August 17, 2020
As we inch closer to the end of summer and begin to get ready for the start of school, I wanted to make sure that we continue to keep everyone in the loop and ensure that everyone is aware of our plans to reopen this year. We are still planning to start school on August 24. If you have not yet officially chosen your education model via Skyward, you need to do so ASAP. This will be for all students, regardless of which instructional option you chose.
Students enrolled in the Hybrid model and those using Canvas five days a week will start the week on Monday, August 24 and Tuesday, August 25 by attending online class meetings. The students enrolled in the West Jefferson Hills Cyber Academy, using Edgenuity, will meet for an orientation with Mrs. Merwin on either Monday, August 24 or Tuesday, August 25. All learners must complete all asynchronous training modules on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of that week.
On Monday and Tuesday, students enrolled in the Hybrid model, using Canvas, will have their meeting times live-streamed via Google Meets in order to provide students a chance to get to know their teachers and fellow classmates in all of their courses. All students should follow their schedule as if it were a normal day - except that everyone is online. On Wednesday, August 26 through Friday, August 28, all students will be completing autonomous modules in Canvas that include topics on Canvas usage and health and safety protocols. Plans for these three days are still evolving, but they will be spent on topics related to their buildings and other informational meetings that are typically done at the beginning of the year; they will be asynchronous modules. Actual in-person classroom instruction will begin on August 31 with Team Dignity. The focus in most classes is to assess any potential loss of learning from last spring and provide any needed remediation of key concepts that will be necessary for classes moving forward. It's important to be patient these first few weeks as we navigate a model that has never been done before. I can assure you that our administrators, teachers, and staff have been working hard all summer to prepare and plan for the start of this school year, but remember that it’s going to take some time for teachers to get used to being “live” and recording important components of their lessons for at-home learning.
We will also be scheduling virtual parent trainings for Canvas this week with our Canvas Specialist, Mrs. Jennifer Kassimer. Meetings will occur during the day and evening hours, and all training will be recorded for future viewing. All kindergartners will receive their Chromebooks during kindergarten orientation which is scheduled for August 18. We will be posting training and other resource videos to our website which will serve as a repository of information about Canvas and other programs we are using. Mrs. Kassimer will be following up with a letter introducing Canvas and directions on how to gain access.
Please make sure that you are checking your email regularly. I know it will seem like you are being bombarded with emails from the district, but it is critical to read them as they will provide further information and important details regarding the opening of school. It is also important to make sure your emergency contact information is up-to-date in Skyward. Canvas will not be available to students until the evening of August 23. Students will not need to use it until Wednesday of that week, so that shouldn’t be a problem. Each building will also be scheduling specific times for those students who are using the full-time online Canvas option to pick up materials that will be needed for their classes.
As we move forward into uncharted territory, it is important to remember that we are all in this together. We are asking all of our families that have traveled to hot spots (as identified by the CDC) within two weeks of any live instruction or activities to quarantine for two weeks. They will still be able to participate remotely and can resume the in-person Hybrid model after that time period. Our success will be resting on the shoulders of every single member of our school community to be compliant and follow safety best practices as well as stay home when ill. I am confident that by working together, we will be able to bring our students back to school full-time in the very near future.
Dr. Michael Ghilani