March 16th Staff Update
March 16, 2020
Dear AAPS Teachers,
It is sometimes said “May you live in interesting times.” We certainly do live in interesting, stressful and challenging times. First and foremost, we want each of you to take care of yourselves and your families. Throughout the uncertainty and ramifications of our closure we want you to rest, practice self care and let us know how we can support you.
The student-centered AAPS spirit is alive and well; in fact, it is thriving in so many ways. We want to thank those who have already communicated messages of care and support to parents/guardians and students. Your personal connections with your families and your ongoing messages are important reminders that we are still here, we still care, and we will continue to learn together. You are a team of very powerful allies against student isolation and disengagement. For all that you have done and will do, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Below are several updates just for AAPS staff. We hope this information will be helpful in understanding this new context in which we are operating.
Parent Update -- March 16
Parents/Guardians will receive a letter today detailing the general points for the AAPS Continuous Learning Plan during the school closure. We have mobilized many teams across the district to best ensure the following supports for students/families:
- Device Access: Students who need a device will be able to check one out from AAPS
- Internet Access: AAPS is working in partnership with local Internet Service Providers to provide public access to the Internet during the school closure.
- Technological Help: If students and families need help with a device or Internet access during the school closure, a special AAPS Help Desk for students and families has been set up. The phone number to call is 734-997-1222.
- Food Assistance: AAPS, working with Chartwells Food Service, is pleased to provide “to go” meals available for pick-up at a variety of locations between 11am – 12:30pm. More information at: Food Assistance.
District → Staff: Please expect staff-focused AAPS Continuous Learning Plan updates via email during this time. In addition, these staff updates about the AAPS Continuous Learning Plans will be posted on the AAPS staff webpage at a2schools.org/staff including this FAQ document. We will update these resources as needed to help coordinate our efforts.
Staff → Families: When you are communicating with families, please be concise and use the following format in the subject line: School — Teacher, Class — Date. This format is also helpful for the name of each Google Classroom (or other LMS) you use. We appreciate how resourceful you are, but it would be helpful if you select links carefully. Refrain from sending links that lead to long lists of resources that may overwhelm families. Whenever you can, defer to district resources.
Continuous Learning Information For Staff
Due to our need to establish equitable access, new routines, and new tools, the instructional focus from March 16 - 27 is review and enrichment. Expecting students in this environment, without consistent access, to make standard forward momentum in the curriculum is not a fair expectation. Should the closure extend past Spring Break, we will certainly need to make the shift to forward progress.
For the week of March 16, we want to provide time for general AAPS teachers to understand and prepare for the current context. A2 Virtual+ instruction will continue as normal. Thank you to our A2 Virtual+ team for sharing tips and strategies with the rest of us.
We will all be wrestling with the stress of losing instructional time. Keep in mind this is the case for every teacher in Michigan; we are all navigating this for the first time. We know and understand that many courses are connected to high stakes assessments, college credit, graduation requirements and more. We also know that we are entering the spring State required assessment season. We will tackle all of these important questions locally with reason and input from our teachers. We will also work with the State to encourage and advocate for reasonable decisions and will keep you informed along the way.
Staff Focus -- Week of March 16
Now for some necessary nitty-gritty. As previously shared, the focus of the next two weeks is review and enrichment. For the week of March 16, district department chairs and coordinators have put together content-related enrichment materials for families and students to keep learning ongoing and to give teachers time to prepare. These will be found at a2schools.org/continuouslearning.
There is no expectation that teachers are posting learning opportunities this week. If you have already sent out messaging, assignments and lessons, that’s GREAT! We thank you for your focus on continuing education for your students. There are many answers to specific questions in our FAQ so please be sure to check it out. You may wish to make some adjustments given this guidance.
Staff focus the week of March 16 is connected to getting ready to share daily learning experiences for the week of March 23. The goal this week is for every AAPS teacher to prepare daily remote learning experiences to share with students the week of March 23. The information below helps you to prepare for this.
Recapping Friday, March 13, we asked you to do two things:
We hope the time on Friday and today to reflect and review was helpful in identifying your personal learning needs related to providing remote learning experiences to students beginning the week of March 23.
While you've been self-assessing, your colleagues (AAPS teachers, department chairs and leaders) have been working to develop professional development options for this week, Tuesday and Wednesday, March 17 and 18. Please explore these KALPA offerings and make choices related to your PD needs. Please register on KALPA today.
