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March 19, 2020
Good morning Weston High School Students and Parents:
Welcome to WHS distance learning! We miss you, and we are excited to see you again, even if only via webcam. Our staff has been working together over the past week to plan for distance learning, and this letter outlines the daily schedule, student expectations, and available supports. More details can be found on our Distance Learning website (link below), which you should view after reading this letter and bookmark for future use. We expect that our plans will evolve over time - we will communicate regularly with you and update the website as needed.
Each school day will begin with live classes from 8:00am to 10:45am. There will be four 30-minute classes with 15-minute breaks in between. It will be an A-day/B-day rotation and each of the eight periods will meet every other day; see the Distance Learning website for details. Teachers will communicate with you via their Canvas, Google Classroom, web page, and/or email as to how to access the live class. You are expected to join each live class, and attendance will be taken. If you just woke up and don’t want to be on camera, you may join audio-only! Live classes will be recorded and teachers will be posting the recordings, allowing students that miss a class to catch up on the instruction.
Teachers will decide how best to use the 30-minute live class time; it will change from teacher to teacher, and lesson to lesson. Some may use the full 30 minutes to teach a new concept, others may just take a few minutes to explain a learning activity, and then set you on your way to work independently. Teachers will be assigning tasks for you to work on both during the class and in the afternoons when the live sessions have completed. Attendance and grades will continue to be recorded in PowerSchool. Parents, if your child is unable to attend class, please call the absence line to report absences as you always have.
The key to your success will be to establish a daily routine and stick to it. We strongly encourage you to incorporate daily mindfulness exercises and physical activities, and we have posted a suggested schedule on the website. Find a space in your home that you can set up and dedicate to your schoolwork, have all of your materials in one place, and be free from distractions. You should be prepared on the first day with a notebook and a pen or pencil.
In order to be prepared for Monday, we are running an orientation day schedule tomorrow morning, 3/20. We’ll have eight 10-minute periods, for a quick meeting with your teacher to say hello and test the technology. The schedule is on the Distance Learning site. PE/Health will meet, science labs will not.
In addition to your regular classes, various support services will continue to be offered. Structured study and learning strategies classes will continue to run. The counseling staff has posted resources by class and will be available for individual meetings. The Writing Center will be taking appointments and conferencing with students. The Library Learning Commons will continue to support your research needs. Please check the “Student Services” section of the website for more information.
Our district technology help desk is available to support your technology needs. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, and they will respond as soon as possible. If you are need of a Chromebook, please contact them immediately.
As we all have experienced over the past week, this is a very challenging time. We are living with stress, anxiety, and boredom in ways that we never have before. There will be times when a teacher’s live lesson is interrupted by a screaming toddler. There will be times when a student cannot attend class because their internet connection fails. The key to success in this process will be patience and communication. We are all learning this new model of education together, and we will all support each other. If you need to communicate with a staff member about a concern, please use the same protocols you always have. Most concerns can be addressed directly to the classroom teacher first, and then to counselor, CIL, or administrator as appropriate.
At the same time, new challenges bring new opportunities. We have already been inspired by teachers that have spent the last few days exploring new technologies and collaborating with their colleagues. We are excited to see our students adapt to distance learning. We want to hear from you as we go, and we will be emailing you about ways that you can share your experiences with us. If you haven’t been on our Instagram, Student Government officers have posted a great message. Check it out!
To our seniors, we know this is especially hard for you as the last months of your high school career include many important and joyful moments. Keeping up our collective spirits is critical in these times, and we would love all of you (seniors and underclassmen) to share photos for us to post on the WHS Instagram.
We’re all in this together, and we are excited to begin. See you tomorrow!
Mrs. Wolak Ms. Givoni Mr. Filip Mr. Berkowitz