MCCHS ~ We Remain Strong!
Updates on School Closing & E-Learning as of 3-20-20
School Closing and Access to School
Dearest Marian Family,
As we are transitioning to Spring Break, I wanted to send my sincere thank you to the teachers and support staff that have been on the front lines through this, our first week of E-Learning. It was new, it was different, it was challenging, and even frustrating at times! What I saw, though, were teachers developing amazing online lessons that continued to move students' education forward. What I saw was support staff at the ready any time of day to push out communication and resolve attendance issues. What I saw were students who were reaching out to their teachers and teachers reaching out to students and parents, in order to ensure that each student has access to the educational resources that we were trying to provide. What I saw... was the Marian Central Catholic community coming together in a difficult time, doing their best with a smile on their faces (I saw it through the computer screen!), encouragement in their voices, and trust in their hearts. I saw God.
I want to wish you a quiet, calm, and safe Spring Break. One where you can focus on what is most important... your health, the health of your family, and reestablishing face to face connections (even if by Facetime or Whatsapp) with those you love. Know I am praying for a quick resolution to this situation, and for us to find our "new normal" whatever that may be. Love & prayers...
Please click here for the most updated communication from the Diocese of Rockford. This communication deals with the concepts of whether we are making up days and grading or not... very important.
I just wanted to tell all of you how impressed I am in our faculty... how you continue to post relevant and meaningful assignments, how you communicate with Mrs. Johnson (Big applause for all of her work!) when you have questions about attendance, your continuous updating of the gradebook, and especially the continuous communication with students and parents when you have not seen work posted... offering any help if needed. I am humbled by the dedication and compassion our Staffulty continues to show through this unprecedented situation. One more day... and then we get to breathe a little, as spring break will begin! I pray that you spend special time with your families as you make the best of this unique "Staycation." I will be continuing to provide updates to all of you as it comes... so keep checking your emails!
We would first of all like to thank you for your work and dedication in providing positive learning experiences for our students. We have received many positive comments and that is a reflection of the work you are doing. As we are all experiencing and learning this process together, we realize that adjustments will need to be made along the way and we encourage you to provide input and reflections on your experiences.
One adjustment we are going to make for now is related to attendance. Student attendance will be counted as present so long as they have submitted any coursework (per ISBE Guidelines). We will continue to contact families for students who have not reported in or completed any work for a given day. We encourage you to continue reaching out to students and stay connected - they need us now more than ever.
We understand that these are difficult and stressful times for our entire learning community and it is important that we work together, remain calm, and support each other - we will get through this!
Also, effective Thursday, March 19, 2020, we were told that NO staff/faculty are allowed to work in the building until further notice. This means that even Administration will not be staying to work in the office anymore. If you need something, you can come in M-F between the hours of 7 am - 7 pm, get what you need, and then leave, but you may NOT stay.
Happy St. Patrick's Day! Please find ways to enjoy the day with your family!
I just want to thank all of the teachers who have worked so hard to ensure that the students of Marian Central are continuing to have access to their curriculum... moving the needle of learning! I also wanted to mention that several of you are already starting to see some trends with certain students who are not chiming in and submitting work for the last two days... (and you rightfully marked as absent). If that happens, it is a good idea to reach out to the student AND parent about the student's lack of participation in E-Learning for your class thus far. It is certainly advisable to nip it in the bud sooner rather than when it gets too out of hand. Thanks to all who have already begun to reach out... Great Job!
Please also read the most recent letter from the Bishop as of this afternoon. We are still clarifying whether this will require us to close the school office or not... stay tuned.
**As of tonight, it has been determined that the office will be opened Wednesday, March 18 from 9 am - 1 pm, after which Administration and the office staff will not be at the school and the school will remain closed until the state updates the closure dates. Again, please remember that you will still be able to reach Administration via email to support the staff and students' needs.
At about 5:30 pm on Friday, March 13 the ISBE pushed out the following clarification about the state mandate for closing Illinois schools:
"We’ve received numerous inquiries regarding the closure dates. To clarify the dates of school closure at this time, schools are closed starting Tuesday, March 17 and should plan to reopen on Tuesday, March 31. As the situation evolves day to day, the reopening date could change. We will continue to keep you informed."
