I hope you are all doing well during this uncertain time. I want to assure you all that the entire staff at MRA, myself included, are doing the best we can to provide some sense of normalcy and routine for your child. I have found with my own children that a set schedule does so much for their sense of security and purpose. Please know that the next few weeks is going to be an ongoing process of trial and error. This "virtual" school setting is new to all involved in your child's education. I would like to use an excerpt from Shelly Urben's recent parent memo to better explain and reinforce MRA's approach moving forward:
Oregon Department of Education has asked all public schools, including public charter schools, to “deliver supplemental education and learning supports to students to the extent practical through independent study and other appropriate options.” This is what we are doing at MRA. It’s difficult, because we can’t require your students attend, and we can’t require they complete the classwork. That being said, we strongly encourage your children do as much as possible. The teachers are using a variety of tools to keep your children engaged, socially active online, and to provide them with some of that support that your might be struggling to provide.
As your child's teacher, I would also like to encourage your child to be engaged as much as possible during the next few weeks/months. With that said, please remember that all online activities and lessons are not required, either to be attended or completed. 5th and 6th graders do have an advantage over some of their younger peers due to their level of familiarity with Google Classroom. Google Classroom will be the main place to find activities, lessons, supplemental activities and learning supports.
I will be using Google Classroom (GC) on a daily basis to provide your student with Morning Meeting activities and a daily Journal Prompt. The use of Google Hangout and Google Chat will also be used in whole group, small group and individual settings. Please let me know if you are uncomfortable with your child using any "video chat" function. I will be providing Alder East students with weekly agendas in order for both parents and students to be fully aware of upcoming activities and class meetings. Reading, writing, humanities and social imagination activities will all be a part of your child's online learning supports.
If you have not already, please sign up to enable the use of EPIC! Books at home. I have already emailed you the sign-up information. The class code is pld8007, go to: www.getepic.com. This is a great resource for at home reading, with access to hundreds of books at various reading levels. EPIC! can be used for Reading Logs.
In summary, please continue to stay in touch with me during the remainder of this adventure in "virtual learning" and support your child to engage as much as he/she can depending on your family situation. I look forward to coming back together as a classroom community. I miss every student at MRA and I'm confident that this new way of connecting will benefit the children emotionally and socially. The educational part of this experience is also important and will come into place as we all adjust to these new routines.