Letter from Mrs. Grey, Upper School Principal
Good Afternoon Families of PHCS,
I hope that you all are in the middle of a great weekend and setting aside some time to reset and relax. Last night my husband and I had a Zoom meeting with our small group from church, and when we got to taking prayer requests we also took time to share the blessings we’ve uncovered in this last two weeks when our world’s been flipped upside down. I know for me, it’s been a lot of work, a lot of stress over decisions, sometimes a few tears, but it’s also been a lot of thought and effort fully geared towards my family and my kids and working to create a safe place for them to feel secure to continue to grow and be excited about our future. I wish and pray that you all are doing the same and that God is giving you the peace you need that transcends the worldly understanding of this pandemic and you find rest in His Sovereign Hands. Roman’s 8:6 says, “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”
Thank you so much to those of you that took time to complete the parent survey. Your feedback was crucial to our making decisions about how we move forward to support your student’s learning. What you will find in this email is an overview of a schedule of Zoom meetings for your student, some guidelines for Zoom use, an outline of expectations for what else you can expect from the teachers in addition to their live sessions, a daily schedule suggestion, and what the end of the quarter and Spring Break looks like. There is a lot of information in this email, please make sure you take time to read it through in its entirety.
There are two attachments with Zoom schedules. One for middle school and one for high school. Each contain an overview of each grade as well as a page that organizes it in a “week-at-a-glance” format. The teachers will be using these time slots as teaching times with your student. The students are required to attend live and attendance will be taken. If your student cannot make a session on any given day, please reach out to the teacher(s) whose class(es) it impacts to let them know. Each middle school and high school student will have a maximum of 3, 30-minute sessions a day. Middle School does not have any mandatory sessions on Wednesdays. High School will have primarily electives on Wednesdays where applicable. Wednesday will be used as a support day to get caught up, ask questions where needed, we may host some grade-level support groups, guidance lessons, etc.
All upper school classes (except for middle school specials and high school electives) will have at least 2 live classes each week, the first being Monday or Tuesday, the second Thursday or Friday. All assignments will still be posted at the beginning of the week by 8 AM Monday, however students may now be given a deadline either Wednesday by 9 PM (assignments from their first class meeting to help them be prepared for their second) or Sunday by 9 PM (assignments from their second class meeting to finish out the week). These deadlines will be included in the RenWeb assignments and will be determined by the individual teachers. These classes may be recorded by the teacher and shared with students for the purpose of educational review by students within the class only. Students are not permitted to record or share teacher recordings in any format. Students will be notified if/when a class is being recorded. When working online, students must continue to abide by all policies in the PHCS Parent/Student Handbook relating to the Behavior Management Plan, Student Lifestyle Pledge, and Acceptable Internet Use Agreement.
Zoom classes should be treated as actual classes. As such, students must abide by the following guidelines.
- Dress appropriately for interaction with teacher and student (no pajamas permitted)
- Ensure that meeting backgrounds are appropriate for the educational setting
- Enter actual name in display (fake names are not permitted)
- Be mindful that all comments must be school appropriate in content and remain on topic
- Follow all directives given by teacher
Failure to abide by these guidelines may result in loss of Zoom class privilege and could include other more serious consequences.
PHCS upper school classes will include a combination of interactive live sessions, recorded tutorials, independent and group assignments, and individual assistance. Teachers have been instructed to provide a minimum of 1 hour and maximum of 2 hours of work (including any of the modes listed above) for every half an hour in Zoom. This means that your student should be spending approximately 4.5 to 7.5 hours a day on various school activities. Teachers will also be taking into consideration grade level, which means middle school workloads should be on the low end of this spectrum with high school students, especially those in AP classes on the top end. Teachers were reminded that most work assigned at home takes longer than it would in a classroom with direct assistance. Middle school teachers were asked to scale back this week. If you feel like your student is spending more time than this recommendation in any class, please reach out to the teacher directly for guidance and direction. Please also keep in mind, that even the higher end of this workload, is less time daily (and especially weekly) that your student would be spending on their academic learning in and out of school.
Consistency and structure help students to feel secure because they set expectations and help them stay organized inside their brains. I know that the attached schedule is not going to work for everyone, but I wanted to make sure you had some sort of suggestion when it comes to setting up your own daily schedule for your kids. Feel free to use this however it might be helpful for you. The spreadsheet has two tabs. The first is filled out for you as a sample, the second is left blank. Both are formatted to print as is, but you can feel free to modify it however you want to suit you!
We currently have created student emails for all upper school students in Microsoft Office 365. These will be distributed soon with directions for accessing and changing passwords. We will work on the back end to get all new emails loaded into RenWeb for you. The decision to move forward with assigning student emails was to allow for greater ease in communication between teachers and students, as well as create a space for students in 6th through 12th grade that is solely dedicated to PHCS purposes.
In addition to all this academic support, we are also working to look out for the social/emotional needs of your students during this time. As you saw, Mrs. Ricci has put out a phone number dedicated to student support. We will also be conducting Zoom guidance lessons and grade level support sessions. This week will begin publishing announcement videos that you can access at a time that works for you and your family. We are working on a virtual spirit week and brainstorming other ways to allow for and create more connection within the PHCS family during this time of separation. We all miss you all so much!
The administrative team will be hosting a webinar for parents on Tuesday at 7 pm to review updates and take some questions. Please refer to the Panther Pages that went out last Friday for details. Hope you can attend. I am and will continue to be available to field questions at any time regarding any of this. I have truly appreciated those of you that have reached out to share your thoughts of gratitude for our staff and what we are doing to support our families and I’ve passed on your positive vibes to them. Those that have asked questions and expressed needs or challenges, you have helped us identify and troubleshoot obstacles beyond our ability to anticipate. I say this to encourage you to keep reaching out…stay connected. We are all here to help!!
Because of Jesus,
PHCS Upper School Principal
“…And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…” Hebrews 12:1-2