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High School COVID-19 Resources

Return to Learning Options for 2020-2021

August 3, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians of MRH HS Students,

This email’s first theme song is Right Back Where We Started From by Maxine Nightingale.  Approximate reading time is 14 minutes.  Yes, there’s a lot of info/links in this so I apologize in advance, but I urge you to read it all to be fully informed.  We are also sending home a mailing this week with student schedules, (if you wish to change your schedule fill out this schedule change form) laptop forms, Powerschool login info, A+ info/program enrollment to all families (and request that they return them when students come in to pick up books and laptops.)

I am hopeful that your summer has been a safe and healthy one.  My family and I continue to adjust and make the most of living in a COVID impacted world.  We finally officially “graduated” the class of 2020 in a drive-thru ceremony on July 25th.  The class of 2020 did not have it easy and they made the most around some very challenging circumstances. I am very proud of them and will miss them dearly. I regret that we could not enjoy more time with them.  

Nevertheless, the show goes on and we move on toward the 2020-2021 school year with plans that are seemingly always in the “contingent” or “trial stage.” We realize that our best-laid plans may be completely adjusted or changed on the fly.  We plan everything with the caveat that we may “pivot” quickly to make needed adjustments. We hope things change in such a way that we are all soon able to be together in full force each day at school.  One example of this change is our new distance learning start date, Tuesday, September 1, 2020. This year, we plan to move forward with a mindset of Growth, Grace, and Gratitude.  

  • Growth - We may have to learn under different circumstances, but we can still learn.  Intellectual, physical and social growth are a part of the high school experience.

  • Grace - Be prepared to extend grace (courteous goodwill) to any and all at this time as we navigate a changing world.

  • Gratitude - Many are without jobs, have lost loved ones and are struggling with illness. We count our blessings and attempt to cultivate an attitude of gratitude which creates a healthy outlook on life.

Please know that we remain committed to finding the most effective and safest ways to educate and interact with our students. All of us in education were trained to work with kids directly and we have the extreme desire to do so. After all, it’s what we know and why we entered this field in the first place.  

Our district has outlined a 3-tiered approach to resume learning. We will begin the year in a Tier 3 Distance Learning Mode and may move from tier to tier as things change.  

  • Tier 1 - All students attend school each day with an emphasis on social distancing, disinfecting spaces and other Covid-related safety protocols

  • Tier 2 - Blended learning model in which half the student body attends school twice a week in cohorts based on last names to maintain social distancing expectations and protocols (more info below)

  • Tier 3 - Full distance learning mode in which students do not attend school in person and learn from an online platform outside of school.   

We will start the year in a Tier 3 distance teaching and learning environment. This means we will not meet face to face with students in our school building. Instead, we will do our coursework via an interactive online approach provided by the school. We have a full quarter’s worth of experience in this mode from last school year and have grasped some key lessons we hope to integrate. Again, this distance learning mode is how we are beginning the year. The goal is to have everyone back in our building as soon as possible. We will reassess our status every week and make adjustments based on pandemic levels and St. Louis County Health Department recommendations as needed, so stay tuned.  For those interested in the nuances entailed in a decision like this, here’s a great article on the challenging decision to re-enter schools

Parents who choose for their students not to engage with the MRH curriculum and prefer to keep their students at home all semester (even if we change plans and allow students to enter the school later in this semester) may enroll their child in a “Virtual Academy” to educate their child. Here’s a video from the district explaining these options.  We ask ALL families to fill out this survey so we are clear about which option you are choosing for your student(s).

Tier 3 Plan:

What does a week of distance learning look like? Keep in mind each day is a full student body attendance day. (I also attached our latest district calendar below denoting our new Sept. 1 start date. We will share out our latest AB schedule soon via email)

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday 

Friday

A day classes 

1A

2A

3A

4A

A day classes 

1A

2A

3A

4A

Intervention & support day;

academic help and possible in-building supports for small groups

B day classes

1B

2B

3B

4B

B day classes

1B

2B

3B

4B

 

On the following page we have a more specific weekly plan with class times and supports. We will have daily Zoom video conference class check-ins for all students in real-time (synchronous, or “same time” learning) in the following manner, especially the first two weeks of the year.  We hope to build community, create a clear “class culture,” and cultivate student/teacher relationships. We will have a mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning throughout the semester and will make needed adjustments as feedback and experience lead us to best balance our teaching and learning. 

MRH HS Typical Weekly Distance Learning Class Schedule

 

Mon-A

Tues-A

Wed

Thurs-B

Friday-B

8:30-10 AM

Teacher planning & preparation, student family communication, grading and student support/intervention, IEPS etc.

