Monument Students & Families –
The District is making the shift to remote learning from enrichment activities, shared in Peter Dillon’s communication to all families yesterday. The Monument Mountain team has been working hard over the past week to prepare for this substantial transition.
We have organized and distributed chromebooks and will be continuing to distribute devices Monday from 11-1 and Tuesday from 8-10 at Monument Valley Regional Middle School. If you are still in need of a device, please email Kara Staunton (firstname.lastname@example.org) to indicate which day you will be picking up or if you are still in need of delivery. We want to ensure that all students have their devices by Tuesday as technology is necessary to support each student’s remote learning experience. If you do not have internet, or if you have limited internet, we will be working hard on individualized plans to address these needs.
When school administration and teachers worked to create the Monument Mountain school at home experience, we began by clarifying our mission. In line with MA Department of Education Recommendations, it was clear our top priorities are the following: the safety and well-being of students, families, and staff; maintaining connections between school staff and students; and ensuring equity of opportunity and resources. As the recommendations indicate, nothing can replace in-person schooling and we should not expect to replicate the traditional school day. Our goal is to engage students in meaningful and productive learning opportunities. We considered a modified version of our school schedule for remote learning. It was quickly evident that our “period one through eight” structure would not allow us to meet our top priorities for students, families, or staff.
The plan we have created is our best effort at meeting our mission for remote learning. Teachers have been divided into seven teams- two teams at each grade for ninth to eleventh and one team for grade twelve. The teams are composed of a teacher of English Language Arts, Science, Math, Social Studies, and Wellness along with CVTE or the Arts. Each teacher on the team has been assigned a subset of 11-16 students whom they know well and will mentor through this experience. As this is an entire restructuring of the high school experience, we will begin next week with a “soft” roll out and build to a full remote learning experience on Monday, April 13.
Next week, each mentor will be reaching out to have their first one to one connection with each student they have been assigned. During these initial meetings, mentors will confirm the best method of communication and level of access to technology for families and students. Mentors will develop back up plans for students with limited or no internet connection. Mentors will also review the student’s class enrollment for this year, their standing for third quarter, and mentors will begin to discuss their individual fourth quarter learning goals while making note of specific needs. At the end of next week, each mentor will hold their first virtual “mentee” group meeting, either through Google Hangouts Meet or via a conference call. During this meeting, mentors will do a wellness check-in, and the team structure and academic expectations will be discussed.
We are also working to create a Monument Mountain School at Home webpage where each student and family will go to find the Google Classroom each grade level team will be using. Students can expect invitations to these sites next week. Google Classrooms will contain posted schedules for teacher office hours, links to elective courses that will continue to provide activities, projects and resources for continued learning in these areas as well as specific health and wellness resources for students. Our goal is to launch our website by the end of next week.
There are bound to be many questions in the initial phases of this high school remote learning model. I ask for your patience as the teams and administration are working hard to provide the best possible experience we can under the circumstances. Many of your questions will be answered directly through your mentor teacher during the initial connections next week. I know that these changes to student life at Monument Mountain are dramatic, but they were created with the personal well-being and health of our entire community in mind at a moment in time where these two things needed to be our top priorities. As always, I am open to ways we can improve, but I ask that you give us a chance to get this model launched and connect one on one with the mentor before you begin emailing suggestions. Thanks in advance as I continue to focus on preparation.
Please reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns at Kristina.Farina@bhrsd.org.
Be well –
Monument Mountain Regional High School
600 Stockbridge Rd
Great Barrington, MA 01230