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Our Distance Learning Program

 

With schools and offices closed, we know you are facing unique disruptions and challenges to many facets of your lives. Be assured that we’re here to support you.

The Episcopal Day School team of education experts prepared a multi-faceted, multi-age distance learning plans to serve preschool through grade 6 students.  Our goal was to provide continuity and connection for our students – a sense of normalcy that comes from daily interactions among teachers and students and a continuation of learning. Even though our school buildings are closed, EDS is still open – continuing our focus on the academic and personal growth of our students, and continuing our outreach and support of our parents.

Early Childhood

  • Our teachers have curated rich learning experiences to help children grow smarter, stronger and kinder. 
  • Our distance learning program remains holistically focused on all developmental learning domains: language, cognitive, artistic, physical and social-emotional wellbeing.
  • Activities utilize some age-appropriate technology and do not require specialized materials.

Kindergarten - 6th Grade

  • In grades K5-6, students engage in learning that approximates the rigor and richness of their traditional school experience and keeps them connected to their teachers and their classmates.
  • The depth, breadth, and pacing of daily lessons keep children on track with learning goals appropriate to their assigned grade – whether that be kindergarten or Grade 8.
  • Especially in moments of crisis, our obligation goes beyond ensuring the continuation of formal learning to encompass care for the whole child.
  • Teachers and students are maintaining personal relationships and connections as if they were still in their classrooms or homerooms.

Curriculum Structure 

The benefits of our Distance Learning Program across grade levels include:

Personalized feedback on learning: One of the reasons why you likely chose to join our school was so that your child is known and is provided a personalized learning experience. This remains our commitment even in a distance learning scenario. Every day starts with a morning Zoom where the children check-in with their teacher, say “hi” to their friends, participate in storytime and share their learning. You are able to share photos and evidence of your child’s learning with school staff so that the natural rhythm between student and teacher remains and schooling can resume with ease.

Sharing the load: We know that it’s sometimes challenging to keep a child’s attention. Like you, our teachers are dealing with many of the same complexities of balancing family needs and professional responsibilities. While we’re not able to supervise your child’s learning by being physically present, our staff is curating a thoughtful and purposeful sequence of learning experiences. Our hope is that this lightens your load, helps with the sanity and allows you to attend to your professional responsibilities.

Friendship and Connection: Keeping friendships and connections in place can help your child feel regulated, calm and make a potentially scary situation feel much more predictable. We are providing valuable access for much-needed opportunities for students to interact with their teachers and peers, addressing the social isolation they are currently experiencing.

Building World Knowledge: The primary focus of weekly coursework will be daily tasks solidifying foundations (phonics and spelling) and developing core skills.

Real-World Issues and Needs: Especially in moments of crisis, our obligation goes beyond ensuring the continuation of learning in core subject areas to encompass care for the whole child.

Learning Adventures: Weekly coursework and daily tasks will be augmented with enrichment classes from specialist teachers in Spanish, Music and Physical Education.

Introduction

The Episcopal Day School Distance Learning Plan describes the protocols and procedures that will result in the event of an extended closure of our campus.  Consistent with our mission we will strive to maintain a high level of academic and community engagement, even if we are not able to physically gather on campus.

In the event of the type of situation or crisis that may impede access to the campus, the Head of School will confer with the Rector and the Board of Trustees to determine if this Distance Learning Plan needs to be invoked.  In such cases, the Head of School will alert families and faculty/staff via email regarding the timeline of plans for implementation.

Circumstances will vary for the implementation of the Distance Learning Plan, and may include viral pandemic (like COVID-19), natural disaster, or extended disruptions due to weather.  At the point where the Head of School, Rector, Board of Trustees, Vestry and Senior Warden have determined that circumstances have stabilized for a return to campus, the Head of School will alert the community of the re-start date.  This decision will be guided by a single factor: Can we reasonably ensure the health and safety of our students and teachers/staff?

