These past few weeks have brought unprecedented events, and we are grateful to be able to stand together in God’s promises, power, and love. As believers in Christ and as a school seeking to partner with parents in Christian education, we remain committed to serving our students as best we can while we adapt to circumstances beyond our control. We still believe that embodied, corporate, on-campus education is superior to exclusive online learning in many respects, but we are also grateful to be equipped with resources and tools to reach out as a community even when we can’t all be together. As much as possible, we are seeking to emulate our normal classroom experience through Google Classrooms, Zoom video conferencing, and a number of tools in the online realm.
Check the daily elementary schedule for two online meeting opportunities per day with the classroom teacher. Prayerfully, there will even be a daily recorded Square Time video to watch to start the students’ days, just like normal.
There will be a different Google Classroom for each of their regular classes. This will be the location where most communication happens, where students will find and turn in assignments, make comments, and generally receive information about their classes. Teachers will be posting video lessons and other content regularly. Look for an introductory video or other material when you first sign in to the Google Classroom. The “Stream” and “Classroom” tabs will contain most of these posts.
Look for email invitations from teachers or a post on the Stream feed of Google Classroom to participate in Zoom meetings. These emails or posts will contain a link to join a live conference call with other classmates at a specific time (see attached schedule below for the regular meeting times for both K-5 and 6th-12th grades).
Students will not be in live conference calls for the entire length of a class, but they will be expected to check in if at all possible for some amount during the scheduled times, according to the teacher’s lesson for the day. The main goal of these sessions is to maintain a person-to-person connection with our teachers and students in the community. This is the area we are most likely to adjust, depending on the usability of the platform as we work together, but it is a powerful tool that we think can be very exciting to use. If for some reason your student is unable to connect during this time, look for follow-up information and assignments posted on the Google Classroom page.
Encourage your student to stay engaged in the learning process. Things will look very different while we’re in this remote learning mode, but we plan to continue the work of Christian schooling. More than normal, a great deal of responsibility is on our students at home, but more is on parents as well.
Students will be expected to continue working, turning in assignments, participating in online activities, and generally treating the school day as school days if we are to continue in this mode following spring break. Class meeting times may be a little different, but the days themselves should offer plenty of meaningful work and activity. Teachers will make efforts to log who is in class, and we will build towards taking attendance like normal in the long term. Your student will not be penalized if for some reason he or she cannot connect during the live time. Again, our heart is to connect and minister through community.
Please monitor your student’s use of the internet while at home for their safety. If this is a long-term mode of teaching, we will follow up with resources to help support you (e.g. a list of suggested sites to visit for firewalls, parent controls, etc. for those who are not already equipped with such). Please refer to our handbooks for safe use policy as well. We’ll do our best to keep things up-to-date and communicate. Remind your students to observe normal Calvin policies regarding behavior, technology use, and dress. When on webcam, in chatrooms, through posts, and in other interactions, please remember we are still in a functioning Christian community and environment in which we aim to build one another up in love, walking according to the Spirit in righteousness. The setting is different, but the same expectations apply.
Check the schedule below for live check-in times. This portion will likely be dynamic as we go, but the goal is to coordinate times when both students and teachers are available at the same time for instruction, questions and answers, and group updates. While much of the learning will be self-directed and independent (e.g. watching a teacher-led instructional video, practicing work, and completing assignments on your own), some portions of class will be “live” as well. These are the times students and teachers should aim to “meet” virtually on a daily (or every other day) basis.
Parents, don’t forget to keep checking Crusader Connection for your student’s assignments and progress. This will still be our primary tool for communicating grades, missing assignments, upcoming work, and so forth, just as we always have in the Upper School. For K-5, look for communication through email and Google Classrooms, just like normal.