Cougar Dash Special Edition
Thursday, April 2, 2020
Distance Learning Begins Tuesday, April 14
Dear Students and Families,
Students – We hope that you are looking forward to returning to classes (virtually) on Tuesday, April 14! Your teachers can’t wait to “see” you! We are working behind the scenes finding ways to make the rest of this school year meaningful and engaging even from home. We have many learning activities planned, and we can’t wait for you to get started! We hope this email, while lengthy, provides you with specific information about distance learning at Cooper MS.
Parents – Please know that the safety and wellbeing of our students, families and staff remain our priority. You may email Lisa Barrow, email@example.com if you have medication in the clinic or require items needed for distance learning so we can consider how you might retrieve these items in the coming weeks. As distance learning is new for all of us, we ask for your partnership, patience and grace as we work together to support our Cooper Community.
During the remainder of the school year, each of us will be engaged in Distance Learning (DL), which is a learning experience where teachers and students are separated by place. Students and teachers will communicate synchronously (through live face-to-face classes using virtual meeting technology) and asynchronously (through print or electronic media).
Face-to-face virtual meetings will be held primarily on a tool called Blackboard Collaborate. All classes will be recorded and posted to your teacher’s Blackboard site for your reference. All class materials will be posted in FCPS 24/7 Learning (Blackboard). This may be different from what you are used to during the regular school year and teachers may still link from Blackboard to Google Docs/Google Classroom to communicate and collect work.
Cooper students will be expected to participate in synchronous (live) online classes on Wednesdays and Fridays led by your classroom teachers. The fourth quarter will begin the week of April 13th with synchronous classes beginning Wednesday, April 15th. Your classroom teachers will contact you with their schedule and expectations within the next week. The end of the fourth quarter will be June 12, 2020.
Additionally, each week a Distance Learning packet will be mailed to your home from the Instructional Services Department in FCPS central office; the first packet will arrive at your home soon. Students also have access to materials in FCPS 24/7 Learning (Blackboard) if they choose to utilize these optional resources.
Schedule for Distance Learning
Below is Cooper’s Distance Learning schedule. On Wednesday and Friday each class block will meet in an online synchronous session. Currently at the middle school level, synchronous sessions will occur once a week in your Math, English, Science, History, and HS credit World Language classes (Level 1 or 1B). The Electives, PE, and World Language Level A classes will provide activities for students to complete in the asynchronous (not face-to-face) environment. Your student will be expected to complete teacher-directed assignments and activities on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.
In addition, your teachers will have office hours on Tuesday and Thursday. These office hours will be communicated to you by each teacher soon. Office hours are a time when you can sign on to Blackboard Collaborate or email your teachers to consult with them regarding assignments, questions, and concerns.
On Wednesday and Friday during class periods when you have an elective class or PE, you can complete the asynchronous activities assigned by teacher or complete assignments for other subjects. Our elective and PE teachers will be reaching out to their students with additional details. Some of the teachers will offer synchronous learning activities during your scheduled elective learning block and will post their schedule in Blackboard.
Below is a sample schedule you can
personalize for your classes.
Expectations for Distance Learning
Your Math, Science, English, Social Studies and HS Credit World Language class will have 45 minute synchronous, face-to-face online sessions every Wednesday or Friday. Outside of the scheduled class times, students will be expected to work through assigned coursework. The work assigned may be independent or collaborative and can include watching pre-recorded video lessons, reading for a purpose, participating in an online discussion, and completing assignments posted on Blackboard or Google Classroom.
Distance Learning Attendance
All students are expected to participate in the virtual face-to-face classes through Blackboard Collaborate. Teachers and our counselors will follow up with families of those students who do not attend class each week. Attendance is important for students to maintain a continuity of learning, to acquire new content for the 4th quarter, to develop ongoing connections between teachers and peers, and to establish a sense of normalcy and routine during a stressful time. Please feel free to reach out to a member of the Cooper staff at any time if you have any questions or concerns.
As we proceed with determining best practices for capturing student achievement for the 3rd quarter, all work assigned prior to March 13 will still be accepted up until April 24. No assignments that were due after March 13th will be required to be submitted; however, each department is working to find ways to celebrate student assignments in a way that can only positively impact a student’s grade. Teachers will be communicating through Blackboard regarding specific assignments that may have been impacted by the closure.
Additionally, it is the intention of FCPS to use maximum flexibility in assessing and evaluating student learning for the remainder of the school year. To that end, middle school students will be assigned a “no mark” for the fourth quarter, with assignments submitted being allowed to positively influence the student’s overall grade for the year based on mastery of learning concepts, in accordance with FCPS grading policy. Only final grades will be shown on transcripts; a “no mark” will not show on a student’s final transcript.
The Cooper staff is working hard to prepare Distance Learning materials to ensure that all students have access to educational materials and activities, including our English learners, students with Individualized Education Programs, and 504 Plans. Supports, modifications, and services can be provided virtually, and our teachers will be contacting students and families with additional details and resources.
Counselors and Student Services
As we transition to this Distance Learning model of instruction, we are also focused on supporting the social and emotional needs of our students. Our Student Services team will be collaborating with our teachers during this transition, but please do not hesitate to reach out to your counselor if you need any assistance.
What To Do Between Now and April 14
Before Distance Learning begins on April 14th, there are a few things students will need:
? A computer
? Access to the internet
? A quiet place to listen and learn
? A headset or earphones (helpful if available)
If students need a computer or internet access, please fill out this form.
This is also a good time to familiarize yourself with Blackboard. Students should share Google Classroom with their parents. Teachers will begin to share more about the synchronous learning platform in Blackboard Collaborate.
Synchronous Distance Learning Classes Begin on Wednesday, April 15
We are excited to share this new learning experience with you and to “get back to school.” Our building is closed, but our school is open! We look forward to hearing about your first week back and seeing your posts from our first “Virtual Spirit Week”!
Wishing you all good health,
Your Cooper Admin Team
Ms. Barrow, Mr. Rath, Ms. McLoughlin, Ms. Scabis
Virtual Spirit Week for Cooper MS!
Monday April 13-Friday April 17
Check out the “Spirit Week” tab on “Cooper’s Distance Learning Resources” Blackboard site for more information and the daily Padlet to post your photos too!
- Monday – Self Care Selfie
- Tuesday – Crazy Hair or Hat Day
- Wednesday – Cooper Spirt Wear
- Thursday – Pajama Day
- Friday – Free Choice Friday