The remainder of this document describes the specific policies and procedures related to the Distance Learning Plan, and will be regularly reviewed and revised.  Finally, in all situations, EDS will work to accommodate individual family/student circumstances as they relate to their ability to access our distance learning program.

Expectations of Behavior and “Netiquette”
  • Be prepared.  Just like any class at school, it is important to have materials ready to go.  That means you’ll need to know the link, the sign in time, and what materials you’ll need.
  • Be on time.  Attendance is taken at the beginning of each Synchronous lesson.  Be on time or a few minutes early.  Print out your class schedule and post it as a reminder.
  • Learn how to use the virtual classroom program.  Google Classroom and Nearpod are the primary programs EDS will be using.  Teachers will help you become familiar with these programs during the first week of school.  Also spend time learning the features of your Dell Chromebook.
  • Stay in one spot during your synchronous class period.  Find a quiet spot where you are comfortable for the whole class and make it your classroom spot.  Remember, you are in class so lounging on your bed is not an option.  Sit at a desk or a table so that you are able to focus.
  • Dress appropriately. Dress code for virtual learning is the dress code for Fridays at EDS.  
  • Eliminate distractions. Class time is class time even when you are at home.  Do not snack or chew gum during class.  Turn off music and TV in the background.  No cellphones.  Please use the restroom before class begins.
  • Respect your teachers.  Respect your teachers and all the work they have done to teach you virtually.  This might be a challenge for them too; we are all learning together.  Make sure they know how much you appreciate them.  The best way to do this is with good behavior.
Tips for Parents    
  • Establish routines and expectations. Teachers will be taking attendance and giving grades during this session.  Please help by establishing routines based around your child’s schedule.
  • Choose a good place to learn. A location dedicated to school-focused activities that is quiet, free from distractions and has a good internet connection.
  • Stay in touch. Teachers will be communicating regularly through Google Classroom and email.   Please do not hesitate to reach out to them.
  • Help our students “own” their learning.  We do not have the expectations of our parents to become teachers or experts in educational content.  We ask only to support and encourage your child (and teacher). This is an opportunity for children to become more independent and “own” their learning.
  • Begin and end the day by checking in.  At 8:00 you might ask your child: “What do you need for class today?” or “Anything I can do to help?” At the end of the day you might ask: “What did you learn today?” or “What do you need to do to prepare for tomorrows classes?”
Computer Acceptable Use Policy Summary

The computer facilities are intended for the educational or administrative use of the employees and students of the Episcopal Day School. All users must be courteous, keep the facilities clean, quiet, and in good repair, and respect the privacy of others. Students must be supervised by a staff member.  No hardware or software may be installed, copied, removed, or altered except by authorized school personnel. Users must abide by Federal and State laws regarding copyrights and accessing or altering computer systems, software, data, passwords, and security systems. Accessing, transmitting, or receiving any material that could be considered inappropriate or obscene is prohibited.  Students and parents must sign an acceptable use policy agreement to be granted permission to use the school’s computers.

