This Week at South Vol. 27

Embarking on a New Learning Journey:

Good Morning South Students, Parents, Staff, and Community Members:

This newsletter will be in a different format in order to share important information about the new online learning format. Resources are linked below and also footnoted for reference. 

  1. First, I would like to share the Digital Learning Parent Letter drafted by Dr. Kersten Johnson-Struempler, Senior Director of Secondary Education. 
  1. Next, please also see: Best Practices for Parents to Support Online Learning which provides a one-page set of practices to help parents support their students as they transition to our new mode of learning. Finally, I would also encourage everyone to review the Online Etiquette document, which addresses how we should prepare ourselves and our surroundings for online learning. 

This newsletter will also be linked at dralmon.com, tweeted at twitter.com/dr_almon, and should be arriving via text and email through Blackboard. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions after you have reviewed the material above. 

Part I: What This Means at South High School

Today: By 4:00 pm today, teachers will reach out to their students with a ZOOM link to their office hours and tutorial sessions, as well as a welcome message to students and parents to their orientation sessions. These orientation sessions are also outlined in the Digital Learning Parent Letter linked above.  

Tuesday/Wednesday: On Tuesday, March 31st and Wednesday, April 1st, Orientation Sessions for Core High School courses will occur. Only one of these sessions needs to be attended. Please see the image above for an overview of the days and times of those sessions. 

On April 13th: Elective courses will start. Elective teachers will reach out today with their ZOOM link, a welcome message, and a plan to reconnect with students as the date for their classes to resume approaches. 

Part II: A Parting Note:

After approximately two weeks of planning, we are now ready to embark on a learning process that none of us has truly experienced. Distance learning will look and feel different than face-to-face classes with timed bells, a constant lunch time, and social time between. A lot of the structure associated with the normal school day has vanished due to our current circumstances. 

Therefore, it will become all the more important to find a routine that will lend some structure to our days, to make sure we are keeping in contact with one another using the technology we have at our disposal, and to make sure to take time to take care of ourselves.

Starting Tuesday we will welcome students into a new era, hope to make them comfortable with the new learning platforms, and address their concerns. Ideally, students will access their core courses and begin working on the material. 

The staff at South High School is committed to making sure students transition into this new learning well. We’ll focus on reconnecting socially, mapping out the content,  and making a plan for successful completion of classes by May 21st. It will take all of our best ideas to make this happen. 

We look forward to working with you to make sure our students get the best possible learning opportunities available. 

We hope to model the persistence, self-control, empathy, and gratitude that we expect of our students as we work through this challenge.

I’d like to end with a Bob Iger’s observation about the meaning of optimism, “It’s about believing in your and others’ abilities” (p. 229). Put another way, it’s about believing that despite our challenging circumstances, collective action will result in positive learning outcomes.

I’m confident we have the people in place to make this happen. I believe.

Stay Strong, Stay Healthy, Stay South!

Onward!

Luke Almon, Principal

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