Family Message 5-27-20
Hello Highlander Families. I realized today that in spite of sending 3-4 email updates last week, that I’ve only communicated with seniors for at least 2 weeks. So this is an update for all of our non-senior families and students.
We know that the past couple of months have taken a toll on all of us. Our message hasn’t changed during this closure: please communicate with us to let us know how you are and if we can support you in any way. I’m proud of all the students that have taken the opportunity to engage in learning activities and to improve their grades.
I’m sure we won’t answer every question, but we hope that this email contains helpful information about what is needed from students to close out our year.
Tuesday, June 2nd, is a teacher in-service day for grading. There will be no on-line, live classes that day.
June 4: Last Day of McKean Classes meeting live
June 10: Last chance for students to turn in make up work for improving their grade. (If students need this extra time, then they should wait to turn in their chromebooks on June 10 or 11).
June 5, 8, and 11: Collection and Distribution of materials to grades 9 - 11 at McKean. More details below and even more to follow in a separate email.
June 8: McKean’s Graduation Day….Please follow our social media handles this day as we celebrate the Class of 2020 all day long, with our graduation video premier at 6pm. Links will be shared closer to June 4.
June 9: Seniors Only: Collection and Diploma Distribution Day for Only Seniors
June 10: Collection and Distribution of materials ot grades 9-11 at satellite locations: Baltz and Warner
June 9-16: Teachers enter grades
June 25: Report Cards mailed.
Senior Goodbye messages:
On June 8th, all of Red Clay will be supporting and celebrating the McKean seniors. We will be posting different memories, moments, and tributes to the Class of 2020 - from school plays to athletes to senior superlatives. If you would like to record a short goodbye message or tribute to one of our seniors, please share your video with Ms. Kradjel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Summer School / Credit Recovery:
For students who failed a graduation required class, have the opportunity to take up to 2 courses online this summer as part of the district’s credit recovery program. If you are curious if this opportunity applies to you, then you should ask your guidance counselor. McKean submitted our list of eligible students last week.
This summer the district is pleased to announce that they are offering summer school courses for $50/credit (please note that most summers, we charge $300/credit, so this is a huge cost savings). Families that need assistance should apply, as the district has some supports for them.
End of Year Collection and Distribution for students in grades 9, 10, and 11:
We need to collect chromebooks and chargers from every student and sports uniforms and other school property from some students. We would like to give you items too: any of your personal property that you left in the building, award certificates for select students, and a newly purchased gift for every student and graduate.
In order to do this, we have designated 5 days to complete this task. 3 days will be at McKean for grades 9-11, 1 day will be at McKean for just seniors, and 1 day will be satellite locations for the convenience of McKean families that live near Baltz and Warner.
We will follow all district and state safety protocols: all staff wearing masks, all staff having their temperature check and passing a health screen, all staff washing hands frequently and wearing gloves when needed. Any student entering the building must also wear a mask.
Basic Procedure: Students/Parents will park in parking lot. ONE person will exit the car and wait in designated line following social distancing (will be marked with tape/chalk). We will have a table set up outside of the Aux gym (weather permitting) or Pool Lobby. Staff will take Chromebooks and other items and check students off. If the student needs to enter the gym there will be staff in the gym to greet and assist them. If the student needs to enter the main building a staff member will escort the student or guardian to needed area to retrieve items and exit building promptly using designated entrance/exit. Staff will avoid lingering in hallways/classrooms and maintain social distance in building.
- On June 5, 8, and 11th, we invite students to come to McKean to drop off chromebooks, sports uniforms, and other school property. We will use the following time schedule to break up our students into groups by their last names.
8a.m.-2 p.m, By Last names (June 11th won’t follow alpha times below because it is a last chance opportunity)
- 8-9:30am (A-F)
- 9:30-11am (G-K)
- 11am-12:30pm (L-P)
- 12:30-2:00pm (Q-Z)
- On June 9th we will be working only with our seniors and will share specific times and details with that group.
- On June 10th, from 10a-1p, we will be sending teams of McKean staff to meet McKean students at two district elementary schools within our feeder pattern - Baltz and Warner. McKean families living near Warner may use it as a collection site. Please use the auditorium entrance from 18th Street, marked by our McKean yard signs. McKean families living near Baltz may use the front entrance or simply stay in your vehicle and use the front of school circle for curbside drop-off and pick-up. We are not assigning specific times this day.
