CSD Virtual Learning Resources 2020

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Greetings CSD Families,

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Below are additional resources to support your student’s virtual learning.


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In this update, you will find parent handbooks for virtual learning, a virtual learning website with parent resources, Wellness Wednesday information, attendance information, an update on athletics and activities, and a message from DEF. You should receive more information soon from your child’s school, if you haven’t already, regarding what to expect from Meet and Greet, what your child’s virtual day will look like, supplies pick-up, and more. After reviewing this lengthy update and emails from your school, please reach out to your school with any additional questions or refer to www.csdecatur.net/opening2020.


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Our staff has been hard at work preparing to start school on August 17. They have been participating in learning and planning activities so we can make virtual learning successful for your child. We know it will be hard, and we have empathy for the difficulty our families are facing trying to balance their work with their children’s schooling. Many of our CSD employees are parents and family caregivers, too, and they face the same challenges. We hope parents will join us in adopting the Georgia Department of Education’s motto of “choosing compassion over compliance.” The intent behind this motto, to put compassion first, has been woven into and throughout our virtual learning plans. Now, more than ever, we need to be flexible, practice understanding and kindness, and have grace with one another.


Thank you to everyone who tuned in to the virtual town halls this week. We appreciate your thoughtful questions. We are working to add the questions and answers from the meetings to our website at www.csdecatur.net/opening2020. For those who could not watch live, the meetings have been posted on our CSD Opening 2020 page.

Please join us for these upcoming meetings:


Virtual Learning Readiness Form

Does your child need a Chromebook or a hotspot? Will your child be participating in our school lunch program?

As a reminder, please complete the Virtual Learning Readiness form for each student in your household as soon as possible. The form will close at noon on Wednesday, August 12. CSD and DEF will use information gathered through this form to help make the virtual learning experience the best it can be. More specifically, answers from this form will be used to know who needs a Chromebook, who will use our nutrition offerings, who may need tutoring or child care assistance, and much more. Thank you in advance for taking a few minutes to complete this form.

Virtual Learning Handbooks for Parents

Please review the City Schools of Decatur Family Handbooks that have been created to assist you with our virtual learning plan.




The information is research-based, and these plans were created in an effort to ensure high-quality instruction from teachers while empowering them to be able to guide learning and hold students accountable in a structured virtual learning environment. You will find a wealth of important information, including student and family expectations.

CSD Virtual Help and Knowledge Center Website

We have created a Virtual Learning Help and Knowledge Center at https://virtual.csdecatur.net to provide a “one-stop-shop” for students and parents. Please visit the site for useful information on virtual learning resources to support you throughout your home learning journey. This website remains a work in progress, so please check back often for updates.

Change to CSD G Suite passwords for Pre-K-2 students

To help younger students be a bit more self-sufficient, on the evening of Monday, August 10, we will change PreK-2 students’ G Suite passwords from student#####, where the last characters are their student number, to just their student number. Students will not be prompted to set a new password, though families can set a new password here. Students’ account names will remain unchanged: the last two characters of their student number, the first four characters of their first name, and the first four characters of their last name @csdecatur.net. Generally speaking, after first logging into a G Suite account on a new device, students/parents will be asked to enter the account name just once but be prompted for the password more regularly.

Wellness Wednesday Schedule

Wellness Wednesday Schedule

Core components of Wellness Wednesday include SEE Learning and SEE Equity. All students, in grades K-12 will participate in SEE Learning lessons weekly. All students in grades 6 -12 will participate in SEE Equity lessons, the anti-racism curriculum developed for secondary students. These classes will be offered synchronously at set times each week. A range of other opportunities will be offered by the Equity & Student Support department tailored for students, parents, and staff. These may be synchronous or asynchronous. Local schools may also offer Wellness Wednesday activities. Families will have the flexibility to select from a menu of choice offerings or to use the unscheduled time for enrichment activities.


To ensure students have a full academic week during the week of Labor Day, student schedules will not include Wellness Wednesday on September 9th. The academic schedule will shift one day (i.e., Monday classes will be held Tuesday and Tuesday classes will be held Wednesday).


Attendance Overview

Attendance will be taken in the synchronous class sessions daily PreK-12th grade. We hope students will make every reasonable effort to attend synchronous classes.


During this time when we can not be together in person, it is of the utmost importance for our students to see their teachers and other students regularly. Please make every effort to attend synchronous instruction. We understand there may be issues with connectivity and other unexpected problems related to virtual learning during a global pandemic. Options for attendance and learning are provided for those (hopefully few) occasions when a student is unable to attend synchronous instruction. Support and follow up will be provided to encourage the highest level of attendance possible for each student.


