Dear High School Parents & Students:
Tomorrow is Day 9 of virtual high school. As we settle into this structure, we continue to adapt based on feedback from faculty, students, and parents. With each passing day, our teachers and students have a better sense of how this works and what to expect.
This week, we are excited to host our first Monday Morning Meeting via Zoom Webinar, which will bring together all of our high school students and faculty. We also look forward to hosting more club meetings via Zoom, an online exercise program, and more student-run games to keep us connected. Midterm advisor reports will be sent out on Friday, April 3 – just before spring break.
As a preview for what's coming up after spring break, we are evaluating these first few weeks to refine and roll out an even more streamlined schedule after break. We will continue to send you weekly updates on Sundays, so the next communication from the high school administration will be on Sunday, April 12.
The summary below includes:
- Structure of Virtual High School (updates)
- Academic Life
- Social Activities
- Support for Students
- Support for Parents
As a reminder, we discourage social gatherings, small or large. As hard as it is to practice social distancing, we are all making sacrifices for the greater good to stop the spread of this virus. Let's keep finding ways to support each other.
Please take care,
High School Principal
Structure of Virtual High School (updates):
- All high school classes will continue to host at least two live sessions per week via Google Hangout or Zoom. These live sessions will meet during a class' regularly scheduled time on a six-period day (so, no blocks). It is our expectation that students will make all efforts possible to join their designated class meetings – it is important that we see each other.
- For reference, this week (March 30 – April 3) is an A week (periods 1 – 6). All video sessions require an invitation, so students will be notified of their class meetings.
- Each class has a goal of 5-6 hours per week including work and meeting time. There will, of course, be some variability around how long it takes individual students to complete assignments, and faculty will make adjustments as needed. Teachers are available for support, questions, and check-ins.
- Online assessments will occur but will have a different structure. Students might have papers, quizzes, and some tests. For all assessments, we assume open book and will allow for more time than typically allotted when in class on campus.
- Virtual school will be closed for Spring Break. This time will give faculty and students a chance to catch their breath. It is also an opportunity for students to catch up on incomplete work or for faculty to prepare next steps.
- We received an overwhelmingly positive response this past week to having at least two Zoom sessions per class. Students are happy to see each other and their teachers.
- Some teachers in English and Social Studies have hosted class discussions around readings and group projects during these Zoom times. Others are using "breakout" rooms in Zoom and a platform called "Parlay" to create engaging student discussions online.
- Most teachers in each department continue to use Youtube to record sessions for students who haven't been able to attend, or to post information online.
- To enrich the curriculum, we've received access to stream movies and documentaries with students at their own homes.
- Long Term class placements for fall 2020 will be sent to students and parents the week of April 13. We will host a series of Zoom Webinar chats by grade level for students who have questions about their placements and courses for next year. Students will also have opportunities to talk with their advisors and parents before finalizing their selections.
- College Counseling will host chat sessions for rising 11th and 12th graders. For more specific questions about curriculum, individual placement, and courses, students and parents are welcome to reach out to Laura Magnanini.
In addition to the activities we mentioned last week:
- Anna Hammond, strength and conditioning coach, is hosting twice weekly workout sessions. You can join live or use the link Mike Emery sends out to the community.
- Seniors are hosting a TikTok competition.
- The Steering Committee Instagram account is very active! Follow paideiasteeringcommittee.
- The PigeonGame is going strong! We are about to start the third bracket of the game.
- Paideia's literary magazine, Blue Rider, has launched on an online version - COVID Nine Zine.
- The Forum is now hosting an online version of our school newspaper.
- Natalie Rogovin, director of service learning, has created a document listing the needs of our community partners.
- Natalie also has a pamphlet for how students can volunteer from their homes.
- We will host our first Monday Morning Meeting tomorrow, Monday, March 30 at 10:15 a.m.! This is a time for the entire high school community to gather via Zoom Webinar.
- Faculty will continue to check in regularly with their advisees, by group and individually. This will occur either organically throughout the week or during our designated advisory time on Fridays at 10:15 a.m.
- Advisors will also check in with students about their Midterm Advisor Reports.
Support for Students
- Teachers and administrators continue to follow up with families and students who may need extra support in engaging on the online platforms.
- Our learning specialists, Tricia Underwood and Morgan Potts, as well as our two mental health counselors, Thrower Starr and Kristi Budd, are actively reaching out to students and families to provide support.
- Our learning specialists and our counselors have Google classrooms that many students have already connected with. If you are interested in joining one, please email them directly.
Support For Parents
- A reminder to flex where you can. Some students are adjusting quickly, while some who never had struggles in regular school might find it hard to be motivated.
- We recorded the two Zoom parent meetings this past week and will share them with interested parents as they become available. Stay tuned for more invitations to gather after spring break.
- Here are highlights from ideas shared on the Zoom meetings and resources emailed home:
- Have a designated work space away from home distractions
- Take regular breaks to get away from all devices
- Engage with activities unrelated to school or ongoing news about Covid-19.
- In terms of homework, some might find it easier to focus if they work later in the afternoon or evening, while for others, first thing in the morning is better.
- Our goals are the same:
- Provide structure and platforms for learning
- Engage students in developmentally appropriate and challenging content
- Offer direct access to teachers
- Connect with the community, and
- Allow for differentiated learning in this online environment