BEEs Will BEE Buzzing From Home!
We’ve finally made it to the finish line of pre-planning! These past few weeks have been filled with preparations for Day 1. It started with teacher assignments and getting to know you emails, then moved to Town Halls and parent meet and greets. Now it culminates in two days of material distribution (which took two weeks to prepare for!) and our student virtual walk throughs on Thursday and Friday. Your teachers have worked incredibly hard since their return and have planned 9 weeks of instruction that will be synchronous across the grade level. I’ve already told you about our shifts in learning… common schedules, easy to access digital resources, and more streamlined communication to name a few. What I want to continue to ask you is for patience as we move into week one of virtual learning. Things are not going to be perfect next week, but that is okay! We will continue to be flexible and adaptable to all the challenges that come our way.
At the very least, we want to make sure our students have technology, their usernames and passwords (located on the outside of their red pickup bags), and the correct Zoom link to join on Monday morning. If we can do that, then we are halfway to virtual learning success in week one! Much of this can be accomplished during tomorrow and Friday’s student virtual walk through. The best thing you can do tonight or tomorrow morning is to make sure you have followed THESE steps (also outlined below) prior to logging on at 1 or 2pm. If you have not tried to set up your iPad or practiced logging in before your meeting, it may be difficult for your teacher to help last minute. I have instructed ALL homeroom teachers to be on their Zoom call 30 minutes prior to the start in order to help with logins and answering questions. As a Kindergarten dad myself, I spent a while at home last night setting up my son’s iPad. It was frustrating to start, but I was able to get it done and know how to log him in for his virtual student walk through.
During last week’s Town Halls, I fielded some questions around the staggered start to the school day and some concerns about the later finish for grades 3-5. I understand that this decision is not convenient to everyone. As we will continue to show adaptability and flexibility to your needs (attendance, recorded whole group sessions, and limited to no homework), we ask that you show the same to us. The school wide schedule will remain the same and we have made a few small tweaks to a couple grade level schedules to allow for a better flow of instruction. Most notably to 3rd grade lunch which has been pushed back to 11:50am. Now all grades share a common 30 minute lunch and recess break with five grades having a common 45 minutes. This is not an easy feat knowing that each grade has Specials and WIN times that cannot overlap. The staggered start times will allow students in K-2 with siblings in 3-5 to participate in online learning at different start times and allow us to better troubleshoot tech issues that may arise. We are here to support and MUST be allies with you in order to make this successful.
Lastly, as Mr. Hutson and myself gear up for more AM announcements, we need your help! Please use THIS Google form to upload a short clip or video of either A) your child saying the Pledge of Allegiance or B) your child introducing themselves and saying why they are excited to be a Brandon Bee this school year (perfect for Kindergarten!). We will pull these clips each morning and showcase them on our announcements. Your children will have a chance to watch them each day during their morning meeting and may even get to see themselves!
Finally I want to take another chance to say thank you to all of our parents who have stepped up to help out during these much needed times. Together, we have provided individualized supplies to every Morris Brandon student. We’ve distributed 195 iPads and nearly 300 Chromebooks too! I want to echo again that it’s really important that you prepare your device prior to your virtual student walk throughs tomorrow.
We will continue to work hard to ensure that our students and staff are as prepared as possible for Day 1. Don’t worry if you haven’t had any one on one time with your teacher yet either. There will be plenty of time in the coming weeks for them to get to know each other, as our teachers work to make sure our children get exactly what they need to be successful virtual learners.
To a successful Day 1!