Virtual Learning Information, Introduction

Letter from Principal Basmajian, 4/4/2020:

Hi FSK Families,

It’s hard to believe that the Corona Virus has FSK heading into our 4th week away from school.  Unfortunately, people across our state and nation have had their lives altered as we witness a daily increase of people contracting the virus, loss of loved ones, major economic setbacks, and other life-changing issues. 

While I don’t have an answer as to when we will be back to “normal”, it is becoming clearer that the 19-20 SY as we know it will be completed altered for the remainder of the School-year.  Under the current situation, it is impossible to hold “school” as we know it, but FSK has been working hard to launch a new way of educating our students through Virtual Learning.  Let me be clear, this is not going to replicate the day-to-day teaching that students were experiencing at FSK.  However, our teachers and staff have been working extremely hard to put together a Virtual Learning plan to meet the needs of many of our children.  We know there will be a technology gap, we know that parent support across our homes will look different, and we know that we will not be able to give the 1:1 attention that some students need and deserve. 

Since the week of the Governor’s announcements to close schools, FSK has been in communication with families via Bloomz, made packets available where we could, and kept in communication as to next steps.  You have likely been receiving Bloomz’s messages and other forms of communication from your child’s teachers over the past week or so.  We absolutely realize that this can be overwhelming for families as we work to establish the new norm across our homes.  Ultimately, and in time, we hope that our hard work and communication will help bring a sense of “normalcy” to your homes and lives of our students.

As I finish my 7th year as a principal and 15th year in City Schools, I have never been as proud of a staff as I am with FSK in this moment!  Over the past week we collaborated on the following:

  • Leaned into our discomfort and tapped into new ways of teaching and learning with the use of technology.
  • Participated in online Professional Development sessions to increase our knowledge of online teaching tools.
  • Collaborated with each other through numerous Virtual Meetings to make sure that our colleagues are doing well, supporting each other where needed, and collectively devising a plan of action to educate our students in a whole new way.
  • Established online platforms and weekly schedules that include Live Teaching, Office Hours, and Daily touchpoints through Google Classroom and other platforms.

April 6-10: What to Expect?

The week of April 6th marks the start of our Live Teaching experience!  We are all excited with a “side of anxiety” as we enter the opening week of our new way of teaching and learning.  Here are some things to consider as we enter the opening week:

Let’s establish some normed language:

  • “Live Teaching”: Teacher is instructing using a platform (Zoom, Blackboard Collaborate) where you can see the teacher live.  Students will tune in using their device.
  • “Office Hours”: Live “Face-to-Face” sessions where the teacher can offer support to students as needed. 
  • “Daily Touchpoints/Posting Assignments”: This will be done through an online system (most often Google Classroom) in which teacher will post assignments and offer feedback on specific assignments.
  • Every teacher will offer Live Teaching, Office Hours, and Daily Touchpoints/Posting Assignments via Google Classroom (or their prescribed means of posting and reviewing work)
  • Please remember that this is new to everyone!  Patience and understanding as we all work through the advanced use of technology is key for all parties involved.  Thank you in advance!
  • At this point, all work is NOT going to be graded.  Assignments will be reviewed, and feedback will be provided on select assignments.  Central Office is determining what grading will look like for the 4th Quarter. Third Quarter grades will be generated using grades up through the last day of school (March 12th) with a yet to be determined distribution plan.
  • There will be daily ELA and Math instruction on Channel 77 that will also be posted online.  I do not have a user-friendly external schedule for all grade levels at this point, but I will send it out as soon as I get my hands on it.

Live Q and A Session:

Tuesday at 7:30pm-Use the following link to ask up to 3 questions that you would like answered during the Q/A session.

https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=9LJbBuNvT0GpEPKIYwXIFIn2MCaqcWlHrfTXM6HHIYZUMUVXT1RNT0RRSVdCTVhLSFBKRVZFUUxDVy4u

How to Join the Call:

https://us.bbcollab.com/guest/a68216e4774641a7b2b7020ef343f59b

+1-571-392-7650 PIN: 891 616 3957

*Please note that families will be muted without camera ability.  I will be answering questions that were posed on the survey above and will take Live Questions with use of the Chat Box*

* As was shared on Bloomz and again in this letter, I will be holding a Live Q/A session on Tuesday, April 7th at 7:30pm. While I typically invite one-off parent questions via email, I am asking that you please use the survey link to post your questions you may have.  This will make it much easier to navigate*

Attached Parent Resources

I am attaching two additional documents to the Bloomz Post. I know your teachers have been posting and sharing much more, so I don’t want to overwhelm you with too many docs/videos!

  1. “A Parent’s Guide to Accessing Google Classroom” (PDF download)
  2. “A Student Access Video” of Google Classroom (posted below)

Needs Assessment Survey:

In order to collaborative with parents supporting from home, we have created a quick parent Needs Assessment survey. Using information from the survey, we will create Live Sessions and send out tutorial videos.  Thanks in advance for completing the survey should have specific needs around technology and supporting from home

Survey Link:

https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=9LJbBuNvT0GpEPKIYwXIFIn2MCaqcWlHrfTXM6HHIYZUNk1LS0JXRFJIR0pKNUk0MEM5MVBKUU1INC4u

Interested in City Created Learning Packets?

Downloadable Packets: https://www.baltimorecityschools.org/learning-packets

Meal Site Packet Pick-up for Hard Copies: https://www.baltimorecityschools.org/meal-sites

It is VITAL for everyone to remember that the FSK staff has additional priorities during these challenging times.  We are fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, care-takers, and so much more.  I want to THANK YOU all in advance for your patience, understanding, and support as we get through this together.  

As I have shared with the staff on several occasions, I believe we will all come out of this stronger and more equipped to educate our students.  Our staff has been working extremely hard to support families and I am so proud of our work! 

See you all LIVE starting on Monday!

Corey Basmajian

VERY PROUD Principal of Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle School