Dear Upper School Parents and Students:
As we plan for the possibility of an online learning environment in response to the rapid spread of COVID-19, I want to update families and students as to where we are in this process. Following meetings among the school’s COVID-19 response team, the Upper School Administrative team, the Technology Team, and the Upper School department chairs, we have created the on-line learning framework detailed below to support our curriculum should we move to a Remote Learning Program.
The school has purchased a Zoom
subscription for each Upper School classroom teacher. Zoom is an online platform that, following discussions and demos with the Tech Team of a number of alternatives, seems best-suited to our purpose. The control that Zoom can give to teachers and students as well as its clean interface are a very good match for what we are seeking to accomplish in our virtual program. The Zoom platform will be used for all classes; other platforms (Google Hangouts, Skype, etc.) may be used for extra-help sessions, college counseling meetings, or more collaborative 1:1 or small-group digital gatherings. For scheduled classes, however, Zoom is the designated platform.
Students will have free access to Zoom
and will learn in school over the next several days how to log-in and participate in their class sessions. Students also have free access to Google Hangouts via their Benjamin email account.Online Class Schedule
Please click here to see the Upper School’s weekly schedule, revised as of April 2, 2020.
Please note, too, that the schedule is both in BucLinks and viewable in the Planner, so students will always be able to reference the correct period and class that they should be in.
As noted in the Planner and in the weekly schedule, each department has a designated after-school day each week when all members of the department are available for office hours immediately after the final class has dismissed.
Students will be able to use their Study Hall periods to do schoolwork or to take a screen-break. Attendance will not be taken for Study Halls.
Classes and Attendance
Using the schedule detailed above, students will log-in and work with respective teachers during class periods. Teachers will post learning goals, readings, assignments, and activities to the class Topics Page on BucLinks, clearly labeled by date, time of class, and course name. The teacher will stay on-line over the entire class period during the allotted class times. Attendance will be taken by teachers in each class and reported in BucLinks. If students will not be able to attend class on a given day, we ask you to contact the school nurse by email only
Note: Some of the Upper School classes, particularly in the Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Engineering, and Computer Science, may have less traditional assignments that are communicated via email or are assigned by the teacher prior to the students’ departure from school (with accompanying materials) and submitted upon a return to school. Phys Ed classes will not meet online. Mr. Kresser will share his fitness expectations with students prior to their departure and will resume classes upon our return to school. That said, we strongly encourage all students to create time each day for physical activity and athletic training.
Students will need their laptops (and will receive instruction in linking to the Zoom
platform prior to any possible school closure) as well as their texts and standard school supplies. In addition, we highly recommend a headset and microphone to make hearing and speaking much clearer in a digital-learning realm. The headphones used by any student in World Languages will be perfect; if you are not taking a World Languages class, please click here
to see the headset we recommend. If you cannot get one, you may be able to use Airpods, although they are less reliable in this learning environment.
In addition, we hope that students will set up a quiet, comfortable workspace that will limit, to as large an extent as possible, the interruptions that will invariably occur each day in a home environment.Student Learning Protocols - See below in orange box.
Finally, as we all embark on this somewhat unprecedented course, let’s remember that, physically together or not, we remain a community of Buccaneers through thick and thin, on or off campus. There will no doubt be a number of challenges as we transition into a new mode of learning, but I am very optimistic that the silver lining in a difficult situation will be the addition of some important new tools to our academic skill sets. Let’s get started…
Head of Upper School