April 16 RMS Covid-19 Community Update
April 16 RMS Covid-19 Community Update
Dear Renfroe Community,
I hope that everyone had a healthy and restful break. I apologize for this lengthy report, but there is a lot to communicate. Please take a moment to read over the following updates on the updated CSD school calendar, RMS teaching and learning, RMS grading and RMS communication. I know many students want to retrieve their belongings from their lockers. We will have an answer to how and when that will happen as soon as possible.
Principal, Renfroe Middle School
2019-20 School Year Calendar Update
The Board of Education voted at their April 14 meeting to end the school year students on May 22, instead of May 29.
At all grade levels, the month of May typically includes several days for large-scale assessments, such as GMAS and MAP, as well as numerous special events. With the elimination of such assessments and events this year, those days are no longer needed. Therefore, the CSD administrative team proposed and the Board voted to approve this change.
Although students’ school year will end sooner, staff will continue to work their full work calendar. For teachers, this means they will have about a week of additional time to close out their classrooms for the current year, prepare materials for their next teaching assignment, and participate in essential professional learning that was deferred by the current disruption. Additionally, staff will spend the time to reflect on what did and did not work well with remote learning: this will help us better serve students in the event of a future long-term closure.
Teaching and Learning
We will continue to provide instruction based on a 4-day rotation with the 5th day, Fridays, designated for check-ins and support. While school is in session, students are expected to complete assignments. Student learning for the remainder of the year is important and will impact their preparedness for their class and grade-level next school year. Students who are unable to complete work for reasons related to access and/or personal or family illness should communicate with their school. RMS will:
- Continue providing weekly plans by Monday morning.
- Focus on essential content and the social and emotional well-being of students.
- Increase our efforts to offer a minimum of one face-to-face session with teachers per week. This may be video lessons, small-group live meetings, or one-to-one live meetings. Students cannot be required to be online at a certain time, therefore sessions should be recorded so that students can access the session at a later time. Various grades and subjects cannot be held to the same expectation. However, all teachers are encouraged to maximize face-to-face interaction.
Grading and promotion guidelines were developed in accordance with Georgia Department of Education guidelines including:
- Students should not be held back in their expected progression – graduation, advancement to the next grade, etc. – as a result of the COVID-19 school closures. The state has granted the necessary flexibility to make this possible.
- Students should not be penalized for circumstances over which they have no control.
- Every possible effort within health and safety guidelines should be made to ensure students demonstrate minimum proficiency to complete course requirements.
- RMS will issue progress reports at the end of April. These grades will be based on work completed in the third term prior to the March 12, 2020 school closure. These grades will represent the final grades for students for the third and final grading term (unless a student is not passing). Connections (not including Health and Personal Fitness) grades for the third term will be N/A, since students were only enrolled in those classes for two weeks prior to the closure.
- 8th grade students currently taking Health or Personal Fitness will have the opportunity to officially complete these classes, since these courses are requirements for high school graduation. Students that do not adequately complete the coursework will have to take Health or Personal Fitness in high school in order to graduate.
- Students not meeting minimum requirements for course completion will be offered personalized opportunities to meet the minimum requirements within the online environment. More details on this process will be shared with affected students and their parents.
- Students are expected to complete work until the end of the school year. Work will be assessed and feedback will be given to students. Learning for the remainder of the year is important and will impact their preparedness for their class and grade level next school year.
Two weeks into on-line learning, we have all been adjusting to our new roles as best we can. Teachers and administrators continue to reach out to students and families to solve technology issues and to ensure all students are engaged as best as they can. We collect this data each week and do everything we can to engage all learners. Teachers, administrators, counselors, and social workers are supporting students and families in this effort. We will continue to do so for the remainder of the school year.
Teachers have been improving their lessons and communicating with students as best they can in this new environment. As they learn this new way of teaching, they are tweaking and adjusting as they go. It’s been like building the airplane while it’s in the air. RMS teachers are ramping up their efforts to provide more video recorded lessons and opportunities to meet with small numbers of students to check in and answer questions. Please encourage your child to take advantage of these opportunities.