Our medieval history and economics teacher, Mr. Gray, shared a timely quote by G.K. Chesterton with me recently: "An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered." We certainly are beginning a new adventure as we pivot to Google Classroom and remote learning for the remainder of the school year. This is a development that does, indeed, bring with it some inconveniences. But as I was telling the good people who joined me for our first Virtual Headmaster Coffee on Friday, this has been a time when our community's generosity and kindness has truly shone through.
Speaking of our first Virtual Headmaster Coffee (click for the slideshow and the recording), perhaps a quick summary might be helpful. Here's a high-level overview of the topics we discussed.
Google Classroom. Rather than sending home PDF packets, we are now using a fully functional remote learning platform. All teachers have classrooms, and all students have logins. We sent emails to all families on Friday with login information. Students will use Google Classroom to receive assignments, communicate with teachers, and turn in their work. We also have a website for anyone with tech questions about accessing this platform: https://theveeya.com/GreatHeartsFamilyHelp/
Tutoring Hours. All faculty will host tutoring hours via ZOOM, a videoconferencing platform. This time will function much like Lyceum. It's optional, but it's also a great opportunity for students and teachers to receive any extra help that they might need. Our teachers have coordinated by grade-level to deconflict their tutoring schedules. That way, students have maximal access. Each teacher's tutoring hours are posted in their Google Classroom.
Returning Week One Packets. We have encouraged teachers to use creative means for confirming that students have completed these. For example, a teacher may create a brief skill check in Google Classroom based upon the information in the packet. Another option is for the student to scan and upload relevant pages from the packet into Google Classroom. The teachers will post their instructions on their Google Classroom. We will not be collecting any paper packets.
State Exams & Accountability. North Phoenix Prep is in a good position here. We've consistently been an "A" school, and we've received "results-based funding" on the basis of our academic results year after year. The State has decided to cancel State Exams this year and to hold all schools harmless. We will be an "A" school next year & continue to receive results-based funding.
Grading. While we are still working out nuts and bolts of what this will look like, our constant refrain is abundant grace and mercy. Some of our students may have difficulty accessing our remote learning platform. Everyone (including the teachers) will be learning how to use it well.
End-of-Year Events. Our priority right now is figuring this out for our Seniors. For example, we are looking to contract with a videographer to create a montage of "Senior Tributes." These would normally be delivered in-person at Senior Dinner, but we think this will still honor our Seniors. We'd also like to host a real graduation at Calvary North, although that may need to be delayed until the Summer. So much is contingent right now that it's difficult to make concrete plans, but we are forging ahead where we can, and we will keep the community updated on our progress.
Refunds. We will have more information out to the community next week, so please hold off on sending requests to our office. Our intrepid team is currently working hard on organizing the return of student materials. But basically, there will be a proportionate refund available for activities that your child could not participate in. There will also be an opportunity for each family to donate their refund to the school.
Summer School. We haven't determined whether we will do this remotely or on campus. If we do it remotely, then we will have summer school for high school credit recovery only. More to come in the next few weeks.
Phew! We covered a lot of ground at our HM Coffee! I hope you'll be able to join us for the next one!
Cheers! And stay safe, Gladiators!