Dear Twelve Bridges Families,
For those of you who are new to the TBE community, welcome to what is sure to be a very unusual school year! To our returning students and families, welcome back! We can’t wait to (hopefully) see you in a few short weeks! My name is Will Middleton and I am the proud principal of Twelve Bridges Elementary School. The Twelve Bridges community is a special place with supportive parents, amazing students, and excellent staff! We know this year will be different, but we are still looking forward to providing your student(s) with the best possible experience.
As you know, things have been very dynamic and have changed on a moment to moment basis. Up to this point, we've really relied on Mr. Leaman to communicate with families about our plans to resume school. I wanted to give you some information based on questions I am getting from families in an FAQ style format - you can review those below.
The most important thing I want you to know is that our teachers and staff are working hard getting ready to welcome your children back to school, whether that be on campus or through distance learning. We have as many questions as you do, but no matter what, we are committed to providing a safe environment that challenges our students academically. We take a tremendous amount of pride in our school community and we will find new ways to welcome the new TBE families while rekindling the connections and relationships you have come to know and expect.
If your family's preference is for in-person instruction when we can reopen, you do not need to do anything. Your child is registered and will be assigned to a teacher on campus.
If your family’s preference is for 100% digital learning you need to complete the 100% digital learning (also known as interCONNECT) opt-in form. You need to complete this by Monday, August 3rd.
Information on both the online (interCONNECT) and in-person programs can be viewed here. If your family would like to opt-in to our 100% digital learning program (interCONNECT), you must complete this form (click here) by Monday, August 3rd.
Our office and phones will officially open on August 10th. In the meantime, please feel free to email me at email@example.com with your questions. Together, we will get through this challenging and uncertain time.
Please look for my Sunday Messages to begin showing up in your inbox. You can expect to begin receiving those on a regular basis on August 9th. Until then, I will keep you informed of any information specific to TBE. Please stay tuned and be sure to keep reading those emails from Mr. Leaman.
Take care and be safe! I can’t wait to see everyone, whether it's in person or online.
Your proud principal,
FAQs Regarding the Upcoming School Year
Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions:
1. What is interCONNECT?
InterCONNECT refers to the program parents sign up for in order to access 100% distance/online learning, even after our school is able to physically reopen. It is not a new curriculum or a special type of book, it's just what we'll call students who are learning online. Students enrolled through interCONNECT will be taught by WPUSD teachers and can move between in-person and interCONNECT instruction models at intervals during the year based on your family's needs and what is happening in the community. We have to classify students who are learning online something different so we can track progress and attendance per the state's mandate...hence the name interCONNECT.
2. What does a day in interCONNECT look like v. in-person instruction?
It depends. If 100% of our school is distance learning, students will be engaging with their teachers between 2-4 times daily between the hours of 8-2:40 pm (ish). The exact times of those meetings will be staggered, and we are working to find ways to have different grade levels meet at different times to make it a little easier for everyone! Students will be required to connect with their teacher daily, and complete the instructional activities in order to receive credit for attendance.
Whether we are involved in 100% online or an in-person/interCONNECT model, we will be taking attendance and monitoring progress towards work completion. A reminder that attendance is required for students ages 6 and above (like in a typical school year). This is different from the spring instructional model we used.
If we are able to reopen school physically, students who are participating in in-person instruction will attend school from 8-12:30 ish daily. Students on interCONNECT will participate in lessons online at their own pace each day (generally speaking), and will check in with their teacher online each afternoon in small groups or 1:1 sessions. While the work may be completed at your child's own pace, your child will be required to complete work daily and meet with his/her teacher daily in order to receive attendance credit. Students will have a certain number of minutes of instructional activities to complete each day (examples might include online tasks like watching a video clip, completing and submitting work online, watching your teacher teach live, participating in Google Meet meetings and offline tasks like work completed in their math or language arts book, reading, practicing skills like writing, etc...).
