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Welch Updates 09.08.20

Reported by lynn_domek@ipsd.org on 9/8/20

Happy Tuesday, White Tiger Families!

I hope that everyone enjoyed the long holiday weekend! As I thought about the first few days of school I have an amazing feeling of gratitude - gratitude for our staff for their dedication and willingness to learn a completely different way of teaching, gratitude for our students for their perseverance and adaptability to a very different start to the year, and gratitude for you, the parents, for your trust and support as we are learning together. Regardless of the obstacles and challenges we may experience, I assure you that our staff are committed to your child(ren) - we are in this together and will continue to make Welch a GREAT place for our students! Our top priorities for the next few weeks include continuing to determine the most efficient and effective way to communicate with our students and families— this is crucial in ensuring everyone understands links, google classroom and means of support. We will also continue to build stamina within each subject area. We will follow our master schedule, but will tailor activities and instruction within these blocks to build upon our students’ ability to engage and participate. My hope is that each day is a little bit better than the day before. I assure you that the Welch staff are being reflective practitioners and are continuously considering what is working, what is not working, and collaborating with other staff on how to improve our practice. I appreciate your feedback, your partnership, and your flexibility as we strive to provide the best education for all students and families in our community.

It is a GREAT day to be a Welch White Tiger!

Upcoming Dates and Events…
Monday, September 14th
No School - Institute Day

Thursday, September 24th
Curriculum Night Presentations
5:30 - 7:30 PM

Welch Google Site… Each Welch staff member has a Google Classroom— we have put all information in one site for families and students - the Welch Elementary Remote Learning Site. At the top of the site you will see the K-5 Classroom Directory, which is where you will find your child’s classroom teacher, the Specials Directory, which is you will find your child’s specials teachers (Art, Music, PE) and then under More you will find the Support Staff Directory and Technical Assistance. Under each staff member’s picture you will see two different links - Class Materials, which will take you to the staff member’s Google Classroom, and Zoom!, which will take you to the staff member’s Zoom link(s). Staff have included their Zoom passwords as a post in their Google Classrooms. Please bookmark this site for your reference— your student will be able to access Google Classrooms thru their StudentVUE via SSO. If you are having a hard time accessing a classroom or Zoom link, please contact your child’s teacher. Thank you!

Chromebook Help… If you missed the Parent University on Chromebooks, you can still watch the video. This parent event was streamed live on the district’s YouTube channel and is available for on-demand viewing. Topics covered included an overview of the basic functions of Chromebooks and Google tools students will use during the school year. This is an incredibly helpful resource and I definitely recommend viewing! If you have problems with your Chromebook or need additional support, please email support@ipsd.org.

Live and Independent Specials…Our Specials schedule is different this year - instead of having three PE, two music, and one 50 minute session of art per week, students will have two 30-minute lessons in PE, art, and music. One of these 30-minute sessions will be LIVE and the other will be independent. On LIVE session days, students will need to access their specials teacher’s Zoom link and Google Classroom for LIVE instruction. On INDEPENDENT days, students will need to access their specials teacher’s Google Classroom link only and complete the independent learning task provided on their Classroom. There will be no interaction with a teacher during Independent learning. If you have any questions about this, please contact me or the Specials Teacher(s). Thank you!

Zoom Waiting Room… One challenge that several have encountered the first few days of school is the Zoom “Waiting Room.” When students join the Zoom session for the first time or are re-entering the session, they are automatically placed into a “waiting room” until the staff member authorizes their entry into the session. The waiting room is necessary for the safety of our students as it prevents unauthorized participants from joining the class session. The list of students waiting to join instruction appears in a small window on the teacher’s screen and is fairly easy to overlook when someone enters the waiting room. This is especially difficult to notice when teachers are in the middle of providing direct instruction.

One action step teachers have taken to reduce the amount of time a student is waiting is activating an aural alarm (chime) to alert the teacher that someone is in the waiting room. Another is to project the Zoom session onto the large projector screen in their room which then makes it easier to see students and to notice the waiting room notification.

One action step you can take is to assist or remind your student to access the Zoom session a minute or two prior to the start time. One helpful tip is to utilize a timer through your student’s device or any other small, battery operated timer. If your child is in the waiting room more than a few minutes past the projected synchronous start time, please call our front office at 630.428.7200. We will alert the teacher as soon as possible after you notify us. Thank you!

Curriculum Night… Please mark your calendar for Welch’s Curriculum Night on Thursday, September 24th. Welch Staff will be providing live virtual presentations for families to attend and learn more about what their child(ren) will be learning. All specialists and support staff will be providing sessions between 5:30 - 6:30 PM, and classroom teachers will be providing sessions between 6:30 - 7:30 PM. We will be communicating more information about times and links in the next week or so. Thank you!

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