Remote Learning While Students Are on Campus

On June 25, the American Academy of Pediatrics published a statement advocating that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.

With this data in mind, Pacific Ridge School has developed a schedule and density plan that will allow us to maximize students being on campus in as safe a way as possible – throughout the entire school year. However, we recognize that students may fall ill, need to be quarantined as a result of contact with someone who tests positive, or families may decide that they don’t want their children on campus at certain times of year.

Because of these factors, we are going to make our instruction available to all students – whether they are on campus or remote. If students can’t be on campus with us, we will still provide the best instruction we can.

Schoolwide Remote Learning

Our priority is to be on campus as much as possible, but we are prepared to adjust our calendar according to public mandates and circumstances. In the event we are notified by government or public health officials of the need to close the campus, school will continue remotely.

If a shelter-in-place mandate is required at any point during the school year, we are committed to meeting and exceeding expectations based on our experience from last spring, ongoing feedback from families, and further research. Our focus will be:

  • Delivering on our mission
  • Providing students with a high quality, student-centered learning experience
  • Communicating clearly and consistently

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT REMOTE LEARNING

What should I be doing to get ready for the school year as we plan to start with remote learning?

  • This is a great moment to get your study space ready at home and make sure you have your technology set up well so that you can participate fully in Zoom classes. Take a look at the following guidelines, recommendations, and expectations, and if you have any technology issues now or throughout the year, you can email helpdesk@pacificridge.org.

  • Be sure to download your schedule from Veracross and take some time to imagine your daily patterns and get comfortable with routines. You’ll have received emails about logging in through your Pacific Ridge account; if you can’t access that, feel free to reach out to helpdesk@pacificridge.org.
  • Make sure you take a look at your book lists and order the books you need for your classes (use the link here if you haven’t found book lists yet). In addition to books, some classes may require specific supplies as we prepare to start remote — information on this piece coming soon.
  • Get in the habit as the school year starts of checking both your school email and PowerSchool Learning daily.

 

How will I be able to meet new people, reconnect with old friends, and connect to the community as we plan to start remote?

  • Our Pacific Ridge community is all about relationships — we know that in remote learning it is particularly important to build strong relationships. We are putting significant effort and time into this in a number of ways, including the following.
    • Orientation — we are preparing to run an exciting, dynamic remote orientation that will allow students to connect (and reconnect) with friends, classmates, and teachers. Our goal will be that before the first day of school each student will have created meaningful connections with their teachers and fellow students.

  • Advisory — our new schedule provides more advisory time than ever, and this will be especially helpful in a remote landscape, as we have found that relationships and connections are more important than ever to help students feel at home and supported.

What will the classroom time and homework feel like in remote learning?

  • Our teachers hit the ground running in the spring and have developed an extensive set of resources to strengthen the engagement and effectiveness of online learning. In addition, teachers are continuing to explore and expand their skills through professional development this summer. We believe our remote classes will be highly engaging, involve lots of personal connection, and be excellent academic experiences for all types of learners.
  • We know that everyone experienced last spring (at Pacific ridge or other area schools) in different ways, and our faculty will be beginning the year with lots of support and review for those who need gaps filled in from the spring.
  • In both the Upper School and Middle School, we believe that consistent, regular, clear feedback is more important than ever, and teachers will be working directly to make sure that both assignments and feedback on student work are clear and growth-oriented for all students.
  • In the Middle School, teachers will focus more on skill-building through the fall to help each student (especially new students) get settled and comfortable with Pacific Ridge schooling. As such, by the end of the first trimester students will receive a pass/fail grade rather than a letter grade. Once students have had a chance to settle in, all students will be receiving letter grades as usual in trimesters 2 and 3.
  • In the Upper School, students will be graded with letter grades throughout the year, just as in a regular school year, we do recognize that this moment affects all families differently — please do reach out and let us know if your child is struggling in any way; we would like to find ways to reduce stress and support them academically.
  • Each night students will have homework, as we always do, though we recognize the importance of being mindful of screen time and we will be building in time during the day while we remain remote for students to complete chunks of their work so that homework time does not last late into the evening. Once the year starts, if you are finding that your child is struggling with extensive screen time or overburdened by homework, please do not hesitate to reach out — we often find that these experiences are fixable and that we can do a lot to support students to find healthier balance if we learn that they are struggling.

 

How can I join clubs, service learning, affinity/alliance spaces, athletics, and arts programs?

  • We will continue to have a rich and varied co-curricular program that allows students to participate in clubs, service learning groups, affinity & alliance spaces, athletics, and arts. Look for details on email from both Upper School and Middle School division heads about how students will sign up for these experiences. (On August 10, upper school students received a survey to sign up for offerings through their school email account).
  • Upper School and Middle School Physical Education – The athletic department is working to ensure students stay physically active and healthy while learning either remotely or while having socially distanced classes on campus. While remote, PE classes will be focused on general fitness at home workouts that are run by their teacher. The expectation is that students report to PE as assigned, and attendance will be taken.
  • Middle School Athletics – We do not anticipate that we will have fall sports in the MS. Our hope is that we will during the winter and spring seasons in line with the decisions that CIF has made regarding the Upper School sports 20-21 calendar (see below).
  • Upper School Athletics – To start the year we will offer remote strength and conditioning to Upper School students. As state and country guidelines allow, we will have alternate programming on campus when we are able to return. We will start our usual sports programming according to the CIF calendar released on July, 20. Use this link to review the 20-21 calendar and the statement from the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF).

 

How can I get help when I need it?

  • A student’s advisor is a great resource! Students see their advisor every other day, and those advisors are regularly connected to all of their advisees’ teachers. They can help solve problems, answer questions, give advice, and provide a wide range of support!
  • Teachers want to hear from you! We saw how valuable one-on-one time with teachers was for students in remote learning. We encourage students to make good use of Purpose Period (we have built in more than last year!) to connect to your teachers.
  • Get to know your grade-level deans and division heads: they are always here for you to help you solve problems and answer questions.
  • Our great team of support staff in the Learning Center work with students and teachers, and run regular workshops on study skills, time management, and good student habits. These workshops are open to all — you’ll see invitations to them coming through email in the fall.
  • Finally, remote learning can be stressful and challenging at times for all; please don’t hesitate to ask for help from our support staff if you need it. We have an amazing team of counselors who are always happy to set up a conversation.

 

What will the transition between remote and in-person learning feel like, when we are ready to make that transition?

  • If you are curious about how we will make the decision to transition from remote learning to in-person learning, take a close look at our Risk Management plan to see what factors will guide our decision-making.
  • When it becomes possible to return to in-person learning, we will be “re-orienting” students to campus and helping them get used to the protocols and policies outlined in the “Together We Can” reopening plan.
  • We recognize that not all families will feel comfortable with or be able to have their student return to in-person learning when we transition back to it as a school. All of our classrooms have been equipped with microphones and web cameras that will allow students to “Zoom” into in-person classes from home. This option will be available for as long as families need it next school year. While we believe that in-person learning is more educationally valuable than remote experiences, we want to make this possible for families — both for a short period of time or for longer stretches as necessary. Perhaps most importantly, this option allows students who are not feeling well on any given day to stay home from school and continue to learn without penalty, which is important for the health and safety of the whole community.