September 18, 2020 _ EHS Newsletter
Hispanic Heritage Month
Hispanic Heritage Month is here (Sept. 15 – October 15). Though we will not be able to hold the in-person celebration with food and dancing, like we held last year, classes will be embedding Hispanic heritage into their lessons throughout the month. There are several electronic displays around the building that are featuring Hispanic heritage, too.
Is Your Child “Shutting Down” the Computer at Night?
It is very important the your child shuts down the laptop at the end of the day. Simply closing the lid does not shut down the computer. Students who forget to do this are finding that they are not receiving class invitations in their calendars and not getting needed updates.
Also, students should turn on their computer and sign in at 7:15 am. Some of the laptops are taking longer to go through the warm-up progression at home. We’ve noticed several students coming late to first period (7:30 am) and saying they turned on their computer, but it took too long to get going.
Device Protection Plan
I highly recommend that all families choose to use the protection (insurance) plan the district makes available. The Protection Plan cost is a $25 non-refundable fee and is meant to defray the fees for damages or replacement of the device.
The Plan will cover costs for repair and/or replacement of a device due to accidental damage or theft after the payment of the appropriate initial fee. If the device is accidentally damaged, the student or parent must pay an initial ($25 for 1st occurrence; $50 for 2nd occurrence; $75 for 3rd occurrence), and the District will pay any further repair/replacement cost. If the device is stolen, the student or parent must pay a $40 initial fee and the District will pay the remainder of the replacement cost. If the cost of repair is less than the initial fee outlined herein, the actual charge will be charged to the student as the initial fee.
If you choose to not enroll in the plan, you are responsible for the full cost of any repair or replacement costs.
You can pay the Device Protection Plan fee online at our website at eastiron.org under Technology – Device Information and Payment.
The Plug Fits So Why Can’t I Use A Different Charger with My Laptop?
The chargers for the district laptops have a very specific wattage designed for that particular model. If a different charger is used, there is a good chance that the laptop will be damaged. The Protection (insurance) Plan does not cover this type of damage.
If your child lost the charger, another one can be purchased for $38 as per the Protection Plan.
Did You Miss the Supply Pick-up for Your “Virtual” Learner?
Thanks to all of the parents and guardians of fully “virtual” students who picked up the supplies that were packaged by their teachers on Thursday. Thanks also to Link Crew who helped during the distribution session.
If your child is a fully “virtual” student and you did not pick up the supplies, please call 339-1450 to arrange a time during the school day.
We are starting fire drills next week on Group 1 and Group 2 days. The procedures will be slightly different to preserve social distancing.
Minor Changes – Hallways, Entry
After watching the movement of students in the building for a week, we made some changes. All hallways can use “two-way” traffic. We taped the halls and students have been told to stay to the right, which they are doing in spectacular fashion. There is ample room for spacing and this has allowed for easier movement in the building. We are also regulating the release of buses in the morning a little more so that students do not have to wait as long on sidewalks. We want to be prepared for the first rainy day and minimize the amount of time people are standing in the rain.
Some Athletic Events Will Start – September 28
The Athletic Department is getting ready for the opening of a sports season. Three sports (Volleyball, Cheerleading, Football) have been moved to a specially placed Spring season that will start in March. Fall sports will be Varsity and Junior Varsity, only. Here is a link to the specifics about the Fall sports season: https://eastirondequoiths.rschoolteams.com/
Picture Days: Make-ups and Virtual Student Sessions in October
We held our picture days this week. The make-up days will be on October 22 and 23, during school. Virtual students will have a chance to come in on October 22 after school at designated times. We will communicate the timeslots in the next few weeks.
Daily Health Screening at Home – Required Before Sending Your Child to School Each Day
Before sending your child to school each day, please do the quick COVID-19 health screening. Directions are listed below. If you have not set up your Parent Portal yet, the process will be slow on the first day. So please set up the portal, today. After going through the process once, it will be fast.
- Go to the district webpage: eastiron.org.
- Click on Infinite Campus button at the top of the website.
- Click on Campus Parent.