STANDARDS OF BEHAVIOR FOR INTERNET AND NETWORK USE
  • Students will use their Internet and network access privileges only for activities in support of education and research consistent with the educational objectives of The Episcopal Day School.
  • The school’s Internet account may be used only for school related activities.  Academic honesty requires proper citation of sources including electronic sources.  Other persons’ Internet accounts may not be used on the school’s computers without authorization by the Administration.  Users are expected to abide by the generally accepted rules of network and interpersonal etiquette.  Therefore, vulgarities, abusive language or threatening actions is strictly prohibited.
  • EDS utilizes a web filtering software as a precaution against inappropriate materials. Users will immediately notify an adult supervisor if any inappropriate web page or portion of a web page is accessed.  Users may not demonstrate the problem to other users.  Users shall not deliberately attempt to upload or download inappropriate materials.  Users shall not reveal online their personal home address, phone number, or any other personal information.  Only school authorized e-mail accounts are permitted under the supervision of a teacher and students shall not access personal e-mail accounts on school computers without specific teacher approval.
  • Dishonesty and vandalism will result in immediate suspension of privileges as well as other disciplinary actions.  These act include (but are not limited to) any malicious attempt to steal, harm, or destroy the data of another user, making equipment or software alterations, and uploading or creating computer viruses. No software of any kind may be brought from home for use on school computers.  Students may not create or access personal web pages without permission of a teacher or other authorized adult.  Students may not download or otherwise access any files (i.e., music files) without the permission of a teacher.  Students’ work will be published only under the direction of a teacher.
  • Students are given credentials to access school e-mail accounts.  Included in student accounts is access to cloud-based storage and Google applications.  These resources are intended to facilitate student learning, increase real time communication and feedback, and engage in practices that are more environmentally friendly.  Student accounts should not be used for inappropriate purposes.  Students have no expectation of privacy in e-mail and file storage; all student accounts will be monitored.  Use of the school Internet accounts and the local area network by anyone other than staff or students or persons authorized by the Head of School is prohibited.  Transmission of commercial information, advertising, or political lobbying is prohibited.
  • The Agreement is to be signed by all parents and students and kept on file prior to any Internet and network usage by the student. 
Communications

Whom to Contact

  • Questions about a particular assignment or class - Classroom teacher
  • Notifications about a child’s absence from a synchronous class - Front office or Rosie Flores
  • Questions or concerns about the distance learning experience - Head of School, Brian Clyne or Director of Operations, Janette Reyna
  • Issues with technology platforms or student devices – Computer Teacher, Dave Cabrera

How will EDS communicate with parents, students and faculty/staff during an extended closure?

Email- (Faculty, staff, parents, students) Email will remain the main communication channel for all major announcements. Faculty and staff will also use email to communicate, although they may use other approved platforms to interact with students and each other as well.

Google Classroom- (Students) Google G Suite (including Gmail, Docs, Classroom, Hangouts, Meet, etc.) will be the platform used by teachers. For video conferencing in small or large groups, teachers and students will use Google Hangouts or Google Meet.

Phone- (Faculty, staff, parents) The main office and administrative team may be contacted via school phone (if campus is accessible). 

Distance Learning Framework

One to One program - One device for every student K-6.

Device provided - Dell 3100 2 in 1 Chromebook

Primary Learning Platform

Google Classroom

Google Classroom makes it easy for learners and instructors to connect—inside and outside of schools. Google Classroom saves time, paper, makes it easy to create classes, distribute assignments, communicate, and stay organized. 

  • Improves organization – Students can see all of their assignments on an assignments page, and all class materials (e.g., documents, photos, and videos) are automatically filed into folders in Google Drive.
  • Enhances communication –Allows teachers to send announcements and start class discussions instantly. Students can share resources with each other or provide answers to questions on the stream.
Student Engagement Platform

Nearpod

  • Nearpod is an interactive platform for teachers to engage & assess students.  Nearpod is a student engagement platform built to make teaching with technology easy. It’s designed to work with any classroom technology, like our Chromebooks. With Nearpod you can control what your students see and get feedback in real-time. 
  • Nearpod’s formative assessments create a safe environment for students to learn and share. You can create and import your own Google Slides, Powerpoint of PDF lessons in minutes.  
  •  
Digital Classroom Application

Kami 

  • Kami is a digital classroom app accessed through Google Classroom. It allows you to take any existing document, including scanned PDFs, and write, draw, type, annotate, comment, augment, enhance, and otherwise bring it to life – all within your browser. 
  • Kami’s intuitive design and collaborative features are specifically designed to improve classroom engagement and interaction – all while making the task of providing and completing classroom assignments effortless. It also reduces or totally eliminates the need for printing.

