Greeting Mannion Families,
I wanted to take a few minutes and update you on Mannion’s approach to distance learning during our school’s closure. I appreciate all of the parents that shared their questions and concerns. I was able to pass this along to the staff and this framed our conversations and decisions in our efforts to meet the expectations of the Nevada Department of Education (NDE), the Clark County School District (CCSD), and our Mannion community.
I apologize for the length of this email, but I wanted to make sure everyone had an opportunity to understand how our school was moving forward. While everything is clear in my mind, it may not come across with such clarity. If necessary, I will provide clarifications and updates as appropriate. Furthermore, I will address issues during a Parent Community Partnership Meeting at 5:30 PM tonight. I hope you will be able to join us.
REGULARLY SCHEDULED STUDENT CONTACT
In order to meet attendance requirements for the NDE, Mannion teachers will begin weekly attempts to contact students via the Google email of our students. Encourage your student(s) to check their email daily. Teachers are required to have a response, at least once a week, from their assigned students. Teachers will begin to make initial contacts with their assigned students on Tuesday of this week. Starting next week, the initial contact will be made on Monday and continue until we return to campus. A prompt reply by your student to the email is appreciated. In the event your student does not remember their login and/or password for their Google email, this information can be reset on the Mannion Website (under students).
DISTRICT GUIDELINES FOR DIGITAL LEARNING ACTIVITIES
CCSD has mandated that all digital student learning activities, during this school closure, be optional for students to complete. These activities are to be provided by teachers, but are not to be graded. If the work is submitted, teachers will review it and provide feedback to the students. Grades will not be issued for anything completed or not completed. Nothing, for original credit or extra credit, will be recorded in Infinite Campus. This is a universal expectation for distance learning activities across CCSD, and Mannion will follow this expectation. As a result, we do not know how this closure will impact quarter grades, semester grades, or promotion. This is not a school based decision and the requirements will be universal across all CCSD schools.
DIGITAL LEARNING ACTIVITIES BY MANNION TEACHERS
During our virtual meetings yesterday, the Mannion staff put together optional learning activities that students could access from home. These are accessible on the teacher websites. As a reminder, all teacher websites are accessible through the Mannion Middle School website. Across the top, you will see staff, and the pages are easy to find under each teacher’s name. During our planning, and thanks to parent feedback, we moved forward with the realization that many of our students have limited access to a computer and the internet. In many circumstances, this is due to all members of the family, working and learning from home, and everyone having to use one computer. We realize that families have to prioritize, and we understand that priorities are constantly changing. Our goal was to not have the middle school student monopolize the family computer.
While all subjects are important, we believe that if a middle school student has limited computer time, it should be dedicated to working on MAPS Accelerator/Khan Academy for math. All students have accounts to access this program and should continue to use it, just as they were prior to our school’s closure. Other subjects have also posted learning activities for students to complete. Many of these activities emphasize two other key components to middle school students: reading and writing, and in the case of electives, practicing.
DIGITAL ACCESS TO MANNION TEACHERS
To assist students, and meet the expectations of CCSD, Mannion teachers will also host virtual office hours. Students are able to use their computers and/or smartphones to access their teachers during virtual time. Instructions of how to access the teachers are also found on their websites. To assist families, we created a schedule of teacher availability by grade. The schedule is as follows:
In order to further accommodate families, the math teachers will host combined office hours. This way, a 6th grade, 7th grade, and 8th grade math teacher will be accessible to all middle school family members during the virtual office hours between 10 am and 1 pm. Again, links to access the virtual office hours can be found on the teacher websites.
AVAILABLE LEARNING ACTIVITIES FOR STUDENTS WITH NO INTERNET ACCESS
While all of these learning activities and digital office hours require the internet, CCSD has provided print copies of their learning activities at the food distribution sites. The closest food distribution site, and location to pick up print copies of the learning materials, is Basic High School. Basic is located at 400 N. Palo Verde Drive in Henderson. This is the only way, outside of a digital platform, to provide students with learning activities. We are in the process of collecting data on our students to understand who does and does not have access to a computer as well as who is in need of an additional computer to assist in the home. While some of these families have already been identified through other means, we are asking one member of the family to complete this brief survey. To access the survey, please click here.
DIGITAL PARENT COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP MEETING
Finally, I will host a virtual Parent Community Partnership Meeting on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. It will be held at 5:30 PM. To access tonight’s Parent Community Partnership Meeting, please click here. This is an opportunity for me to walk our parents through the information in this lengthy email, clarify any questions our community has, and address any other concerns that arise. It will be different to conduct a parent meeting on a digital platform and could be a disaster. If it is, I apologize in advance!
ADDITIONAL FUN ACTIVITIES FOR STUDENTS
Digital Coffee & Chat with the Librarian:
Our library will remain open “before school” for all members of the family to interact with our librarian, Ms. Medina, at 8:00 AM. She will post a link to meet in the library on the library website to discuss her favorite topic – books. On Friday, we will have story time. This is a great activity for younger siblings to participate!
Digital Principal’s Book Chat:
We will also organize a Principal’s Book Chat. While we have not decided on a specific date and time of the chat, we have selected the classic novel, Where The Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. If you want to read the book and participate in the book chat, purchase the book online. It is available for less than $10. Also, when we conduct the digital book chat, everyone is encouraged to participate in the chat with the real stars of the book – our dogs! Effie & Buddy Petersen are very excited for this activity. Yes, before I receive any hate mail, cats can participate, too.
Digital Spirit Week – Hosted by Student Council:
We will also allow our Student Council to “hijack” our school’s Facebook Page next week (March 30-April 3) and organize virtual spirit days and contests. For the week, we will allow followers to post pictures to the student council posts and through likes, our friends can vote on their favorites.
We are going to make the most of this and get through it together! I appreciate your support!
Todd C. Petersen, Principal