Hello Elementary Families,
Prior to discussing any plans we have created to continue home learning this year, I want to recognize that our greatest concern is the health and well-being of those we serve. We want to stress that we are and will always be extremely empathetic to the needs, concerns and challenges you face on a daily basis in your homes. Our role as a provider of education for your child(ren) is greater than simply rolling out home learning opportunities. We will remain compassionate of any adversity you are facing during these challenging times.
We appreciate the compassion you have offered us as we have continued to learn over the past several weeks. In an article, John Spencer wrote the following:
“One of the most common questions people asked me was, “How do I convert my face-to-face course into an online course?”
The truth is, you can’t convert it. Learning isn’t like a file that converts between a .doc and a PDF and a Google Doc. We can’t simply substitute new tools and do the same exact activity.”
These words resonated with many of the thoughts and reflections we have entertained during this period. How can we best reach the students when they are not in front of us? It has resulted in a great deal of reflection and adjustment on our part in pinpointing the activities we identify for your child(ren). We are proud of the work of our professionals thus far, but also understand that we will continue to learn and grow. The sophistication and depth with which we deliver home learning will continue to progress throughout this school closure period.
We have also been scrutinizing our communication with you. As you know, students in our elementary schools have been presented home learning opportunities via a website called ClassTag. In the short window we had to plan for the initial school closure period, this platform served as an excellent one-way communication tool. That stated, it did present limitations. Because of Governor DeWine’s order to extend our school closure period, we knew that we needed a more powerful learning management system. As a result, we will work to transition over the next two weeks from ClassTag to Schoology. Schoology is appealing for our work ahead for many reasons. Some include:
• Having more opportunities for student interaction.
• Empowering use of the system to all of our professionals and not just the homeroom teachers.
• Acquiring the ability to differentiate for the various needs of our students.
• Storing identified online learning resources so students can access them from one platform.
• Maintaining local control of maintenance of the learning management system.
• Broadening our staff support from administration and the tech department to also include the help of teacher leaders throughout the district.
You will receive an email from Joe Sarnes tomorrow detailing steps for logging into Schoology. While there is no rollout in tech without pitfalls, we believe our knowledge of Schoology allows us the ability to help you navigate the system and problem-solve if we are presented a challenge. We also understand that in our period of isolation, everyone seems to be on the Internet. No platform has been immune to issues caused by increased traffic. If you are presented a challenge, we will work with you to rectify the issue.
We will rollout work on Schoology beginning Monday, April 13th. Our teachers will be contacting you next week to ensure that our communication is effective, but more importantly to see how we can help you. Our aim is to be available to your needs, but understand that we too are navigating within new parameters. We will be accessible during normal school hours and try to respond in a timely fashion. Please understand that we will be flexible and nothing on our end should add to your stress.
Our goal is to provide direction and support with the understanding that task completion depends on each individual families’ circumstances. Because home circumstances will result in varying levels of support for our youngest students, we will monitor student progress through communication and interactive tools versus traditional grading. We want to remove any anxiety you may have over your child’s progress with the hope that priority is placed on engaging in the home learning opportunities.
If you have any concerns after talking with your child’s teacher this week, please do not hesitate to contact your building principal. We will work to navigate this new journey together.
Executive Director of Teaching & Learning
419-874-9131, Ext. 2112