Graduation Message 5/8/20
Dear Students and Families of the McKean Class of 2020,
First and most important is that I hope this message finds you well. As always, if you have needs or concerns please reach out via email to any of our staff.
After much deliberation and considering a number of factors beyond our control, we have decided to host a Virtual Graduation Production on June 8, 2020 (this will NOT be an actual gathering). The exact time is to be determined, but will be in the evening. We have made this decision out of an abundance of caution to protect the safety and well-being of our students and families. We know our students and families will be disappointed by this news. We share in your disappointment and are saddened to have to take this action. But we are determined to make the best of this situation.
We have a celebration committee that is committed to find creative ways to celebrate the Class of 2020, even though we will not be able to get together in person. We have a couple of students and one parent on our celebration committee because your input matters. We’ve asked for feedback through some surveys in Schoology and you are all invited to a senior class Zoom Assembly on Monday at noon. Please share your voice and your ideas, while also understanding that we have serious limitations to what we can do.
Today, I am pleased to finally have some specific details regarding our 2020 Virtual Graduation. I will share more details in the days to come, so stay tuned.
- This Virtual Graduation will be the equivalent of TV production that is all pre-recorded and edited. In order for us to have the ceremony ready for broadcast on June 8th, we need to start our prep work ASAP.
- Seniors will be actively involved in the prep work, so we need YOU to do several things.
- Ensure you have completed everything to earn your 24 credits so you can actually graduate. [If you need to complete Ed Options courses, do so immediately. Some of you need to complete makeup work for the 3rd MP in order to earn your credit. Some of you are telling your parents you are good, and you are NOT. If you are getting calls and emails from your counselors, then it is most likely because you are not passing and may not graduate.]
- Complete the Senior Survey in Schoology. As of yesterday, we had only 70 of 210 graduates complete your survey. We are using the information in the survey to prepare for our virtual ceremony.
- Show up to McKean when we schedule your Graduation Prep Appointment (more details to follow)
- If you choose to opt out of our graduation event and don’t want to be included at all, then please tell us ASAP.
- Regularly check for updates from me. I usually send emails, which then get shared on our school website. Some information is also shared in Schoology under the Class of 2020 Course.
- If you want a cap and gown, there is still time to order one.
- We will begin with Graduation Prep Appointments as early as next week. More details on how to sign up and which specific days will be shared next week. We plan on scheduling appointments for seniors to come to McKean for filming. We will follow strict social distancing guidelines during these appointments and require each graduate to follow all safety rules. Failure to do so, may result in you being asked to leave and missing your opportunity to be a part of our production. [If a senior or their family doesn’t feel comfortable coming to McKean for this appointment, please let us know. We have a plan for anyone who can’t make it to the Prep Appointment so we can still be included in the broadcast.]
- We will distribute caps and gowns to students who purchased them at this Grad Prep Appointment. If you didn’t order your cap and gown, you still have time. We will use the cap and gown in the filming during the appointment. When students leave, they will take their cap and gown with them. If ordering a cap and gown at this time, we are working on a reasonable alternative….more details will be shared soon.
- During the Grad Prep appointment we want to film students walking across the stage and receiving their diploma. We will splice these clips together for our production.
- We are also pre-recording speeches, any musical performances, and any other important part of our ceremony. If we need specific students for any part, we will communicate directly with those students.
- During the day of June 8th, we’ll be using all of McKean’s and Red Clay’s Social Media channels to celebrate McKean’s seniors in a variety of ways, including some LIVE videos and interviews.
I’m sure many of you have questions that I have yet to answer. You are invited to a Zoom Senior Class Assembly on Monday, May 11 at noon. I know teenagers like to sleep in, so I purposely scheduled this later in the day hoping for high attendance. I don’t expect the assembly to last more than 30 minutes and may be as short as 10 minutes. In order to join the zoom meeting, please use the link below or go to zoom.com and enter the meeting ID and password.
https://zoom.us/j/94090536553?pwd=ZnlRMDFxQk5POGZuK0IxZFF5NkNldz09 (Meeting ID: 940 9053 6553 Password: seniors)....and to all of our Highlander moms.....I wish you a Happy Mother's Day Weekend!
McKean Family Message 4/29/20
It is hard to believe that our last typical school day was almost 7 weeks ago. I’m sure we all miss things about our old routines and most of us are still trying to find the best groove in this new normal. During this time, I’ve been reflective of what is truly important: our health, our family, our friends, and our local community. Supporting each other is how we will come out of this better than before.
