WHS Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can you help me understand the rationale behind the early dismissal plan because it doesn’t make sense to me, but maybe there is a very valid reason. Help me understand how this is better than two full days of in person and two full days of synchronous DL, which would provide significantly more teacher/instructional time, both in school and out.
A: The reason we do not do the every other day or two days on two days off is, believe it or not, there’s actually less instructional time. We believe that this approach is better for the secondary level students because then they can work on what they need to work on the off mornings, and the distance learning piece in the afternoon helps with the continuity and pushes forward the content . The tasks that students will do on their own are geared to practicing and honing their skills. They are not “self teaching” and will have opportunities to ask questions and access teacher support during class.
Q: There is confusion about the instruction in the hybrid models when a cohort is NOT in school in person on a given day. Can this be clarified as parents are assuming that all classes can be live streamed (meaning all students get the same instructional time overall)?
A: The full day alternating hybrid means that students receive new instruction every other day- they either come in person or log in remotely on their given cohort day- the alternate day they do not come or log in as the instruction is the same as the day before.
Q: The issue I’m hearing the most about is how we are structuring our hybrid model in that the teacher is teaching the same thing on both days and not having an interactive zoom on both days and thus slowing down the amount of information and material that can be taught. It seems that in other districts in their hybrid model on the days that the kids are home they are able to have an interactive zoom and listen and such that they’re essentially learning every day – in school or at home. I’m getting a lot of questions about how we can get all of our material given that our students will be in school you know, let’s say 1/3 to 1/5 of the time as in neighboring districts. Can you speak to this tonight.
A: Yes. the reality is that we cannot necessarily compare ourselves with other high schools – Staples has a block schedule for example- very long periods- and their teachers will have to be trained in this model. Barlow also has block scheduling and the instructions to the virtual cohort is to log in for the beginning of the period. This is not interacting for 80 minutes via zoom. Our model provides enough contact time instructionally as well as a time for students and adults to connect in person- all students interact via zoom every afternoon. Yes, the focus is on the students in the classroom. Voluntary district learners can log on and follow along- their interaction comes during teacher office hours and the classes when everyone is virtually learning. For a teacher to teach in-person while simultaneously engaging with distance learners frankly adversely affects high quality teaching and becomes a technological management issue. That is not our goal. Some people wonder why we don’t’ send our students every other day all day- that is actually less instructional time than what we currently propose. We have thought through a great many issues and believe this to be the best possible option for all students-
Q: What will HS students be doing the morning until noon when they are not physically in school. Will there be asynchronous distance learning those mornings?
A: They will have school work to do. They may access the writing center and teacher office hours. Upperclassmen can attend virtual college rep visits this fall. There will not be asynchronous distance learning those mornings.
Q: Will the full course offerings be available in the high school to hybrid learners?
Q: What courses are categorized as “electives” in the high school and will NOT be available to DL?
A: All classes are available at the high school- no worries. There are no differences between elective and required courses.
Q: What is the plan for HS seniors who need certain “elective” credits (i.e. tech) to graduate?
A: All seniors will have access to what they need to stay on track for graduation.
Q: What should my student bring to school?
A: All students must bring their own personal devices. There will be no laptops/chrome books for general use. Exceptions include computer labs that require specific software for classes. Students should make sure that their electronics are charged. There will not be phone/computer chargers available. Students should bring extra masks and it is recommended to carry portable hand sanitizers although we have dispensers throughout the school.
Q: What if my child doesn’t have a computer?
A: Families should contact the Weston technology help desk and a chromebook will be provided.
Q: Will there be lunch served?
A: Lunch will not be provided. Families on free/reduced lunch will receive specific information regarding how their child can access lunch, which will be available before the student leaves school. In certain circumstances some students will spend the entire day with us. For those students, they may order lunch the day before if they wish. Details to follow.
Q: Can kids move from hybrid to full DL, and what are repercussions to both their schedule and transcripts?
A: There are no repercussions- VDL students are assigned to a blue/gold cohort and access their learning following that schedule- from home.
Q: Will there be a change in homework policy during hybrid and full distance learning?
Q: What specific changes have been made to online learning that will differentiate fall 2020 from spring ‘20 in the high school? Will students have more streamlined/individual access to their teachers?
A: As far as changes, our teachers have become more adept at certain instructional pedagogies with DL and as a result these strategies will be implemented more “at scale”. There will be professional development for them the week before school begins. We know there was a concern about individual access to teachers so we will make sure that virtual office hours are clearly posted for all students.
Q: Will afternoon instruction be fully interactive with teachers, despite being DL? And will teachers have office hours for students?
A: Afternoon instruction will be interactive and synchronous. Teachers will have posted office hours for all students to access.
Q: How will students enrolled in studio art classes participate at home? Will supplies be provided for use at home?
A: Yes. teachers are working on a plan to address this course
Q: How will classes that require hands on activities and sharing of materials (eg. tech and engineering and robotics) manage personal protection?
