Saturday, April 4
Good Morning. I wanted to take a few minutes this morning to explain what will be happening this week in regards to ECS restarting education for our K-12 students on Monday, April 13.
However before I get into the specifics of what families can expect this week I wanted to take a quick moment to discuss the general philosophy of education that ECS will be adopting for the remainder of the 2019/20 school year. First and foremost I want to emphasize that this is a “remote learning” plan. This is not an online education plan. While there are most certainly components that will be more easily accessed through the use of technology, we are committed to making paper-pencil opportunities available for all students who need them. Second, we will be continually looking for ways in which to positively engage all of our students in the educational process. Through email, personal phone calls, and Zoom meetings teachers will be prompting and encouraging your students to stay engaged in education. Our goal is to stay personally connected to all of our students.
In terms of that families can expect this week;
On Monday or Tuesday of this week every family should be on the lookout for a personal phone call from one of their teachers. Please note that we will only be making one call per family. In other words, if there are four students in your family you will only be hearing from one key teacher. This phone call will most likely come from either an unfamiliar phone number or from “no caller ID available.” For those reasons please try to make an effort to answer. During this call the teachers will be checking in on your students, assessing your family’s technology and school supply needs, making sure you know about our emergency food service options, asking if there are counseling needs that we can address, and explaining what education will look like for each student moving forward.
Then on Tuesday and Wednesday ECS staff will be packing a box for every student. The box will include any locker or desk contents, materials and school supplies that will be needed for continued education, books, computers if requested, band instruments if needed, lists of username and passwords, and a personalized letter and packet for every student explaining their own unique educational program.
These boxes will then be available for either pickup or delivery on Thursday or Friday, based on arrangements you made during your phone conversation with your student’s teacher earlier in the week.
Finally, “school” will start again on Monday, April 13 based on the schedule that will be provided to each student by their teachers.
In terms of technology, as explained above this is a remote learning plan. Paper-pencil options will be available for those who cannot or do not wish to participate electronically. However, we would like to encourage as many students as possible to pursue at least a partial online solution. ECS is committed to providing Chromebooks to every family that expresses the need for a device. In their intake phone call with families teachers will be determining if family has a need for devices and those devices will be distributed with other supplies on Thursday and Friday. In terms of internet connectivity, unfortunately ECS will not be able to provide direct internet access to families. We can point families to resources that are available. For example Spectrum is offering free internet for the next 60 days for new customers with a K-12 student, AT&T and Verizon are both waiving any data overage charges, ECS internet is available for free in the parking lots of both school buildings, and several churches have expressed that they would be able to make internet service open and available at their building locations.
Finally, we want to acknowledge that every student and every family is in a unique situation and has a unique story to tell. While providing education is as always our primary goal, the staff of ECS is here to help in any way that we can. We’ll be working with you and your students to move the education ball as far forward as we can, but in the end what we care most about is the emotional wellbeing of each and every one of our students. Please try not to allow “remote learning” to be an overwhelming experience. It will take some getting used to at first, but by staying in close contact with your students’ teachers, I’m confident that together we can make this a successful experience for each and every ECS student.
To summarize a few key points;
- All families should be on the lookout for a call from their student’s teacher on Monday or Tuesday. This call may come from an unfamiliar number.
- Chromebooks will be available for all families in need.
- Materials, supplies, technology, and desk/locker contents will be available for pickup or delivery on Thursday or Friday.
- School will be restarting on Monday, April 13
In closing, thank you for your continued understanding as we continue to navigate these unchartered waters. If you have individual questions or concerns please do not hesitate to reach out at any time. I will do my best to answer openly and honestly.
Aaron Gaffney, Superintendent