October 27, 2020
Dear District 215 Community,
After gathering feedback from students, teachers, families, and administrators, we will be introducing a new schedule on Wednesdays, beginning on November 4, 2020. Wednesdays through the end of the second quarter will be “Student Support Wednesdays," allowing time for teachers to connect with students who need more individualized instruction and allowing all students additional time to work independently on assignments.
Rather than running Zoom classes on a traditional bell schedule on Student Support Wednesdays, teachers are being given the flexibility to reach out to specific students in need of support either one-on-one or in groups. Students who are required to log in to Zoom on Student Support Wednesdays will be contacted by teachers via their District 215 emails no later than Monday afternoon each week with their assigned Wednesday Zoom meeting time, which will be between the hours of 9:05 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Attendance will be taken for those students assigned meeting times on Student Support Wednesdays. Students who are contacted by a teacher to log in for a Wednesday conference but fail to do so will receive the code MCF (“Missed Conference”) in PowerSchool attendance and parents will be notified of the missed conference via phone. If a scheduling conflict should occur, students should notify the teachers and reschedule no later than Tuesday at 3:15 each week.
Students not assigned to meet with a teacher on Wednesdays are to use the time to work independently or on previously assigned work, or to join Social-Emotional support groups that will be offered to students by our Pupil Personnel and Deans Offices. No new work will be assigned on Wednesdays! We hope that this new Wednesday schedule will help support and improve our current remote learning experience as well as the academic success rate for students. As has been prior practice, teachers will also remain available to assist or respond to individual students on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays between 2:00 and 3:15 p.m.
Thank you for your partnership, patience, and perseverance during these unprecedented times. Stay safe and be well.
Dr. Sophia Jones-Redmond
September 23, 2020
Dear Thornton Fractional District 215 Staff, Students, and Families,
At last night’s meeting, the Board of Education, with my recommendation, voted for our district to remain in a remote-only learning setting for the second quarter of the 2020-21 school year. While this news comes as a welcome relief for some, I realize that for others it is a disappointment. The struggles that our staff, students, and families are confronting daily in the face of this pandemic and all the ways it has changed our lives are substantial. Our top consideration in the decision to remain remote for the second quarter is the safety of our more than 3,000 students and several hundred staff members.
Please know that we are working tirelessly to continue to improve the remote learning environment for staff, students, and families. Here are a few announcements/reminders:
- Teachers will continue to hold virtual office hours for students from 2-3 p.m. each weekday except Wednesday.
- We will continue providing meals 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for students on all days school is in session and can now also provide delivery if needed (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
- We have recently added a mental health hotline for our students that is available from 3:30- 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday (708-889-5899).
- Plans are in the works for virtual parent-teacher conferences, which will be held on Oct. 8 via Zoom. Watch email for more details!
- Our I.T. team continues to be available for assistance with any technical difficulties experienced during remote learning. (email: email@example.com)
- We have worked to make our websites (tfd215.org) more user friendly and more up-to-date, and have added remote learning pages to the school websites.
- We have increased the frequency of our social media posts to keep the most current information in front of our staff, students, and families.
- We anticipate that many more of our student activities will begin to meet virtually in quarter 2, allowing students to connect or reconnect with extracurriculars.
Although our athletic teams will not be practicing or competing during remote learning, we are exploring the possibility of virtual meetings for our athletic teams, hopeful that coaches will recommend some at-home conditioning for student-athletes and begin to build upon team unity through a more regular connection. This decision regarding athletics was made with much thought, much concern, and much disappointment for our student-athletes. We look forward to the time where our student-athletes can safely practice and compete again.
As we anticipate another quarter of remote learning for our students, District 215 is committed to helping students succeed and partnering with families as they support students learning at home. We are also committed to supporting our dedicated staff as they teach our students in this challenging environment. Staff, students, and parents/guardians, please watch your email for a link to participate in a Thought Exchange survey in the next week. District 215 leadership wants to hear your thoughts on how we can continue to improve the remote learning environment for students and staff, and the Thought Exchange platform allows you to have a voice in continued progress that benefits all of us. I am ready to listen, as are the administrators and leaders of our Thornton Fractional community.
Be safe, be well, stay hopeful, and thank you for being an important member of the District 215 team.
Dr. Sophia Jones-Redmond