Dear STEM School Highlands Ranch Families,
On Monday, March 23 we will launch our virtual-learning/online-school assignments for all students at STEM School Highlands Ranch. We understand that the Douglas County School District (DCSD) has identified this day as a Professional Development (PD) day for teachers to prepare for remote learning. However, given our experience with virtual learning and our preparation prior to Spring Break, we are excited to start connecting with our students on Monday.
Throughout the week, parents and/or students can expect to receive communication from their teachers each day about the assignments that are available for students. Teachers will communicate assignments through email and or Canvas, depending on the grade level of the student.
It is the expectation of STEM that students will complete no more than a total of two hours of work each day. We understand that some of our students may require assistance from parents. We thank you for your partnership during this time and ask that you please reach out to teachers (beginning on Monday) if you have any difficulty with the assignments, expectations or time commitments. We have also asked that staff, students and families all have grace and compassion for each other during these difficult times.
We are fortunate that virtual learning is a concept that our teachers are already familiar with. Continued training and support will be provided to our teachers over the next few weeks via online professional development, instructional coaches, mentors and department/grade-level meetings.
INFORMATION FOR ALL STUDENTS:
Each teacher will conduct at least two 30 minute “office-hour” periods each week. This will be a time where teachers and students/parents can chat via phone or a Zoom conference. Please review the information sent or posted by teachers to determine the times of these office-hour periods.
Elementary Students (K-5th grades):
Teachers will provide approximately three activities for students to complete each day. K-2 teachers will send these activities to the parent email addresses. Teachers in grades 3-5 will upload assignments to Canvas. Students should spend no more than two hours working per day.
Secondary Students (6-12):
Teachers will provide one activity per block on the correct color day (students will only have blue day class assignments on blue days; gold day assignments on gold days). There will be no assignments for study hall. Advisory will not have assignments for the first week. Students should spend no more than two hours working per day.
Teachers have a clear scope and sequence of academic standards that they have been implementing throughout the school year. They will continue to align their lessons and activities in order to provide opportunities for students to access the most essential skills and content during this closure. Teachers and students have already been utilizing a variety of online learning tools and will continue to do so. In addition, we are putting together a list of high-quality educational resources that you may choose to utilize as an opportunity to keep students engaged in positive-learning activities during this closure. Information about these resources will be posted in the coming days on our website.
STANDARDIZED TESTING UPDATE:
All remaining 2019-2020 state-mandated testing has been paused.
CMAS: Postponed until next Spring
PSAT/SAT: paused; 11th graders will need to register for and take the SAT on their own this summer and/or next fall unless CDE schedules another school-based exam.
AP Exams: no in-person exams; 45-minute at-home exams are currently being created and the exam schedule will be released soon; click here for AP Updates
We know that many students will experience increased anxiety and stress as we navigate both the approach of the one-year-mark and Covid-19. Here are some things you can do to help your student:
- Stay connected--virtually. Encourage your students to facetime their friends, play board games with family, and go old-school by writing letters to friends.
- Limit media exposure, and talk to your student to correct misinformation they may have.
- Create a daily schedule for your student that includes schoolwork, exercise, and family time
Our mental health team will still be meeting with students to support them via phone and/or zoom. If you have concerns about a student or need additional support, please email their counselor.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Where do I go if I need help or have questions?
A: Please reach out to the teacher to allow them to answer your questions first. They are ready to assist virtually through email or the Zoom sessions mentioned above. If the teacher is unable to assist with your question please reach out to the appropriate administrator:
Q: Will Virtual Days be counted by DCSD? Are we in communication with the district about this?
A: We are working closely with DCSD on what the attendance policy will look like during this time frame. Currently, all absences related to COVID-19 are excused. As we work through this process, additional information will be released. We strive to keep our students engaged and active in the learning process so we will continue to ask our students to complete assignments and content virtually until we return.
Q: Will there be any leeway with virtual day assignment due dates and times?
A: We ask that students clearly communicate with their teachers in the event that they cannot complete any of the assignments within the timeframe that is being asked.
Q: How are special education/504 services provided?
A: Teachers are being provided with guidelines on how to provide the accommodations needed for each student. Special education teachers are available via email and we encourage families to reach out to them with direct questions about their students.
If you have any additional questions about this process please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can get them answered for you. We truly appreciate our STEM community for their support and compassion during this unprecedented time.
STEM School Highlands Ranch