What if we (students, parent, or both) are feeling overwhelmed? What if we can get our WiFi or devices to handle distance learning properly? If you or your students are feeling like "I just can't" or "this isn't working"--PLEASE, please contact the school. You may call the main number (434-384-7385) during normal school hours and Julie Coppage will have the appropriate teacher, resource teacher, and/or administrator get in touch with you immediately. You may also use the contacts listed in the online directory on FACTS/Renweb to contact school employees directly via email or phone.
Will the eighth graders be able to have graduation?
We want to celebrate our graduates with a traditional ceremony. Current conditions dictate looking at fall dates for this. As decisions are made, they will be communicated to the Class of 2020 families. In the meantime, we do have a surprise planned for our graduates at the end of May.
What about All-School Awards?
The school community is invited to a culminating, all-school webinar on Thursday, May 28, at 10 a.m. An email invitation with the webinar link will be sent later in May.
Will we be able to return to "regular school" this fall?
We are making plans to welcome everyone safely back to campus in the fall. It is our intention to provide in-person instruction and we look forward to being together again. Simultaneously, we are sharpening our distance learning model in the event that COVID-19 changes our ability to gather. We will be ready to pivot and deliver a James River education regardless of the circumstances.
Will my child be behind next year? While we may not be able to cover as much material as we traditionally have, all children everywhere are experiencing the same phenomenon. We are confident that our students will still maintain the educational advantages you have come to expect from James River.
How can my child be successful at distance learning?
There are several key elements, which help students learn in a digital environment.
- Use a designated "school" space and appropriate technology: Students need a comfortable space to work in each day, along with an iPad, laptop, or other computer and WiFi to access their course content. If you need help with technology or access, reach out to your child's teacher. That faculty member will see that you receive any needed assistance.
- Time management: Remind children that these are not snow days; these are school days. Each student needs to attend and participate as he/she would ordinarily.
- Communication: Students are responsible for their learning more than ever in this format. Encourage, even insist, that they reach out to teachers with any questions.
- Building solid study habits: Help students set good habits right away, using the time given for each class to complete the assigned work. Check in with your child periodically during their online time to help ensure they are using it appropriately and not playing games or using social media when they should be doing schoolwork.
- Self-motivation: Simply get started each day. If it feels daunting, encourage your child and reach out to our faculty if you need assistance. We are here for our students and their parents.
- Organization: Those students who have a James River agenda book should note their assignments in it just as they would normally. If a child doesn't have an agenda book, a simple notebook or pad of paper will suffice. Writing down the tasks for the day will help students focus on and complete those assignments.
- What else can parents do to help children be successful?
Define your expectations for your child, monitor his/her study habits and participation, set up a routine schedule, encourage him/her get some exercise each day, and practice patience with your child and with yourself.
Netiquette for Middle School Students
When you are in your online meetings and classes, please use good netiquette (online etiquette). That means:
1) Be up and dressed. It shows you are taking this seriously.
2) Have a set place to do your schoolwork.
3) Use your own name as your screen-name on Zoom unless otherwise instructed. Since the teacher has to allow you into the class each time, they need to know who you are. Don't make them guess.
4) Leave yourself muted until called upon to speak. Your teacher will let you know his/her expectations in class.
What digital tools will teachers and students use?
Kindergarten and first grade will continue to use SeeSaw for classroom communication.
Second through eighth grades will use Google Classroom. This is new for second and third grade families. James River's faculty and staff will be assisting students and families as they learn this new technology.
What about screen time? I am concerned.
So are we. Teachers will be varying their activities and including those that do not require your son or daughter to be facing a screen all the time. Please let us know what is working and what might need to be changed.
How will we support students who start to struggle?
Teachers will reach out to the student, parents, learning specialists, or whomever would be most appropriate given the situation. You may certainly also contact teachers if you have questions or concerns. We know this is an adjustment for all of us, and we're in it together. We will do our very best to monitor and support students, families, and teachers.
What about originally scheduled “No School” days?
We will not have school (a.k.a. distance learning) on Monday, April 13 (Easter Monday), Wednesday, April 22 (Conference Day), or Monday, May 25 (Memorial Day).
Feel free to reach out to your child's teacher(s) or Mr. York.