Dear WMS Families,
I hope this message finds everyone safe and healthy. The last few weeks have presented a variety of challenges, but I have been proud of the flexibility and resilience demonstrated by our school community. Making the shift from a traditional learning environment to a virtual platform has not been easy, but our teachers have worked diligently to provide as much as they can for our students while making their own transitions. Fortunately, we have the infrastructure in place and a large percentage of our staff and students have been using the platforms necessary to continue learning. This has been a tremendous advantage, as we try to provide as much stability and create a sense of normalcy during a time when our daily existence has been everything but that.
Last week Arlington Public Schools released its Continuous Learning Plan https://www.apsva.us/continuity-of-learning/ for the remainder of the school year, and I would like to take a moment to share what you can expect from the WMS staff beginning April 20th. For the remainder of this week, our teachers will be planning with their departments and reorganizing modules to post in CANVAS. When we began this journey, it required us to attempt things we’ve never tried and in the process asked families to assume a certain level of responsibility that very few were prepared for. Through these trials, we have learned from those experiences and have had an opportunity to improve our instructional delivery and support model.
While teachers will not be delivering new instruction, they will be reinforcing content from the previous three quarters and providing students an opportunity to raise their grades by demonstrating mastery of the content through assessments or projects. Each teacher will be communicating with you what those expectations will be according to their content areas. For students that do not need that level of support extension activities will be provided to deepen understanding and maintain previously taught skills. However, Career & Technology Education classes will be operating under different criteria. These will be the only classes delivering new instruction due to VDOE competencies that must be completed. Students will not be receiving new grades in these courses but are still expected to complete the work assigned. Our teachers will post assignments daily in CANVAS and ParentVue so there will be a clear understanding of what students will be expected to do. Families will receive updates each Monday and follow up reminders on Wednesday of that week regarding work completion.
The following schedule (WMS Daily Schedule) was designed for our students to engage in an asynchronous learning model, because not every family situation is the same. Our community has diverse needs and we would not be equitable in our efforts if we did not provide flexibility. The benefits of this model include:
- Choice in what our students learn and when they can access it
- Structure that can reduce the amount of parental oversight
- Reflects a “School Day” in manageable increments (30 minutes per class)
- Incorporates physical fitness and social emotional learning modules via CANVAS that address the needs of the whole child
- Dedicated biweekly Teacher Office Hours that do not conflict with other learning priorities
In the coming weeks, we will monitor the effectiveness of our model, and make adjustments if needed. I want to thank everyone again for their patience as we continue to do the best we can during these difficult times. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your child’s grade level administrator or myself. GO WOLVES!
Williamsburg Middle School