- Cele Middle School
Good Evening, and welcome to our first-ever virtual orientation. If you would like to skip the reading of this message and watch a video version instead, click here; then, return to the links at the bottom of this message to meet your teachers. Thank you for joining us tonight, and hopefully, many of you are joining us by way of your new Chromebook! These certainly are challenging times, but one thing we pride ourselves on here at Cele is knowing how to show GRIT and rise to any challenge. We are going to do just that, together this school year.
Parents, I know you have many questions, and both I and our PfISD leaders are committed to getting you the information you need to understand exactly how we are keeping students and staff safe, how online learning will work, and how we will manage transitions as the year progresses. You can count on my weekly emails to help you stay informed with the most important Updates at Cele. If you have not received an email from me for this past Sunday, please check to see if it was blocked by your email, and if not, please contact our front office staff so that we can connect you.
One thing I want to clarify is our student schedule. This was shared by email and each teacher has included a schedule for his or her class in the Info Sheet. You will notice both synchronous and asynchronous times referenced in the schedule. “Synchronous” means the teacher and the students will be interacting online together, live, at the same time. Almost always, we will do this via Zoom. Zoom is the video conferencing platform that we used this past spring and will continue to use this year. “Asynchronous time” in the schedule means that a student will work independently. This could mean completing work, viewing a pre-recorded lesson, or other activities that are not dependent upon the teacher being present. Our commitment as we start online learning is to have synchronous, or live interactive time, at least for the first 20 minutes of each class period. We really want our students present for that first twenty minutes so that we can check in with one another and build our class community, clarify information, and provide additional instruction. I say “additional instruction” because we also will have the most critical instructional videos and resources available for students to access at any time. Also, please know that the first 20 minutes is the minimum amount of synchronous time your child can count on, and your child’s teacher may communicate additional synchronous times he or she will be working with your child. It really will depend on the needs of the class and your child, but we will communicate any changes to the schedule the week before it happens.
Attendance is another important topic I want to address. During online learning, we will be taking attendance and each student must be present daily, not just because it is a good idea, but because it is legally required. Attendance works slightly differently in our online learning environment. The best things students can do is show up each day during their synchronous time, and the teacher will mark your child present. We know that because of challenging situations at home, this will not be possible for all our families. It’s okay, if your child at least is working in his or her classes in a way that the teacher can see, for example, turning in assignments to Google Classroom for that day, the teacher will mark your child present, so long as it happens before midnight at the end of that day. Although we really hope that does not become a routine. One important thing to note: each student must be engaged in school each day. Working ahead and completing work early does not change the requirement to be present each day. If you have questions about how this looks for a certain class, you can refer to the information sheet your child’s teacher provided or email him or her for any clarifications.
For this evening, I encourage everyone first to watch the videos our teachers have put together. This is the best way to learn a bit about your teacher and the class before you have a chance to meet him or her virtually. The second place to go this evening is the Class Info link within our CMS Orientation Guide. Once you have looked over the Class Info sheet and listened to your teachers’ videos, you should have a good overview of the class and can head into some Zoom rooms for a quick meet and greet with each teacher. This evening’s Orientation really is more of a time for us to get to see one another before the pace of the school year once again takes hold. Our teachers know you have many teachers to see tonight, and please understand that while we will not have much time for one-on-one conversations with families over the next hour, we do want to develop a relationship with each family over the course of the next few weeks. Getting to know your child’s needs is the most critical information we need to do our part.
Have a great evening, and Welcome to Cele!