Because there have been no reported Covid-19 cases within our school population, we will maintain office hours as follows, but please know that this could change at any time:
Week of March 16 - 20: M - Th 9 am - 1 pm
Week of March 23 - 26 (Spring Break) T - Th 9 am - 1 pm
Monday, March 30: 9 am - 1 pm
What does this look like?
- Skeletal office, maintenance, and administrative presence will be at the school during these times
- Cleaning service will be doing a thorough cleaning of the school
- If teachers/staff needs to come in for additional resources to complete E-Learning work, you are welcome to do so within the designated hours
- If a student needs additional materials they left int heir locker in order to complete their E-Learning, we will allow them to check in at the office, get their things and leave, again, only within the designated hours
What is NOT included?
- Absolutely NO student athletics, clubs, or other such groups are to meet or participate, as per the mandate from the Diocese: The suspension of on-site classes also includes ALL athletic, extra-curricular, and co-curricular activities both on and off-site. The suspension of these athletic, extra-curricular, and co-curricular activities is to begin immediately and will be re-evaluated at the same time the school situation is re-evaluated.
- No access to building beyond the designated days/hours provided
Important Information for AP Teachers! (3-20-20)
**Teachers... please make sure you communicate to your students (via your online platform) that the exam is only a part of our curriculum and that you will be continuing to teach new information which may not be on the exam... so that students and parents alike do not interpret this as... they're going to be "reviewing for the rest of the school year."
As of March 20, 2020, the College Board has decided that face-to-face AP testing will not take place this May 2020. Instead, they are working to determine the process and dates in which students will be able to take their AP tests online from their homes. Please click here to find out more information and stay updated on what continued decisions the College Board will be taking.
- In order for attendance to be done, students should be touching base with you daily by 4pm. After that time, you are to ensure that you submit attendance for EACH period so that Kris Johnson can receive it daily. She will be resetting the attendance daily (M-F).
- Work should not all be pushed out at once (ie: giving a week's worth of work on Monday) as it should act like students are "in class" each day receiving the assignments. Each day's work should take no more than a typical class period (unless you are expecting work to be completed over a number of days.
- You may consider assigning projects to your students. If you do, you should still determine a way in which your students still check in daily, possibly showing you proof of progress on the project via Google Classroom, OneNote, emailing a pic, sharing a document, etc.
- Though you may be inclined to just assign Formative work online, you have the autonomy to choose to give Summative work as well. You have to find your comfort level on this. Please just make sure that you indicate that to your students as you push out assignments/activities.
As you can see, consistency and clear communication are going to be key elements in E-Learning... especially since this is going to be 5+ days.
Share the Positive Things that are Happening!
- Is there an amazing PowerPoint, lab, creative story, or poem?
- Did a student share a new piece of art created, a song sung, or fabulous instrumental recorded and sent to you?
- Musical Directors... could some of your Annie stars record and share their piece from the Annie performance that they were not otherwise able to perform this past week?
- Did a student create a poster or other project that showed what students learned about or researched that blew you away?
If so, please share these videos and images with Ms. Novy... we want the public to see that our Marian Central students are continuing to grow, learn, and expand their experiences, regardless of the barriers we are facing in today's world. With your help, we want to be able to push out the many positives that continue to come from our amazing students!
FAQs about E-Learning at Marian
>>Please remember, don't overwhelm the students, have reasonable and relevant expectations and try to limit the amount of screen time expected on assignments. A reasonable framework for E-Learning includes about 15 min of instruction, some time for guided/supported practice, and some independent work... all totaling about 40-45 min in total per subject per day.
>>Don't forget that you must post assignments DAILY and no later than 9:00 am so students have enough time to complete all of their assignments for up to 7 different classes. Work should not just be "random busy work" but should still have a structure whereby you provide some instruction, some practice, and assistance for your students wherever possible. Remember that the instruction, practice, and guidance should take no more than 45 min per day (like they are in the classroom) The good majority of the lessons that have been pushed out the last two days seem to be appropriate and engaging... thank you!
