And So It Begins...
Distance learning has officially begun. I know that we are all trying to work our way through the ever changing information regarding this virus and the impact it is having on schools, churches, small and large businesses, family incomes and health, and so much more. I want you all to know that my thoughts and prayers are with all of you, especially those going through financial or health hardships because of this. I spoke with a parent the other day and was so stunned by her faith and generosity of spirit. She is a mom of 2 small children with a husband suffering from health problems, which do not allow him to work. She was let go of her job this week, without warning. The family is going through so much. Her focus, when I saw her, though, was to thank the school and the teachers for all that is being done to support the kids' learning at this time. I was stunned. If anyone has a reason to complain, it is this woman, but she chose to focus on the positive instead. Wow! I think that it is helpful, during this time of Lent, to remember the story of Jesus in the desert for 40 days. We all go through difficult times (financial, health, emotional, etc.) and we can feel alone, frightened, uncertain. We need to remember that God is always with us and that we will get through this...together. To that end, I am including a link to a survey on Survey Monkey. It is a very quick way to get feedback from you on a few items. I will try to keep surveys going while we are away from the school building. Here is the survey link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/P6ML5JL
The teachers, staff, and I are all thinking of you and trying to continue to find ways to better serve you and the kids during this challenging time. We are keeping in contact with texts, emails, Trello, and Zoom video conferencing. Some people think that this is an easy time for the teachers, that they are just kicking back at home and relaxing. I can assure you that we have been working non-stop to look at all of the ways that we can put together a quality distance learning program with the technology and options at our disposal. The teachers have been working DAY and NIGHT on the lesson planning and roll-out and are continuing to work with families on troubleshooting problems as we get things up and running. They are very concerned that students can continue learning while they are away from us. Many of you have sent kind words to me and to the teachers to thank us for these efforts, especially since the public school system is not able to roll-out support in this same way right now. Thank you for your kindness and your patience. It is very much appreciated. Please know that we are constantly evaluating what is working and what needs to be adjusted...from the technology and websites/apps/platforms to the due dates and frequency of assignments. Don't hesitate to check in with the teachers if you have any questions/concerns. They are here to support you. We all are! If we do not know the answer to something, we will figure it out and get back to you. The teachers and administration are available from 8am - 3 pm, Monday through Friday. So, if you or your child sends emails/questions in the late afternoon/evening, we will respond the following business day.
Hang in there. I know this can be a lot to process and many people are very stressed and anxious. We will get it all worked out...together! Stay safe and healthy!!
Arriba y Abajo con Jonathan and Pearl
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What are the hours for the teachers during this time?
A: Teachers are available online between 8 am and 3 pm, Monday through Friday to support you.
Q: What can I expect with respect to learning during this absence from school?
A: Teachers are continuing to teach to the standards (Common Core/State/Archdiocesan) during this "distance learning". Some are using paper packets and many more are using Seesaw or Google Classroom. The amount of material and assignments, as well as the platform, is dictated by the age-appropriateness of the students.
Q: I haven't seen any assignments and my student is on Google Classroom or Seesaw. Is this correct?
A: No. You should have received all log in info and assignments are being sent out through these platforms daily and weekly. If your child has NOT YET LOGGED ON, they need to do so today. We do not want children to get behind on assignments. Check your email for instructions or contact the teacher.
Q: What if my child is not getting enough assignments or has too many?
A: Like with homework, parents have very different ideas on how much time they want their child to spend on school work. We are doing our best to balance it with respect to the child's age/developmental appropriateness and other teachers who are also giving your child/ren assignments (students in grades 1 - 8 have two or more teachers each).
Q: Are the assignments graded? Will they impact my child's 3rd trimester grade?
A: Yes. Students must complete assignments as they are graded and will be used to determine 3rd trimester grades and promotions for the next school year.
Q: Is the staff still being paid and do I need to pay my tuition?
A: Yes and yes. We absolutely need families to keep paying tuition (and other fees) and paying it on time, as we are paying our staff and bills. Since the teachers (and staff) are providing services and support during the absence, family contracts are still in effect. If you have a change in circumstances and need to withdraw your child/ren from the school, please email Kelly (firstname.lastname@example.org), Nina (Office@holyrosarybilingual.org), and Katie (email@example.com) immediately. Contracts are prorated based on the number of days a student is "in session".
Q: Is the school and campus closed from now until April 27th?
A: No. The front office will be open two half days per week for payments, registrations, and to pick up or swap technology and curriculum. The office will be open Tuesdays from 8 am - 12 pm and Thursdays from 12 pm - 4 pm. Also, while we cannot host formal "get togethers" (due to the need for social distancing), you are welcome to use the play area at the school if you want to take your family out for a little fresh air and some recess time.
Q: What if I have not heard from one of my child's teachers yet?
A: Teachers have been in contact with both parents and students (depending on the age of the child) to get them set up on Google Classroom, Seesaw, and to update them on plans for the day/week. If you have NOT received a newsletter (likely from Smore) from the teacher(s), please contact the teacher(s) directly. This likely means that you are not set up to receive their newsletters or they are going to your spam/junk mail folder.
Q: What if my technology (laptop for older students and Ipads for younger students) malfunctions?
A: Check in with the teacher and they can help you troubleshoot or we can swap your item out for a new one during office hours on Tues or Thurs.
Q: What if I am overwhelmed by all of the newsletters and technology needs right now?
A: I think we all are, so don't worry. Getting everything off the ground requires a lot of information and coordination. It will get better. The important thing is to reach out if you have questions, something isn't working, or you just need some help. The teachers are learning all of this, too and things will require tweaking as we go along. Communication is the key...no question is silly. If something is happening in your household which will impact due dates or other items relating to school work (for example, someone is sick), just let the teacher(s) know and adjustments can be made.
Q: Will we have to be in school during the summer to make up days/hours?
A: We are working with the State Board of Education and are expecting a waiver. At most, we would, like the public schools, have to be in school only until June 19th. Since we are still educating children, however, we should be just fine with days/hours of instruction and end on time. We are keeping track of all assignments and lesson plans to prove this, if the state requires it. We will keep you in touch after their emergency session to address this.
Q: What about 2nd trimester report cards?
A: We are expecting to mail out report cards for the 2nd trimester by the end of next week (Week of 3/23). If you do not receive it by the following week, contact our front office. If you are behind on tuition and/or other fees, the report card will be held until payment is made.
We will all get through this...promise!