We are back! The school building may be closed, but we are committed to educating, connecting, and serving our Franklin Community remotely. I hope you all had a relaxing Spring Break and a good first Monday back. I also hope that this letter finds you all well and that you and your families are remaining healthy during this unprecedented time. We continue to think about you daily and miss you all so much.
Now that the spring recess has concluded we will be embarking on our final 7 weeks of distance learning. While we know this process has not been perfect for everyone we will continue to ensure all students have the ability to participate in the learning process. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time. Please read the information below to learn about Franklin’s Distance Learning Plan begins this week and will take us through the end of the school year which is Wednesday, June 10th:
- Before the Spring Break, Franklin distributed more than 125 Chromebooks to students whose families requested access to technology devices for distance learning. We are continuing to provide Chromebooks to our students on an as-needed basis. If you completed the device survey after the distribution, you should have received an email from Bertha Roman, our Director of Education Technology last night. If you did not receive an email or are still in need of a device and/or a hotspot, please email me as soon as possible. We understand that families who have devices may be strained to share between students and parents working from home, and we will also accommodate devices under this circumstance. Free internet is available to SMMUSD students via the organization Wander at Wander.net with code SCHOOL2020 or call (323) 457-2949.
- Teachers will provide parents with weekly schedules that identify all instruction and assignments. It is important to note that distance learning is not a minute-for-minute replacement of the school day. Rather, it is an altered and abbreviated schedule that reflects the realities of school closures, social-distancing, the “Safer at Home” order, and other emergency orders intended for everyone’s safety and well-being.
- Teachers will have “office hours” to answer any questions from students and parents. Your teacher will let you know when her/his office hours are each day. Teachers and staff will continue to be available via email during regular school hours, 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM and will respond to emails within 24 – 48 hours on business days. You can also leave a voicemail, which will be sent as an email voice message to staff. Numbers and extensions are available on the school website. We will return your call within 2 business days. Please be aware that as we are working remotely, phone calls from staff may appear as “blocked” numbers.
- In addition to email, teachers will utilize a communication platform to share information such as Google Classroom, Zoom, Class Dojo, FlipGrid, or See Saw. If you need assistance with the platform, please reach out to your child’s teacher. We will be careful to consolidate information so as to not overwhelm parents with communication during this challenging time. We ask that you please stay connected to your child’s “classroom”. It will be an ever-shifting landscape as we continue to develop our educational program.
- Instruction and assignments will be included for each subject area (reading, writing, math, social/emotional learning, PE, science, social studies, art, and music). Franklin’s PE Coaches, Music and Art staff will be collaborating with teachers to share lessons. For the well-being of our students, our goal is that the amount of screen time (time a child is in front of a screen for any live, recorded, or independent learning) per day will be no more than 2.5 – 3 hours. In regards to teaching any new content, teachers selected the grade-level content that is the most comprehensible digitally, and will be the most beneficial preparation for the next grade level. Teachers will also focus on building core foundational grade-level knowledge and skills in content areas. Special Education IEP services, 504 Accommodations, and Intervention will continue to be provided (please see below). Please keep in mind that schedules for Franklin’s specialized programs (Preschool, Specialized Academic Instruction, and Social Skills) may incorporate different components and elements into their instructional program.
- The teacher may provide instruction in a variety of ways such as teacher recorded videos (asynchronous learning), live sessions via platforms like Zoom (synchronous learning), opportunities for guided practice and collaboration, and/or independent work such as assignments and projects. This allows teachers the flexibility to determine what works best for their students to ensure instruction is meaningful and accessible. Teachers will provide daily interactive learning experiences a week. This live learning will occur between 9:00am and 12:00pm daily and may be individual, small group, or large group, and will focus on various subject areas including social-emotional learning.
- *We are respectfully asking for your assistance while teachers are engaged in synchronous (live) lessons. We ask that you please support your child as much as possible during these lessons, particularly our primary grade students. They sometimes require technical assistance with starting the conferencing application, muting and unmuting the microphone, knowing when to yield to the teacher or classmates, and ending the session. Additionally, please ensure that younger siblings are not participating in their older brother’s and sister’s class time. This can be very disruptive and distracting for the student. Please be sure your child has eaten breakfast, taken care of their hygiene needs, and is “dressed for school” before participating in their live lessons. Please, no pajamas during a lesson. We would like to continue to encourage normal school behavior and habits during this totally abnormal time. Structure and consistency will help your child gain the most benefit from the Distance Learning program. If you child cannot “attend” a live class lesson please let the teacher know at your earliest convenience. We will be concerned about her/him. Please know we also understand our current situation and the fact that many of us are parents working from home, have children in every corner of our homes navigating digital learning, and other “real” circumstances happening all at the same time. I ask that we all do our very best, which is more than enough.
- PE is scheduled from 1:00pm-1:30pm on most days for grades 1-5 unless otherwise noted. PE Coaches are providing a variety of lessons and activities to our teachers on a weekly basis that will be included in their weekly schedules. Please ensure your child is getting enough physical activity each day. Our Physical Education curriculum can also be found on Franklin’s website under Parents > Educational Resources: https://www.sparkecademy.org/. You will need to sign-up for a free account and then go to the Course Catalog > SparkHome Free link. There is also an activity log you can download and have your child fill out. This is a fun way for them to track their exercise and diet.
- Please refer to the Educational Resources page on the Franklin School website. This will be updated regularly. You can visit this page by clicking here: Franklin Family Resources
You can also access many helpful Distance Learning resources on the SMMUSD website by clicking here: SMMUSD FAMILY RESOURCES. Many teachers have also been sharing resources with you. We are trying to be judicious with what we share as we know you are inundated and overwhelmed with the amount of information that has been coming your way.
- Franklin’s primary goal is the emotional health and overall well-being of our students, and we will keep this in mind as we collaboratively develop and provide lessons. Our intent is that the instruction we provide will give a sense of routine, continuity of learning, and positive social interactions.
- We understand that this is a very difficult time for families and that many factors may impact a student’s ability to access instruction at specific times. Therefore, we are working hard to be flexible by offering some assignments and learning that can be done at your convenience. For additional resources for families, please visit the SMMUSD Educational Resources page at https://www.smmusd.org/Page/5437.
I would like to highlight the remarkable efforts of our staff! This has been incredibly complex work and they have risen to the challenge as we knew they would! They will need your continued support during the remaining weeks of school.
I would like to also remind our families that all SMMUSD facilities are closed for the duration including after normal school hours and weekends. Please do not visit the school campus. We do understand many of our students’ belongings were left on campus before the closure. We will let you know once a plan is in place to retrieve all of those items.
We understand that this is a time of hardship for families physically, emotionally, and/or financially. The SMMUSD Student Services team has organized many helpful resources to assist our community members. These resources are posted below. If you know of a family in need of community support please contact our Bilingual Community Liaison Florencia Rams or me. She can be contacted by firstname.lastname@example.org and I can be reached at the email below.
Finally, do me a huge favor. Please be easy on yourselves parents. Most of you have been thrown into the role of “teacher” without any training. We know this is difficult, we understand, and are sympathetic. We are here to assist you with this challenge. Please reach out to us. I am available to answer any questions you may have or just to hear about your struggles and successes. Remember to visit the school district’s website, Franklin’s website, and all of our social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: @Franklin_Bolts) for regular updates and information. Our Franklin PTA website is also a wonderful source of information. Please subscribe to the Flash via that website if you have not done so already.
Please take care! We are all in this together!!
Your Loving Principal,
Mrs. Cynthia McGregory