Good afternoon families,
We received some big news today, news that is especially challenging as we do not have many details yet. We will be proceeding ahead with distance learning for the remainder of the school year and our last official day of school this year will be May 29th. More to come on May 15th in regards to the summer and plans for next school year start in August.
This week, during our listening sessions, we spoke with parents from every grade level to hear their feedback on distance learning. Parents expressed gratitude, frustration, confusion and admiration simultaneously. These are tough times for all of us as we struggle to balance families with our work, and we worry about relatives and friends, going to the grocery store and our children’s education.
As many of you know, I have three children two years apart, and although they are older now, I well remember when they needed my support on everything they did and needed me to look at everything they had done. Even though my children are in high school and college, I worry whether they are completing all their assignments, attending their classes and understanding their work now that it is on line.
Shepherd parents asked for clear daily expectations for their children. They asked if assignments could be hyperlinked to the weekly syllabus. Many parents wanted more direct instruction, and everyone was doing the best they can, which, in many ways, is all we can do at this time. I communicated this feedback to teachers today during our staff meeting, and you should see some shifts as early as next week. Many parents praised teachers for their expertise, commitment, and care.
Our faculty has been very flexible and creative as they moved into distance learning. Many teachers had a steep learning curve but were persistent and asked questions of central office and of each other. Grade level teams are collaborating more than ever. Now that students are learning new material, the learning packets continue to provide the educational infrastructure, and although they are not yet complete, DCPS videos will provide instruction to support the learning packets. In the meantime, teachers will provide that instruction, as well as small group instruction and social and emotional learning through morning meetings.
I apologize that many of you did not receive the grade level feedback invitations. I pulled emails through Aspen, which is always incomplete for some reason. Next time, teachers will send you the invitation as well so we can hear from the broadest group possible, and we plan to have another round of listening sessions the week of April 27th. Until then, please feel free to email me feedback on how things are going.
We all miss your children dearly, and being at school this week without them just wasn’t the same. Thank you for your patience and support over the last several weeks. I am privileged to work in such a thoughtful, compassionate community, and I regret the time we have missed. Go Mustangs!
With love and gratitude,
Phyllis Hedlund, Ed.D.
Please see the announcements that follow about our virtual Earth Week, the DC Spelling Bee broadcast info and parent sessions on Lexia.
Monday, April 20th- Earth Day Pledge
Tuesday, April 21st- Nature Walk
Wednesday, April 22nd (Earth day)- Virtual Earth Day Celebration
Thursday, April 23rd- Pick up trash in your community
Friday, April 24th- Create think green posters to encourage environmentally-friendly habits at home such as turning off the lights or recycling Think Green
37th Annual DCPS/Washington Informer Spelling Bee Airs this Sunday
Missing sports? Cheer on the most accomplished spellers this year in the District of Columbia this Sunday online, on NBC4, or on DKN (available for streaming after the below times)
NBC – airing on television at noon on NBC4 Sunday, April 19, 2020 (https://vimeo.com/405542224/d22d313a14)
DKN – airing on television DKN at 3pm Sunday, April 19, 2020 (https://entertainment.dc.gov/node/163682)
*don’t worry, pre-recorded this on February 29th.
Distance Learning Support
The two documents linked below are resources that are available online to support distance learning that intersect with DCPS curricula- these are curated lists as there is an overwhelming amount of material out there for educators and families.
Lexia Live Sessions:
Families who would like to attend a live online session with our implementation team. These sessions are designed to support new teachers who are using Core5 & PowerUp, and informing parents about Core5 & PowerUp home usage and resources.