10-10:50

1A

1A

AM intervention,

homework support,

Advisory mtgs

1B

1B

11-11:50

2A

2A

2B

2B

11:50-12:40

Lunch Break

12:40-1:30

3A

3A

PM intervention, homework 

support

3B

3B

1:40-2:30

4A

4A

4B

4B

2:30-3:15

Teacher planning & preparation, student family communication, grading and student support/intervention, IEPS etc

 

The expectation is for students on Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday to interact live with their teachers and classmates at designated times in the first two weeks of school. We are strongly emphasizing this live synchronous classroom setup early in the semester, especially the first two weeks, as we get to know our students and create a healthy virtual class environment. The district has approved the use of Zoom, which will allow greater interaction with students in a live fashion.  We will begin with 50 minute blocks and reassess the results every week and make needed adjustments as we build student academic stamina.  

Yes, homework will occur and add to those 50 minutes a day students interact with each class. We determined via surveys of students, parents and teachers that the desire to interact “live” was huge! We also discovered that our former A/B schedule (Spring of 2020) was challenging in that it did not offer embedded academic supports within the weekly plan.  This new plan offers:  

  • The “A” day portion (4 classes) will be on Monday/Tuesday

  • The “B” day portion (4 more classes) will be on Thursday/Friday. 

  • Wednesday time for teacher interaction, Student work time, support and interventions

This format also aids teacher planning and lesson flow and closely coincides with our Tier 2 blended learning plan if and when it becomes feasible.  It’s not perfect, but we’ll do our best to maximize its effectiveness and constantly reassess productivity.

We also understand that sometimes students may not be able to “log on” to the synchronous classes at the exact times they meet. Of course, we want all kids to interact with their classes in real time but we know everyone’s home circumstances are unique and things happen. Students will not be marked “absent” as long as they, or their parents, email or contact their teacher or our attendance secretary, maggie.biller@mrhschools.net, to let them know of any time conflicts or challenges. Students will be expected to complete assignments and submit them to their teachers by the due date throughout virtual learning. Parents will be notified of missing work on a regular basis and should communicate with the classroom teacher should any questions or concerns arise.

Teachers and students have experienced the “Zoom exhaustion” that comes from too many hours trying to sit still and remain engaged in front of a screen. Some schools initially tried to replicate schooling in real time using schedules that were designed for face-to-face instruction. They quickly found out that five or six hours of daily instruction, complete with the same bell schedules, breaks, and lunch schedules, was not workable over the long haul. One reason is because homes don’t run on a school schedule, and the burden placed on families made it nearly impossible for them to manage. Another is that our own homes don’t work that way, either. Consequently, finding the right balance of synchronous and asynchronous learning seemed to work best--and that’s our goal.

Time to change songs and take a break from this long email. Click on Beyonce’s Halo to get you through the rest of this email. 

We identified, after reviewing community feedback, that having a dedicated period to support, review and check-in on students was also needed.  Therefore, we added a Wednesday support day in which we will offer content-area teacher support on Wednesdays. Depending on community conditions and St, Lous County expectations, these interventions will be offered either  via a distance learning format or small socially distanced on-site groups. We are still working those details out.

Again, distance learning is our starting point. It will likely not be the manner in which we finish the year (I sure hope it’s not). We could ultimately move to a full attendance daily plan (Tier 1) or a blended daily plan where half the student body attends each day (Tier 2). The blended plan simply means we’d have two evenly balanced cohorts of students based on last names (A-L and M-Z). Alternately, the cohorts would physically attend school two days a week with the same Wednesday support day in the middle of the week. You may have seen the blended plan from the Communications Office on July 20th. The blended tier 2 plan below maintains consistency with the virtual Tier 3 plan above in that it breaks the week into A (Mon/Tues) and B (Thurs/Fri) segments with an intervention day in the middle (Wed).  Again, this blended plan below is NOT how we are beginning the year but I’d like to share it with you in case we eventually end up using it.

MRH HS TIER 2 - A/B block B-blended learning

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

A day 1

A day 2

Students are off-site  EXCEPT  for allowable small-group interventions

 

 

 

.

B day 1

B day 2

COHORT 1 attends school on-site Students

A-L

(HS 198)

 

(COHORT 2  virtual  A day work) 

COHORT 2  attends school  on-site Students

M-Z

(HS 195)

 

(COHORT 1 students to work on A day virtual plans)

COHORT 1 attends school  on-site Students

(A-L 198)

 

(COHORT 2  to work  on virtual B DAY course work) 

COHORT 2 attends school on-site

Students

(M-Z 195)

 

(COHORT 1  virtual B learning  today)

2-day planning “A” DAY FOCUS  Monday-Tuesday

INTERVENTION DAY, STUDENT/PARENT CONTACT DAY, SMALL GROUP ZOOMS, AND TEACHER PLANNING TIME

 

Counselor led RTI meetings

2-day planning

“B” DAY FOCUS  Thursday-Friday

 

We are excited to get going so we may begin interacting with our kids. It has been tough on our staff and administrators to not see our students each day. We are sure this crisis has brought new challenges to your family. Nevertheless, we are determined to make this a great learning experience for our students and to maintain our social distance discipline so we can hopefully be back together sooner than expected.  It’s a team effort and we look forward to working with everyone.  

