Learning at Home

Tips and tricks from Elyria City School District

Dear families...

All of us in the Elyria Schools are sending Thanksgiving wishes to you and yours.

We are reminded each day of how special it is to be part of your lives and how much we treasure time together, especially during the holidays.

We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and plenty of moments to relax and unwind.

As a reminder, students will not attend classes next week, Nov. 23-29.

When they return to school on Monday, November 30, they will do so virtually from home through Google Classroom. (Students already enrolled in Virtual Academy will see no changes and should log on as usual to their Google Classroom.)

Teachers in the hybrid education model have been working with their students over the last couple of weeks to help them get accustomed to signing in to Classlink on their Chromebooks.

Classlink is where students will find Google Classroom and the many other programs they use regularly in school.

So many months ago when all of us parted for an extended time, we as a district had little in the way of training or resources to connect virtually with students.

"Zoom" wasn't even in our vocabulary!

But like the song says, we've come a long, long way together.

From the moment we closed the gradebooks on last year, we started designing a virtual learning community for our students.

One-third of the district's student population--more than 2,000 students--opted into this education model--dubbed "Virtual Academy"--nine weeks ago.

They powered through the early days of unknown tech and cyber woes to the fairly seamless virtual learning environment that exists today in the Elyria Schools.

Quite honestly, what Elyria's teachers have accomplished so quickly in the virtual education model is jaw dropping.

The program offers authentic, real-time instruction four days a week in a rich, highly interactive online classroom environment.

Students who began the first semester in the hybrid/in-person model will find the virtual learning environment engaging, and oh-so important...familiar.

The students will continue learning with their same classroom teachers and classmates, only the learning will take place virtually from home using their school-issued Chromebooks.

The switch to virtual learning as a district was necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic but unlike the last time, we are ready.

For those entering the virtual learning world for the first time, there will be ups and downs but be assured, we're well prepared educationally and technically to address issues as they arise.

As a reminder the current plan calls for all students to learn remotely from home in the Elyria Schools virtual model beginning Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, and ending Friday, Jan. 22, 2021.

Parents will find their child's daily schedule for virtual learning listed by school here.

Again, students already enrolled in the Virtual Academy education model will see no changes.

Second semester begins Tuesday, January 26, 2021. Over the coming weeks and months, we will continue evaluating the situation with COVID-19 and make decisions accordingly for second semester.

We will keep you informed along the way, and continue reaching out through district communications.

You'll also receive regular updates from your building principals and of course, daily or weekly messages from your child's teacher.

A short-term plan for learning like this can bring with it new obstacles for families during what is already a very demanding environment with the pandemic. We want to assure you we we will work diligently to ease this transitional period and be available to answer your questions and assist in every way possible.

Our teachers and staff continue to work regular business hours, Monday through Friday, and are available for questions or concerns by emailing their last name first name at elyria schools dot org (for example, higginsamy@elyriaschools.org.)

Parents can also reach out to us anytime at ask@elyriaschools.org.

Thank you for reading and for your trust and support.

Amy Higgins

Communications Director

Virtual learning FAQs, take two!

Q. Will students—hybrid and virtual—have classes on the two days prior to Thanksgiving: Nov. 23 and 24?

No. Students will not attend classes as originally planned on Nov. 23 and 24. Teachers and school staff use these days for transitioning to the virtual learning model.

Q. Will hybrid students attend in-person classes after Thanksgiving?

No. All students will begin learning from home using the district’s established virtual learning education model Nov. 30, 2020, through the remainder of the first semester, which ends January 22, 2021.

Q. My student already attends Virtual Academy. Will anything change for my student?

No. Students already enrolled in Virtual Academy will see no changes to their established schedules.

Q. What does this mean for students on the hybrid plan?

Students who are on the hybrid plan will learn from home using the Google Suite platform.

Teachers will provide students with the codes necessary to log-in to their virtual classrooms through Google Classroom.

Teaching and learning will take place remotely but in real-time by Elyria Schools teachers.

Attendance will be taken and assignments must be turned in using Google Classroom to receive grades.

Q. How will my hybrid student’s schedule change?

Hybrid students will start and end their school day the same times but PK-8 students will attend virtual classes four days per week: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

High school will continue to attend on their scheduled two days per week virtually.

New virtual learning schedules for former hybrid learners can be be found here.

Q. What if at-home Internet service is an issue?

Contact your child's building principal to discuss options for assistance.

Q. Why no classes on Wednesdays?

Wednesdays have been and will continue to be a day for “virtual office hours” with teachers as needed, and an opportunity for students to receive intervention and/or enrichment classes and to have Google meet-ups with teachers and classmates as necessary.

Q. Will the option be available to return to in-person learning second semester?

Our goal is to return to in-person learning in the second semester but decisions will hinge on the situation with COVID-19. We will communicate regularly with parents over the coming weeks and months.

Q. What about extracurricular activities?

Some club and co-curricular programs will continue virtually and some in-person opportunities may be available but more information will come at a later date.

Q. What about school meals?

All students are eligible to receive free meals through the end of December.

Aramark foodservice distributes bagged meals on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Elyria High School in the West Ave. parking lot. The bags of food have items to last multiple days, including snacks for breakfast, lunch and dinner items.

If you are unable to attend the pick-up time or have a transportation hardship, you can sign up to receive meals delivered to your home by emailing: elyriafoodservices@gmail.com. Please include your address, phone number and number of students under the age of 18 in the household.

Q. Will there be an opportunity to pick up my child’s personal items at school?

Yes. Information and details will be shared by your building principals.

Q. Who can we call if we have questions?

Please continue to communicate with your students’ teachers and with your school principal as needed through email.

You can also contact us anytime with general inquiries at ask@elyriaschools.org.

Setting up a virtual learning space at home

If you're new to learning at home, here are a few tips to setting up a workspace.

  • Create the best space possible by having school materials ready and assembled in an easy access area.
  • Pin up art work, photos or messages that spark the mind.
  • Establish rules and goals: follow the school schedule, keep routines in place (for example, wakeup and bedtimes.)
  • Stay organized
  • Recognize a student's hard work and successes, big and small!
  • Stay positive
  • Wear headphones, if possible, when learning remotely
  • Check Internet service and practice logging into Google Classroom before Nov. 30.

The American Academy of Pediatrics emphasizes the importance of good nutrition and sleep for children, especially when stress levels are high.

Read more on nutrition from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Read more on sleep from AAP Healthychildren.org on sleep.

Stay as consistent as possible with a bedtime schedule have students off turn their electronic devices at least one hour before going to bed.