- Log in with your Username and Password OR click on “Click here to request a parent portal activation key” if you do not have a Parent Portal account.
- Look for the link in the District Announcement and click on it
- Answer the health screening questions for each student in your household and submit.
- After the first time you complete the questionnaire, a quick link will be available for you to bookmark. This will make the daily process quicker and easier.
Below is what the District Announcement looks like as well as the questions you will need to answer daily.
Click @Eastridge_EICSD to link to the Eastridge Twitter Page.
We are constantly tweeting pictures from school and reminders of events.
Welcome to the 2020 – 2021 school year. A special welcome to parents and guardians
of all freshmen and students who are new to Eastridge.
I know many things will be different this year. Most of this newsletter is focused on
changes that have been made because of COVID-19. The most important things remain
the same. Covid-19 could not change these.
-We care about your children.
-We are focused on helping your children grow.
-We will appropriately challenge your children to think, solve
problems, and create.
-We will strive to give your children what they need to be
-We are your partners.
In the Near Future:
September 1 - Freshmen and New Student Parent Orientation – Remote(online) at 6:00pm
September 2 - Freshmen and New Student Orientation in Small Groups throughout the day
September 8 and 9- Teacher Meeting Days – used to prepare for in-person/at home combined learning
September 10 - First Day of in-person classes for Group 1, remote classes for Group 2, and remote classes for students who are fully remote
September 14 - First Day of in-person classes for Group 2 and remote classes for Group 1
September 15 and 16 - School Picture Days for students who attend in person. Group 2 on 9/15, Group 1 on 9/16
PTSA Meetings - (7 pm in Room 102)
Our Model(s) for Opening Eastridge in September
Over the past five months, we examined many ideas about physically reopening schools by
looking at other countries, other states, and suggestions from many educational and parent
organizations. Finally, in mid-July, the NYS Health Department and NYS Education Department
provided the parameters for reopening schools in NYS. We were given two weeks to produce
formal plans and submit them. Much of the detail work continues as I am writing this Enews.
Hybrid Plan – We are opening with the school split into two student groups with attention being
paid to households attending together. Each group physically attends two days in a row
followed by attending remotely the following two school days. When one group is attending
from home, the other is physically attending. On days that students are attending from home;
they will utilize a Microsoft tool called “Teams” to join their classes. There are more details
about this later in this letter.
Fully Remote – Students could choose to solely attend school remotely and not set foot in the
building. At Eastridge, these students are part of classes that regularly meet and follow the
same schedule as students who are physically attending, and also use “Teams” to join the classes
each day. Details about this are in the instruction portion of this update.
A small group of students with very particular needs are attending every day, if their parents
agree. They are being individually contacted if they meet the criteria for this system.
It is important to remember that these systems could change throughout the year. An
important lesson I learned during the closures from March – June is to be ready for anything
because the reality may shift. As we created our plans, we organized them in a way that if we
need to fully close again, the transition will be quicker, and the education will be more robust. If
we can hopefully have everyone in attendance at some point, we will be ready to go without scrambling to reorganize schedules. We have a goal of being able to shift within twenty-four hours for those scenarios and have organized our systems to make that possible.
Health and Safety
Small Groups and Six Feet
Classes are being kept small. We are breaking each class into two halves with one group learning from home and the other group learning from school. Others in the class may be learning from home every day. This allows classes to remain small. We used square footage measurements to determine the number of people who could safely be in a classroom or other learning spaces with at least six feet between student seats. As rooms are being set up, we are using measuring sticks that are six feet long to assure appropriate distancing is in place.
Masks are Required (Not just a shield)
Fabric face coverings are required of all people who are on school busses or in school. The masks must cover the person’s mouth and nose. Plastic shields do not have the same levels of protection and do not replace masks but are allowed in addition to a mask if the person desires.
Mask breaks will be given throughout the day by the adult in charge of each classroom. Typically, these mask breaks will be announced by the teacher at a time when students are all in their chairs in a classroom, are doing independent work, and nobody is moving around the room (including the adults). If a person needs to get up and move, the mask break will be ended. When the weather allows, study hall supervisors will be encouraged to take students outside for a short walk on school property where students can safely spread out for an outside mask break. During mealtimes, students should temporarily remove their masks to eat and drink, but only while they remain in their seats.
