March 20

I feel like I’m living in a movie. I keep waiting for the Rock to crash through my window and spray me with an antiviral mist that he invented from residue left on his barbells and a little duct tape. Until that happens, we will do our best to help families in our community stay sane and feel connected. Thanks for being on the front lines until the Rock arrives.

This is going to be a very full blog. Thank you for all you are doing and for your patience and grace. I know we want to have everything perfect and we want 100% consistent messaging, etc. Realize we will do the best we can given that people take the same consistent message and interpret it multiple ways and the messages that we have now may not be the messages we have a day or a week from now.

Wider Communication-  This letter from Shay will be going out soon to staff and families updating them on where we are today. This has a lot of good information and an FAQ. Please read and familiarize.

Teacher Expectations- Please share teacher expectations with your teachers during your webex or other on Monday, 3/30. These are minimum expectations. We know teams will go above and beyond. That’s ok as long as these expectations are being fulfilled beginning April 1.

Teacher Resource Page (Amy’s page)- Amy shared a great resource page with you all yesterday during our horizontal. Based on your feedback, we believe it is best for this page to be shared at the same time. We are asking that you go over this Continuation of Learning Plan on Monday, March 30.  The first page provides a quick philosophical overview for teaching/learning during school closure, as well as a number of hot links to other sections of this document. (One of the embedded hotlinks takes you to a Remote Learning Tools page – please highlight this resource as well.) Please read and be familiar with this document and other embedded links found within its pages – as you will likely be asked questions about it from your staff. I look at this page as a resource for teachers to help them meet the expectations outlined above. Please share that they don’t need to be doing all of this, but rather, they can refer to this if they need some extra support for fulfilling one of their requirements.

IPAD/ Packet Dissemination- After further discussion at cabinet, we know that schools have different needs and factors to consider when making a plan. We are going to leave that up to your school teams to decide how best to disseminate realizing that things are changing. You should be thinking about a plan for distributing packets/IPADS that involves the least amount of social interaction possible. Realize that if we go into a shelter in place, all bets are off.

Here is what we are asking: 1) Complete this document for your school no later than the end of the day, Monday, March 30.  2) Provide as much detail as necessary about what you want parents to hear about your process, as our Latino Liaisons will be recording a bi-lingual message for you using the information you provide. On Tuesday (3/31) your building’s message will be sent home to your parents (thanks to our Liaisons) via Synervoice.

Between March 30-April 3, ELL Specialists will contact all multilingual families, to gauge who needs delivery of materials out to home/neighborhood.

First Two Weeks’ Learning Activities- K-2 packets will be delivered to schools and electronically to K-2 staff by the morning of March 30.

For grades 3-5, the first two weeks will be delivered digitally to staff. We will also send limited number of hard copies to schools for 3-5 students without internet access. If schools need more copies of the 3-5, they can make these on their own (this would be a good activity for EA’s or other classified).

This will give teachers two days to go through and create any directions for families that they want to add.

For weeks 3 and beyond, teachers will receive digital templates for k-1 and 2-5 with directions embedded on the templates for how to use for planning future weeks. We also created some guidelines for planning. DO NOT SEND THESE TO STAFF AT THIS TIME. 

These are our best attempts to provide a framework for teachers/schools to deliver continued learning. We have amazing teachers that have worked on this and the plans for the first two weeks are exemplar.  Staff know their students. We trust them to add, delete, and innovate based on their knowledge of student needs.

Your Email to Staff- You have asked for a uniform email to staff. I am providing you with talking points that you would want to include in that email to staff.

  • Schools are closed until April 28
  • They report to work March 30. This is remotely if possible- via your virtual meeting.
  • You will conduct a virtual meeting using webex (or other) at ____ time on March 30I’ve mentioned a few times about wanting you to “meet” with your staff on March 30 – oftentimes alluding to the use of Webex as a platform for doing so. I want to make it clear that you do not have to use Webex, or another video-based platform to conduct this all-staff virtual meeting. What you will be sharing in this initial meeting is very important for alleviating the stress that many on your staff have been feeling over this past week (or longer) and will set the tone for the days that follow. Feel free to consider other means to communicate (i.e. slide presentation, detailed email, a combination of written material followed by smaller group Webex meetings, etc.) at that initial meeting. One concern with using Webex with your entire staff at the initial meeting is the possibility of frustration and missed connection due to technological issues from first-time use from all (most) of your staff. Let me know prior to March 30 if you’d like to problem-solve this with me.
  • You will provide expectations to them at that March 30 meeting
  • Continuity of learning begins April 1.
  • First two weeks are provided (see above for details that you can include)
  • See Shay’s email to staff for any other information- this will be coming if it hasn’t already
  • You are welcome to include personal touch as you see fit

What do classified Staff do?- Yesterday, Stephen sent Duvall started a Google doc he created around the sharing of ideas for non-teacher position work task ideas. I see some great ideas in here already – thank you for those who have already added their thoughts.

Staffing- I apologize that I haven’t dug down into your staffing plans yet as other things have been occupying my time. I will be working a lot next week and my priority will be answering your questions about our continuity of learning plan AND reviewing all staffing plans. Thank you for your patience.

Along those lines, we have a completed job description for our elementary ‘student success instructor’, aka our sel/behavior support position. This will be posted district wide and we will run a process similar to our transfer interviews. More info to come as I have pushed this to the back burner for now.

From Sped- Sean asked me to share with you the note he sent to his special programs staff.

Read Alouds- I’m hearing great stories of teachers videoing read alouds and the like. Please share these guidelines from publishers as some titles are off-limits.

What should I be doing? I don’t know of any of us who have been virtual principals (although we’ve probably all tried to figure out how this might work).  What should you be doing during this time? What do you need to work on? How should you be spending your time? I have no doubt you will keep fully busy, but I’ve started a VERY simple page of ideas that I would love for you to all add to as you think of things. This will help us all to be sure we are doing what we are supposed to and also sharpening our digital skills as well.

Well, I’m going to end it there. I know there is a lot that is still uncertain and/or unclear at this time. I didn’t have this in any class I took. I know things won’t be perfect, but if we stick together and do our best, students and families will stay engaged and connected and know how much we care about them. Thank you.

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