A: There are additional virtual resources that will be used to limit all hands on activities. Teachers are determining which materials will be needed and cleaning protocols. We also have new software that will support hands on activities including labs.
Q: How will passing work in the high school?
A: There are seven minutes between classes. Hallways designated one way. Masks must be worn.
Q: Will there be a freshman orientation?
A: Yes, details to follow. Yes we are in the process of organizing this. more to follow
Q: If you know your children will be out of weston but still have the ability to sign on for school work, are they able to attend classes remotely for the day? Even if it was a day scheduled as an “in person” school day
A: If the question is directed at students that may miss one day, they are able to attend the afternoon classes remotely. The students are absent. Resources will be posted online on Canvas.
Q: Please describe what a typical HS classroom will look like, including location of desks, location of teacher relative to students, how distance learning video will be taken, use of partitions, if any, and cleaning of desks after each class?
A: Approximately 14 desks in the classroom spread out as far as possible (between 4-6 feet), hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, teacher table, no partitions, rooms cleaned daily.
Q: With outdoor disease transmission being significantly less likely than indoor disease transmission, will there be outdoor instruction as weather permits?
A: Outdoor space will be used for PE classes. We also have two large inner courtyards. These spaces will be used with strict protocols and guidelines. For example, small band ensembles would be best outside. When/Where we can provide adult supervision, students will be allowed to go out to the field/track during free time as long as PE classes are not using the space.
Voluntary Distance Learners (VDL)
Q: Would you please clarify, if a student is electing VDL, will they be streaming in live to their classroom?
A: Students are assigned a cohort and will be able to log into the classroom on those in-person days of their cohort. In the afternoon they will access distance learning with all students.
Q: Will they be able to ask questions and participate with students who are in-person?
A: On the in-person class days, they will not be able to actively participate virtually. The focus on the teacher will be the students in person. Students will have access virtually to teacher office hours that will be posted on every teacher’s website.
Q: Will VDL students be with the same teacher that they would have been assigned if attending in the Hybrid model?
Q: I have a few questions regarding the morning A/B schedule. I understand that the Blue cohort attends in-person on A days and the Gold cohort attends in-person on B days (C/D days follow same schedule). For the stay-at-home cohort (on any given day), do the students not attend class sessions in the morning? Are the teachers teaching the same information, to a different cohort group, two days in a row? And, if the class sessions are on Zoom, for the VDL students, why can’t the stay-at-home cohort (Blue or Gold, depending on day) join the virtual Zoom class? Then the teacher would not be teaching the same lesson two days in a row. Can you clarify this for me? Thanks so much. I am just trying to understand the schedule. (I was not able to attend any meetings due to the outage; we were among the 1% that did not get our power back by Tuesday night and had challenges with cable/internet.)
A: The students that stay home as a voluntary distance learner should log into the morning class only on their particular cohort color day- that is in the morning. Every afternoon all students- voluntary distance learners and all cohorts- log into afternoon classes- these classes are synchronous and live. The morning classes on blue and then gold days are the same. The afternoon classes are not the same. We do not want students from the other cohort logging in on their off day in the morning. The morning classes are focused on the students in the classroom and the teacher is working to connect with them and provide rigorous instruction. Managing distance learners and in person learners requires the teacher to focus on managing two very different groups of learners and frankly it becomes more about that than the teaching and learning. Voluntary distance learners on their cohort day can log in but there is no interaction in the morning classes for them- watch and listen- they may contact the teacher during teacher office hours that are posted on the teacher web page. they may access work on the web page. they can ask questions/interact in their afternoon classes when all students are virtual. I hope this clarifies.
Q: I strongly believe that it is critical that students doing VDL be able to interact as if they are in the classroom; ask questions, be called on, etc.. If students can only watch a class, it will be extremely isolating and will negatively impact social/emotional well-being.
A: The practicality of teachers using different instructional pedagogies that are designed for in-person participation while interfacing virtually with other students at the same time presents unique challenges. The focus moves from learning to managing and we believe the focus needs to be on rigorous instruction for learning. We encourage students to access office hours if they have specific questions. Or ask them in the distance learning class in the afternoon.
Q: VDL case students only have an option to attend live streams or they will also have an in-person online part? Ie, when Hybrid students have online classes (Gold Cohort 7.45-10.45), do FDL have the same online class as Hybrid and, thus, get an opportunity to ask questions just as Hybrid students? What does “limited instructional hours” stand for VDL? does it mean that students in VDL will not have the same credit points or will not have some classes (electives/athletics) reflected as passed in their diplomas? Will students in VDL and in Hybrid have the same HW and Google classroom? Will the VDL students be able to pass interim/chapter quizzes and tests. As of now I see “may be offered”? Can the school make Curriculum for each subject/grade avail online.