You can attend these sessions either virtually or face to face, and you will receive KALPA credit. These PD options are voluntary but are connected to being more successful in delivering remote learning opportunities to students. Keep in mind we will be missing some staff meetings and PD opportunities during the closure and these can be a great way to stay up to date for recertification.
Some important things to know about the PD offerings:
- Face-to-Face PD: If you attend face-to-face sessions, we will be exercising extreme caution and practicing social distancing. Please stay 6 feet away from others. Please wash your hands after entering the facility and before you leave. DO NOT ATTEND if you or a family member feels sick or exhibits symptoms such as coughing, chills, fever, sneezing etc. See general CDC guidance here.
- Virtual PD: All virtual PD is being recorded and we have already prepared a number of training videos so that you can learn from home, on your own time, if that’s your preference.
- Please remember to register for all PD in KALPA.
- Please take time to thank your fellow AAPS teachers and IT staff members who have worked tirelessly over the weekend to prepare for and deliver these sessions. They are nothing short of miracle workers, as are you!
Staff Focus -- Week of March 23
Beginning the week of March 23rd, all teachers are expected to do the following:
- Send a positive, daily morning message to your students.
- Post or email a daily learning opportunity that is either review or enrichment.
- Check and respond to emails from admins, parents, and students daily.
- Share daily "office hours" when you are available in real time to answer questions. Some may use a digital platform for this. Others may simply be on email. Many options are available.
- Provide feedback to students as needed. Nothing should be gradebooked at this time. We have to ensure equity before students can be held accountable to online learning.
In your planning, don’t forget that online communities need the same warmth, norms and positive interaction that you create in your classroom. We will continue to provide resources to you and will make them available to you on this website. We hope you find them useful.
Staff Support / Updates
Technology/Internet: If you need help with technology or home Internet reliability, please reach out directly to the dedicated AAPS helpline by calling 734-994-5040 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Note: Students and families also have a separate, dedicated helpline available to them during school hours at 734-997-1222.
Update Building Continuous Learning Template: Your principal shared a template with you to record your platform, link and email. If you have not yet entered your information there, please do so now. We will be posting each building’s teacher access information for students and families on our web page. See your building principal if you have not yet received it.
Building access is being restricted. If you have need of materials please contact your administrator for the latest information. Very soon, you can expect that all buildings will be locked down for disinfecting and sanitizing. Once complete, the buildings will be sealed from any entry. Your building principal will be sharing information with you.
Guard against your own isolation and remember to connect with your colleagues. Make plans to connect together on Skype or Google Hangouts and share a laugh together.
Thank you for all you do for our students and families during this school closure! We’ve come a long way in a short amount of time. It could not have happened without you, and we won’t make progress without you. As we move deeper into the uncertainty and ramifications of the virus, it’s going to be so important for all us to keep up communication, share observations and take care of one another.
Please continue to ask questions, share feedback and put that inquisitive AAPS spirit to work. We are here to respond to your needs. Our contact information follows. Take care, and be safe and healthy!
Your Teaching and Learning Team,
Dawn Linden, Teaching and Learning PK-12
Kevin Karr, Teaching and Learning PK-12, IB
Dr. Marianne Fidishin, Special Education PK-Age 26
Erica Hatt, Elementary ELA and Social Studies
Tony Stamm, Elementary Mathematics and Science
Amy Deller, Secondary Science
Anne Marie Nicoll-Turner, Secondary Mathematics & Computer Science
Jared Aumen, Secondary Social Studies
Sarah Andrew-Vaughan, Secondary ELA
Karen Eisley, Career Tech Ed
Robin Bailey, PK-12 Fine Arts
Jennifer Colby, PK-12 Librarians
Katie Hamilton, Elementary Physical Education
Marci Harris, World Languages K-12
Kim Jackson, Secondary Physical Education
Tom Pachera, PK-12 PLTW
Cheryl Call, PK-12 English Learners
Tracye Johnson, Special Education
Julieanne Muir, Special Education
Mary Wiese, Special Education
Shalyn Furton, Autism, Special Education
Alicia Maylone, Homeless Liaison
Heather Schimmel, Secondary Counseling
Terra Webster, 504 Plans
Joanna Johnson, TI Student Support
Federal and State Grant Funding Support
Candy Rozelle-Williams, Student Accounting and Research
Dan Berger, Student Accounting and Research