Hearst Weekly Update
March 28, 2020
In speaking with a colleague this week, she referred to this past week as the first week of school and while I hadn't thought about it in those terms, it made sense to me. Much like the first week of a traditional school year, there has been a lot of learning, reflecting, and refining our approach as we start this distance learning portion of our school year. Normally, this ongoing refinement of practices, processes, and procedures might not be as visible to families as it is now, while we work through navigating challenges with Bloomz and learning to use Teams. I appreciate how quickly you and your kids have adapted to our new online platform, Teams, and how you've been patient and flexible with us as we work to set up our kids for a successful distance learning experience.
One of the learnings from this week is that as a school, we will continue to focus on asynchronous learning opportunities that do not require kids to log in to a live lesson at a specified time. We have learned that with live or synchronous lessons, the scheduling, device access (especially with multiple kids in a home), and WiFi capabilities within households are a significant challenge. Until we can ensure that all Hearst students at least have devices, internet access, and Teams access, this also creates additional equity issues. Staff will continue to offer live individual and small group office hours and will work with you to find times that work best for you and your kids.
I have also asked staff to refrain from hosting live Morning Meetings for the time being. One of the goals of Morning Meeting is to develop a sense of positive community so that students feel a sense of belonging, significance, and fun. We know that not all students can access a virtual Morning Meeting at this time, so therefore we will not host live community Morning Meetings online right now. Connecting with peers is important for kids and we will continue to brainstorm and pilot different ways to keep our community connected while apart. In the meantime, I've loved hearing about the virtual playdates that families are setting up with one another and encourage you to continue those.
I appreciate your flexibility as we work through the myriad of challenges that we are all facing during this time. Please reach out with any questions or concerns and to let us know how we can support you.
What I'm reading this week: I'm thrilled when topics for my grad school papers and work align, and this week they have. I've been reading research galore on supporting professional learning for educators, with a new focus on distance learning.
News and Announcements from Hearst
Hearst's Distance Learning Plan
Week One (3/24-3/31)
Our focus during the first week of distance learning is on checking in with kids and families and starting to use Teams for videoconferencing or phone meetings with individual kids and small groups. Academically, the focus is supporting students with the content in the Week 1 work packet. We are not introducing any new content during this time.
Although not required, some staff are creating additional asynchronous learning opportunities for kids which do not ask students to log on for live sessions at a prescribed time. Examples of these asynchronous learning opportunities include recording videos that students can access when convenient to your family, Morning Meeting prompts, reviews of content to supplement or clarify information in the work packets, and general announcements.
Weeks Two and Three (4/1-4/10)
We will continue to use Teams for videoconferencing or phone meetings with individual kids and small groups. Academically, the focus remains on supporting students with the content in the Weeks 2 and 3 work packets. We will continue with asynchronous learning opportunities and virtual office hours and are not introducing any new content during this time.
Weeks Four and Five (4/13-4/24)
Beginning April 13, we will return to the curriculum, picking up where we left off, and will address new learning for students. More information about what this will look like will be shared in the coming weeks.
Weeks 2 & 3 Work Packets
DCPS has prepared a hardcopy packet of materials that contains your child’s instructional materials for the next two weeks of distance learning. These activities have been designed to extend prior learning and engage students during the period of school closure. The packets contain learning activities across content areas that were planned for all DCPS learners, including English Language Learners and students with special needs. We will have packets available for pick up at Hearst from 8:30am-2:00pm on Tuesday, March 30, and Wednesday, April 1. Upon entering the building, please check in with Officer Ervin and she will let you know if there are other materials that you should pick up for your child in addition to the DCPS packets. Weeks 2 and 3 packets can also be downloaded from the Canvas site.
Opting Out of Videoconferencing During Distance Learning
Free Internet and WiFi Support
Comcast is offering 2 free months of internet for students to support remote learning. Please visit the following website for more information: https://www.internetessentials.com/?fbclid=IwAR2kWySAurT-9uP6x753Hd5Z-oQVLTqf-aPy-r2luj4NGIPW4WETspRkpiw
Addiitonally, Comcast is providing Wifi hotspots across the country to anyone for free - including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. Please click here for a map of Xfinity Wifi hotspots. Once at a hotspot, students should select the "xfinitywifi" network name in the list of available hotspots.
News and Announcements from DCPS
MySchool DC Lottery Results Are In!
SY20-21 Health Forms
Family Resource Guides
Other Resources from DCPS
- A curated list of things you can do at home, including family-friendly activities from the DC Library, the Kennedy Center, and the Washington Nationals.
- Fun exercise videos for kids from #FITDC.
- Information about free meals for students, grocery store hours and other food resources for DC residents.
- DCPS’ Coronavirus information hub for families.
- Distance Learning family engagement videos on the DCPS YouTube page.