While we would all like to get back to facilitating our students’ learning as soon as possible, we cannot begin official instruction via e-learning until after March 30, per an Executive Order issued by Governor Walz.  Therefore, we will view the week of March 23 through March 27 as an optional transition to “test drive” our distance learning program.  

Beginning Monday, March 23, classroom teachers will provide a daily morning message as well as suggested voluntary daily/weekly enrichment assignments and activities through Seesaw or Google Classroom.  Attendance will not be taken for this period and grades will not be given for work completed during this time.  Teachers will not introduce new concepts, but rather they will establish contact, work out complications with technology, and provide a routine with meaningful review for families until we can resume formal at-home learning.  

Each student may also sign up for a one-on-one mini-conference with the classroom teacher via Zoom, using each student’s ISLA Google account. Zoom is already installed on each child’s chromebook. Teachers will also maintain regularly scheduled “office hours” in which families can rest assured that their questions and concerns will be answered promptly via email.  We also see this week as a time to ensure equitable access to connectivity, while taking into consideration individual family needs.  Again, these learning opportunities are for enrichment only and are not intended as required learning or direct instruction.

The week of March 30th will be ISLA’s Spring Break according to the calendar previously approved by the ISLA Board of Directors.

Decisions are currently being made at various levels about the duration of school closures.  In the event that ISLA remains closed after April 3, teachers will be prepared to continue and expand home-learning opportunities.  They will continue to provide daily morning messages and they will also establish daily/weekly learning tasks with organized systems for providing feedback on students’ work.  Increased structure will be added to connect students with Special Education services and some RtI interventions. We also anticipate offering a schedule of online contact with Language Ambassadors as an additional opportunity for Spanish immersion from home.    

Each grade level has prepared a plan for their general structure, routines, and methods for home-learning as well as their office hours and a sign-up for one-on-one check-ins.  In an effort to make information easily accessible, below you will find links to each grade level’s Transitional Home-Learning Plan as well as sign-up genius links for one-on-one check ins. Then, beginning Monday, students can access daily messages and specific details about optional learning tasks.  In the meantime, families may continue to access general resources provided by our media specialist, Sra. Yepes, and classroom teachers.

As families prepare for the transition to distance learning, we would like to provide some insight on what families can do to set students up for success.  We ask that you:

  • Pick up your child(ren)’s materials from ISLA before 4:00 pm on Monday, March 23rd if you have not already done so.  Teachers have prepared materials for all students regardless of each family’s need to borrow a device.  Please know that teachers will communicate with you about when and how students should work on each of these tasks.
  • Prepare a space that will be conducive to at-home learning for each child.  Families with more than one child will want to consider separate, quiet, learning spaces for at least part of each day.  To the extent possible and appropriate, consider allowing children agency and ownership in preparing their learning spaces.
  • Establish a family routine. In the event of an extended school closure, each family will decide when, where, and how students engage in the learning tasks assigned by teachers.  Daily routines might include designated times for reading/math practice, assigned activities, movement, music, snacks, meals, chores, family games and/or outdoor time.  Predictable routines help both adults and children cope with the inevitable changes that accompany this pandemic.  
  • Your child’s general Grade Level Home-Learning Plan is available through the links at the conclusion of this letter.  Please read through it to prepare.  All scheduling is voluntary, including one-on-one check-ins with teachers.  However, we will communicate final Home-Learning Plans with increased structure should the school closure continue beyond April 3, 2020.

While many social media posts humorously express an increased appreciation for teachers while children are at home, we recognize that the idea of facilitating learning from home is overwhelming for many families for many reasons.  We know it is not realistic to replicate classroom conditions at home, and we want you to know that we appreciate you and we are here to support you as each family discovers the best way to serve their needs.  With patience and compassion, we will continue to support each other in doing what we feel is best for students and we remain dedicated to ISLA’s mission to empower the whole child by nurturing the development of personal growth, strong character, academic excellence, and global vision.