3. What will school hours be next year?
If we are 100% distance learning, school will run from 8-2:40 ish, but your child won't be online that whole time (see the instructional minutes listed below). Your child will have to be online a few specific times a day to engage with his/her teacher. Once we can reopen school, we expect that in-person instruction will happen from 8-12:30ish, and interCONNECT teacher meetings will happen between 12:30-3ish. The ish is because we are still working on those details.
Many families have expressed concern about instruction and screen time. Per the state's guidelines:
- Students in TK and K can expect to spend about 180 minutes/day engaging in class work (with a combination on online and offline activities)
- Students in grades 1-3 can expect to spend about 230 minutes/day engaging in class work (with a combination on online and offline activities)
- Students in grades 4-5 (and actually through 12th grade) can expect to spend about 240 minutes/day engaging in class work (with a combination on online and offline activities)
Our teachers are very concerned and aware of the impact of screen time on children (especially our younger students), and will build their instructional programs to provide balance and options for families. We do, however, expect that all students (whether in person or in interCONNECT) will spend time on digital platforms daily - so please count on that.
4. What about technology?
Our district has secured thousands of new Chromebooks and has thousands currently on hand. It is our hope that we will be 1:1 by mid-September - every child will have a Chromebook to use at home and/or in the classroom. Chromebooks will be checked out like a textbook and will be the child's/family's responsibility to keep in good repair. This is a silver lining of this situation - I for one am THRILLED that we will be able to offer this digital tool to all families!
Our district has put together a 'spec list' in case you want to purchase your own device to have at home so your child can leave their school-issued device at home.
We learned a lot about online access in the spring. If your family does not have adequate internet capacity, stay tuned for options to increase your online bandwidth. We will also be working to spread out online meetings in order to make them easier for students to engage in.
5. Will my child's teacher be from TBES?
In short, YES, your child's teacher will be from TBES if they are receiving instruction in person or through interCONNECT. If your child moves between in-person and online instruction (for example in October if you change instructional strategies, or if he/she is home sick for a period of time), his/her teacher will not change. We think this will be a positive feature of our model - we expect teacher continuity throughout the year.
6. Will there be appropriate safety protocols and plexiglass in the classrooms?
We will be following all the mandated safety protocols as is practicable in our classrooms. Because we are planning a 5-day instructional model, all students that have opted for in-person instruction will attend school together. We will take every precaution we are able to, but there may not be 6ft of space between all student desks. At this time, we do not have plans to install plexiglass partitions between student desks. There will be partitions in public spaces such as the school office and other high use areas on campus. There will be a heavy emphasis on handwashing and hygiene practices incorporated into our classroom routines as well. Additional handwashing stations will also be available throughout the campus.
7. Will there be overlap between in-person and interCONNECT instruction?
It is our hope that as our team becomes more comfortable and confident with this new model of instruction, you might find that your teacher records lessons in the classroom and pushes them out online for interCONNECT students to view - either in a recorded format or maybe even live. Your teacher may find innovative ways for interCONNECT students to engage with in-person students during the morning hours, even. But be patient as we figure out how to do that well and we build our capacity in that space.
8. How does recess work? PE?
This is something my team is working out. At this point, I expect we'll offer a snack recess (maybe two for our younger students) outside of the classroom, and we will likely offer some structured play if we can. But I think it'll look more like organized PE games than it will free play. This will allow us to get the kids outside and moving, but will hopefully minimize close proximity on the playground. This is an area where we will tread carefully to ensure we are making smart choices that support student and staff safety.
9. How many students will be in the classroom?
It depends on the grade level and how many students participate in interCONNECT. Currently at TBES, most of our classes are relatively full with the exception of K and 1st. We expect to balance our interCONNECT students between classes in order to reduce the class size for every teacher as much as possible.
Ideally, our plan is to publish your child's teacher on Friday, 8/14 at the latest. We'll likely do this digitally.
10. Where do I get more information?