursday 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
  • Respond to parent and student questions and concerns via email.
  • Conduct virtual PLC meetings with content teams. Deliverables: Update Syllabi and Instructional Planning Calendars for @HomeLearning.
  • Admin virtual meeting to review the week and plan next steps based on survey results, parent, student and teacher input.
  • Check calendar invites.
  • Monitor PowerSchool grades weekly and provide support as needed.

Sample Middle School Online Learning Schedules for Students

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Parent and Student Communication

Communication is key to ensure our students feel supported and are successful. Therefore, we will formally document these phone calls in our Teacher-Parent Contact log.


  • Teachers will call all of their "Advisory" students at least once a week. I understand that we may reach out in different ways such as, ClassDojo, Remind, e-mail, or text; however, hearing a friendly voice means a lot especially when faced in times of social distancing. This will allow students the opportunity to stay connected with the school and for the teacher to help students solve issues or concerns.
  • Use Google Voice , Skype for Business, or your own number (if you prefer).
  • Use Google Translate or Google Translate App to support with communication for our non English speaking parents and students. Collaborate with Ms. Vasquez, Ms. Perez, Ms. Calderon, Ms. Janie Garcia, and Mr. Orlando Garcia for communication with specific students to support content learning in the core subjects.
  • Our website is updated with information about At Home Learning. Google Class Codes are still missing, but parents have access to what is already set up; we will update as soon as other Google Classrooms are created/updated.
  • School wide Remind was created to support families with timely communication.

Attendance

I will get more details on how attendance will be done. For now, we are planing to begin taking attendance on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. Take daily attendance on PowerSchool as you normally do on a daily basis. We want to be as flexible as possible with students. DO NOT count a student absent if they fail to check in during the designated class period time frame. We will count them present if they check in by 4:00.

Setting Up Google Classroom

Adding Evaluator and CIC - Teachers using Google classroom will add the evaluator and CIC as a co-teacher. Steps for adding a co-teacher.
  • 1) Go to your class
  • 2) Click on People
  • 3) In the teacher section click on the person with the plus
  • 4) Follow google instructions.


Class Announcements - To create an announcement in Google Classroom:

  • 1) Create your class
  • 2) Have students join your class using the class code
  • 3) Click on “Share Something With Your Class” link in the middle of the page
The NEW Google Classroom - Full Tutorial

Food Distribution During School Closure

We know that many of our students rely on school cafeteria food for their meals; therefore, as a district, we want to provide meals for our students during school closures. All comprehensive secondary schools have been selected to be an emergency meal service locations. See the information below regarding the logistics and memo for this process.


  1. Police will provide a security person or police officer at each site. They will help with traffic management.
  2. Food Services (FS) will have 3-4 workers per site, prepping and distributing food.
  3. Lead custodian will be present at each site to provide assistance as needed.
  4. Additional custodians from surrounding schools will be provided for assistance. School Leadership will adjust numbers as needed.
  5. Lawana has set up a system for volunteers. They will report to applicable principals. (not sure if we will receive volunteers; however, I have requested not to have any)
  6. Food Services will ask if food can be put in trunk of car to promote social distancing. If not possible, FS will accommodate as needed.
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Athletic Coaches and Athletic Coordinator

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Open Transfer Period (updated)

The Open Transfer application for regular schools will be available starting March 6, 2020. There will be a special open transfer window for ACE campuses that will begin on February 25, 2020. Eligible employees must apply via the open transfer application online at https://www.dallasisd.org/careers within the time frame established. Principals will have an opportunity to submit open transfer recommendations no later than April 10, 2020. Transfers are not final until an approval email notification has been sent from Human Capital Management. All notification will be completed by April 24, 2020. While I have sent a form in the Fall, I will be sending another form where you will have an opportunity to let me know of your plans for next year. However, if you know that you are planning to transfer or leaving the district, please let me know as soon as possible so that we can plan accordingly. As we are working on having a solid and effective team, transfers will not be approved after the April 10 deadline. In previous years, I have tried to be flexible and supportive allowing staff members to transfer; however, we have found ourselves in a bind trying to fill vacancies for transfers approved after the deadline. Therefore, while I want to keep as many of you as possible, I know that life happens and some of you will be transferring. Please, plan accordingly and let me know of your next steps.

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CDC Guidelines on Coronavirus Prevention

Site is available in English, Spanish, and Chinese. Click on the button and it will take you to the website.