Dear Central Academy students and families,
As I am sure you are aware, today is our last day of classes before the Thanksgiving break. We will resume classes on Monday, Nov. 30.
But before we go on a much-needed break, I want you to know how impressed and grateful I am to you, the students and parents whom we serve. When Term 1 started, I saw how you rose to the challenge and engaged with the virtual classrooms. We set a goal for Academy students to earn B’s or higher in our accelerated and unique courses. Eighty-three percent of all grades issued for Term 1 at Academy met that mark! And you did it during a global pandemic that has greatly shifted our orientation to nearly every aspect of our daily lives!
All of us had to navigate uncharted waters. It has taken a lot of effort by everyone. I’ve heard from more than one parent that the sheer email load alone has been a heavy lift!
Here are three things we learned in Term 1 that parents can do to help support their children in Term 2.
- Ask your child how they are tracking their progress on assignment completion or due dates.
Academy teachers have been teaching students ways of staying organized in a virtual classroom. This can take many forms from paper calendars to phone reminders or the To-Do list or calendar in Canvas. Here is a helpful video example by Ms. Miller; while it is specific to her classes, she uses a structure that we have adopted school-wide.
- Become a parent observer in your child’s Canvas classes.
Sometimes it is helpful for parents and guardians to see the instructions for assignments or see the feedback your child is receiving for their work, you can become a parent observer in your child’s Canvas classes. You just need a pairing code from your child.
- Ask your child how they organize their file structure
Every student has an Office365 account with OneDrive. Learning how to establish a file structure within OneDrive to organize documents will help students find the work their work in progress.
Finally, please realize that you are not alone. Over the years, I’ve noticed the time between Thanksgiving and New Years can be particularly difficult or stressful for students and families. This year I’m noticing that students are self-isolating more frequently. Some just don’t want to turn on their camera or microphone, content to let someone else do all the talking. Some disconnect from schoolwork because part of them is wondering, what is the point of it all? Others disconnect from their classmates and teachers whom they feel don’t understand what they are going through. While others start to shut down because they don’t think they have the right to be feeling what they are feeling, someone else has it worse so I shouldn’t feel this way.
When we come back from break, hopefully feeling a bit more rested and rejuvenated, please remember to reach out to each other and to your teachers. Turning on your camera every once in a while does A LOT for the other people in the class. It may not do much for you, but to see your facial expressions, and the non-verbal communication and to hear your voice means the world to your teacher and your classmates. It is a small thing that can make a big difference for others who might be feeling the pull of isolation. Blur your background and fix your hair and do a service for your classmates by bringing your unique perspective and voice into the conversation.
If you are not comfortable with that, try adding a comment or compliment in the chat to make someone’s day. When you get into small groups, try to unmute when you are able. Let your teachers know you. Ms. Hilton and Ms. Fox have been organizing student groups. Ask them about it. All Central Academy students, especially students or color and underclassmen, are invited to participate in Central Academy CORE (Community Of Racial Equity) which meets on Thursdays at 3:30. CORE offers mentors, resources, and social emotional support for all members. Email email@example.com or add the Central CORE remind by texting @centralcor to 81010 to learn more.
I am so thankful that you are part of the Central Academy family. At Central Academy we like to say that we hold ourselves to the highest standards and support each other in our lowest moments. We can accomplish anything if we do it together. I hope you and your family are healthy and well and have a wonderful Thanksgiving break.