In grades PreK-5, teachers will take attendance daily. We are examining making it possible for students in grades 6-12 to log into Infinite Campus to indicate “I’m here” for each class each day. Additional information on this will come next week and be posted to the virtual learning website. By indicating “I’m here,” students would be committing to attending the synchronous instruction or engaging in asynchronous instruction.


Teachers and school personnel will check attendance. Students will be counted present if they indicate “I’m here” even if they were not able to attend the synchronous class. In grades Pre-K-5, there are also options for students to be counted present if they miss synchronous instruction. Teachers have been provided guidelines to offer a way for us to track attendance and maintain a close connection with our students during virtual learning.


Thank you for your support and attendance as we move forward with this unprecedented start to the school year. Please contact your teacher if you have any questions or concerns about our attendance process for virtual learning.

Athletics, Activities, and Clubs

High School athletics, activities, and clubs will be moving to the virtual environment. Virus transmission continues to be an issue in DeKalb County and surrounding areas. Therefore, we have determined that continuing with in-person activities is not the responsible course of action at this time. We will be working with coaches and activity sponsors to brainstorm ways to continue building teams and communities through online activities. We are well aware of the mental health benefits of such interactions, especially when they can be done in person, and do not make this decision lightly. Principals are working with their staff to brainstorm additional clubs and activities that we can offer virtually. We will provide details of such opportunities once they are set. At this time, all scheduled athletic events through September 25th are canceled. Mr. Thomas, CSD Athletics and Activities Director, will communicate if or when these games or meets will be made up later in the season.


At this time, we are not planning for middle school fall sports to return after September 25. Most of the districts we play have already canceled their middle school fall sports. Renfroe is reviewing what extracurricular activities and clubs we can engage our students in the virtual setting. More information will come from Renfroe in the coming weeks.

DEF information

Decatur Education Foundation has identified five key areas of focus after receiving and reviewing the initial round of data from the City Schools of Decatur Virtual Learning Readiness Form. We will continue to update this information as things develop. Information is available at www.decatureducationfoundation.org/covidlearning


CHILDCARE

DEF has been hosting virtual meetings with local childcare providers in the area to learn which businesses are offering care during virtual learning. This list will be updated as we receive information. You can find it at www.decatureducationfoundation.org/covidchildcare. We have gotten a better idea from the survey of the need. Parents who have alerted us that they have financial need will be sent a supplemental financial aid application. We hope to be able to support as many families as possible but cannot guarantee funding at this point. Our hope is to work with partners, but there are a limited number of businesses offering spaces. We are working through some other ideas and will share them as they develop. If you know of additional child care resources, please send the information to marie@decatureducationfoundation.org.


VIRTUAL PALS TUTORING PROGRAM

DEF will match community volunteers (upper high school students and adults) with students in 2nd-8th grades to provide basic homework help, tutoring, virtual learning support, and general help with time management, motivation, and helping students feel connected. DEF will use the survey results as a starting point, and priority will go to families with financial need. We hope that with enough volunteers, we can expand the program to include additional students.


Students who need more significant tutoring services and have significant financial need may be matched with professionals through DEF and will be eligible for some funding support.


If you are interested in volunteering to be a Virtual PAL Tutor, please complete this form.


MENTORING SUPPORT

DEF facilitates two mentoring programs currently and supports CSD’s idea of expanding mentoring to support students who might need additional adult support during virtual learning. If you are interested in serving as a mentor, visit www.decatureducationfoundation.org/mentoring.


STUDENT BEHAVIORAL HEALTH

DEF and CSD have already established a strong partnership to support behavioral health and will continue to work to provide support to students in the coming weeks and months. This will look different with the virtual learning model, and DEF will continue to financially support CSD’s efforts to meet student needs.


PARENT SUPPORT


DEF and CSD understand that parents also need support during these hard times, both with the practical challenges of turning their homes into learning spaces and the mental health challenges of continuing to parent children who are displaced from regular life, often while managing the stress of exacerbated financial challenges. Using the survey data, DEF will partner with Decatur Parents Network to identify speakers and presenters to provide webinars and other resources to support parents.

Next Steps

Over the next week, your school and teacher will reach out to you with additional information specific to your child’s school and class. Information such as meet and greets, what your child’s virtual day will look like, supply pick up, and more. For additional questions related to your schedule, Infinite Campus login, or other school-specific information, you can contact your teacher, administrative assistant, or principal. For district-level questions, you can always refer to our Important CSD contacts page.

For additional information, visit www.csdecatur.net/opening2020.