Students are being assigned seats on busses and in classrooms. Desks are being marked (Example – blue for period 1 and white for period two) so that students do not sit in a seat that has not been sanitized. A schedule of desk/table/seat sanitizing schedule is being organized.
Disinfecting and Hand Sanitizing
Classrooms and open spaces are being sanitized throughout the school day. Custodians will have a schedule to sanitize key touchpoints (handles, desktops, tables, light switches, etc.) in an ongoing manner. Our daytime custodial staff is being increased to assure that the sanitizing is continuous. Sanitizing materials are also being left in classrooms so that others may sanitize if they feel the need to do so.
Hand washing is being encouraged and hand sanitizer is being placed in every classroom, office, and other open spaces. Students will be reminded to wash or use hand sanitizer throughout the day.
Expanding Passageways and Controlling Hall Traffic Patterns
Students will be passing from class to class through the hallways. Some are being marked as “one way” hallways while others will have a taped traffic line in the middle with directional arrows on the right sides of the hall. This will help with keeping people moving from place to place. We are expanding passing spaces by opening the courtyard between periods so students can use it as an outside short-cut. The eleven classrooms that are attached to the library will have students exit into that space at the end of class and use it as a large hallway on their way to their next classes. Less than half of the students at Eastridge will physically be in attendance, at any point, so the hallway “crowds” will not exist.
Lockers and Bathrooms
Lockers are not being issued. They become stopping points for students and can block the hallway traffic. Bathrooms will not be accessible during passing times as they sometimes fill with people during those short periods. Instead, students may obtain bathroom passes during classes and security will make sure that no more than three people are in our bathrooms so six-foot distancing can be accomplished. The bathrooms near the cafeteria will also be accessible during lunch.
Health Checks and Temperature Checks
Parents and guardians must take their child’s temperature and answer a series of health questions each day before their child can enter school. It is a quick set of questions, but it is very important that this takes place before students enter. If a child has a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher or answers ‘yes’ to any of the symptom or contact questions on the daily form, the student must stay home. You will receive a letter from our district that walks you through the steps of what must happen in different situations.
Everyone who enters the building will have a temperature taken using touchless electronic temperature tools. Any child who has a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher will not be allowed in school and must be immediately be picked up. The child will be asked to wait in a quarantined location until an adult arrives to take the child home.
Food and Drinks
Students who participate in the breakfast program will get prepackaged meals from the cafeteria (socially distanced distribution) and go to their Homeroom/First Period class where they can take off their masks while seated and eat breakfast. Lunch will be held in our cafeteria. Tables will be arranged so that only two students sit at a table in designated positions to assure safe distancing. Limited seating is available in our Senior Bistro for students who qualify. We are balancing the number of students in lunch to make sure students can be spaced safely. While the weather is cooperative, outside seating will be available in our courtyard that is adjacent to the cafeteria. If a particular lunch time needs more space, we will use the auxiliary gym for additional seating, which is near the cafeteria. Cafeteria tables will be sanitized.
Students will have more chances to be outdoors, this year. Our physical education department will utilize our fabulous outside facilities more than ever. Students should be prepared to be outside in cool weather and even if there is a slight drizzle in the air. If it is raining, PE classes will be in our gymnasiums. Adults who lead study halls will be encouraged to take their groups for short walks on property (back of school or courtyard). Students may utilize the courtyard during lunches, too. Some teachers may take their classes to outside spaces on property if the lesson design allows. Students should dress for the weather each morning, assuming that they may go outside at some point during the day.
