There are several key pieces of Governor Newsom's actions that I want to highlight:
To that effect, this is how our learning community is responding:
March 16, 2020
This week was spent coordinating pick up of materials and laptops for over 600 students from our site. Over 600 computers were delivered to homes. With approval, all of my kiddos had laptops they are familiar with provided. We worked so hard, and under conditions that quickly changed from moment to moment.
We organized materials on Monday, and before we could finish the shelter in place was called. Even so, over the next day we finished and by Wednesday, and Thursday, parents drove through the loop in front of the school to pick up items without getting out of their cars. All those days, we prepared so when the serious shelter in place came about we could organize our homes as classrooms this week. Our sites and administrators were organized; we had a minimum of two Professional Developments (PDs) for online education to attend, and we fill out a daily Google form that describes how we are spending our time. We learned Google meeting, WeVideo, Zoom (thankfully I kind of know this one, thanks CARsplus), and Google Classroom in depth thanks to a kind teacher who is now a new friend. I had so many teachers helping me this week. The trunk of my car was filled with IEP binders, curriculum binders, an educational easel, and Staples made a pretty penny off of me so I could set up my family room with visuals, a dry erase board and all of those phonics posters we use for daily review with the direct instruction methods we have used all year.
I met with parents all week remotely to help them learn the tools that I had learned the morning before, and I had two IEPs, remotely this week. I had my first parent meeting today with 14 people in the meeting space. Our Principal and Vice-Principal have shown amazing courage this week. Even with one of my IEPs being canceled because there was no place for the translator to report during a shelter in place, we managed to reschedule and hold a Part 1. All this time, I am thinking of my live meetings with small groups to deliver the direct instruction, and yes I sent their phonics journals home knowing that I will not get them back.
Each student in our site got materials, and no student was left out. Our Principals are still keeping some office hours and if those students who did not pick up items. If those 40 out of 600, were to arrange a time to come to the site, they would be given the materials their teacher organized for them. I sent homework for one week and scanned the rest of the quarter's homework for both grades. I set up the spelling for the next two weeks. The whole unit on analog time went home, and as soon as the Amazon ordered clocks come in, without touching them, I am mailing them out to each household.
Every teacher I know is setting up parent office hours each week ( including yours truly), and providers have already set up their websites so we can share them (PE, Music, Science). The providers that require confidentiality, have already reached out and set appointments with parents and have websites that they are inviting us and their families to during this time; those links are in my Google classroom with Google forms attached. The behaviorist is already setting up her hours with parents and showed me her list of priorities (she shared a schedule rubric with me today that will really help kiddos) to organize the at-home time. We consulted for two hours about each of those she is supporting. We took time to think of what their needs now and what will their needs potentially be once they return to school.
We have so much to do to bend time into user experiences for our kiddos and families, and our learning community is doing just that; bending time. Each day for me begins with filling out that Google planning form so my superiors know what I am doing for the day, and rarely do I stop by 5 pm. I am also keeping a journal because there is nothing more useful than rising to an occasion and then looking back once the crisis has passed. I changed my family room into a whiteboard, a mini-rectangle plastic table and hung the calendar on the wall with the number chart. I am learning so many online things so fast and finding ways to imagine how they can work in this new environment. All of the items I am using are District approved as learning tools, and I am so thankful to IXL who is now helping kiddos practice ELA along with the Math we already had.
Our SPED director is doing an amazing job keeping us informed about the legalities of equity and confidentiality. She has personally answered two of my emails this week amongst the hundreds she gets every day. Our principal has done the same. I am feeling so supported right now, and nervous, and with classes beginning on Monday, I am cramming to get it right with that Google classroom in dual grade situation. I have one parent who volunteered to help me pilot the delivery of the Google Classroom directions, and login procedures and try out a few assignments to see if the Google classroom is set up user friendly for 2nd and 3rd-grade users for this SPED teacher.
All in all, I think it is the beginning of something we never envisioned, and it will shapeshift at least a few times to meet the needs of our learners and their families. That is all for my little corner of the teacher world. Bye for now from our teacher’s family; two dogs, one cat, one-third grader, a son who is an essential worker, and a hubby who had to turn to work from home for now.
Sherry Doyle, Region 3