Dear YHS Families,
It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost two weeks of working online with your students as we all continue to adjust to new routines. Ms. Bongard, Mr. Creech and I miss seeing students but are excited to hear stories of “advisory challenges” and other creative ways to stay connected. Your children have been amazing, as students and teachers continue to connect via their virtual classrooms and check in at the end of the day during advisory.
As we prepare for the weeks ahead, our focus now turns to the end of the third quarter. In addition to our district’s core values, we are guided by three additional beliefs of learning to support students and their educational needs:
- Keep the focus, first and foremost, on relationships, community, and social/emotional health. For many of us, this is a challenging, anxiety-provoking time. Your child’s advisor will continue to hold online advisory meetings everyday at 2:45 to check on your child’s well-being and progress.
- Identify for students, “What is meaningful?” and shift to essential learning. Staff are adjusting the content and pace of classes for distance learning, in recognition of the fact that online learning and on-site learning often look different.
- Balance accountability with flexibility. Our teachers will continue to employ successful strategies that keep students engaged in their work. These include:
1. Inviting students individually to office hours
2. Using test corrections, retakes for assignments, or take-home-style exams.
3. Exempting assessments that are challenging to complete in a home setting
4. Using oral responses via teacher “office hours.”
5. Asking students to take pictures of their work and send the images to teachers
Prior to the end of the third quarter on Friday, April 3rd, our staff will work conscientiously to ensure students can access their learning at home. This will include:
- Counselors and members of our student support team reaching out to students to support their needs.
- Instructional support staff scheduling time during “Gold” days to assist students with assignments.
- Teachers identifying students with missing assignments and notifying students and parents via email.
Next week, we will dedicate three days - Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday - to supporting students in the completion of their third quarter work. Students will have time to work with their teachers during regular class times, as well as during office hours, on all three days. As parents, you may be asking what you can do to support your student as an at-home learner:
- Our teachers continue to use PowerSchool to keep track of assignments; please continue to check to see if your child has missing or incomplete work or assessments.
- Identify a space in your home that functions well as a student work-space.
- Reach out to your child’s teachers, counselors, or administrators for assistance if your child is struggling, and we will work with you to develop a plan for your child.
Distance learning requires an increased level of partnership between school and home, and we appreciate your support and communication. We have also received questions and concerns from parents regarding the impact of the school closures on acceptance into colleges and universities. Our guidance counselors have reached out to several schools and receive daily updates from colleges across the country; we would like to share a few of the responses:
- Brandeis University - “Challenging times call for flexibility, and we are here to partner with you and your school in support of your students.”
- Vanderbilt University - “There’s no doubt that high school transcripts for this year’s and future year’s applicants will look different….There will be tests untaken, chances to improve foregone, and letters of recommendation truncated. In unprecedented times, context will take on unprecedented importance.”
Many other colleges and universities have expressed similar sentiments that the grades from the spring of 2020 semester will not negatively impact students’ chances of getting into schools.
Finally, we face many questions in the weeks ahead regarding upcoming events and activities. During the week of April 20th, Superintendent Dolloff will be making a decision regarding any potential extension of the current school closure. In the next few weeks, it is therefore important for us to take things one step at a time - in all areas of our lives. In addition to supporting our students with their learning, please follow social distancing guidelines and take care of yourselves and your families.
Eric Klein, Amy Bongard, and David Creech
YHS Administrative Team