With our Distance Learning Plan, faculty will typically offer two synchronous and three asynchronous classes each week. The schedule of days for these meetings is determined by the teacher and will be shared in advance with the students.

Typical Schedule

8:30 am - 2:30 pm, same class order daily 

  • Faculty may confer and meet with students outside of this framework, Teachers are not required to be online with the students during an asynchronous class period
  • Students are encouraged to use this framework as a guide for their day

Typical Instruction

Synchronous instruction (Face to Face, F2F)

  • 3 synchronous meetings per day with the full class or small groups within the class to be scheduled via Google Calendar invite/Hangout - Meet; Meetings can be scheduled within the class period framework or “after hours” when faculty have extenuating circumstances
  • F2F meetings are posted at the beginning of the week so that students can plan accordingly.
  • For educational purposes, teachers may opt to record and post to Google Classroom for students’ reference. Per the EDS guidelines, students may not record or capture images from these sessions.

Asynchronous Instruction (independent work, student-led work)

  • Faculty will post clear instructions (i.e. a daily agenda, task description and/or and class notes) in Google Classroom for asynchronous classes
  • Faculty will post assignments with clear due dates and instruction
  • Each assignment will provide comprehensive instructions for the task(s) and for how students should submit completed work.
  • Since remote learning will make it harder to delineate “homework” from “in-class work,” faculty will take into account how much time will be required for students to complete the work. If the work is expected to take more than 40 minutes, the work will be due the next time class meets.

Attendance

  • A student absence is considered excused if it adheres to the guidelines outlined in our Student-Parent Handbook
  • For attendance purposes, asynchronous work must be submitted by the date and time required by the teacher.
  • Attendance is recorded daily by each teacher from synchronous class meetings. 
  • To be counted as present for the day a student must attend 3 core academic classes, not to include enrichment classes. (PE, Music, Spanish, Tech.)

Office Hours

  • Faculty will maintain published standing office hours when they are accessible to their students for extra help.
  • Meetings are scheduled via Google Hangouts/Meet and or Google Appointment Calendar
  • Faculty will be available to respond to questions via email or Google chat.

Academic Load

  • On average, each grade should offer 180 minutes of work per day, not including class meeting times (synchronous or asynchronous). We understand that students work at different paces, so these are general guidelines. 
  • Faculty will check regularly if the workload assigned meets these expectations, and the school will regularly survey students and parents regarding workload.
  • The school will work closely with families to support students with documented learning differences, adjusting the program as necessary.

Grading

  • To maintain consistency and clarity for students and faculty alike, EDS will continue with standard numeric and effort grades during distance learning. 
    • Measures for academic intervention remain in place: tutoring, tutorial, progress reporting, faculty/parent/student meetings.
    • Flexibility remains paramount as teachers assist students with time management, slipups in schedules, or issues related to devices or connectivity.
    • Teachers retain the autonomy to offer students opportunities for improvement.

Assessment

  • During extended implementation of the Distance Learning Plan, EDS will maintain our established grading system.
  • Blended and alternative forms of assessment will be implemented 
    • Formative to collect in-process evaluations of student comprehension, progress, and need for clarification during a lesson or unit
    • Academic integrity guidelines remain in force for all types of assessment.
    • Projects, presentations, collaborative work to engage students with the subject matter and with one another.
    • Summative to assess the outcomes of learning at the end of a unit.

Co-Curricular and Community Events

During times of campus closure, EDS is committed to maintaining Chapel and enrichment classes as well as other activities that build interpersonal connection and reinforce a sense of community purpose. 

Supporting Our Families

During our Distance Learning Program, our academic mission remains the same: to educate children to become compassionate, courageous and curious citizens. Our goal is the delivery of content and skills that keep our curriculum on pace with what it would be if EDS was in session on campus. We will do this by increasing student ownership, offering multi-modal instructional delivery, and utilizing distance learning tools. This is a big shift and will involve adjustments and upskilling in instructional approaches on the part of our faculty.