Our McKean staff is trying so many ways to connect with our students and families, not just to give them instruction or help with makeup work; but truly to make sure that every Highlander is doing okay. So if you or your student hasn’t responded to our emails, calls, texts, and Schoology messages; then please just give us a quick response so we know you are okay. If you need anything, let us know. We’ll do all in our power to help.
Here are the reminders and updates from McKean:
The only reason a student should fail a course is if they don’t take the opportunity to make up old work to improve their grade. Our staff is committed to reaching you halfway, so make the effort.
It is important for students to log into their teacher’s live session (otherwise known as synchronous learning), which are either at 10am or 1pm up to an hour. I know that the typical teen is up late at night and sleeps late in the morning. I know there are lots of reasons why this is a challenge, but staying connected only helps us all. If a student cannot make the live session, then send a quick message to the teacher. We see lots of students not in the live sessions, yet still turning in assignments. This is good, but would be better if the student connected directly with their teacher.
We are starting to cover new topics, since our closure for the rest of the year is final.
I know some students don’t see the point if grades are not being issued. The point of school isn’t about a grade, it is about experiences and learning from them. In order to grow, students have to engage and share in the experience.
We are continuing to process chromebook and technology needs using our survey on Home Chromebook Access for Remote Learning. If you have a need, please complete the form using the link below. To date, we’ve had 112 responses. We are scheduling appointments for repair dropoffs and equipment pickup on Mondays and Wednesdays between 10a-12p. These times are NOT for walkin visits, only appointments. If the days and times don’t work, our staff will work with you to meet your needs.
Here is the link: https://forms.gle/ATpdVfMdVAehyTK99
We continue to increase our safety protocols when we encounter our families. Our staff will have gloves and masks if they are near the public. We have a table setup near the front door in our lobby that we designate for pickups and dropoffs. We’ll direct guests to enter the doors, goto the lobby table, and either drop off or pickup equipment.
If you didn’t know, we created a new McKean Instagram page @WeAreMckean focused on staying connected and school spirit. We wanted a page that was about our school, students, and staff that was fun, light-hearted, and positive. Over the past two weeks, we posted staff baby photos to see if students could guess correctly. I challenge you all to find my baby pic. We currently have 158 followers to our page. Our goal is 500.
Our new contest is for student participation and we tried to keep it simple. This contest will have a prize: For the winner, I’m buying a $20 gift card to GrubHub or DoorDash (not sure which I like best). The theme of this contest is to demonstrate how our Highlanders are following the latest safety measure of the Governor, wearing masks in public. It is The McKean Mask Selfie Challenge! For the purposes of the contest, you do NOT need to be in public….feel free to take the selfie from your home.
Here is how it works:
Take a Selfie wearing a mask
Post the pic on Instagram and tag our page @wearemckean and tag your friends...so they can join the challenge too.
………...That’s it, very simple. We will judge Mask Selfies based on creativity and school spirit. We’ll announce our winner next week, May 8th.
Virtual Prom 2020
I know one of the biggest disappointments from our closure is the cancelling of our traditional prom. However, we are very excited to offer a different way to celebrate prom night….
Virtual Prom Live - Saturday Night May 9, 2020
Prom 2020 is back on all across America this spring in your own home!
Virtual Prom Live, totally FREE thanks to our sponsors, is giving students everywhere the opportunity to join up together with 1,000’s of other students and some of the best DJ talent across every area of the US. Students can dress up, dance to the music, participate in contests, meet students from across the country….all from your homes.
Register now at https://www.virtualprom.live/ to make sure your spot is held!
And for those of you who have attended my pre-prom assemblies before, I still don’t want you doing that one dance move that I’ve always banned...you know which move I’m talking about, and no I’m not demonstrating LOL.
Other Items on our Radar…
AP Exams: Students in AP courses should have information from their teachers. These tests are still happening. Direct questions to the AP teacher or to our Academic Dean, Dr. Caputo at email@example.com
Senior Celebrations: we have a committee discussing options
Graduation: I posted a brief graduation survey in the Class of 2020 Schoology Course. Also, we have several strong ideas for a virtual ceremony, but waiting final guidance from above. Should know more by May 8th.
