Frances C. Richmond Middle School
Friday, March 20, 2020
Dear RMS Community:
After 200 days we begin again. Six months ago we invited all the members of the RMS Community to join us on a journey that offered a “new beginning.” We gathered in the gym on that first Friday and discussed how we could build a community, learn from each other, ask important questions, and create meaning in our year. There was a certain nervousness from all of us about what would happen, about whether our plans would work as we hoped, and whether we would be successful. We all acknowledged our worries and fears, and decided to make the year as positive as we could. It is fair to see none of us foresaw the incredible challenge we face. Now we “begin again, again” and ask that we undertake this new foray with the same positive energy and joy we brought to those later summer days in August. Going forward will certainly be new for all of us, but together we will grow stronger from the challenge.
Today we noticed a decided “start of the new year” energy in all the remote meetings we attended. While it is certainly strange to prepare for school with an empty building, we are ready.
Previously we have discussed the philosophical underpinnings of our remote learning plan, but now offer a more specific outline of the logistics of delivering individualized remote instruction to 360 unique and wonderful students. We have tried to anticipate all questions, but know that more will arise. We will be flexible and adapt to the situation, striving, at all times, to keep students, staff, and families connected to each other.
Please tell your students that we miss them.
As always, please reach out with any questions or concerns.
Remote Learning FAQ
When does it start?
Students should login to their schoology account starting at 9:00 am on Monday morning to begin their remote learning experience.
What is the schedule
In building the schedule we have tried to be mindful that families in the community have many different realities at the moment, and following a “standard” schedule may not work. Students should work with their homeroom teachers, subject teachers, and caregivers to create a learning schedule that works best for them and their situation. We have crafted lessons to be due on a weekly basis, allowing for flexibility (but please do not leave all work until Thursday night). We understand this is a significant change from the highly structured school day, but felt that the ability to adapt school to our new reality was vitally important.
How will students access assignments?
Will there be other communication available?
Who will be the primary contact for my student?
Homeroom teachers will reach out to students on a regular basis to check in on work schedules, answer questions, and maintain school connections. While subject teachers will be available and reach out, the primary contact will build upon the existing relationships of the homeroom.
When will teachers be available?
All teachers will publish office hours on Schoology when they will be exclusively available for student interaction. We know that the Highschool has blocked off 11-1 for their office hours, so we have tried to offer different times so that we avoid family conflicts over devices. As situations change we will try to adapt to everyone’s ever changing schedule going forward. Again, we will use email as a primary method of communication because it allows for communication that is not reliant on both parties being free at the same time.
What will the curriculum be?
At the start of our remote learning experience we will focus on any work still required for Q3 (missing assignments, incomplete assignments, etc.) After all extant work is completed we will shift to new curricular areas, designed by teachers to engage as many students in varied learning as possible.
What about grades?
We will continue to grade materials that we assigned before our move to a remote platform, and those grades will count toward Q3 grades. New material will be available remotely so that we can prepare our students for their educational future. Issues of equity of access and situation will make our grading policy for Q4 flexible. We will continue to offer specific feedback, though the traditional grading structure will be suspended.
What is the access to school?
We are committed to having people in the school building for as long as it is allowed. If you need something from the school, please email Tim Boyle or Anissa Morrison to coordinate the pick up. One of us should be at school during school hours if you choose to call 643-6040. Please let us know what you need, we will work with you.
What is the access to the library?
Good News! The RMS Library now has a subscription to Sora! This means your student can check out eBooks and audiobooks to read or listen to on their device. Click here for directions on how to use Sora.
Procedure for Checking Out Books During our School Closure.
If you do not want to use Sora, there will be “traditional” books available.
The librarian and library assistant will be handling books with gloves
The books will be in the vestibule at the front of the building when they are ready for pick up
Please do not return books at this time. We will let everyone know when we are ready to take them back.
If the librarian or library assistant becomes ill, we will not continue to check books out.
Unfortunately, we cannot allow students and families to come into the library.
How to Check Out Books:
Each student will be allowed to check out up to 10 books each week. This will allow the librarians to handle the volume of books and make sure there are books available for everyone.
Video Tutorial: https://youtu.be/wyRE2D_r9tQ
Step by Step Instructions:
If you want more than three books, or want to pick all 10 yourself, use our library catalog, Destiny Discover, and place them on hold.
Log in at the top right of the page with your regular school username and password.
Search for a book by author, title, subject, or keyword.
The books will be marked in or out. Right now, you can only check out books that are in. If the book you want is in, click the “Hold” button. If you don’t see the Hold button, check to make sure you are logged in.
We will send a message through Schoology and your school email to notify you that it is ready. Books will be placed in the vestibule on Thursdays and can be picked up starting Friday.
If you have not picked your books up by the Thursday after they are available, we will take them off hold for you to allow others to check them out. You can always place another hold on them.
While we will probably not have any opportunities in the near future, we will keep this area open for possible community resources.
Please email me posts for others in the RMS community. I realize this area could become quite crowded, but we would like to do what we can to keep folks connected.
Etiquette for Video Meetings!
Online Resources to Share With Your Children
Our visiting author/illustrator is offering a new drawing lesson every day on his YouTube channel!