This message is available in video format if you prefer.
As hard as it is to believe, we are down to five weeks remaining in the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year. As we discussed at the start of the year, no one could have imagined that we would be in this situation, but this is school...at least for now and we have to continue to try to make the best of it.
To that end, I want to remind you to finish strong in all of your classes. Unlike the trial run of remote learning in the spring, everything counts and earning credit is based on your semester grade. Make sure that you are aware of what you need to do to meet the learning objectives that your teacher has set for you. If you are not sure, please reach out to your individual teachers. Your teachers are available for help Tuesday through Friday from 11:00-11:30 am and also during their scheduled office hours. If you are looking for additional academic assistance, there is peer tutoring available as well as assistance through the Literacy Center and the Math Resource Center. Access to all of that is available via the website. If you are struggling emotionally, the Counseling and Student Support Services staff is available to help personally and they offer an array of resources as well.
I hope that you know that though not physically together, we are here to support you in whatever ways that you need. When we are together, it is much easier for the adults to identify when you are having trouble understanding a topic or concept, or in identifying other things that might be troubling you. “Seeing” you is our first step in being able to help. Because of that, I ask that students remember to turn your camera on when you check into class. I completely understand that there are many reasons to turn your cameras off, including to maximize bandwidth. Unless you have personally worked it out with your teacher to turn your camera off, we ask that students turn their cameras on. Like you, the teachers have had to acclimate to a new way of teaching. Not being able to see you makes an already difficult task even harder. As I said at the start of the year - if situations arise where it is problematic to keep your camera on, please work through that with your individual teachers.
I miss all of you and I miss seeing the interactions of our school community. There are still groups at work trying to keep the Mustang Way active. We recently hosted an on campus Snowball event in the stadium, and Umoja has created an ongoing podcast, “Young Voices for Unity.” Our Changemaker student group has organized and challenged staff and students to get involved with “Grateful for our Stories” this month. Also, Student Council has organized a drive-through food drive for November 14th to support the West Suburban Community Pantry as we head into the holiday season. We are physically separate, but we can still participate in school activities to enhance and support our sense of community. I challenge each of you to stay involved.
As you know, the main thing keeping us apart is the rising health metrics related to Covid-19. I urge you to all do your part in keeping our larger community safe. Wearing masks, washing hands frequently, and maintaining a social distance is important in slowing the spread of the virus...which is essential in getting us back together in any form. Thank you for your efforts.
Finally, we all know that communicating while being apart is much harder. You will be getting another survey about your experiences and I ask that you all complete that survey. The information will be used to guide decisions about any changes as we head into the second semester. I would also like to make myself available to you directly by hosting a webinar where I can answer any questions and/or provide you with information on things you are wondering about. I am scheduling this for Monday, November 23rd at 6:30 pm. If you are interested in attending and/or would like to submit topics or questions, please complete this short form. I will email the link to those students who express an interest.
Thanks for taking the time to read this email. Please let us know how we can help you with ensuring a strong finish to the semester and we look forward to “seeing” you participating in the upcoming events.
Stay well, and make good decisions.