Our Bees Are Buzzing, Spring is Here!
Greetings Students, Parents and Community Members!
As we roll into our 3rd week of distance learning, I have seen a major shift from our students, teachers and staff. The first week was a little crazy, we were all trying to get adjusted to this new norm. The following week was filled with preparation. Preparation to ensure we got the technology to the students who needed it, food to families in need, and even allowed our teachers back in the building to get supplies for extended virtual learning, and lots of learning taking place. Now, I feel like we have begun to hit our stride. I’m hopeful that our students have gotten into some sort of routine, that your teacher is communicating all the expectations of virtual learning, and that our parents now feel more comfortable facilitating this learning on a daily basis.
Trust me when I tell you that I KNOW this is not easy. Many of our teachers have little ones at home. I know that I’m balancing the work with two kids under the age of 5 as well! Did you know that our teachers, outside of their daily instruction, still fill their days with grade level meetings, some lasting several hours? They’ve also participated in two hour IB professional learning sessions facilitated by our IB coordinator Sam DeCarlo and several also serve on sub committees that require meetings like leadership team, DLI, Special Ed and Specialists. In other words, our SUPERHERO teachers are doing a lot more than just facilitating learning, they are planning, meeting, and collaborating as usual!
While our students, staff and parents have all done an amazing job with this new norm, we will all continue to learn and grow together. The goal of distance virtual learning is to do just that. Continue our quest for knowledge and learning and not to penalize students for missed work or by working for 6 hours a day. If your child needs a break, give them one! If they need to stop working for the day, just let your teacher know! We will need to continue to be flexible and adaptive to the challenges that arise.
One of the steps to being adaptive is changing our timelines. Parent input forms, available on the Morris Brandon website, will still be collected when we return. Should that change, we will create a new plan for collection. If you would like to email them to me, I will be happy to take them (firstname.lastname@example.org). Our gifted eligibility notification has also been pushed back to May 15. If/when we return, we will notify all of our first look students whether they are gifted eligible for the 20/21 school year. All second look students will be notified in the Fall. Furthermore, our enrollment for the 20/21 school year is still happening. While there is no deadline for enrollment, we are encouraging online enrollment HERE. Our DLI application window will be extended with no definite timeline. We are still shooting to have our lottery the first week in June and will take DLI interest forms for KK up until that date or until further notice.
Another step of being adaptive to change is that of understanding our grading. Now that we are in our extended learning phase, teachers will be following the APS expectations for grading, giving one grade, per subject, per week while often alternating between science and social studies. In talking with our leadership team, we have decided that numerical grades may be given for Google Classroom assignments, but the grades that will appear in Infinite Campus for KK to 2nd will be only Participation. In grades 3-5, participation as well as numerical grades will appear in IC with the lowest being a 70.
Students will always have a chance to make up missed work upon return. Our Specialists are NOT REQUIRED to give grades. We still want our students participating in Art, Music, PE and French but they will not be graded on any of their work. Teachers are also now marking “attendance” in Infinite Campus daily by means of “participation.” This is not something to worry about, but rather a way for us to check on engagement. This will not count toward a students yearly attendance or affect the school positively or negatively in any way.
Lastly, I’m excited that we are in the heart of SPIRIT WEEK leading into Spring Break. During Spring Break there will be no new assignments given. If you would like some work for your students, reach out to your teachers who can share some activities like Dreambox Math, MyLexia and daily reading assignments. Because we will be on break, your teachers will not be available to answer emails so this should be a time for you all to relax and enjoy some non academic time. Since today is Random Acts of Kindness day, if you are looking for some activities to do, have your students write some letters to our nurses, doctors and first responders to thank them for all they are doing. This Friday, we will be collecting these letters, along with food donations and supplies, in the Peachtree Hills Recreation Center parking lot from 9am-12pm – Please note, this is a change of location from our previous spot at MB. Simply pull up, drop off your items and letters and we will get them where they need to go! Donations will go to APS and Peachtree Hills Rec Center which serves as a food hub for the North Atlanta cluster. This is a great way to support our school, students, cluster and district. Coach Wyman and Coach Patton will also be there (at a safe distance away) collecting donations for Kids Heart Challenge. If you donate $15, you will get a new jump rope! Don’t forget, tomorrow is jersey day. Wear your favorite sports team gear to support our favorite sports teams that aren’t able to play right now. Friday is Pajama day as you spend the day reading!
When we return from Spring Break, we are hopeful that we can pick up right where we left off. The district has closed schools until at least April 24 which would give us a definite two more weeks of distance learning. We will also be rolling out our Flex Friday plan. On Fridays, you will be provided with a choice board for non academic, non screen time activities you can have your students do. Stay tuned for more info.
I look forward to our continued partnership in virtual learning as we work to give every student what they need to be successful at Morris Brandon ES. Feel free to join Coach Wyman and Coach Patton today from 1:45pm-3:00pm for a live PE class. All links can be found on our MB Weatherwise learning Hub HERE.
Take care, happy learning, have a GREAT SB!