End of Year Check Out: - we are working on a large-scale plan to collect items from students like chromebooks, sports uniforms, textbooks, and other school-issued items. This will involve scheduled times and limiting to small numbers at a time.
Summer School and credit recovery: we are in process of reviewing which students need this and guidance counselors will be communicating with these students. At this time, summer school is planning to be remote learning, online credit recovery.
If you have a question about something that wasn’t addressed, feel free to email me. I can’t think of every question, so your questions will help.
E-mail to Families 4/15/20
Dear Highlander Families,
As always I hope this message finds you and your family well. As I communicate with families and staff, I’m simply inspired by the strength of the human spirit. None of us know how to navigate these waters well and for some of us the struggle has even gotten harder….However, I am hearing stories of amazing kindness, strength, balancing work and distance learning for their kids, volunteerism, and heroism. Those stories fill me with hope. I know we have many families who work as first responders, or in the medical field, or some other essential profession. I’d like to pause for a moment to give a special thanks to all of our medical workers and first responders and other essential workers and their families for the amazing sacrifice that they make daily in order to help the rest of us survive. A sincere thank you.
Also please remember that this Friday, April 17, students will follow their typical Monday schedule and connect with periods 1 and 2 (due to no remote learning this Monday).
Please note that we have a page dedicated to COVID19 information and resources. https://www.redclayschools.com/domain/1538. Below are some highlights of important info for students and families:
Students will improve 3rd MP grades in all classes and ensure that each student is given a chance to earn credits for their coursework.
Staff will ensure that students and families are doing well and connect them to support as needed. We will be reaching out a lot to students who are not logging into Schoology and engaging with schoolwork.
Celebrate and Honor our Seniors
How to Contact Admin by email:
Principal Mattix: firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistant Principal Worlds: email@example.com
Assistant Principal Vosburgh: firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistant Principal Caputo: email@example.com
Parents wanting Schoology Access:
Directions for families on how to set up their account in Schoology for the first time: https://de01903704.schoolwires.net/site/default.aspx?PageType=3&ModuleInstanceID=4199&ViewID=7b97f7ed-8e5e-4120-848f-a8b4987d588f&RenderLoc=0&FlexDataID=15617&PageID=2714
If you need your assigned parent code, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have codes for all students registered prior to Sept 24. If your student registered after, there is a different solution.
Parents not receiving my Messages (emails, calls, and texts):
For parents who are not receiving my communications coming through the School Messenger software, I believe I have found the solution.
First, we need a good email for the parent in our eSchool system…..so you’ll need to share your email with our receptionist, Rachel Wells (best to email her at email@example.com). Ray will follow up with an email to you confirming the system is updated.
24 hours after Ms. Wells sends the confirmation email, please use the link below and follow the directions for “To Change how you are contacted”
School Messenger Link: https://de01903704.schoolwires.net/domain/259
Scheduling for Next SchoolYear:
We collected course requests from most students prior to the remote learning. Our counselors have been following up with students who they missed during our early March course selection process. If a parent or student has any questions regarding courses for next school year, they should reach out to their guidance counselor.
Winter and Spring Sports Uniform Collection:
We have some winter athletes that still need to return their uniforms or face a financial obligation placed by the school for the cost of replacement. Some of our uniforms are quite expensive, so we are grateful for your help in this process. I’ve asked coaches and our athletic director to communicate with specific athletes from whom we still need their uniform. Some spring sports gave out uniforms for team pictures. We are also collecting those back. In the event that we have a modified spring season, then coaches will re-distribute. Depending on the response rate, we may establish a collection schedule. If you have an athletic uniform from any McKean sport, please email our Athletic Director (firstname.lastname@example.org) and your team’s coach.
Spring Concerts, Field Trips, and End of Year Events:
Our staff loves all of our major school events and share your concerns that traditional events like prom and graduation may not be permitted to occur by powers far beyond our district. However, we have some create staff who are partnering to find new ways to create special moments for our students, especially our seniors.
If you have any technology needs then please complete the form using this link: https://forms.gle/rVC4ULtNEspYxkM19. We have 86 responses so far and are processing them. If you need to drop off a damaged chromebook or pick one up, then we’ll schedule a time with you that will allow for social distancing. Currently we are scheduling times on Mondays and Wednesdays. Mrs. Cindy Monger and Mr. Mark Vankerkhoven are leading this initiative.
Need to get something of yours from school?
