March 26, 2020
Dear Fort Lewis Mesa Community,
Grace and patience. As we move into this “new” way of doing things, I repeatedly say those words as these two beliefs are important right now. In the past few days, the Fort Lewis Mesa staff quickly transformed our school into a digital and paper-based distance learning structure. Our teachers’ flexibility, creativity, and problem solving inspires me; I am honored to work alongside our hard-working staff at FLME. Not to mention, I am proud of the work we’ve accomplished to support our kids and families during this global public health crisis.
Our goal right now is to provide a sense of normalcy. Through educational supports, ongoing communication, and connection opportunities we strive to do this. Starting yesterday, teachers sent out lessons and home-based work digitally. At this time, we do not have the ability to issue Chromebooks to students; however, should that change, I will let you know as soon as possible. Our teachers committed to getting digital work out each Wednesday by noon, to be completed and resubmitted digitally by the following Wednesday at noon, when the next week’s work will be issued. We will follow that weekly cycle until we are allowed to return to school.
Our paper-based educational program is still being organized. Currently, we plan to have mailings out and school-based pick-up available on Thursday afternoons (if packets are available sooner or there are delays, we will notify you). As we move forward, families who requested these services will be notified when the materials are ready. In order to turn in completed assignments on the paper based model, we ask parents or students to scan and return the work digitally to the assigning teacher. We ask for this method of return due to concerns around transmission of the virus. Ideally, students or parents can download an app on their phone like Genius Scan or Scanner App to generate a PDF file that can be sent to teachers via email. Taking a photo of the completed work and emailing the photo to the assigning teacher is another option. If neither is possible, students should keep completed work and turn it in when they return to school.
On another note, in a home learning environment, it is important for families to create a routine and clear expectations for students. I created a schedule for my kids however, it keeps changing; I continue to tell myself grace and patience. Below is a visual of a sample schedule that might support you (as is or with adjustments).
Sample daily schedule for Remote Learning
*Children benefit from structure and predictability. This is a SAMPLE schedule.
Adapt to suit your family needs and only use if it feels like a good fit and is helpful.
Before 9:00 am ~Wake Up/Free Time (eat breakfast, get dressed, clean up)
9:00-10:00 ~Morning Exercise (walk dog, stretch, yoga)
10:00-11:00~ Academic Time ( NO ELECTRONICS)
11:00-12:00~ Creative/Electives Time (art, Legos, crafts, music, cook/bake)
1:00-2:30~Quiet Time/Independent Learning Time (reading, puzzles,
2:30-4:00~ Academic Time (ELECTRONICS OK, IXL, iReady, DIBELS, Educational shows)
4:00-5:00~ Afternoon Exercise/Fresh Air (walk, bike, run, play outdoor games)
5:00-6:00 ~Dinner (plan, prep and cook together, clean up)
6:00-8:00~ Free Time (showers, chores, play)
Another way to connect the home learning environment to our school is through daily attendance. Each day, a text and/or email alert will go out to each family to complete the student’s attendance via the linked Google form; it started yesterday, 3/25/20. This helps us document the student/family use of the services as well as your ability to receive the materials. If you are not able to use the Google form then please call the main school number at (970) 588-3331 for attendance.
The learning curve is extremely steep; we appreciate your understanding as we shift to a home-based model. While teachers have already been connecting with families and students, please remember you can reach out to your child’s teacher and our building team too. During their “live office hours,” which they shared, your teacher(s) will be available for live support. In addition to this, they will be working and responsive to email and calls throughout the day (8 am to 4 pm).
Thank you for your grace and patience as we develop our systems. While it may not always be perfect, we’ve got an amazing team at FLME who cares deeply about your students.
We’ve got this!