On Monday we provided you the Schedule Design Overview and the Health and Safety Protocols, which you are likely still processing!
Today’s Installment Three will address some of the technology we will be utilizing as well as unpack our Remote Learning Option for those who wish to continue learning in our Virtual Academy once we return to campus. We are also outlining revisions to our Family Care program for those with childcare needs. At the end, we will be asking for your input to guide us as we settle decisions.
To facilitate distance learning when needed in the year ahead, we will be using Google Classroom, Zoom, and Swivl. In addition, we have a suite of other applications that we are equipping our teacher tool boxes with. As they design instruction, teachers will choose the tools that are best suited to meet the needs of their students and curriculum. In curating these teacher tool boxes this summer, we have been thoughtfully screening the resources for appropriate content, ease of use, and value. We have also been mindful of minimizing the number of accounts your child will need and, as much as possible, setting it up so that these applications integrate with Google Classroom. This allows students to sign into these other resources using their GSuite for Education credentials…one password for most applications.
- Google Classroom (aka “Digital Planner/Wednesday Envelope”)
Google Classroom continues to be the learning management system (LMS) we will use as a home base for students throughout this year, whether learning online or on campus. This is where students will find a link to their virtual classroom(s), class announcements, To-Do list, digital assignments, graded digital work, feedback, etc.
- Zoom (aka “Virtual Classroom”)
Zoom is the video conferencing software that teachers will use to host virtual classes. Students will join their virtual classroom when needed (aka “Zoom Room”) via a link posted in Google Classroom
Note: Families with the Academy last spring will remember our video conferencing tool being RingCentral. While RingCentral served us well in the spring, we have made the decision to switch to Zoom this fall due to the built-in integration with new hardware we have invested in – the Swivl.)
- Swivl (“Filming Assistant”)
The Swivl is a robotic mount for an iPad that uses a remote-control marker to track and record videos of a moving person. In the classroom, the Swivl acts as a videographer, allowing the teacher to live-stream lessons via Zoom.
While operating solely in our Virtual Academy, the Swivl equips the teacher to deliver content online in a way that emulates authentic in-class experiences for students (such as teachers using the white board or demonstrating a science experiment, etc.).
When we return to campus, the Swivl also enables students who are not physically present in the on-campus classroom to be able to see and hear both the teacher and the rest of the class. These remote students will therefore be able to experience classroom instruction in much the same way that our on-campus students will, including the ability to participate and collaborate with their peers.
Remote Learning Option
Knowing we have a population with diverse needs, we are thrilled to be able to offer a Remote Learning Option to those in our school community who elect to remain a part of our Virtual Academy, even after our campus is open. As detailed above, the Swivl technology makes this opportunity possible by enabling the teacher to teach both the students physically present and those students joining from home via livestreaming.
Those students electing to enroll in the Remote Learning Option throughout the year will continue to participate in their classes according to the “Online Virtual Academy” protocols outlined in the Schedule Design Overview. Obviously, this cannot replicate ALL aspects of an on-campus experience, but we anticipate this being a viable option for any classmates who remain off campus.
In addition to serving those in our community who elect to remain a part of our Virtual Academy, the Remote Learning Option also provides the flexibility for students to continue learning with us, even when circumstances may dictate that they must remain at home for a period of time (think sniffles or headaches, etc).
We will continue to offer Family Care (before and after school extended care) for those K-8 students in need. However, there are significant changes to the program.
- As indicated in prior correspondence, we can no longer provide childcare on a “drop in”/emergency basis due to Health and Safety protocols, which call for schools to adhere to cohorting as much as possible. The daily, random “mix” of large numbers of students entering Family Care is a dynamic we can no longer offer out of a resolve to lessen the risk of transmitting illnesses to each other.
- Families will need to REGISTER their child for Family Care, with the understanding they are committing to that space, and fee, regardless of the child attending.
- An understanding that Health and Safety protocols in place for the school day will likewise be implemented in the Family Care program (physical distancing, face coverings, etc).
- Hours (M/T/TH/F)
- Before School (7-8:45 am)
- After School (3:45-6 pm)
- During the asynchronous period (9-10 am or 2:30-3:30pm)
- Kindergarteners can attend Kinderland daily 12:45 – 3:30pm. Details pending.
- $8.00/hour in 15-minute increments.
- In order to properly staff the program, we need to know in advance if and when you plan on using these services. See survey below.
- Working parents needing student supervision on Wednesdays and/or alternating days for grades 5-8 (9-2:30pm or 10-3:30pm), please let us know and we will investigate the ability to provide a Study Hall under Family Care supervision.
Installment: Two referenced plans for students in the same family to be placed on a schedule that allowed for a staggered start (or stop) in order to de-densify the campus during peak hours when students are arriving and departing.
Students will be assigned to either a NORTH Schedule (synchronous instruction from 9:00 am – 2:30 pm) or a CREEK Schedule (synchronous instruction from 10:00 am – 3:30 pm). This will remain constant regardless of whether we on campus or are virtual. It will determine the time of day that students are either on campus or are signed in to their virtual classroom. We will make every effort to ensure your family is on the same track regarding the NORTH and CREEK schedules.
Please note: There are numerous variables that go into this process. Families with TK-K students will be placed in the North Schedule, as their limited day begins at 9am and ends at 12:30. For families grades 1st- 8th, if you lean toward a North or Creek Schedule, we are open to hearing from you. We cannot guarantee all requests can/will be accommodated, but invite you to leave your input in the survey below.
ReOpening Plan: Installment Four will provide additional Health and Safety Protocols and Technology Guidance from our Tech Support Team. For you planners, your student’s schedule and supply lists will be in the digital Back to School packets, along with class lists, closer to the end of the month.
Administrator and Principal
PS: Thank you to those who’ve provided feedback from Installment Two. Watch for a future link to our website, where we are compiling answers to these and other Frequently Asked Questions. We’re working on it!