Simply email any administrator or Julia Tulloch or Mark Vankerhoven. Please share the student’s name, the item(s) that you are retrieving, and the best contact info for you. Somebody will follow up with a timed appointment for a Monday or Wednesday.
Meals will continue to be distributed on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:30 AM to 1 PM, at 19 locations across the Red Clay community. See a list of locations at covid19.redclayschools.com/meals.
School-Based Health Center:
Our Student Wellness Center can continue to serve students who are enrolled through telehealth (basically facetiming with health care providers) by TEXTING a hotline at 302-285-9661. You will receive a reply when texting this line during normal business hours 8a-4p, Monday through Friday within 24hours.
E-Mail to Families 4/12/20
Dear Highlander Family,
Happy Passover, Easter, and Spring Break to you all. As always, I hope this message finds you and your family well. I hope you all have a chance to connect with your loved ones today. Please know that your McKean Family misses each of you and loves you all. During these challenging times, I'm filled with hope for our future by witnessing amazing acts of kindness and a true sense of the positive human spirit across the globe.
This too shall pass, but remember to remain kind and patient and understanding with yourself, your family, and your neighbor. How we support and treat each other matters the most.
Go in Peace,
Brian Mattix, Principal and Servant
E-Mail to Families 4/6/20
Monday, April 6, 2020 Weekly Update
McKean Students and Families,
I hope this message finds everyone well and hopefully in these challenging times. I will try to keep my message brief so that the information doesn’t get lost in a lengthy email.
- First, I’m adding to this email all family contacts within School Messenger, but also all student google emails. Our hope is to increase the number of students who receive these updates.
- Spring Break reminder....Our spring break has been modified to a long 4-day weekend (4/10 and 4/13 are off). Staff and students are expected to follow our schedule for Tuesday, April 14- Friday, April 17. Once we approve our modified schedule, I'll share it. (it will be a simply modification)
- Per the feedback of students, we’ve created a student-friendly version of our schedule that I’m sharing. I’m resending the original schedule McKean Remote Learning Schedule as posted.pdf that we have posted on our school website. The schedule initially said through April 10, but now it will run through May 15. McKean Student-Friendly Schedule thru May 15.pdf
- The 3rd MP has officially been extended and we have NOT given a new end date. This supports the McKean philosophy of beginning your academic focus on students who need to improve their grades for the 3rd MP. Please take advantage of this extended time frame to complete your makeup work. There is no excuse for not passing the 3rd MP. Students must engage.
- I am encouraging all students to log into Schoology regularly and reply to the messages from teachers so that we know you are well. We care about your schoolwork, but we care more about your overall Wellness. Each household has new challenges during this unprecedented time. We know it is a balancing act….and none of us have mastered it. We are all in this together. Please let us know how we can support you and your family.
- I know some folks have expressed concerns about using Zoom for video conferencing due to some warnings of meetings getting hacked, risking personal info being taking or conferences being disrupted. We have been given guidance as to how we can secure our conferences using Zoom. Zoom has also upgraded their software. We do feel the platform can be used safely, but we are respectful of folks who are concerned. We are exploring other options like Google Hangouts and even conferencing within Schoology.
- If you are a student who has been assigned Ed Options courses for credit recovery, please continue your work as this expectation and credit need has not been impacted by COVID19. If you need help with resetting a lesson or other concerns around an Ed Options course, please contact your child’s counselor and/or Ms. Latoya Pendergrass.
- We are continuing to work on our Tech Support plan and will have an update to share out very soon. We have a protocol for chromebook repairs that is coming. We have been reviewing the survey responses for anyone with a tech need. Here is the link again if you missed it previously. https://forms.gle/1oKYQSh5wp9xnms6A
- We are in the process of cancelling all field trips that were planned for the remaining of the year. In a case where we collected student money, we will be issuing refunds. However, the refund process will take some time as we are working to get deposits back from vendors and working remotely has slowed our typical processing time.
- I had previously shared that we cancelled prom. We are considering creative and safe alternatives to prom. We will let you know if any ideas have promise. Similarly, we will process refunds, once we process our cancellation with our vendors.
- Here are a few Expectations for us all in this age of Remote Learning, likely more will follow:
- Please remain appropriate and respectful in all communications with families and school staff. This applies to all forms of communication: live conferencing moments or within chat rooms or just email. The Student Code of Conduct, as well as the Teacher Contract and District Memos, guiding both staff and student behavior.
