I hope this finds you and your family well. In these trying times we are all doing our best to process the profound disruptions that have taken place in our lives. Fortunately, one thing that is within our control is our ability to maintain some basic routines. Children in particular are reassured by consistency. Hopefully, your student’s regular attention to the online instruction provided by our teachers will give shape to the days ahead; staying connected to school and friends will keep their spirits up, too.
For NSH students, learning will continue in an online format throughout the school closure. This may cause some confusion for families if siblings, relatives, or neighbors attend other schools that are offering enhanced or supplemental learning options only. Why is there a difference among schools? Before a school district makes online learning a full substitute for instructional delivery, the Michigan Dept. of Education requires them to consider the following questions:
1. Do all students have access to devices and Internet connections at home?
To prepare for possible school closings, we polled our students on these questions. All students reported having access to the Internet. Students in homes without an adequate number of devices were provided a chromebook, charger, and carrying case. Most school districts do not have enough devices to ensure that every student has access and in many places there is not reliable Internet access. While districts can provide individual hot spots to families, this does not help if the student does not have access to a device.
2. Can the school fully support all learners, including those with special needs?
There is no gap in IEP accommodations while the students work at home. Ms. Janowski is working closely with her students to support them just as she does every day at school. Many schools cannot meet this requirement for online learning due to their size or other situation that is specific to the school.
3. Have educators been trained in how to deliver instruction online?
All NSH teachers are required to have a Google Classroom for each course they teach. Throughout the year they continuously share their expertise with each other and support colleagues to improve their online teaching and learning practice. Not all schools require their teachers to maintain an online component for every class, as we do. Some schools are working to put this into place now, but it will take time before online learning can be fully operational for them.
4. Have students had enough prior exposure to blended or online learning to be successful?
In addition to using Google Classroom in their courses, every NSH student is required to successfully complete the Computers class. One of the state standards addressed in this course requires that every student successfully experience online learning. At NSH, students complete an online program they are interested in meet this standard. Additionally, a number of our students take online courses through Michigan Virtual School. It should be noted that many of our surrounding schools do not require a separate computers course; they opt to include technology skills in other course offerings. It is our belief that unless the state technology standards are explicitly taught in a course specifically dedicated to technology skills, we cannot be assured that every student has the skills they need to be successful in the 21st century.
Because New School High has been able to transition seamlessly from in-person to online teaching and learning, your student can continue with the comprehensive and rigorous education your family expects and deserves. Our teachers have worked hard to ensure that your student will not miss even one day of meaningful instruction. I am proud and grateful to be a part of this exemplary group of professionals.
Through Google Classroom, instruction has continued at NSH without interruption.
Each day, students should access the assignments and instructional materials that are posted for every class and submit their work. A nature walk assignment in Earth and Space Science and video workouts for PE classes are just two examples of how our teachers are working hard to make sure our students are keeping up. (Check our Facebook page for photos!) A listing of staff emails can be found at the end of this newsletter for those with questions. Ms. Janowski will be in regular contact with her students to provide them with support as needed.
Online learning offers flexibility in terms of when and for how long a student works on an assignment. At the same time, discipline to complete assignments is even more important when the school, teacher, and classmates are “out of sight.” To help students stay on track, we are asking that they record their activities on the tracking sheet that can be found on the Advisory Google Classroom. The code to join this classroom is 3pw3qmx. Students will get an Advisory grade on Tuesday and Thursday for filling it out. Ms. Lynn is available via email for any support students may need on this.
This week, several families of students who were absent on Friday came by the school to sign out chromebooks, chargers, and cases for use at home. At this time, we believe all NSH students have either school-issued or personal devices as well as Internet services that allow them to connect to their school accounts and Google Classrooms; therefore, beginning Thursday, March 19, office hours will be suspended for the duration of the school closures. Moving forward, please email me if you need assistance with chromebooks, transcripts, work permits, etc.
The best prevention for viruses, such as influenza, the common cold or COVID-19 is to:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- If you are sick, stay home, and avoid contact with others.
I will continue to provide email updates on school-related topics as they unfold. As always, do not hesitate to contact the office or email with any questions or suggestions you may have. Those with questions about COVID-19 are advised to call the Information Line: 734-287-7870 or go to www.WayneCounty.com or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html