Dear WGSD Family,
I don’t think the news of schools closing came as a shock to most yesterday, but it was still sad news to share (view message by clicking here). The news meant that inequities related to our school’s closure would continue to affect many families and staff’s lives. Specifically, inequities related to access to technology, instant academic and social-emotional support from highly-trained staff, space to work relatively undisrupted, food, books, space to be by one’s self for a moment, etc. In addition, while this time of the year is recognized as the “testing season” in public school districts across the state, it’s also the time for final performances, school celebrations, and important transition events such as high school graduation. I’ve been thinking quite a bit about our senior class, and staff and students from across the district who will be moving on from our learning community for one reason or another. Our staff will continue to do its best to help support and care for our students, families and one another as we move through this, and that includes pledging to make the end of the year as special as we can for each!
What follows is my weekly message to students, along with recognition of last week’s winners of the student challenge and an introduction of this week’s challenge, which is a challenge to all, not just students. It’s my hope that each of you would consider sending me a short video (30 seconds or less) expressing gratitude for someone or some group caring for people during the COVID-19 crisis. Please share the video challenge with your children and consider submitting a video yourself!
To check out the creative and fun videos submitted by students and families last week, please see the video below! A donation of $50 will be made to the Webster-Rock Hill Ministries in honor of last week’s participants.
If your child(ren) or you would like to submit a video, please:
- Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org by 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 15,
- Be sure to let me know if you don’t want your child’s video included in my weekly message next Friday, and
- know that donations related to the challenge will not come from district funds.
TALKING TO CHILDREN
For support talking to children about things related to COVID-19, including the death of people they know, please access a variety of resources on our COVID-19, “Tips to Talking to Children” web page by clicking here.
We have outlined plans for grading and student expectations moving forward and shared this information with our teachers. This varies slightly based on the needs at each grade level.
Our goals remain the same:
- Keep students connected to learning experiences.
- Provide some normalcy for students through engagement in learning activities and relationships with their teachers.
Given the challenges associated with learning from home, we will minimize the impact of grades during this closure and focus on essential learning and growth for our students.
Preschool (2-5 yr olds): Teachers will continue to provide families with feedback on their child’s submitted work. The end of year Family Conference Report will utilize data collected in GOLD regarding strengths in all domains. Family Conference reports will be shared with all families.
Elementary (K-5): Recognizing the challenges of learning from home, teachers will provide regular feedback to students regarding their work and the third-trimester progress report will be a narrative of each child’s progress composed by the classroom teacher (not the regular progress report).
Steger: Teachers will provide regular feedback to students regarding their work. Letter grades for the third trimester will only consist of work completed prior to spring break. Teachers will allow students to make-up missing assignments. A narrative summary related to work completed after spring break will accompany the report card.
Hixson: Teachers will provide regular feedback to students regarding their work and students will receive a grade of “pass” or “fail” during this grading period. Students can also continue to improve the grades they had prior to spring break (3rd Qtr) and either turn in missing assignments or redo assignments. Only assignments that can improve the student’s grades will be recorded and calculated into the grade. The 3rd Quarter grades will also be the recorded 2nd semester grades for the year. The last day to submit 3rd Quarter work is May 8th.
Webster Groves High School: Teachers will provide regular feedback to students regarding their work and students can continue to improve the grades they had prior to spring break. Given the transcription of high school grades as students move from high school to post-secondary settings, we feel it’s important for letter grades to be communicated.
UPDATED K – 5TH GRADE ALTERNATIVE LEARNING PLAN
Based on feedback received, the K-5 Alternative Learning Plan has changed a bit. Please click here to review expectations for classroom learning and communication.
Recently, we’ve received some questions regarding our use of the Zoom video conferencing platform in support of student learning. We want to reassure everyone that, from the onset of our use of this tool, we’ve been careful to establish precautionary measures in support of the safety of our students. In addition to requiring passwords for each online meeting with a district staff member (host), the following settings are enabled or disabled in order to prevent unwanted participants from entering:
- The video conference will not begin until the host initiates the session (students can’t enter the “conference room” or session ahead of the host)
- Students must remain in a “waiting room” until the host grants each access to enter the session
- Upon entry, the host must grant each individual participant permission to be heard and seen as the sound is “muted” and “video off” upon entry to the session
- The host cannot take over control of a student’s computer
- Students are not allowed to participate in a “private chat” during the session, all messages are shared with the entire group
- Only the host can project a file, presentation, etc. onto the screen for participants to see
- The host may return a student to the waiting room
- While students may communicate via the chat feature, the annotations feature is turned off
- The host may remove a student at any time and that person is unable to rejoin the group
As always, we will continue to monitor our practices in support of the safety and security of our students.
DISTRICT AND LOCAL RESOURCES
District Meal Program: Click here to learn more about the district’s “Grab and Go” breakfast and lunch meal program, free to all children between the ages of 0-18.
Regional Food and Emotional Well-Being Support: Click here to access a variety of free, regional resources.
Discussing COVID-19 with Children: Click here for tips from professionals for speaking to children about the COVID-19 crisis and monitoring the effect of things on them. to learn from mental health professionals about talking with children of all ages about what’s happening and signs you might look for to seek mental health assistance for them: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Z0baGBgRs77oAaksk9LqEPpbuJFbrj8F/view
TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT FOR DISTRICT DEVICES
Online learning is underway! If you’d like to view a variety of resources and “how to” videos in support of your children’s learning, please access the district’s Alternative Learning Plan here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1N_JnVYSMFJw0FXQrqHg5xAblI8Ntto3h/view?usp=sharing.
If you need assistance with the district computer you’re using, please contact the Parent Technology Support Line at 314-455-7080, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
ENROLLING NEW STUDENTS INCLUDING INCOMING KINDERGARTNERS
During our extended school closure, we will continue to enroll students through email, phone, etc. You will begin the enrollment process for your child(ren) by contacting Anna Trinh at email@example.com or 314-961-1233. Please know that we do understand that certain circumstances will make this enrollment process unique. Please click the following link, to view the documents you’ll need to enroll your child(ren): https://www.webster.k12.mo.us/site/Default.aspx?PageID=26.