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Distance Learning Begins Monday, March 23rd
Throughout this week you have been receiving emails from your teacher in an effort to help your children stay connected to their community. Each day this week our teachers have been meeting virtually to build resources to launch full scale Distance Learning, beginning Monday, March 23rd.
This has been some of the most challenging work in any of our careers. With zero notice, our teachers have shifted from in-person collaboration to virtual collaboration. Each staff member has their own families, health, and home to care for, and they have each given 100% to help support the students and families of Westlake Charter School. In fact, the willingness to respond quickly to the needs of our families has been recognized by the California Department of Education, who has highlighted Westlake Charter School as a model school in making the shift to Distant Learning. This is a true honor.
What will Distance Learning look like?
First, we are thankful that we had over 98% of our families respond to our Distance Learning Survey. Due to your participation, Westlake was able to distribute over 250 devices that our families needed in just a few short days. To be clear, you do NOT need a school device for Distance Learning. You may use any Chromebook, Laptop, Desktop, Tablet, and in some cases a Smartphone to engage. If you find that the device you have at home is not adequate, please email your teacher, and try to be patient. We have now closed the school due to the quarantine and there may be some delay time to help provide families with support.
The California Department of Education has realized that encouraging schools to move to Distance Learning is going to require internet connectivity. Therefore the following resources have been developed by the State to help families gain access to the internet. Click here for more information.
When does Distance Learning Begin
Beginning Monday, March 23rd, all Explorers are asked to go to our Distance Learning website.
How do we get started?
Once you are on the Distance Learning website, click on your grade level and start by clicking on your classroom/advisory teacher’s name. Every day, your classroom/advisory teacher will have structured opportunities for students to engage with one another and dive into learning. Once you have completed the assignments for your classroom/advisory teacher, return to the grade level page and extend your learning by completing the lessons on the calendar for each day. Distance Learning will not be a minute to minute replacement of the school day, nor will it be a whole group video meeting at any particular time. Each lesson is designed to be done when it is convenient for families.
Our family needs flexibility, is this all mandatory?
We understand. We are each at home with our families and we understand this has to be flexible or it won’t be possible. Log in when you can, as often as you can, but note that our daily classroom lessons are our focus and the extended learning opportunities are there to help support extended learning. This work is currently supplementary, meaning that our staff will engage students to extend learning on a daily basis, but we will not be grading, therefore, no student will be held back a grade based on this work. While this work is only supplementary, we are committed to continuing with our pillar of personalization. Our Special Education staff will continue to collaborate with teachers and families to help support student extended learning opportunities as best they can. We know we cannot replace school, but we can continue to work together.
How can we get support?
First, we have developed a Parent Resource Page on our Distance Learning site. Go here for a myriad of educational resources that will help you help your child.
Technical Support For Families
As we shift to distance learning, we know families may need some technical support. We will have help desk support available starting Monday, March 23rd from 9:00 am 12:00pm and 1:00pm to 3:00 pm.
- If you need username or login information, please contact your teacher
- For chat support, please go to https://westlakecharter.com/help-desk/ and select the “chat” icon on the lower right hand of the page
- For email support, email firstname.lastname@example.org
- For phone support, call 1-314-635-0802. When you call for assistance, our team will take your name, contact information, document the issue, and schedule a time when our tech team can call you back.
- Click HERE for troubleshooting tips
Your classroom teacher is here to help, and we want you to email with your teacher to make sure your family has all the support you need. However, it is important that we are all patient during this transition. This is a new environment and our staff are working incredibly hard to make Distance Learning a reflection of our school’s mission. We have asked teachers to take care of their health and the health of their families first. We have asked them to establish at least one hour a day of office hour time to respond to emails. Therefore, as you email your teacher, be patient, it could take more than a day to respond because we do not want our teachers overworking themselves. Thank you for your understanding, your patience, and your support.
A note from Mr. Eick regarding Distance Learning
Families, I have been an educator in our neighborhood for over 20 years. Some of you reading this letter were my students when I was a teacher. I have never been more proud than I am now to be a part of the learning community at Westlake Charter School. Our teachers, classified staff and administrative team have risen to the challenge selflessly. They are already exhausted, but what seems to be fueling each of them is knowing that the work they put in today will help support our children and hold our community together in an incredibly uncertain time.
We can not replace school. Distance Learning is an opportunity to extend learning while we are away from one another. More importantly, our team is working hard to combat the feelings of isolation that come with this school closure.
There will be technical glitches, login and password issues, delayed response times to emails calling for support, and there will be frustration. There will also be moments of joy when your son or daughter sees their teachers face on the screen, when your child receives a message of support from a friend, and a sense that we are truly a community when we have pulled through this time together. I encourage each of you to be patient and supportive of each other and our team during this transition. These daily routines may create the normalcy we all need to keep our families feeling emotionally healthy during these unprecedented times. Let’s work together, and as always…