- Please allow 24 hours for email responses. We recognize that teachers and students have other responsibilities they are managing, which may pull someone away from their work station.
- When live video conferencing (Zoom or WebEx or other application), please enter the virtual room on mute and remain on mute unless you have been called upon to answer or give input.
- Finally, I recently got a report of reckless driving in our school parking lot on March 30th around dusk. It is just as possible that these were McKean students or non-McKean students. I'm simply sharing that our campus is being regularly monitored and any visit should be for appropriate, approved activities that involve social distancing. I know the police have been notified and will be back if this dangerous activity is repeated. Please remain safe.
E-Mail to Families 4/1/20
Dear Highlander Students and Families,
I would like to share another update, but I’m going to try to be concise with a lot of information.
First a quick message for our students directly:
- Please take all the COVID19 restrictions seriously, everyone, including you, needs to practice safe social distancing and regular hand-washing.
- Please take care of yourself and your family unit. Practice patience and be kind to others. We still have several weeks under these restrictions. Be helpful and do your part to make your living situation the best it can be. Find a balance between all your responsibilities.
- Engage in learning, connect with school through email, social media, schoology, zoom, and the many other platforms your teachers will be using. Stay connected to us. We want to updates from you and will still have credits to earn towards graduation, our major goal together.
McKean’s Path Forward:
- I’m sharing McKean’s schedule - [/redclay/emailattachment.php?id=10678&caid=6924&name=McKean%20Schedule%20thru%20April%2010.pdf]McKean Schedule thru April 10.pdf as an attachment and posting it on our website, www.redclayschools.com/mckean . This schedule states that it is through April 10th. It should remain the same through May 15th, but we may need to tweak it a bit. This week is a soft rollout, since we are starting our plan on Wednesday. Next week, we will follow the full schedule.
- I’m also sharing an Alphabetical Faculty list, with how your students can connect with their teachers, and contact information - [/redclay/emailattachment.php?id=10679&caid=6925&name=How%20to%20Connect%20with%20Your%20McKean%20Teacher%20(April%202020).pdf]How to Connect with Your McKean Teacher (April 2020).pdf . I feel that the list is a bit sloppy still, but it is our first draft and will get updated and re-shared. This will also be shared on our school website.
- Speaking of our website www.redclayschools.com/mckean , we have a link on our homepage to our COVID19 Resource Page with multiple tabs, listing community hotspots, district resources, principal messages, our schedule, our contact sheet, how to setup zoom, and more.
- My suggested priorities for students managing school work:
- Begin immediately to email your teachers about makeup work for the 3rd MP. With the 3F Rule equaling a failure for the course, this 3rd MP holds special significance. Furthermore, we don’t know if we’ll even have a 4th MP (hopefully we do, but truly it is way too soon to tell). Some students were counting on the 4th MP to save their year. So the time is now to hustle and improve your 3rd MP grades. Teachers know this is important and have been encouraged to support any student willing to do the work. Your last day to turn in makeup work is Tuesday, April 14.
- After you are in good shape with the 3rd MP, then begin to engage with the learning opportunities your teachers will be providing. We are not trying to beat you down with work, but rather lift you up with engagement, enrichment, and fun.
- Our students with learning needs, will be supported above and beyond the typical student supports. This will obviously look and feel differently from the supports and accommodations that would be made in the classroom. You can expect additional school contacts to assist students with their learning needs or other needs.
- Our School-Based Health Center can continue to serve students who are enrolled through telehealth (basically facetiming with health care providers) by TEXTING a hotline at 302-285-9661. You will receive a reply when texting this line during normal business hours 8a-4p, Monday through Friday within 24hours.
- I anticipate home technology concerns – either about devices or wifi at home. We are working on a plan and I will share details when we have them. Earlier in the year, we worked hard to get every student a chromebook and charger. My expectation, which is the same as most parents, is that every student either has or knows where their charger and chromebook are located. I’m working with district to secure extras; however, I cannot promise free replacements for lost, misplaced, or damaged devices. I want everyone to have what they need to learn, but I also need students to show responsibility for the district property that we’ve been loaning and assigning to students for several years now. There is no easy answers with these challenges and we are seeking reasonable solutions. I previously sent this technology at home survey - https://forms.gle/rVC4ULtNEspYxkM19. If you have a tech need and haven’t completed it, please do so.
Thank you for patience and understanding as we develop new ways to support our students and families during this crisis.
