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SRVUSD Weekly Update 8/28/2020
Posted 8/28/20

We want to thank you, staff and parents alike, for all that you are doing to make remote learning happen for students. We understand that there have been stresses, but we also understand that there have been successes. We have to celebrate the successes and we have to keep working on the stresses. As we go forward, please remember that your issues are most efficiently and most expediently solved with the staff at your school site. Unless it is a District issue, we encourage you to reach out to your school site staff first.

 

Briefly, we want to recap:

  1. What we have been doing

    1. Making remote learning as successful as it can be

    2. Training staff

    3. Supporting students and families in processes and procedures

    4. Working towards an eventual return to in-person learning

  2. What we are doing right now

    1. Meeting conditions of the waiver

    2. Getting clarity on returning small cohorts back to campus regardless of waiver status

    3. Training staff

    4. Listening to challenges and making adjustments to continue to strengthen remote learning

    5. Working towards an eventual return to in-person learning

  3.  What we plan to do next 

    1. Reach out to all stakeholders to find out what is important to you 

    2. Present that information to the school board

    3. Use that information to inform our work for what we do next

    4. Working towards an eventual return to in-person learning

 

I know that is a lot to absorb! Thank you for engaging this far. Now we want to provide you with some information that will answer some of your questions and help you in what you are doing day to day.

 

Survey

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Your thoughts are important to us. Next week, we will be soliciting formal feedback using a new survey tool. We want to know what you think about what you are currently experiencing, and also what you want to see happen next. We want to listen first, then act. We will bring the results of this survey to the Board of Education at their September 15th meeting. 

 

Remote Learning Protocols

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Successful learning, whether remote or in-person, is dependent upon a respectful and orderly learning environment. We know that it is easier to uphold expectations when the expectations are clear. To that end, the District has prepared a document that articulates the protocols and expectations for all SRVUSD students and families during this period of remote learning. If you have any questions about this document, please contact your teacher or principal.

 

SRVUSD Protocols During Remote Learning


 

Calendar Change at Middle and High Schools

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There have been some adjustments to the instructional calendar for our middle and high schools in the month of September. These adjustments are minor, but necessary, because we needed to find balance with instructional minutes. The negotiated instructional calendar was voted on and approved prior to the Board’s decision to put all secondary schools on a block schedule. Because of holidays and professional development days, we needed to make a small adjustment to ensure that all students have the same number of instructional minutes. To accomplish this, the District has converted two Mondays in September from Monday Common Learning Schedule days to Standard Block Schedule days as follows:

  • Monday, 9/14 - Change from Monday Common Learning to Odd Block

  • Monday, 9/28 - Change from Monday Common Learning to Even Block

 

These changes will continue to happen occasionally throughout the school year and apply to all SRVUSD middle and high schools only. Elementary schedules are not affected.Your schools will be communicating with you about any future adjustments. Revised bell schedules are posted on the District website.

 

Zoom Outage

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I would like to commend our staff and students for the way that they handled the Zoom outage on Monday morning of this week. Thankfully, it did not have a big impact on our work. We no sooner finished drafting a message to send to the community, then the situation was rectified.  What it did do, however, was make us even more keenly aware that during this time, we are subject to circumstances beyond our control. When the unexpected occurs, we want to remind you that students will not be penalized. Flexibility is the name of the game. 

 

Youngest Learners and Screen Time

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We have heard your concerns about screen time and remote learning. This is something we are looking at for all of our students. We are working closely with staff to evaluate our work and we are prepared to make adjustments, as necessary, in order to do what is best. For today’s purposes, we want to focus the conversation on our youngest learners in transitional kindergarten (TK) and kindergarten. Their needs are unique because many of these students are experiencing an elementary classroom for the very first time.

 

SRVUSD Executive Director of Elementary Education, Nadine Rosenzweig, has written an overview of classroom expectations and the pedagogy used when working with our youngest learners. Please read Nadine’s overview.

 

Grading

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We know that you anxiously await information on how to monitor your child’s grades and assignments. We are working on our grading software with our teachers and SRVEA leadership. You’ll hear from us on this next week. Thank you for your patience.

 

In Closing...

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I know that sometimes it may look like we are spinning our wheels. We are not. We are working very hard on next steps, but it is complicated. There are many layers to the decisions that need to be made. We continue to prioritize safety, but recognize that we have groups of learners who are really struggling and we must do more to meet their needs. We have engaged our public health partners with a list of questions that will provide some clarity on the waiver process and on the guidance for bringing small cohorts back onto campuses. We will bring those findings to the Board at their next meeting on September 15th. 

 

We all have different views about how to proceed. We know that whatever decisions we make, we will not make everyone happy, but by virtue of a transparent process, we expect that everyone will at least understand the rationale behind the decisions. I trust we are all committed to helping our students and staff get back to school as safely as possible and that is what will drive our work going forward.

 

We continue to be grateful for our dedicated partnerships, both with families and with our bargaining units and look forward to continuing to engage you as we go through this process. 

 

You can count on hearing from the SRVUSD, as a District. If you do not already follow SRVUSD on social media, I strongly encourage you to do so. We post all of our community-wide messages on our official Facebook page: Facebook.com/srvusd. I am personally on Twitter: @Malloy_John, as is the District: @SRVUSD1.