Stakeholder Roles In Distance Learning

Teachers

Students

Admin/Counselors

Parents/Families

Prep engaging and high quality virtual lessons that address course standards while balancing learning volume for students. 

 

Plan clear lessons and utilize zoom and its learning as a hub of academic resources and plans

 

Post lessons, expectations for the week by Monday 10AM

 

 -Daily “office hours” time set aside where students can contact via email/phone or its learning chat feature 8:30-10 AM, 2:30-3:15 PM for extra support, study sessions

 

Respond to student and parent emails within a one day turnaround

 

Establish a consistent schedule/routine each week with clear lessons and homework for students

 

Communicate regularly with parents, especially as concerns arise and work with admin/counselors/parents regarding students who are not engaged

 

Participate in ongoing learning around best practices of virtual teaching

 

Offer each student feedback  at least once a week.

Dedicate appropriate time to learning and logging in and actively participating in all synchronous learning sessions in a timely fashion

 

Check in daily via its learning

 

Identify a comfortable place to learn

 

Actively engage in all learning activities being offered by teachers

 

Submit assignments via its learning

 

Take breaks when needed, step away/come back,  but put the time in to complete learning. 

 

Inform admin if having any tech issues or troubles interacting with content and completing work or email tech@help.mrhschools.net

for tech help

 

If you have any counseling needs please contact our counselors at 

HS

justin.harcharic@mrhschools.net or Debbie.kravitz@mrhschools.net

Support and help teachers with their content on its learning by monitoring and meeting weekly w/ all staff

 

Offer a clear and supportive vision

 

Communicate weekly goals,news with students, parents and staff 

 

Ensure our online platforms are consistent and prepared

 

Counselor roles: make calls to students who need support  Offer a connection to our students in crisis via weekly SEL team meetings Utilize SAGE staff to connect with struggling students.  

 

Nurse-to be available for discussion, return needed meds and contact parents for any concerns



 

Ensure kids are spending time interacting online with their schoolwork

 

Ensure students have access to wifi. If you need support with wifi access contact Erica.peyton@mrhschools.net

If you need any general tech help contact tech help at tech@help.mrhschools.net

 

Engage your kids in conversations regarding assignments.  

 

Maintain communication with teachers, admin and/or counselors

 

Contact us with any issues or concerns/needs

kevin.grawer@mrhschools.net 

 

Support your student’s emotional balance by providing time for physical activity and play

 

Identify a comfortable space to learn & Monitor time spent engaging in learning

 

Below, I have attempted to answer common questions from parents and students. 

Q: Are students supposed to be online and engaged with classes in a synchronous fashion?

A: Yes, the first two weeks for sure as we build classroom culture and expectations/protocols.  We will expect students to be in their 1A class on Sept.1 At 10 AM (in a virtual sense via zoom) ready to go. We will adjust and balance asynchronous and synchronous lessons after our first 2 week community-building attempts.

Q: Will fall sports and theatre productions continue?

A: MSHSAA, the state’s athletic governing body, at this point is allowing sports to practice and move forward if they implement the sports-specific protocols and social distancing norms that follow local county ordinances regarding recommended group meeting size. We are currently working with our school board and St. Louis County Officials to determine allowable activities for each sports program. We do plan to follow these county expectations.  We hope to have more clarity around our fall sports and competition prior to August 10th, the slated first official day of fall practices. Regardless, if you have a student who plans to play a sport please know a physical exam must be completed in order to compete (attached).  Contact our athletic director, Amber Jordan, amber.jordan@mrhschools.net for any athletic-related questions.

  • Contact our fall coaches for more info:

Boys Soccer-Mr. Robertson

ryan.robertson@mrhschools.net

Girls Volleyball-Mrs. Carmon

cheryl.carmon@mrhschools.net

Cross Country-Mr. Rzesutko

ryan.rzeszutko@mrhschools.net

Softball-Ms. Mooney

michaela.mooney@mrhschools.net

 

As for theatre productions, we are working with the National Thespian Organization surrounding expectations and preparations regarding theatre during Covid.  We hope to have clear answers soon.  

School clubs: Women Who Look Ahead (WWLA) and our Student Group on Race Relations (SGORR), for example, plan to meet virtually. Mrs. Kravitz, our club leader, will send out meeting times/dates to students. Other clubs may also  meet virtually and will send out their meeting info, times and dates when ready.

Q: How and when should we reach teachers?

A: Teachers are free each morning from 8:30 a.m.- 10 a.m. and from 2:30 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. most days for chat, Zoom calls or phone calls. You can reach teachers via email here

Q: What determines how we move from Tier 3 (virtual) to Tier 2 (blended) learning?

A: The decision will come after careful monitoring and discussions of county health data, and consideration of community context. To better understand the nuances of decision making, watch the recorded discussion of the July 23rd board meeting here in which Spring Schmidt, County Health Department Acting Director, explained to the Board why a single factor or a set matrix would not be advisable. The most pressing factor, however, is rate of community transmission

Q: If a student “misses” a class or is ill, how can they catch up? (If a student is ill please let us know by emailing maggie.biller@mrhschools.net)

A: The normal ways any student makes up for lost time including:

  • Checking itslearning pages for classwork and lesson plans which would be our hub of class information

  • Contacting the teacher for any missed notes, recorded classes or shared documents

  • Contacting a classmate for any particulars or nuances missed

  • Attending Wednesday AM or PM supports offered via zoom links

Q: How will parent-teacher conferences work in October?

A: First, we will assess community outbreak levels and work with St. Louis County health officials to ensure that an in-person meeting is safe and permissible.  If not, we will work on a virtual parent-teacher conference option.

For parents of students with IEPs, our SSD area coordinator, Ben Gleason  (ben.gleason@mrhschools.net), wanted to share the information below regarding learning options. 

Special Ed Info for August 3 Communication- Secondary

Option 1: MRH Tier 3

Option 2: MRH Virtual Academy

Option 3: Unenroll

Students with IEPs will receive services according to a Distance Learning Plan, which is based on each child’s IEP. DIstance Learning Plans will be developed by each student’s Case Manager. Special education services (ex. academics, social skills, Speech Therapy, Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy ABA, Social Work Counseling) will be provided in one or more of the following ways: live virtual instruction through zoom, independent online and offline learning via itsLearning, support of general education instruction, and consultation. Each Distance Learning Plan will be reviewed periodically and shared with families.

Special education staff will maintain regular office hours for questions, concerns, and support.

 

Students who receive special education and related services (ex. Speech Therapy, Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy ABA, Social Work Counseling) will have modified supports in place for their learning progressions as outlined in a Distance Learning Plan, which will be reviewed periodically and shared with families. If MRH schools re-open, families could choose to access related services in person instead of virtually. 

Special education staff will maintain regular office hours for questions, concerns, and support.

 

Students who receive special education and related services would be referred to Special School District’s Special Non-Public Access Program (SNAP).

 

Here are our upcoming laptop and book/material pickup times (we ask students to wear a mask in the building and show up at their designated times and enter through the cafe red door):

Monday, Aug 24

Tues., Aug 25

Wed., Aug 26

Thurs., Aug 27

Fri., Aug 28

9th grade pick-up of laptops/books based on last names/times:

9th Grade

8-9 AM: A-C          

9-10: D-G         

10-11: H-L         

11-12 PM: M

12-1: N-P

1-2: R-S

2-3: T-Z

+we will be sharing with all 9th graders an orientation video on this day

10th grade pick-up of laptops/books based on last names/times:

10th Grade

8-9 AM: A-B           

9-10: C-F          

10-11: G-H         

11-12: J-L

12-1: M

1-2: N-S

2-3: T-W

Staff Opening Day; no pick-up today

11th grade pick-up of laptops/books based on last names/times:

11th Grade

8-9 AM: A-B          

9-10: C-E         

10-11: G-H          

11-12 PM: J-L

12-1: M-P

1-2: R

2-3: S-Z

12th grade pick-up of laptops/books based on last names/times:

12th Grade

8-9 AM: A-C           

9-10: D-F          

10-11: G-K          

11-12 PM: L-O

12-1: P-S

1-2: T-V

2-3: W-Z

 

Thanks for your flexibility and support!

With Blue Devil Pride,

Dr. Grawer

July 20, 2020

MRH Return to Learning Options in Response to COVID-19

Instructional scenarios include on-site attendance, a hybrid model, and fully virtual.

MRH Ongoing Meal Distribution

Click here for pickup times and locations

Helping Families Cope

MRH Community Resources: Covid-19

Weekend on Wheels Offering Weekly Food Bags Beginning April 16

Healthy Adults for Healthy Kids: Modeling in the Time of COVID-19

We all recognize that for many of our families, this pandemic crisis is making a difficult home situation even worse.  As part of a regional response, there has been a coordinated effort by area school districts to simplify the search for resources for those in need.  Please click on the flier link below.

Family Resources Flier