SMS Trojan News
April 13th - April 17th
We are moving into uncharted territory in education across the state, the district, and here at South Middle School. SMS's "Learn at Home" website is the central hub for student learning. As a parent, you can also access what your child will be doing in the coming weeks and months to help keep track of their learning. Our staff has been working at all hours to make this transition successful, and we are well positioned to fulfill what the State Department of Education is asking schools and districts to move toward. I encourage all families to sit with their child at some point in the next couple days to make sure they are good-to-go.
One fun thing this week will be to join me for an evening Zoom meeting. Zoom is the platform that many of our teachers have used and will be using for online "office hours." There have been many recent security upgrades the past few weeks that has made Zoom a secure platform for our students to use. Please join me to ask any questions you might have on Wednesday evening from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. More details to follow in an upcoming email.
Teachers will be posting updated weekly plans well before Mondays, and printed packets are available at the front entrance of South each day this week from roughly 8AM - 12PM. We are asking all assignments are submitted by the following Monday (e.g. this week's work will be due Monday, April 20th). Of course, we will be flexible as this is new for all of us.
The work students have each day should take 1-3 hours, potentially a little more with supplemental activities (reading, working out, watching videos, or doing virtual experiments/field trips, Imagine Math, etc.) to complete.
The closure of school for the remainder of the year has generated a variety of feelings for our educators, students, and families. Many of our staff are expressing sadness and grief at the loss of time with students and the inability to finish the year with your children. We had a lot of momentum moving into the last quarter of the school year, and we were expecting great things from students as we brought the year to a close. If you or your student are in need of anything, know that we are here for you and have provided many resources for your as well.
The finality of school being done for the year also raises many questions about locker clean out, gathering items, and closing activities for our 8th graders as they transition to high school. I want to assure you that at South Middle School, we are committed to honoring the students who are moving on to high school, and we will get creative about how we do so. We will also develop systems for gathering items, turning in library books or ChromeBooks by the end of the year, and accessing necessary supplies for students who cannot afford them.
For now, I hope you will remain patient as we work through losing the rest of the year while also building systems of remote learning that will carry us to the end of the year.
As always, if you have questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact me.
Have a great week! And remember to be grateful!
Suggested Schedule for Learning at Home
Norms and Agreements for Distance Learning
- Staff will use pre-existing district communication methods – school provided email addresses, phone numbers, web sites, etc.
- Staff will not be using personal text messaging, personal emails, Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook for distance learning purposes.
- Staff will be public in their practice – when staff are at home, they are encouraged to have others in the room (physical and virtual) to the best of their ability so others can hear and see. Students should also be in a room where others can see and hear the communication.
- When using Zoom and/or Google Hangouts, staff will meet with groups of students as much as possible vs. individual students.
- If possible, when having a one-on-one phone call with students, staff will ask the student to put them on speaker phone so others in the room can hear them.
- During one-on-one phone calls or virtual meetings, staff will be keeping brief notes about the conversation (time, date, content).
- Staff communication will be related to schoolwork; when inquiring about a student’s health or well-being, staff will be sure to ask all students the same questions.
- Staff will not be recording and/or posting a Zoom meeting (or other video-platforming meetings) that contain video of students as it would require consent from the parent to have their student recorded. If it becomes necessary to record any sessions, parent permission will be received prior to recording any session. Staff are encouraged to record themselves teaching a lesson and/or sending a video message and posting for students to view at a time convenient for them. Students should not be recording meetings either as we want to ensure the rights of all are protected. There may be consequences for students not complying with this expectation.
- When a staff member becomes aware of a problem with a student (i.e. concerns over mental health and/or safety), they will report the concern to the students’ counselor and/or administrator immediately. Mandatory child abuse reporting still applies and the educator may be required to contact DHS to file a report.
- Students are expected to maintain appropriate use of all electronic devices and communication using appropriate language, etiquette and to ensuring to report any bullying or harassment experienced immediately to a school administrator.
Please email Mr. Sale if you have any questions or concerns.
Thank you for supporting your student in our GP "Learn at Home" plan which will begin on April 13th.