April 19, 2020
I am sure many of you have heard, Governor Abbott has called for Texas schools to remain closed through the end of this school year. While we understand the importance of this decision, we are also disappointed. First and foremost, we miss seeing SOS students. Seeing our kids through Zoom class meetings and the Seesaw app is just not the same as wrapping our arms around them each day.
Now that we know we are not returning to traditional learning this school year, the importance of teachers teaching and students learning via technology has increased. We want every single Arrow Academy student to be promoted to the next grade level having learned every important skill needed for that grade level. We will have missed 11 weeks of new skills and knowledge being taught to every child by a teacher who loves them.
Our promise to you is that every teacher will provide the following:
- Direct teaching of new TEKS using the Seesaw app will allow for teachers to demonstrate the skills in much the same way that they taught your child in small groups. This app also allows for your child to practice and demonstrate what they have learned to the teacher. Teachers will also include videos, instructions, demonstrations, etc. as additional support to your child.
- Students will be able to practice skills and receive teacher feedback using Raz Kids and Compass. All students are familiar with learning within these apps since they were a part of daily instruction while in school.
- Teachers will continue to communicate with parents and students using the Zoom app, Remind app, text messaging and phone calls. Every teacher has posted links, office hours, meeting times and pacing documents on their teacher website at sos.arrowacademy.org.
- Teachers will provide parents with progress reports letting you know how well your child is mastering the TEKS.
I am very proud of the SOS Arrow Academy staff. As they submit their parent/student contact logs, remind notices, Seesaw lessons, student progress grades, meeting times, meeting notes/minutes, lesson plans/pacing guides, etc. I am reminded that they too are embracing a whole new “normal.” We have all been trained as teachers but never have we been trained on how to teach remotely. Because of their dedication, every teacher is participating in an online 30 hour course on teaching by blending technology instruction with traditional instruction. And while doing all of this, they are also homeschooling their own children so they do understand your frustration with working and overseeing the learning of your children from home. This is why we have provided the resources listed above. We care that every SOS child has the opportunity to learn.
Many of our students have not accessed these resources or submitted completed work to their teachers. We want to know how to best help. We still have Chromebooks to be checked out and will work around your schedule so that you can pick them up. I will even make home deliveries if you cannot make it by the school. We are willing to conduct Zoom Parent meetings if you need help navigating the different apps. You can also find instructions for navigating the apps on our teacher webpages. We have changed our student class meetings to better accommodate our students and if this is still a concern please contact your teacher. They are being very accommodating. We are willing to help you arrange for WiFi through the free sources offered in our community. While I do not consider this the best option because it does not come with teacher instruction, we will provide workbooks and packets if you cannot access the apps we are using. We want to work as your partners to make up for the 11 weeks of face to face instruction your child has missed. Please reach out to your teachers, Desi or myself for help. Your teachers have provided you with their contact information and their email addresses are posted on the website under staff. Desi can be reached Monday through Friday from 8 to 5 by calling 979-703-1810. You can call or text me at 281-723-8581. My email is also listed on the staff page of our website.
One thing we know from at home learning with our own children and grand children is that learning behaviors at home are different from learning behaviors at school. There are many distractions at home and routines and procedures are very different. We are sad and disappointed that we are not in school learning as we are accustomed to, but please know we are here for your children.
Miss you guys,
P.S. I am currently working on a schedule that will allow us to test your child’s readiness for the next grade level, at the end of May, with the MAP test and still practice social distancing. I will communicate this schedule and possible transportation opportunities as soon as I have it completed.