Principal’s Message for July 31, 2020
In my May 11th message to the community, we had already learned about the extension of school closures past Spring Break and we're looking at whether students might return for the last week of school, or even if graduation ceremonies would take place. While the closure did continue, we were at least able to honor our 2020 graduates with a masked and socially-distanced ceremony our own Falcon Stadium field. Now that we know the first quarter will begin as online instruction and CIF-sponsored school sporting events don’t start until January 2021, the staff has been able to complete trainings and organize lessons in preparation for the start of this school year.
How is instruction different this year as compared to last spring? Last spring, teachers were asked to hurriedly develop two weeks of review or extra-practice lessons for their students during the gap before spring break. When the closure was extended through the end of the year, only a few teachers had previous experience with video conferencing software in order to teach students new content. Further, the pass/fail grading system turned off many students from continuing their work once they found out they received a passing grade for the whole semester if they already had a passing grade at the time school closed.
Among other things, we will now have a daily schedule, teachers have been trained in the Canvas online learning system for selecting and using new curriculum and to conduct whole class video conferences, the teachers (and students) will log in and interact each period, resources and assignments have been developed throughout the summer in each subject area, Chromebooks are available to every student who doesn’t have access at home, and students will be graded once again on the A-F scale. While it will never be as good as in-person instruction, our teachers are ready for distance learning!
Since communication is critical to understanding how this method of instruction and how distance learning will work, I have placed a School Opening FAQ link on the IHS web homepage. It will be updated each time we receive more information, and it is meant to be a “one-stop” repository when information is coming from all directions. Please come back to check for updates and tell others about the link!
We look forward to meeting our students, even if only online for now, and hope your family stays safe.
Dean Juola, Principal