Dear Parents and Guardians,
I want to take a few minutes to reach out to all parents and students during this time in history we will all remember. I am aware this letter is very long but I would prefer to over-communicate during this time. The goal of this letter is to inform you about teaching and learning, counseling needs, tech support, retrieving Chromebooks, medicine pickup, students with disabilities, and how parents can help. As we adjust to the world around us, it is our goal at MRH to make decisions based on the health and well being of all our stakeholders. It was, for this reason, MRH along with schools across the country, have closed their physical spaces. While the physical spaces for learning may be closed, we are still a school and we are still responsible for delivering teaching and learning to our students. I am sure most of you have seen the article that I have linked here but it is the best I have seen at understanding the need for social distancing. Understanding the value of social distancing.
Teaching and Learning:
We have completed over 3/4 of our school year, but we still have two months to go. The teaching and learning will continue and we will interact with our content and students via Its Learning and other teaching websites. MS students already use and reference Its Learning to interact with their curriculum and they are familiar with it. Teachers will have their daily class plans up for that day (we are still following our A-B, 4-class a day schedule) by 8:30 AM each day. The plans will include a mix of reading links, educational videos, educational links related to the topic of the day, and student work/practice opportunities. The length of time that students will be working may vary per class, but it is not expected that students are sitting at their computer from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm working as in a traditional school day. Expect approximately 40-60 minutes of instruction per class, with 4 classes each day. All courses will begin on Wednesday, March 25th, an A-day. While teachers do have scheduled office hours, feel free to break up the learning that takes place throughout the day. Remember that this is new to us as well. We are making the best decisions we can with the information we have at the given time. I would like to thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation as we work together to overcome this obstacle.
Teachers will be available each day via Its Learning, chat or school email for students. If students have any questions, teachers are ready to respond as each teacher has a designated 2 hour “office hour” time period each school day to respond to students and parents. Of course, if anyone has any questions/concerns, please email me at email@example.com. You can also call my office phone at 314-446-6604 and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Here is a link when all teachers in middle school and high school will have office hours along with a link to their email.
Need for Counseling
We know this may be a stressful time for our students. Students are at an age when they may feel distanced from their peers and now we are asking them to purposely practice social distancing. Our counselor, Ms. Brown, will also have regular office hours. Students can email Ms. Brown and she will reach out to them via email or phone. If students are in need to speak with someone immediately, YouthConnection Helpline is available at 314-819-8802, text: BHEARD to 31658, or webchat: http://bhrstl.org/
Technology Support during Remote Learning
MRH will provide tech support for MRH devices and/or MRH online programs. MRH cannot troubleshoot Internet issues or systems issues related to your personal device. You will need to contact your Internet or system provider for questions related to these issues. The MRH School District technology support number is 314-446-3999.
Please leave a message that includes the issue you are having, the best number you can be reached, and an email address. This information is important so we can route the technology work orders to the appropriate personnel. A member of the tech team will respond as soon as possible.
In order to assist families and the community during this time, Charter Spectrum has committed to offering special discounts or 2-months of free internet and Wifi service to families of K-12 students who need remote education if they meet certain criteria. For more information regarding this program, please see the following link: Coronavirus Internet Offer for Students.
Retrieving Items from School:
Students will have an opportunity to retrieve needed items from our newly cleaned and sanitized building on Tuesday, March 24 from 1-5 PM. This is not a time for students to socialize. Please discuss with your children the need to practice social distancing at all times.
Our E-learning classes start on March 25th (an A day) and students will need all content-related materials, laptops, chargers, instruments, books, etc. to do their work from home. We expect the need to access the building to be very low but understand some students may need to grab necessary items. For the safety of everyone we only want students coming to the building if it is absolutely necessary. Please take a minute to fill out this form: MS Item Pick Up Form if you have a need to come to the building so we can get an idea of staffing to handle the need for students visiting. During these visits, we will be a single access point building only. All visitors must report to the front doors facing Manchester and the athletic field.
Please make note of the time slots below that are based on grade level and student last name in order to limit the number of individuals on campus in accordance with recommendations from the CDC and other health departments. Once again, please complete this google form: MS Item Pick Up Form to let administrators know which items/materials the student will need to retrieve from lockers or classrooms.
1:00 - 2:00 pm: 7th Grade, Last Name A - M
2:00 - 3:00 pm: 7th Grade, Last Name N - Z
3:00 - 4:00 pm: 8th Grade, Last Name A - M
4:00 - 5:00 pm: 8th Grade, Last Name N - Z
Furthermore, please make sure that item pickup is for essential learning and school-related needs such as Chromebooks, chargers, notebooks, coursework, and other learning materials.
Nurse Angel has already begun reaching out to families who may need prescription medications that are at the middle school / high school nurse’s office. If you have not heard from her to arrange the retrieval of your medications please call her at (314) 495-8165.
Students with IEP’s
Students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) will be provided with lessons and activities to support their learning as it relates to IEP goals. IEP Case Managers and other special education staff (Speech-Language Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, ABA Associate, Social Worker, etc.) will be in contact via email with each family regarding the next steps and to provide lessons and/or support. Students will receive lessons and/or staff support for each area of service on their IEP. For special education classes (Foundations courses, Learning Strategies, Life Skills), the special education teacher will provide lessons. For CWC classes, the general education teacher will provide lessons and the special education staff will be available to provide learning support, accommodations, and modifications. Completed work can be turned in electronically, it can be turned in on paper when school resumes, or parents/guardians can keep a daily log of completed lessons and submit the log to the special education staff. Additionally, all MRH staff are committed to ensuring accommodations and modifications are provided so that students with IEPs can continue to access meaningful learning activities. Special education staff will be available for support, at minimum, between 7:45 and 3:15 each school day. The first point of contact for families is your child’s special education Case Manager (Teacher or SLP). Ben Gleason, Special Education Coordinator for MRH, is also available at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What can Parents/Guardians do to help us during this time?
Help ensure students spend time daily online interacting with their class content each day.
Create a space/time where they interact with their learning materials. We realize parents/guardians have jobs, other kids to take care of, younger siblings and a plethora of other things to worry about so we appreciate any support you can give. We do know who is interacting on It’s Learning and can use that to mark daily attendance. Here are some daily questions to ask your student: “What 4 classes did you have today?” “Talk to me about your learning session in _____class?” “What do you still have to get done?” “Did you interact on Its Learning today?” “Do you need to email a teacher for anything?” We realize this is a new model of learning and we as educators are also learning as we go.
Students can be provided two meals (breakfast and lunch) daily or weekly. They can go to the nearest school site to pick up between the hours of 10 AM and 1 PM.
If your student is ill or unable to personally pick up their lunch please email Ms. Irene Wan at email@example.com to let her know so she can help you arrange the food pick-up.
Since my arrival eight years ago at MRH, my signature on all emails has been the Cadet Maxim from West Point Military Academy. “Excellence can be obtained. Risk more than others think is safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible.” While I do not believe this is a time for taking more risk than others think is safe, I do think it is a time when we need to think about our care for others and dream and expect more from our current situation. Please let me know how I can continue to care and maintain high expectations for our students and staff. We are all in this together and will come out stronger than we are now. This planning has made me think about how we can do better for students in the future who may require remote learning for medical or social-emotional needs. It should always be an expectation of getting better when faced with adversity. I appreciate all of you and look forward to continuing my service to the community in this time of need.
MRHMS Middle School