Small School Weekly Check In - April 1, 2020

By: Amy Wasser
KC Topics: 
Coronavirus, Professional Leadership

Notes from the small school weekly check in on April 1, 2020

What is on your minds?

  • Assessments, report cards and progress reports
    • Focus is on parents and children still liking each other after this, focus less on rigor and more on connection
    • Narratives
    • Rubrics and narratives
    • Report cards with explanations of what was learned and narratives
    • 80/20-- 80% of final grade from before we closed the building and 20% form after, with no way for the grade to go lower than before
    • How do we know the students do not cheat on exams or quizzes?
    • Dept of education is waiving requirements in many states now
  • Planning for Yoms and graduations
  • What is working for people in online teaching? 
    • See below for links
  • Will your school offer classes on Pesach?
    • Some schools are offering optional classes, like Passover camp
    • One school is offering optional classes for which they pay teachers extra
    • Some schools are focusing on Hebrew during chol hamoed (but not on actual Yom Tov days)
    • Important to many leaders to give their teachers a break
    • Many leaders are sharing Passover activities with parents- examples are linked below.
  • 8th grade trip is cancelled- how to address the sadness?
    • Acknowledge it- it is a loss. Zoom meetings
    • Design the t-shirts and sweatshirts for the UNtrip
    • Plan a backwards trip where students prepare to take the group on a virtual tour and they show up wearing the right clothing, with music, activities and food
    • Create postcards you can send of the kids in places they wanted to visit
    • Maybe reschedule for the summer or fall
    • Allow seniors and 8th graders to end formal classes before the other students
  • Enrollment!
    • Possible to connect refunds for April and May only if they sign enrollment for the fall, perhaps carry over the funds to the fall? Primarily for preschool contracts.
  • Hiring for the fall and firing for the summer
    • Some are, some are not
  • Money- what will we do if this continues? Furlough? Letting anyone go? Early childhood- are you offering reimbursement?
    • Applying for the government loans
    • EC- offering partial refunds for April and maybe May… choices include 75% full refund, or donate it and get a tax credit, or apply it to the fall if you sign  enrollment contract. Some schools are offering 20% for EC only, noy lower school.
    • Some parents called to make sure teachers were still getting paid :)
    • Some schools let non essential workers go and get unemployment with hope of returning laer- like the front desk and cafeteria and security people.  In some schools the PTO sent them grocery cards.
  • Contract changes
    • Caveat for pandemics
    • Change calling them “contracts” and now call them “employment agreement”
    • Have a lawyer check the language
  • What are you doing to help your teachers?
    • Link on Prizmah website with ideas (see below)
    • Paint night- send supplies and do it by zoom
    • Send wine with personal note
    • Lawn signs
    • Personal letters form board members
    • Comedy night
    • Kids hold up thank you signs at weekly online assembly as a surprise
    • Make a surprise thank you video with parents help
    • Send cookies
    • Gift cards
    • Grub hub cards
    • Small Passover package
    • PIZZA delivery before Passover
  • How to support parents and board members who are first responders?
    • See above?

Long term:

  • Should the school year be extended until summer? Unknown
  • If we do not have classes in the building in the fall, should and can we lower tuition?
  • If we do not open the building in the fall, what do we do about reimbursement?

What would help? And Suggestions for field support:

  • Rituals from afar webinar series starts tomorrow to start to plan for YOMS and graduations etc.
  • The webinars and information about applying for funding are very helpful- keep them up pleas
  • Rabbi Marc Wolf will be sending out into info soon about online classes after Pesach for schools to partner with organizations
  • Possible lawyer who might be able to help HOS write contracts and make furlough decisions
  • The webinars have been super helpful!
  • Resource pages for: what is working online, mental health, Passover resources and activities for parents


 From the Prizmah resource page:

Resources on Distance Learning