Dear Northmont Family,
I hope this email finds you and your loved ones healthy and rested. We are certainly living in extraordinary times and the situation seems to change minute by minute. With that said, I would like to give you some information and updates with regards to the online learning that will begin on August 27th.
First and foremost, our wonderful Northmont staff and I are very excited to see the many smiling faces of our returning students and families, and getting to know all of our new family members. Many staff members and I are parents too and we will be navigating distance learning just like you. My twin boys are entering 2nd grade this year and I completely understand the challenges that come with Distance Learning, from the parent perspective. We will strive to support you and your family throughout this experience.
We will begin our 2020-2021 school year on August 27th, in a Distance Learning environment, which will look very different from what we did in the spring when we were working in “crisis learning.” Here is some information that I know and can share with you as of today.
Is the office open?
Yes. Our Office Hours 7:30 am-3:30 pm. School Office Manager, Brenda Keagy, and Health Technician, Debbie Williams, will be in the office daily during these hours. Due to social distancing guidelines, we are encouraging families to please call (619) 668-5830 to set up an appointment if a visit to the office is needed. We will also be available for walk in appointments. However, we can only have 1 guest in the office at a time, so there may be a wait. Please remember to bring your masks when visiting the office and follow all social distancing guidelines posted. If you have any questions feel free to call our school’s main line at (619) 668-5830 or email Brenda Keagy at Brenda.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online Learning - What will my child’s school day look like?
The state has mandated a minimum of instructional minutes that a child must accomplish each school day. Kinder = 180 minutes, 1st, 2nd, 3rd = 230 minutes, and 4th, 5th, 6th = 240 minutes. Based on that, your child’s day will be split between live real-time learning with the teacher and their peers via Zoom (synchronous learning), as well as independent work time (asynchronous learning) which will include assignments that need to be completed like regular classwork. Independent work time will be a combination of hands on teacher assigned work and assignments on our on-line programs.
Will there be a daily schedule?
Yes. Your child will follow a set schedule every day starting at 8:00am. All classes will schedule a lunch break each day at a specific time, likely to be at 12:00pm. Your child’s classroom teacher will provide you a daily schedule prior to the start of school. *Please note: the first days of school will emphasize building connections within the classroom and teaching digital skills that will ensure a successful year. We will spend time reviewing expectations and building relationships just as if we were in the actual classroom.
Assignments - How will I know what my child is supposed to be working on?
This year we will be much more systematic about how students are assigned work. Teachers will be using a Learning Management System to post assignments, give explanations, provide resources, post links to Zooms, and to collect assignments. Grades K-2 will be using Seesaw and grades 3-6 will be using Google Classroom.
Attendance and Grades - Does my child have to participate in distance learning?
Unlike last year, participation is mandatory. Attendance will be taken daily during synchronous learning sessions in Zoom and assignments will be collected digitally and assessed. We know that adhering to the schedule may be hard for some parents who have their own work responsibilities. We are here to support you and together we will find a solution that works for your family. Once we begin, please communicate your needs with your child’s classroom teacher.
My child has an IEP, what can I expect?
You can expect your child’s IEP minutes and goals to be met with their SAI teacher and/or Speech Pathologist (SLP) via Zoom. IEP meetings will also be held via Zoom. SAI teachers will be working closely with their General Education colleagues to provide a schedule that supports and also allows for students to have appropriate time in both their general education classroom and their SAI classroom..
Devices and Distribution - What if we don’t have a device or internet?
Grades K-3 will be using an iPad and Grades 4-6 will be using a Chromebook. If you have not yet done so, please follow this link (Device Survey) to complete the survey so we know if you need assistance with devices or internet. *Please note: phones are not reliable. Your child will need access to an I-Pad, Chromebook or appropriate computer for their school-day. We will be distributing devices on August 25th from 9:00 am-12:00 pm and 1:00-6:00 pm. We really encourage you to check out a school device.
First Day Packets will be handed out on Friday 8/21 from 9:00am-12:00pm and 1:00-6:00pm from the front entrance to the school. There are many important documents that you will need prior to the first day of school. You will also be able to pick up workbooks and materials that your child will use for their learning. You will be returning your signed documents on Tuesday 8/25 when you pick up your device and you will also receive your teacher’s name at that time. Please come with your documents from the First Day Packet completed and ready to turn in. Please be prepared to follow all health and safety guidelines and social distancing requirements to ensure everyone’s safety.
When will I find out who my child’s teacher is?
You will receive a welcome card with your child’s teacher and classroom number when you come to school on Tuesday, 8/25 to return your completed forms from the First Day Packets. At that time you can also check out a District device to use for Distance Learning. These cards will be handed out individually and only to the family of each student. The schedule for this will be 9:00am-12:00pm and 1:00pm-6:00pm. Don’t forget to bring your completed documents and observe social distancing requirements.
Will there be a Back to School Night?
Yes, teachers will be working to plan a “Back to School Night” experience for families virtually. More information from your child’s classroom teacher will be sent to you after August 27th.
Is ESS available during distance learning?
Yes and No. ESS is offering emergency childcare on our campus. Space is limited. ESS staff has always supported our students with homework and academic achievement. During childcare, time will be set aside for students to work on their assignments and staff will be available to support students’ access to instruction. ESS staff is not able to provide 1:1 support. Parents will need to check in on their child’s progress on a regular basis and communicate with their classroom teacher. For more information, you can contact our ESS site lead, Matthew Winet at Matthew.email@example.com.
Will school lunch be available for students?
Yes. On August 27th, a “grab and go” 2-day meal pack will be offered from 11:00-1:00 at Northmont. Starting Monday, August 31st, meal packs will be distributed once a week in 5-day meal packs. Meals will only be available to students who are enrolled within the district. If you attend Northmont on a transfer, you can go to the school closest to your home for meal pick up. If you are picking up lunch from the school, your child does not need to be present.
They will check that your child is registered in the district. Lunch will also be available for purchase. You will need to complete a free-reduced lunch application that will be provided to you in your child’s first day packet in order to qualify for your student to receive free or reduced lunch. Please see an email flyer coming out in the next day or two for more information. Again, all classes will schedule a lunch break from each day.
How can I Stay connected?
Please continue to check your emails for updates and communications. If you are not receiving email updates please call Brenda at (619)668-5830 or email at Brenda.firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure we have accurate information. You can also visit our school website at https://www.lmsvschools.org/northmont/. There is a tab titled “Online Learning” that has videos and other helpful information for distance learning. Additionally, you can follow us on social media.
I understand that there might be many more questions you may have. I promise to keep you updated as I am made aware of new information. We appreciate your patience and understanding throughout this process. The Northmont Staff and I are grateful for each of you and committed to supporting you and your child’s success.
Laura Hollis, Principal