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Upper School Remote Learning Information

I hope that you and your families are doing as well as possible during this difficult time.  I am writing about our distance learning plan, which will begin on Tuesday, March 31.  Our current understanding is that this model will continue through at least April 3rd.  Teachers have been hard at work these past three weeks preparing to run their classes from a distance, and I know that this model will help us to continue to engage and educate our students.  This is new to all of us, and we are learning and making adjustments as we go.  Thank you for your patience, feedback, and support.

Below please find a series of frequently asked questions and answers about the upper school’s distance learning plan.

When do classes meet?
We will follow our regular schedule, with classes meeting on A and B days during their regularly scheduled blocks.  Students should attend all classes.  The sixth meeting of science courses will not be held at this point.

What are the attendance requirements during distance learning?
Students are required to “attend” each class session, which generally involves signing into a Schoology conference at the class’s start time and completing other activities over the course of the lesson.

What should I do if my child cannot attend a particular class or day of classes?
Please report your child’s absence by writing to upperoffice@7hills.org.  Your child should also follow up directly with the teacher of any classes they have missed.

What should a student do if they experience technical difficulties, such as not being able to sign into a conference?
Students should start by emailing their teacher directly, who may be able to address the problem themselves.  For more systemic tech issues, they should email our Director of Technology, scott.cagle@7hills.org.

Can a student make up a session they missed?
Yes, as with a regular class, we want students to be able to make up missing work.  In most cases, Schoology Conferences will be recorded and will be available to students for the week after each lesson.  Students who are absent should talk with their teacher about what they missed.

Will there be grades during distance learning?
Yes, students will be completing assignments and earning grades through our distance learning model. The school is considering various models for grading in the fourth quarter.

In light of the closure, will school extend beyond the original last day of school?
Depending on the length of the school closure, we may extend the school year in order to hold additional classes.  This could involve running classes during days when we might have held other activities or when students might have been free.  We would ask families to please plan on students being available through June 5th, the day of graduation.

My child is enrolled in a Physical Education class.  Will those classes meet?
We will not complete work for Phys. Ed. during the week of March 30-April 3.  If the school closure extends beyond April 3rd, we will begin running Phys. Ed classes from a distance at that point.

My child is enrolled in an AP Course.  What are the implications for these courses?
Our understanding is that the College Board, which administers the Advanced Placement exams, has put a number of modifications into place based on this crisis.  This year, AP exams will test students on less material: they will only include questions on material that most classes had covered by mid-March.  The College Board will announce two dates for students to take AP Exams remotely.  We will be back in touch with more information as we learn of it from the college board.

Will my child receive credit for their classes this year, and will they be prepared for next year’s classes?
Yes, distance learning will allow us to credit students for time spent in class, and hence will move them all closer to completing this year’s classes and to meeting state and school requirements.  We are working hard on our plan in order to make our classes as engaging and educational as possible so that students continue to progress in their studies.

I’m concerned about how this will affect my child’s college process or prospects.  Who can I talk to and what advice would you give me?
As always, your child’s college counselor is there to help; feel free to contact him or her.  Please keep in mind that colleges and universities have been deeply affected by this crisis and that they know first-hand how challenging this time is for students.  Like us, colleges are adjusting to these new realities and will bear them in mind as they evaluate students.

My child or I have a concern about their social/emotional life.  Who can we talk to?
The school’s counseling department will play an important role during the closure and has a number of resources available to help parents and students during this difficult time.  Please contact Vicky Hausberger (vicky.hausberger@7hills.org) to talk more.  Student’s advisors can also be a good resource.

I have other questions that are not answered above.  Who can I talk to?
As you would during a regular school day, please reach out to any teacher, counselor, advisor, or an administrator.  Email is the best way to reach school personnel during the closure.

This is a challenging time, with the coronavirus pandemic causing all of us—and so many other people around the world—to make major changes to our plans and routines.  While I am sorry that school will be closed, I am optimistic that distance education will allow students to continue to learn and grow.  I greatly appreciate the hard work of the faculty and students in preparing for this emergency, and I’m likewise grateful for the support of our families as we work together to make the best of this situation.

Sincerely,

Matt
Matthew Bolton, Ph.D.
Head of Upper School
The Seven Hills School
matt.bolton@7hills.org