Morning Entry Procedures
Entering the school will look different this year. There will be five designated doors that will help to spread students out and preserve safe distancing. Each will be marked clearly to help students to find their way:
Athletic Doors (next to stadium) – Students being dropped off
Main Office Doors (next to main parking lot) – Students who drive to school
Music Doors (Front of school, East side) – Freshmen who ride a bus or walk
S- Hall Doors (Front of school, West side) – Sophomores who ride a bus or walk
“Bus Doors” (Front of school, central location) – Juniors and Seniors who ride a bus or walk
As people enter the building, they will hold their hand in front of a touchless temperature taking machine to be sure they are not running a fever. Students will then go immediately to their homeroom/first period classroom. If they are taking part in the breakfast program, they will pick up a prepared breakfast in the cafeteria and then move to their homeroom location.
Parking Lot, Student Parking, Student Drop Off
We are increasing the number of students allowed to park at school, which will help with the number of students on the bus. Ms. Webber is mailing requirements and forms for obtaining a parking pass. Only people with clearly displayed parking passes in the front window will be allowed to enter the main portion of the parking lot.
We rerouted the student drop off traffic to increase the amount of sidewalk locations available for parents to drop off their children. If you are dropping off a child, please do so no earlier than 7:05 am. Students will enter the building beginning at 7:10 am. Drivers will be directed to drive along the east side of the lot (next to Aman’s Farm Market and the bus fence), which will be marked with cones. They will loop around near the stadium where they can drop off their children anywhere next to the sidewalk and then drive to the central lane in the parking lot where they will be directed to exit. Students may not be dropped off near the main office doors. Students will need to walk a bit further, but we hope that it keeps the flow moving as we are expecting more student drivers and parent drop offs this year.
At the end of the school day, students will be released from their last period in a controlled fashion over a five-minute timespan. This will decrease congestion as students board buses. Parents who are picking up students may park in the student lot (east side of large parking lot) or line up along the sidewalk in the same location where the morning drop off occurs. Students must immediately exit the building after dismissal. Parents must be on time (no later than 2:15 pm) while picking up their children as we will not allow students to gather in the vestibule to wait for rides.
Students may stay after school for academic help. They will be required to sign up with a teacher, so we know who is remaining in school each day. The help sessions must end by 3:30 pm when the late bus arrives at school. Students who are riding the late bus will be assigned a specific seat, so we have a record in case contact tracing is later needed. Clubs will be on-line only. Sports are on hold until at least September 21, so there are no afterschool practices.
Learning and Instruction
Robust Learning – Regardless of Where a Student is Located
No matter which type of setting is used for learning (remote, in-person, hybrid), we are focused on providing a robust and supportive learning program for all students. Last spring, we were inventing systems as things evolved. Luckily, we had a lot of the technology in place and teacher teams were already highly functional, but family schedules and needs were in a whirlwind. We focused our curriculum, concentrated on personal connection, and tried to create some clarity so that learning could take place.
We have had more planning time as we start the year. Here are some goals that will keep our students focused on robust learning:
-Students are “in class” (remotely or in person) every time the class meets. Attendance will be taken.
-Curriculum is not drastically changed, but the delivery and assessment methods are shifting.
-Grading will look similar to pre-COVID systems, with more of a concentration on focused feedback.
There Are No “Days Off” (Students May Not Work During School Hours)
Some students called the school last week asking for their rotation schedules so they could get different hours on their “days off.” There are no “days off.” Our school hours remain primarily the same as they have in the past and labor laws prohibit students from working during school hours.
If a class begins at 7:30am, all students who are registered for the class must join (in person or remotely) by 7:30am using a program called Teams, which is part of the Microsoft system that is on student laptops. A teacher will meet with all the students in a class. Sometimes, the students at home will listen to directions and then be given a learning task to complete while they sign off. Other days, they will take part in an on-line mini lesson for a chunk of the period. Some days, the teacher will arrange group learning that includes students who are at home paired with students who are physically in class, where they can view each other and common documents using the technology provided. Your children will not be looking at the computer for the entire day but will start each class with their peers in school via Teams.
Group 1 (Yellow) and Group 2 (Purple)
Students are being assigned to Group 1 or Group 2. Each group attends school on their assigned days - two days in a row and then attends classes remotely the following two days. See the chart that is being sent with this Enews and save it. Keep this handy so you will always know when your child is supposed to physically attend school or attend class remotely. Some students are attending in a virtual fashion every day. They must also follow the daily class period schedule.