A: VDL students are assigned a cohort. They will log into the in-person classes and have a window into the classroom. They will not have the opportunity to engage with the teacher and ask specific questions during the in person time. During that time teachers are focusing on engaging the students in the classroom with the most rigorous instruction. To allow this level of interaction takes away from this level of teaching and becomes more of managing two different platforms. At the high school VDL students can access teacher office hours virtually to get questions answered. They will be present with all students during distance learning. They will be able to access the writing center and other supports virtually. All WHS students will receive credit as long as they complete the required work. The work is the same and assessments are the same. Any course work will be posted on the teachers’ canvas page. That is where the curriculum and instruction will be posted.
Q: How will VDL students receive their student planners and books
A: We will make arrangements for distribution of materials to VDL students via parent pick up on specific dates to follow.
Q: How will MS and HS students be graded? Will actual grades be issues or will classes be pass/fail? Will pass/fail grades be based on GPA or will all classes default to pass?
A: HS students will be graded using letter grades. Each quarter will be weighted 25% per quarter. WHS will not have midterm and final exams for the 2020-21 school year because of the uncertainty of how the year will proceed. This decision was made now so that, from the very beginning, teachers design assessments with that in mind.
Q: My senior is currently registered to take the SAT at WHS at the end of August. There has been no communication from either the college board or WPS as to whether the test will be administered. What is the decision?
A: Weston High School will not test at the end of August
Q: Typically the PSAT and SATs would be administered in school in fall and spring. Will that happen this year, particularly a fall SAT date for seniors that have not had the opportunity to take the SAT yet?
A: Weston High School is scheduled as a testing site for SAT and ACT in October. However this may change based on the current health situations. The PSAT administration is to be determined. Tests were ordered. How it will be administered is TBD
Q: What is the high school doing to prevent the rampant cheating that happens (yes, even in Weston) when tests are given online, or when the same test is given on successive days to different sections of the class?
A: Teachers are well aware of this concern and will work together with their curricular partners on this issue.
Athletics and Clubs
Q: Those that elect VDL should be able to be a part of both Athletics and Clubs in-person or virtually.
A: That is true for the clubs that will take place virtually. We encourage all students to participate in our clubs. We also understand the importance of students’ social-emotional health and will have advisory virtually for all students. We will continue with guidance seminars and groups for all students.
Our athletic program has strict protocols. Students who participate in the in-person 1/2 day model are eligible. Students whose families wish for them to attend school virtually are not eligible to respect family wishes regarding the safety and well being of their children. It should be noted that student athletes will play next to each other without masks. These students have been in a cohort of 400 students during the morning. They will compete against students from other schools without masks. These students are following different protocols in their schools.
Q: Clubs should be allowed to meet in person, even if held outdoors when possible.
A: The majority of clubs will be virtual and after school as there is no supervision for in person clubs after school. We also need to provide adequate time for the cleaning crew to prepare the buildings for the next day. We will address specific needs and mitigating circumstances of certain clubs after school opens. Athletics and Clubs provide critical social opportunities that have been severely limited since March and will continue to be reduced from a normal year. Mental health should be a focus. More than ever, clubs and sports are needed for student well-being.
Q:What is the “hybrid mode” we are being told about for athletics?
A: All sports will start in cohorts of no more than 15 athletes for the first three weeks of their season. For the first week practice sessions are limited to 60 minutes, while they can go up to 90 minutes in week 2. Half of the practice for the first two weeks must be spent on conditioning to reacclimate the athletes to the need of their sport. No in team scrimmages or contact drills are allowed until after three weeks of practices. Once games start we will be playing a regional schedule with fewer games and less travel. Subvarsity jamborees will be held on the weekends to lower the number of athletes on the buses.
Q: Why are fans not being allowed at games?
A: It was decided by the Athletic Directors and Principals of all SWC schools that all schools in our conference would be consistent with this rule. The discussion centered around the health and safety of our athletes and in the end it was decided that this was in the best interest of our athletes and gave us the best chance to get the full fall season played.
Health & Safety
Q: I’m getting a lot of talk about students not following state public health protocols- partying , no masks, and I’m wondering what the plan is to educate the students on their public health responsibility.
A: That is a parental responsibility. We will have strict protocols in school and will be relentless in our expectations that rules are followed in school. It is a collective responsibility of families and the community to ensure that protocols are followed outside of school. We encourage families to communicate with each other, and for parents to speak to their children.
Q: As the district discusses possible changes to drop off/pick up, will this affect HS students who drive to school?
A: Upperclassmen need to complete the appropriate paperwork and will still be allowed to drive.
Q: According to the schedule the kids who are in the building have an hour from dismissal bell to log in for afternoon distance learning . How will this be enough time to be dismissed, get to the bus , take the bus home and have lunch? Before having to log on at 11:55 . Bus routes alone can take 45 minutes . In addition when will bus schedules be released?
A: We believe there will be adequate time. Students may also eat during their distance learning class