Brian Mattix, Principal #wearemckean
E-Mail to Families #3 3/29/20
Dear McKean Students and Families,
Wishing You Well
I hope this message finds you and yours safe and well during this challenging time of managing our pandemic. I hope everyone is doing their best to practice social distancing and following all government restrictions, since we all have an important part to play in ending this pandemic.
Shifting to our New Normal
The McKean staff is excited to shift into a more structured educational experience for our students. One of the priorities of our McKean staff and of the entire district is to ensure that our families have their basic needs being met during the period of our school closure. This means we care about your mental health, your meals, your ability to connect with others online, your medical needs, your jobs, along with your learning experiences. We are taking a holistic approach, because we know if basic needs are not being met then it is even more difficult to expect true academic growth.
Every McKean teacher has taken time over the past two weeks to post at least one update on their class schoology pages and/or has connected with their students through another means (email, Remind App, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Google Voice, and many other options are available). However, this communication and how many learning resources hasn’t been regulated or monitored for the past two weeks. We wanted students and staff to explore and determine what works best. We found Schoology, Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Remind as all platforms that could meet our needs in our new normal. We found that not many students tried to engage, but also may have not been aware of the learning opportunities.
3rd Marking Period and Make Up or Incomplete Work
Before I go any further into our new learning expectations, I want to stress the importance of the 3rd Marking Period. Our last student day was March 13, which was two weeks short of a complete grading period. We are not issuing any new assignments beyond March 13th. However, I’m encouraging every student and every teacher to work together to improve your 3rd Marking Period grades. The last day for students to turn in assignments will be Tuesday, April 14th. Teachers must enter grades for the 3rd MP by Friday, April 17th. If a student needs time beyond April 14th, they must seek approval from their teacher and possibly also administration. Since we are uncertain if we will ever have a 4th marking period (something we cannot control currently, and at the whim of the Governor), it is even more important to focus on improving grades for the 3rd MP (something we can control). Teachers are permitted to produce alternative assignments for their makeup work, rather than simply re-offer the same exact assignment. Don’t waste time, if you want to improve your 3rd MP grades then email your teacher(s) ASAP and include your guidance counselor on your email.
New Online Learning Plan and Resources
Without getting to detailed today, I wanted you all to know what to expect from our new normal. All educational activities and engagement in our new online format will not be graded, as we are focused on engagement, enrichment, and overall wellness. We highly encourage student participation, as it will help you stay connected beyond your home isolation. Teachers will be communicating with their classes by next Wednesday to include a summary of their learning topics and activities for the next 2 weeks (through April 10).
I am creating a schedule that will organize the time and resources of our staff and simplify when students and families can expect engagement and opportunities to communicate. We will have our school plan ready to share by Tuesday evening. Each period of our school day (periods 1-8) will have a designated hour each week, when teachers will offer some direct engagement for their students. This direct engagement could look like a zoom meeting with the class or it may be some sort of activity. The teacher will be available for direct communication with their students for that period during the hour. Teachers will also list additional activities and other learning resources for students to complete on their own time. We recognize that every family has different challenges and schedules, so we are trying to leverage our technology to allow students who miss the designated time to access the information at another time. In addition, teachers will share “office hours” during which they can be expected to answer emails and communicate with students/families in other formats.
How Can I Connect with my Teacher?
Student need to be checking their Red Clay emails (email@example.com) and their Schoology courses for updates and information from their teachers. I’m nearly finished and will publish a list of all McKean instructors, which platforms they plan on using with students, and the best ways to reach them.
Advanced Placement Classes
Since the College Board is offering a revised and online version of the national Advanced Placement exams, our AP courses will be teaching new material in order to prepare for their exams.
Parents and Students that need critical items from the school building will have their next opportunity on Monday, March 30 from 10a-12p. We will greet folks at the front door and allow only 5 families in the building at a time and never two going into the same space. Please park in the bus lane for your convenience. Please be aware that if we are at our capacity limit, then we may ask families/students to wait in the car until those in the building leave.
McKean’s Wellness Center is providing Tele-Health Care
Due to the school closure, McKean School-Based Health Center is closed at this time. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. If you have a mental health emergency, please call Child Priority Response 24 hr Crisis Line 800-969-4357. For medical concerns contact your primary care provider or visit a Medical Aid Unit. If you have a question for your McKean School-Based Heath Center provider, please send a text message to 302-285-9661. You will receive a reply when texting this line during normal business hours 8am-4pm Monday through Friday within 24 hrs. On the McKean Website, Click on Learn More for information from the Christiana Care Wellness Center services during our closed dates.