The groups are being arranged as I write this note. We are setting them up so children from the same household are in the same groups and will physically be home or at school on the same days – including Middle School siblings. It will be very difficult to move students from one group to another as it is being organized in a way to keep class sizes balanced.
No Cancelling of Courses, Rigor Remains
We have been able to keep students in their originally scheduled classes. No courses have been cancelled because of the educational structures we are using this year. Many of the formats being used in other places are leading to pushing students out of courses and only offering a bare bones schedule to students who are learning from home, which is something we wanted to avoid.
Most of our courses will be able to stick to the written curriculum but will achieve the goals using different methods. For instance, an art class may have students learn art concepts with digital creation tools where they have exclusively used hands-on tools in the past. Regardless, the key concepts for every class remain in place.
Assessments and Large Tests
Assessment and submission methods will shift in some areas. Teachers have worked to move key assessments to be digitally completed and submitted. Unit tests remain, but they may look a little different.
We have not been told by the New York State Educations Department, The International Baccalaureate (IB), The College Board (AP), or Project Lead the Way (PLTW) if their tests and assessments are changing. Unless we hear differently, we will plan on students taking the assessments at their regularly scheduled times.
The Eastern Monroe Career Center (EMCC) is running a slightly different schedule from what we are using at Eastridge. Their classes are meeting two times a week – either Mon/Thurs or Tues/ Friday while having students attend virtually on Wednesday. We are making arrangements for bussing to and from EMCC for our own hybrid students. EMCC is not allowing students to choose a fully remote education, though. Students who chose to be fully remote at Eastridge but want to physically attend EMCC may do so but must provide their own transportation. If your child fits this situation, please contact your child’s counselor right away.
Freshmen and New Student Orientation – September 2
The Freshmen year is extremely important in getting students on the right track. We usually have a large-scale orientation but have shifted it to several smaller orientations on September 2.
Parents and guardians are being invited to a “town hall” remote Zoom session at 6:00pm on September 1. We are also inviting non-freshmen and their parents/guardians who are new to Eastridge to attend these sessions.
Watch for a special mailing with details about these important orientations.
Using Office 365, OneNote, and Calendars
If freshmen are concerned about using Office 365, OneNote, and Teams, do not worry. Teams is quite intuitive, and freshmen will be sent information about how to get started. Freshmen English teachers will spend a portion of the first two weeks of school helping students to get acclimated to these tools and set up class folders so that our freshmen will stay organized all year long in all of their classes. Thank you, ELA 9 team!
Everyone Must Have a Laptop Before School Begins
All students should have exchanged the device they were using last year for an updated laptop this summer. If you are new to the school or missed the date, please plan on exchanging or receiving your laptop on August 24 and 26 from 7:00am – 3:00pm or August 25 or 27 from 3:00pm – 8:00pm in front of the school. Pull up and someone will come to your car.
It is suggested that everyone purchase a protection plan for their laptops before the new school year begins. Use this link to connect to the online payment process site. https://eicsd.revtrak.net/
Communication with Parents and Guardians
I send a Weekly Enews throughout the school year that looks like this document. Most will be shorter than this first introductory letter and will focus on student celebrations, important news for parents, and updates from our district. Please take a few minutes each week to read it. It will appear in your email – usually on Friday afternoons. If you change your email address, be sure the school knows so that you continue to receive the weekly Enews and other communications from teachers.
Website and Twitter
The website for the districts is rich source of information. Eastridge also uses Twitter to showcase news and provide reminders. Our Twitter address is listed at the end of this Enews.
We adopted “Talking Points” as a program to communicate with parents via text message. This powerful tool even translates short messages to the parent’s first language and reverses the translation as that parent responds. You have probably received many more text messages from East Irondequoit since March. If you have not received any, call the main office (339-1450) and a secretary can check to see if we have the correct cell number.
Click @Eastridge_EICSD to link to the Eastridge Twitter Page.
We are constantly tweeting pictures from school and reminders of events.