12 August 2020
Good Morning Mount Greylock Families,
In whatever model we use during this school year, I hope to use a seven- period schedule (non-rotating) with clearly delineated time for direct instruction, integrated with opportunities and expectations for both synchronous and asynchronous learning. The general planning thought is students will receive approximately 3.5 to 4.5 hours of direct instruction per day, with remaining time dedicated for inquiry like learning.
To help frame this conversation and support understanding, I'd like to define the terms synchronous, asynchronous, and direct instruction.
I believe synchronous learning to be considered as working at the same time as a scheduled class. Part of that time may be direct instruction (face to face) while other work students may choose to complete asynchronously (later) or synchronous (at the same time, but not necessarily while directly interfacing with a teacher). Asynchronous learning consists of independent assignments or studies completed at another time then the scheduled course (possibly on screen or off screen).
I consider direct instruction as learning that takes place at a designated time (always synchronous) wherein both teacher and student has an opportunity for two-way dialogue... sharing a screen, chatting, speaking, etc. Please note that Canvas has a "zoom" feature that can be used, but we have not determined the set feature we will use for direct instruction though.
While we are advocates of robust synchronous remote learning as much as possible, we also think careful attention needs to be paid to how much time students are asked to be on their computers for school work and that creative solutions need to be developed for:
1) offline learning such as reading, creating, kinesthetic learning, hands-on projects and for
2) in-person connections among students and teachers (as described below) on our school campuses and/or throughout our communities outside (the district continues to explore auxiliary learning spaces: possible tentage for campuses / satellite locations in towns).
Asynchronous instruction will need to dovetail with synchronous remote instruction; multi-sensory methods of engaging students that do not simply rely on videos or other screen-based mechanisms for the teaching of lessons and skills will be considered. Time on screens was a very serious challenge for many students last spring, especially given that screens were also the only way that many could continue to socialize with peers and family members.
Mount Greylock also recognizes the social and emotional concerns of not being in school traditionally. Moving forward we will continue to develop innovative and safe ways for our students to socialize. As always, we welcome suggestions.
At this point, it's my understanding that families can choose to keep students in a remote setting despite the determined model the district is implementing at any given time.
Also contained in the Monday the 17th email will include our typical "mailing" material, many of which require a response from families and students. This material is being requested and in most cases is required in any reopening model.
- Virtual Tea / Office - Jump onto Zoom any Saturday morning at 9 to say hi, ask questions, get a status update, or just to see some friendly faces. Here is the link
- Student Check-in - Colin Shebar, new AP, held our first student check-in today, 8/12. The purpose of this is to give students information about the upcoming school year and to open lines of communication between students and staff. Students will have the chance to see and speak with some of their teachers and faculty members in an effort to bring our school community back together after the disruption at the end of last year. This gives us an opportunity to take stock of where our students are mentally and emotionally, while also letting us know some of their concerns and questions. As we get into the final stages of planning for the start of the school year we want to make sure that we are aware of the issues and topics at the forefront of students' minds. We look forward to connecting with our students over the upcoming weeks and hold more of these informal Zoom check-ins.
Co-Curricular Activity Update
- The earliest start date for all fall athletic programs will be September 14th. There will be no sanctioned activities (practices, tryouts, scrimmages, etc.) prior to that date. A reminder that Mount Greylock does not condone "captains' practices" and in no way should these events be occurring on any district campus. Please make safe and smart decisions while preparing for the athletic season.
- State recommendations from DESE and EEA (Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs) are expected sometime between August 10th – 12th. While Districts can create additional adjustments, the MIAA plans to follow these guidelines at a minimum.
- Families can review additional NFHS recommended regulations for each fall athletic program on the MIAA COVID Task Force Website.
- Registration for fall athletic programs has not yet been opened to ensure that updated regulations can be included. Students should still be ensuring they have an updated physical exam and are prepared to take the yearly online concussion course prior to the season.
- A virtual Parent/Athlete Meeting will be available to view after recommendations have been made and final district decisions have occurred.
After School Clubs/Organizations
- Mount Greylock will offer the traditional afterschool clubs.
- The format of meetings for these organizations will be adjusted depending on the form of academic plan occurring at the time. There will likely be a combination of in-person and remote events.
- A calendar of events/meetings will be published in the next few weeks as well as contact information for advisors and registration information for each organization.
- The Fall Festival of Shakespeare, the School Musical and the Spring Drama will also be adjusted depending on state recommendations and the academic plan for Mount Greylock.
- Conversations with Shakespeare and Company are occurring to prepare for a virtual start to the Fall Festival in late September.
- PowerSchool - PowerSchool will be rolled over soon. It continues to reflect requested courses from last year. Based on our planning I hope to keep the content of the courses, but the order, length, etc. of the courses may look different. NOTE: This year, there will be a variety of modifications to sections, specifically regarding implications of our selected school model.
- Student Book Return - Colin is organizing effort and details will be out shortly. This will be a curbside "drop off" model in the bus loop which will occur over the next two weeks.
- MCAS - At this point there is no decision from DESE about testing for the spring.
- Guidance - School Counselors do not work over the summer. We're currently interviewing for the guidance secretary position. If you have any urgent need please contact Ms. Patsy Worley at email@example.com or 413-458-9582 x 1000. Ms. Patsy can also process transcript requests and working papers.
Take care and be well,
Jacob Schutz and Colin Shebar