Home Technology Needs Assessment
In a simple and perfect world, each student has their school-issued chromebook and they have home wifi. But we know that life is never simple and rarely perfect. The link below is a brief survey for students/families to complete in order for our school to understand your technology needs and help you overcome these barriers.
Home Technology Survey: https://forms.gle/3WyvvKRFTscFPFVj7
Senior Questions and Concerns
Please be patient with us, as we share all the same questions that you have regarding end of the year activities and celebrations. We all would like nothing more to be back to normal by the end of May, but only time will tell. Over the next few weeks, we should understand better the course of this pandemic and discuss realistic options with the powers that be. I’ll share as soon as I have been given guidance with these topics. In the meantime, our guidance counselors are reviewing their seniors needs and progress, communicating with them as needed.
Other questions we are considering
- IEP and 504 Meetings – we are planning on holding all IEP meetings using conference calls and practicing social distancing. In order to facilitate our IEP phone conferences, we ask parents who have scheduled IEP meetings to please disable any call blocking that is setup on your phone. Through recent experiences, we have discovered that some parents set their phone to block any caller not in their favorites list. Often we won’t be calling from the school phone, since everyone is working remotely. So please be aware.
- Spring Break – we should know by mid-week what the district will be doing for our scheduled spring break
- Last Day of School – We have a few scenarios, but they are all dependent on some decisions from the Governor’s office.
- Prom – Our Prom Date, May 15, falls within the Governor’s window of school closures. Thus, we are not permitted to hold our prom. Currently, we are not planning on rescheduling and are working on a plan for getting refunds back to any family that has paid for tickets already (which should be zero, because we didn’t sell tickets yet…but I’m double-checking just to be safe).
- 4th MP – Also, pending our return to school
- Plant Sale – We are considering options, but we are navigating a lot of restrictions.
Thank you for your patience with the cyber school experience. We are literally building a plane while flying it. This is a once in a century pandemic. Please know everyone is doing their best to make this work.
E-Mail to Famlies #2 3/27/20
The buidling will be open if you need to access items from the building, like your chromebook, charger, athletic gear, band instruments, etc. Your visit must be brief. I'm asking that you email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to explain what your are picking up and where it is located. I'm asking families to send one person to the building if possible. If we get a crowd, I'll ask for families to wait in their cars and I'll greet cars at the curb to address needs individually. Please use the bus lane to pull up for your convenience. I'll be limiting access to only 5 students at a time, assuming they are going to different areas. We have deep cleaned the building and want to minimize how many folks are in these spaces, which will need to be re-cleaned after we leave.
If you have other needs, but not something to pick up directly, feel free to also email me directly and I'll connect you with a staff person to assist in your need.
On another note, you can expect an increase in communication from teachers and from administration regarding our learning expectations for students starting next week. We all plan on sending communications via email or through schoology accounts for individual courses by noon on Monday.
Thank you and remain safe,
E-Mail to Families #1 3/20/20
Hello Highlander Families,
I hope this message finds you all well on our 2nd official day of spring. I wanted to share a few updates and reminders during our school closure.
- At this time, schools are still closed through March 27, 2020. No new information has been shared regarding an extension, but the district is preparing for all possible scenarios no matter what official guidance we are given. I would anticipate more news in this area by the middle of next week. Questions during the closure can be emailed to me.
- I've asked all McKean teachers to use Schoology to communicate with their students and share optional digital resources. Teachers have been colloborating this week from a distance so that they can be consistent with the types of learning opportunities they are sharing within each course. Remember that all learning opportunities are optional and not graded. I'm hoping even if teachers can create some chat rooms to allow for conversations and connections for our students during this time of physical separation. Maybe our teachers will even start creating their own TikTok videos, since that seems to be what every teen is following on social media these days.
- Please remember (just as I have had to remind my own children at home) that during this school closure and public health crisis, that is very important that we all take the government guidelines seriously and practice social distancing. This means that students should NOT be going over to friends' houses and hanging out in groups. Also, we should always remain 6-feet apart from persons not in our immediate family, living undert the same roof. These new behaviors are not always easy to follow and enforce, but the best way to prevent the spread of this disease is for everyone to consistently practice social distancing.