Foster Student/Parent Communication for Remote Learning

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Dear Parents and Guardians of Students at Captain Isaac Paine Elementary School,
As you are aware, RI Schools will be moving to Remote Learning/Virtual Instruction Days from 3/23/20 – 4/3/20 with the possibility of extending further. These virtual learning days count as instructional days. Thank you again for all of your flexibility as we wade into uncharted waters.

We’d like to recognize our teachers, support staff, and administrators for all their efforts during a vacation week to ensure that our schools are prepared to begin remote / virtual learning next week. We’d also like to thank our parents and guardians for your flexibility this week as we all adjusted to an unplanned vacation week. Our shift to virtual / remote learning would not have been possible without people throughout our learning community taking collective and independent action toward the same goal – ensuring our students continue to have high-quality learning experiences through virtual and remote learning.

We are in a solid position to begin the process of remote/virtual learning. We are so very fortunate to have a supportive team of educators that are here to help! Now more than ever, we will need to support each other, pull together, and fully engage in this virtual learning process. This is a new world for all of us and there will be some bumps in the road.

Students will be expected to complete their assignments in their learning packets and digital resources for attendance. Parents/Students will be verifying student attendance through their classroom teacher’s choice of digital platform. This will be communicated by homeroom teachers. Students are expected to engage with teachers daily through Google Classroom, Class DOJO and/or Zoom Conferencing. Family and student support will be provided with daily “Teacher Office Hours” and time set aside to answer emails and make phone calls. We will be following our regular school calendar for attendance.

The Teacher and Support Staff’s schedule will be communicated with all students and families on Monday, March 23rd. There is no minimum required seat time for students daily, they will work at their own pace to complete assignments. Students with IEPs should work closely with their special educator to get any additional help and support as needed. Special educators will be in touch regularly. Due dates will be provided for learning packets at a later scheduled time. The school’s social worker, psychologist, and other support personnel will be reaching out to students and families regularly to check-in. Please do not hesitate to contact teachers, administrators, technology support, and support personnel if there are any questions or concerns. Please remember to reach out via email.

If your child is sick, please email the school secretary @ kecia.pierce@paineschool.org to excuse your child from daily attendance. Also contact your school nurse @ polly.cairone@paineschool.org if your child has symptoms common to COVID-19.

Remote/Virtual Learning Schedule:
On Monday 3/23/20, all students are expected to begin their Remote/Virtual Learning Education. Teachers will communicate directly with students regarding the lessons and quantity of assignments in the remote learning packets that include “paper and pencil tasks” as well as digital tasks they should start to complete on Monday. In addition, during the day on Monday, teachers will be finalizing their virtual learning plans and protocols. They will be utilizing Zoom/Google Classroom/CLASS DOJO and/or Remind App to contact individuals or groups of students during the day. Teachers will be available to answer student questions via email, Google Classroom, and other platforms during the normal school day hours to support student onboarding to our virtual learning platforms as needed.

After these initial virtual learning technological experiences on Monday, regular daily learning and teaching support will resume on Tuesday, 3/24/2020. Students will be expected to complete daily assignments that include digital access to technology as well as “paper pencil” tasks distributed in student learning packets on March 19th and 20th. Students will complete Learning Packets and/or Google Classroom assignments based on their current grade level. Students and families will “check in” with teachers through Google Classroom, CLASS DOJO, the Remind Me App and/or for daily attendance. There is no required seat time for students daily, they will work at their own pace to complete assignments.

Teachers will hold daily “office hours” (3 hours daily) through Zoom/Google Hangouts/Conference Calls Emails/Class DOJO/Google Classroom to answer any student or family questions. Google Classroom is the preferred Learning Management System for assignments. When live lessons occur Zoom will be the preferred video conferencing platform. Google Hangouts will be used as a plan B for video conferencing, but it is not the preferred method of communication for video conferencing.

The times of office hours will be posted and scheduled through Google Classroom and communicated by Principal Clark in Aspen or School Messenger. The remainder of the teacher’s day will be used to upload daily instructional materials and assignments, video conference with students, correct assignments, provide feedback, respond to emails, collaborate with colleagues, and participate in virtual staff or grade level meetings, etc.

We ask that parents take a picture and/or scan completed assignments and email them to the teacher(s). Alternatively, assignments from learning packets may be placed in an envelope and dropped off at the school. The specific date for drop-off will be communicated to parents at a later date. This practice will be in place for the next two weeks or longer if the Governor extends the length of time students will remain on a Remote / Virtual Learning Plan. All assignments will follow our district approved Grading Policy and District School Calendar.

Student Meal Services:
Students who qualify for free or reduced lunch will be provided boxed lunch and breakfast for the week to be picked up on Tuesdays from 10:00am – 2:00pm at Foster Town Hall’s Food Pantry. FSD will be funding a portion of these lunches through the local budget since at this time we do not qualify for Summer Lunch Grab and Go Programs. The RI Food Bank will be donating food to help supplement the weekly meal boxes. The district is working with families that are unable to pick up food at the scheduled time. Alternate pick up or delivery times will be coordinated with Sodexo and the social worker with the families in need.

Technology Information:
We ask that all students and families assess their technology and address any issues as soon as possible with our technology support staff. Please contact Dr. Du @ steve.du@paineschool.org if you have a device that does not work, you do not have Internet access, or you do not have a device to engage in virtual learning.

Final Thoughts:
As we continue to wrap our heads around this new normal, thank you again for your flexibility and patience. We will become a better and stronger community as we approach the challenges we face together. Our communities are resilient, kind, and supportive of each other. Please do not feel you are alone and approach these challenges and opportunities in isolation. Reach out to a friend, a colleague, a neighbor or a member of our school community.

Again, we would like to thank our students, families, guardians, teachers, staff, and administrators for your patience and good will throughout this process. We fully recognize that remote and virtual learning will be an adjustment for our students and adults and that students’ developmental readiness for remote / virtual learning varies from grade to grade. We also recognize these plans, our initial approach to virtual learning, and the roles we all play will evolve as we assess what is working and what is not.

Over the next week we will work to continue our transition to virtual / remote learning using tools such as iReady, Zearn, etc. There are a variety of virtual resources that our teachers are reviewing to help support their future planning of virtual / remote learning and teaching experiences. This transition to virtual learning will be an evolutionary process in the elementary grades and we ask for your continued patience and collaborative efforts to ensure the success of this initiative.

We will continue to reach out throughout this process as new information comes available. We will also continue to work with our families to help ensure every home has internet access and every student has access to a device to access virtual learning modules. Families without internet service will be provided a mobile hotspot on loan from the school department in locations that have cell service. Families will also be given a list of local hotspots, including outside of our school campus. Family surveys were sent out on 3/16/20 and 3/19/20 to determine internet needs.

Sincerely,
Michael Barnes and Marcella Clark

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