Blessings to you in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
I pray that your families are well during these unprecedented times. Since distance learning began, I have received your valuable insights through email, phone calls and a survey. The over-arching theme has been quite simple:
“The teachers are doing an amazing job in these crazy times, but I am feeling overwhelmed.”
We all are feeling overwhelmed and stressed. We have to lift each other up in prayer every day. Moving forward, we are going to make necessary changes to harness the creativity and efforts of our K-8 teachers in order to maximize the learning taking place in our distance learning classrooms. I am going to try to be brief because I know your time is valuable. Here are the changes that are going to be seen when we return from spring break:
- We are moving our K-5 classrooms in to the Google Classroom platform. Middle school is having great success operating within the confines of this program. Moving forward, Google Classroom will be our “one stop shop” for each of our classrooms. Teachers can live stream or tape lessons to post for their students. Students can receive work and turn in work to their teachers in this online platform. Work will continually be assessed in order to gauge academic progress in each subject area. Students can use the chat room to get instance feedback from their teachers. Teachers can still utilize Zoom or Facetime for online sessions, but if a new standard is being introduced I have asked our teachers to place the taped lesson within Google Classroom so it is available to be accessed by our students at any point during the day. We all have different schedules and work requirements we have to attend to during the day. Google Classroom provides flexibility because everything your child needs to be successful will be stored in this online software. The attached documents and videos will explain the online software in more detail.
- We are going to scale back the amount of work. For example, if the normal workload is 30 spelling words or 25 math problems a night then we have to make that change. Nothing about our lives is normal right now and we can’t put further pressure and stress on our kids. A child can display mastery of a standard in other ways and with fewer math problems.
- I have attached a distance learning schedule for our families to serve as a guide in this process. My intent in sharing this is not to make your day regimented, but rather to offer perspective and bring some sort of balance to your day. You can utilize the schedule if you so choose. Math and Language Arts will be done every day in the distance learning package through Google Classroom, but we will rotate Science and Social Studies each day. For specials, you could follow the specials schedule for your child’s class (see attached). Do not overwhelm yourself trying to do all the specials classes. Try to do each of them once a week. As we already know, we can’t kill ourselves trying to replicate what an expert teacher does during the course of the day. The walls of our homes do not provide the structure that is found in the classroom.
- Early Childhood teachers will not be moving to Google Classroom. They will continue to do the amazing things they are already doing to provide academic and spiritual growth for their students.
- Computers are here and ready for pick up. Please call Susie before coming to campus and she will have your child’s computer ready for you.
- Early next week, teachers will be sending out your Google Classroom access information
These changes are necessary to bring some balance and to ease the stress of the current situation. I firmly believe that these changes coupled with the implementation of the Google Classroom platform will provide us with necessary tools in order to finish the year strong. I have not ruled out the possibility of returning to school this year, but we must be prepared for the worst case scenario. These changes accomplish that goal and we will continue to make adjustments as necessary. Your valuable insights have made me a better principal over the past several weeks. Parents have called to simply talk and for us to pray. I am always here for that as well. We will get through this together and I know in my heart that this will make us stronger as a Faith Family.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7