Principal Welcome Letter – Start of School Information

SCHOOL ORIENTATION INFORMATION – SPMS Aug. 2020

Dear SPMS Families: Welcome to the new school year! I never imagined that we would begin a school year without physically being in the building, but this is the reality for the beginning of the 2020-21 school year. The first day of classes will be on Thursday, August. 13, and it will be a completely virtual day. It is an “Odd day”, students will attend periods 1, 3, and 5.

Our devoted SPMS teachers and staff have been preparing for distance learning throughout the summer. We are excited to partner with you during these critical years of your child’s life and during this unprecedented time in our history. As a parent of a senior at SPHS, I understand the challenges associated with distance learning and the disappointment that our children are feeling returning to school in the distance learning model, which is why our collaboration is even more critical. Family and community support and partnership are essential to student success, and together we can make the school year valuable for our kids.

Virtual learning is new, and we are all learning together. The following information will serve as a guide to help you navigate all aspects of distance learning for middle school students.

Students are expected to participate in school daily and follow the bell schedule included. Unlike distance learning in the spring, teachers will be presenting live instruction daily, taking attendance, and will be assigning letter grades for assignments and tests, so please ensure your child engages daily. The schedule in each class may reflect short periods of live online learning throughout the day followed by time for independent learning activities.

While distance learning looks and feels different from in-person instruction, the program we have developed will ensure that our students continue to meet the learning standard in all subjects during the time we are engaged in distance learning. They will work and interact with their classroom teacher(s) to achieve their educational goals. In addition to teacher-led instruction, students will experience opportunities to interact with other students in their class(es) via Google Meets or Zoom.

In this parent guide, I will provide you with an overview of what you need to know to have a successful distance learning experience for your child(ren).

Brief Overview of Distance Learning at SPMS Our distance learning program is designed to ensure that students are engaged in virtual lessons, learning activities, and work periods across the disciplines, Monday through Friday. Your child’s six teachers will each have a google classroom and will meet with students daily via Google Meets or Zoom. The login information will be sent to the students via an email on Wednesday, August 13th in the afternoon.

Teachers will be utilizing a variety of learning management systems to keep our students engaged, including Google Classroom, Google Docs, ZOOM, Listenwise, Kami, WeVideo, BrainPOP, Mosa Mack, and more. If you don’t know how to use these resources, do not worry — your child knows! If your child doesn’t know, don’t worry — your child’s teacher will help them.

Remember, one day at a time! We’ve structured the program during certain hours each day to mirror our in-person program as much as possible.

Preparing for Distance Learning at Your Home If you haven’t already done so, please find a quiet place in your home where your child can engage in schoolwork for multiple hours each day, Monday-Friday. Make sure they have their SPUSD Chromebook charged and ready each day. Students will join each class with their cameras on and their microphones muted. Per the SPUSD Netiquette Policy students are not allowed to record or take pictures during their virtual class sessions. Please be aware that recording of teachers and students is prohibited by law.

Please review the SPUSD “Netiquette” policy below:

Attendance During Distance Learning

Daily attendance is required. Students will log in to each of their classes and their teacher will record attendance as we would on a normal school day. If your child is unable to log-in at the required time for any reason, please email your child’s teacher. If your child is absent from class, please email our school attendance clerk Eva Puccio at epuccio@spusd.net.

Question About My Schedule or Classes Once you have access to your schedule, you or your child might have questions about the schedule. If you have questions, please fill out the scheduling request form HERE. We will do our best to answer requests in a timely manner. Our first priority is to fix any schedules that have missing classes or periods. Mistakes happen! Our team will reach out to you to address your concerns.

Distance Learning Bell Schedule

Rolling Block Calendar– Website has ODD/EVEN days marked

Next Steps: What to Expect – Wednesday afternoon (Aug 12th, 2020) you will be able to access your child’s schedule through the parent portal. Your child will also receive emails from their teachers. Keep an eye out for this communication. Expect that there will be some bumps along the way. Take a deep breath, remember it will get easier as time goes on, and we need to take it one day at a time.

GETTING STARTED WITH DISTANCE LEARNING

  • By late Wednesday afternoon, August 12, teachers will provide instructions on accessing their digital classrooms.
  • Students should check their SPUSD student email account for updates from their teachers on accessing a digital classroom. Students in grades 6-8 should expect digital classroom login information from each subject area teacher (6).
  • Student Google usernames and passwords are accessible in the AERIES Parent Portal (https://my.spusd.net) under Student Info and Google Apps.

  • Parents should expect students to participate in live interactive sessions for 50% of the secondary instructional period.
  • When logging into live interaction sessions via Zoom or Google Meets, please ensure that students are logged into their Google account, enabling teachers to see their names during the live sessions – with cameras on and microphone off
  • Follow link below for help with Google Classroom if needed. https://4.files.edl.io/f50c/03/26/20/192807-5d6088fe-c09d-4acc-9142-5d6c0144c3a3.pdf
  • TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT
  • SPUSD has created a tech support call-in line that will go live on August 12. The call-in hours are 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and the phone number is 805-285-2526.
  • SPUSD also will offer tech support via email that will go live on August 12. Use the email address listed below depending upon your student’s school:
  • ○ South Pasadena Middle School: SPMStech@spusd.net

This webpage contains resources and tutorials for parents with more resources being added daily.

Please be informed that if your child or a member of your family tests positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19) or has been exposed to an individual who has tested positive, please notify me directly at cbusick@spusd.net. If you have any questions or comments you would like share with us, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me, Mr. KC, or your child’s counselor. It is important to take the time to get to know our child’s teachers and our school staff, especially in this virtual space. We will provide opportunities for school-wide, grade level, and special areas of interest for parental support. Communication will be vital to our success this year, so please commit to staying connected to the classroom. Great schools are a direct reflection of the parent and teacher/school connection. WE NEED YOU! We need you to ensure your child is ready and prepared to learn daily! Therefore, get ready to “plugin” and partner with SPMS!!

We’re all in this together, and we look forward to partnering with you throughout our distance learning journey.

Take care, stay healthy, and Go Tiger Cubs!

Best,

Cheryl Busick

Principal

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