Jan. 13-17

Miller's Weekly Newsletter

Welcome! Let's Get Started!

Hello everyone! This is the first weekly announcement (and you can guess from that, you'll see one of these every Monday). I'll talk about what's happening and some things you might need or want to do. I wrote a lot for the welcome flyer, so let's avoid that and get right to it this time!
  • Please sign up for a schedule group if you haven't done that yet! Look on the classroom bulletin board for directions. If you are reading this on January 6-8, I definitely recommend the 18 week group. Anyone entering on January 9 or 10 could go either 18 or 16. Anyone entering next week should probably pick the 16 week group. Signing up for a group is very important - it lets you have access to the first quiz and to certain news announcements that are targeted to that group.
  • After you sign up for a group, go to the course information widget and click on the group you picked to download your syllabus and schedule. That has the due dates for every assignment this semester.
  • Due dates do NOT mean that the assignment is due that day! If you are on the first Monday and see that it tells you to post in an introduction discussion, that's just a suggestion - you are free to do that at any time during the first two weeks. The specific assignments are spaced out so that you won't wait until the second Friday each time and then get overloaded. We suggest that you follow the day-by-day schedule, but it isn't required.
  • However, the hard due dates of every other Friday ARE serious and there are consequences for being late! For the 18 week group, all the work on your schedule from January 6 through January 17 is due by midnight the night of January 17. Do not wait until the last second - no excuses are accepted for late work without a doctor's note, and even those are only sometimes accepted. (If you get sick on Friday the 17th, that's only a problem because you waited until the last day to do the work. Now if you get sick today and are out sick for a week, we can work with that.) Don't mess with the schedule - it will win every time! Technical problems are not an excuse and everyone is assumed to have access to a computer. If your computer fails or you can't get access, it's on YOU to find a way around it. That's another reason not to wait until the last day to get done.
  • Come to (or watch the recording of) the welcome session on Tuesday. (More on that below).
  • Write me emails about anything you like, but do your best to use proper grammar and spelling. This isn't English class so I'm only going to be so strict about that, but it isn't a text message either, so dnt wrt lk ur txtng me, k? The same rules apply to the discussion board. Also, note that your full discussion points depend on you replying to others. So if you wait until the last Friday to post, do you expect anyone is going to have time to reply to you? Try to do the discussions earlier in the week.
  • I am also available by phone - but remember to call me between 5:30 and 8 pm Monday thru Friday. At all other times - and during that time too if I cannot get to the phone - you must leave a message. All contact from you or your parents will be returned within one school day. Keep in mind I also like my weekends and holidays, so if you write me on Friday, you may not hear back until Monday.
  • Regarding holidays and such, here's the deal: if you attend a regular school somewhere - public, private, or home - the schedule of that school has nothing to do with Georgia Virtual School (GaVS) and GaVS scheduling has nothing to do with your school's. This is important because some kids only have access to a good computer through their school - that means they need to be aware of when they won't have access to work around that. GaVS operates every weekday, Monday thru Friday, EXCEPT January 20 (MLK Day), February 17 (Presidents Day), and April 7-11 (GaVS Spring Break). You are expected to be online at least once a day and to check your school email (you@gavirtualschool.org) every school day. If your school has a teacher workday, or takes two days for President's Day, or anything else like that, you are responsible for keeping up with GaVS even when the other school is out. Recognized religious holidays are ok, but you are responsible for working around them, and if they fall on a due date, please complete you work BEFORE the holiday. If your family goes out of town on vacation or something like that, you are responsible for doing the work, and you should let me know you won't be online for a while.
  • If in doubt, check the student handbook, which is under the resources dropdown menu on any GaVS page.
  • You are free to work ahead if you like, but don't just start taking quizzes you aren't ready for - you only get one shot on those. If you are not scoring well, slow down.
  • The Final Exam (for all classes I teach) is on Wednesday or Thursday, May 7&8. You have to get special permission to take it sooner, and I need a good reason other than you being bored.
  • I promise these updates get way shorter as we go along and you are assumed to know what to do, but have patience for now. This is a new experience for some people and an adjustment period is expected. If that's you - if you are confused about what to do - let me know when you're confused and I will always help you.

Welcome Sessions and Office Hours

In addition to being available to you by email and phone, I also hold a weekly help session online. I am live online every Friday from 3:30 to 4:30 pm. The link is on your course information widget, and you can click the banner above this as well - the link is the same each week.

On the first week of each schedule group, my office hour will be a welcome session where I go over how things operate and what the expectations are. The session will be recorded and the recording posted so you can watch it later, but being live is nice because you can ask me questions. It will tell you that you need a headset, which is not true at all. If you want to actually talk to me, you need either a headset or a microphone and headphones, but you can go online without that and just type. However, you need either speakers or headphones to hear me.

The welcome dates are:
18 Week - January 8
16 Week - January 22
14 Week - February 5
12 Week - February 19

You are welcome at any or all of them. All other Fridays are just general help sessions. You may either show up and ask questions, or you can send me what you don't understand ahead of time and I can give you anything from simple help to a complete presentation (if you want a presentation please give your topic or question several hours ahead of time so I can prepare). However, this is entirely optional - you are not required to attend at all. But if you're having problems with the material, don't pass up free help.

I am here to help you, but I do not read minds!

That means if you need help, you probably have to get my attention. Send me an email. Call me on the phone. Come to the weekly help session. But don't keep it a secret! (And don't worry - emails are between you and me, and none of the other students will ever know if you need help.)