>>Can we post assignments early? It is suggested that you post assignments on a daily basis rather than give an entire week's worth of work. Please think of this as you would if you were giving assignments in your class... you want to see the progress that the students are having to ensure that they are understanding the material prior to moving forward. If you are pushing out a project or assignment that may take more than one day, that's fine, but make sure that the student still "check-in" with you providing some progress so that you can mark them present for the day. We are fine if you want to post your next day's assignment the night before, but not until after at least 5pm, as you need to make sure that students have had time to post today's assignment (by 4pm) and that you have taken care of submitting attendance for each period. **Please, if you are going to be posting the day before, make sure that the posting mentions the actual date in which the post refers to... ie: if I am posting Thursday, March 19 for tomorrow's assignment, I will state "This assignment is for Friday, March 20" in order for students to be crystal clear what assignments are for what days.
>>How long should any single assignment take on any given day? One day assignments should take an average student no more than 45 minutes (a typical school day)
>>What about students with ISPs? Continue to follow our students' ISP accommodations to the best of your ability. You should make sure that if a student is to have extended time, please work with these students individually on adjusting time expectations for any assignments that you deem summative (tests, projects, etc) Please utilize your best judgment, as you always have, within your classroom.
>>What is being done regarding PSAT/SAT testing, ACTand AP testing? ISBE is working with the U.S. Department of Education to amend the testing window and increase allowable accommodations for all testing protocols, including AP, with more details to follow.
As of 3-18-20, student attendance will be counted as present so long as they have submitted any coursework (per ISBE Guidelines). We will continue to contact families for students who have not reported in or completed any work for a given day. We encourage you to continue reaching out to students and stay connected - they need us now more than ever
TEACHERS MUST SUBMIT ATTENDANCE NO LATER THAN 5PM DAILY. (This includes all class periods as well as all study halls you supervise)
>>What if students do not submit by 4pm? If students do not submit their assignments by 4pm on any given day, you are to mark them absent for the day in your attendance. When putting the grade in the gradebook you should insert a placeholder "0" and the annotation of "ab." Mrs. Johnson will reconcile the absences each day against the parent phone calls received to determine excused absences as usual and reset the day. Then, per the policy pushed out in February, an absent student has 3 days to make up the work (submitting it to you). If she does not get a call from a parent, the absence will be marked as unexcused and formatives remain zeros and summatives should be made up immediately. If, however, she gets a call from the parent within 24 hours, she will change it to excused.
>> What if a student submits AFTER 4pm? If a student submits their assignment after the 4pm deadline, generally speaking, it should be looked at as late and you should dock their grade accordingly. Obviously, there are other situations, ie: the student notified you ahead of time that they would be submitting late or it was just a couple minutes late... like in school if at the end of the period you let a student get their homework from their locker) If that happens between 4 and 5, please unsubmit and resubmit with the corrected attendance, but if it is after 5pm, the attendance stands firm.
>>Is there a way to mark a student present as soon as they submit their assignment? Although there is no way, at this time, to mark a student "present" in Rediker, we have another suggestion. Teachers might consider printing out a blank spreadsheet for each class, put the dates across the top, and then as a student submits work, put a check by their name, and then when you are ready to submit, you have a quick glance (and your own permanent record) of who did not submit and would be considered absent.
3-19-20: Just a little heads up... I am reaching out to my administrative colleagues throughout the area as we share resources and ideas. I will be participating in a phone conference with the Associate for Curriculum at Huntley HIgh School tomorrow, as they have been on the cutting edge of blended and distance learning in the area. If this does continue beyond March 30, I want to provide you as many new ways to keep our students engaged online and get you new teaching strategies that would allow you to deliver a cohesive curriculum to continue moving our students forward in their education.
We are working hard to find beneficial resources for you to be able to provide engaging and meaningful work for our students throughout this situation.
>>Microsoft Teams: To use Teams, you would have to create a Team for each class and send the students a code to join just as in Google Classroom. If you use this option, you can have "meetings" and all the students can actually join the meeting and a teacher can share their screen and teach a lesson. Here is a link to some webinars. https://microsoftteams.eventbuilder.com/TeamsEducation
>>Nepris: Nepris connects educators and learners with a network of industry professionals, virtually bringing real-world relevance and career exposure to all students. Now through April, they are opening their live virtual industry chats to everyone to help students stay engaged. Click for help documentation.
>>ZOOM Conferencing Tool: Zoom enables quick adoption with meeting capabilities that make it easy to start, join, and collaborate across any device. It enables internal and external communications, all-hands meetings, and trainings through one communications platform. Zoom is temporarily lifting the 40-minute time limit on free Basic accounts for schools affected by the Coronavirus.
>>Kaplan: Kaplan is offering a free month of SAT On Demand, which helps students master the exam in a little as 30 minutes a day. They also have free live lessons for the AP exams including World History, U.S. History, and Biology. There’s a lot more in our full resource hub—including free ACT prep.
>>Quizlet: Quizlet is now providing free access to Quizlet Teacher through June 30, 2020. Quizlet Teacher includes Class Progress, a formative assessment tool that can help track students' progress. You'll also get access to advanced content creation tools, such as diagrams and audio, which enable you to create custom study materials for your class. Get free Quizlet Teacher
>>National Geographic: Keeping students engaged online with relevant math for grades 6-12 free webinar March 24~
>> Dr. Costello has been using this video conferencing program. He says he uses his webcam, powerpoints, and other software and that this is a free 30 day trial of the software for his live online lessons. Check it out! Surely, Dr. Costello would be happy to share more about how he does this with anyone who reaches out to him! Thanks, Dr. Costello, for sharing!
>> Rediker Lesson Planner: Rediker has a feature called Lesson Planner that is open up f teachers. Here is an overview of it.
In addition, Rediker has a process with Google Classroom to simplify the transferring of grades. We do have to return the assignments to the students before you can upload the actual grades, and it does save time. It is explained pretty well in this link.
>>Remember that you have this resource available to you!
Your SchoolShelf URL: http://www.schoolshelf.com/981085-marian
>> www.ISBE/keeplearning: ISBE is providing some free or temporarily free resources to assist districts, teachers, and parents
>> World Book: To further support you and your remote learning efforts, World Book is providing all of our valued educators with access to additional Pre-K to grade 12 learning resources through April 30, 2020. To gain access to these additional complementary resources, please click here.
>>If you use a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt textbook in your classes, they have provided an At-Home Learning Support, blog, engaging videos on our HMH YouTube channel, and free downloadable resources on HMH Pinterest boards.
>>If you use a McGraw Hill textbook in your classes, they have provided a Support for Remote Learning page which provides a collection of resources that will help you navigate and refamiliarize yourself with our digital products. Their Digital Program Components will help you identify what components of our programs can be accessed in a fully digital teaching environment.
>>For Theology Teachers: Join a team of teachers and instructional designers for a webinar to help you explore and plan research-based solutions to create meaningful, online learning experiences. Walk away with practical strategies that will transform your classroom instruction into meaningful, online learning experiences for your students. Learn to integrate faith-based practices into online instruction. Attendance is limited. Register for one of the following session times for Tuesday, March 17:
>>For Math & Science Teachers: Almy Education is pleased to announce a FREE, live 90-minute webinar designed to give math and science teachers hands-on information to use immediately in a virtual environment. Register for the immediate access to the free webinar (includes recording, slides, and helpful links)
>>NEWSLEA: They are making their entire product suite available, free of charge, to all districts and teachers through the end of the school year. To help your teachers gain access, simply have them visit our coronavirus resource center, click “Get instant access”, and they’ll immediately see Newsela ELA, Newsela Science, Newsela Social Studies, and The Newsela Social-Emotional Learning Collection in their new or existing Newsela account.
>>ALBERT: Albert is an instructional companion that personalizes and accelerates learning. It is a practice and assessment resource that frees teachers to do what they do best: teach. Albert is the one-on-one tutor students can take wherever they go. Albert is currently offering all middle & high schools free access to their services. Middle schools and high schools receive free access while they deal with the impacts of the virus.Middle schools and high schools receive free access while they deal with the impacts of the virus.Middle schools and high schools receive free access while they deal with the impacts of the virus.