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11 Scorpion School Guidelines for Sage Ridge Parents

  • Academics
  • Student Life
Tobin Bechtel

We recognize that this will be a complicated time for families and the transition to distance learning will be a challenge. Parents will need to think differently about how to support their children; how to create structures and routines that allow their children to be successful; and how to monitor and support their children’s learning. Some students will thrive with remote learning, while others may struggle. The guidelines provided below are intended to help parents think about what they can do to help their children find success in a remote learning environment. We also know that we will all be flexing to respond to the needs that our families face during this time. If there are unique challenges, particular needs, or concerns that arise, please be in touch with us.

1—Establish routines and expectations

Routine supports children both in terms of learning and sense of calm and wellbeing. Parents and guardians need to establish routines and expectations. We encourage families to set regular hours for your children’s school work, to the best of your ability. Keep normal bedtime routines for all children, including Upper School students, too. (Don’t let them stay up late and sleep in!) Your children should move regularly and take periodic breaks from school activities and screens. It is important that parents and guardians set (and model) these expectations for how their children will spend their days starting as soon as distance learning is implemented.  

2—Define the physical space for your child’s study

Your child may already have a regular place for doing homework under normal circumstances, but this space may or may not be suitable for an extended period of time in a Distance Learning environment. We encourage families to establish a space/location where their children will learn most of the time that is free from distractions and is monitored by an adult. This should be a public/family space, preferably not in a child’s bedroom, that can be quiet and have a strong wireless internet signal, if possible. Above all, it should be a space where adults are present and available to check in on their children’s learning.

3—Monitor communications from your children’s teachers

Teachers will communicate with students and families through email, when possible and as necessary. The frequency and detail of these communications will be determined by your children’s ages, maturity, and their degree of independence. Sage Ridge encourages families to contact their children’s teachers. However, we ask parents and guardians to remember that teachers will be communicating with dozens of other families, and that communications should be essential, succinct, and self-aware. We also encourage parents to have their children explain the various platforms and systems (e.g.  Google Classroom, Zoom, etc.) teachers are using.

4—Begin and end each day with a check-in

Families are encouraged to start and finish each day with a simple check-in. In the morning, ask: 
What are you learning today? 
What are your learning targets or goals? 
How will you spend your time today? 
What resources do you need? 
What support do you need? 
This brief grounding conversation matters. It allows children to process the instructions they’ve received from their teachers and create a plan. It helps them organize themselves and set priorities. Older students may not want to have these check-ins with adults (that’s normal!), but they should nevertheless. Parents should establish these check-ins as regular parts of each day.  Because Distance Learning is new for many of our students, they will benefit from this support to ensure that they do not fall behind or lose track of their assignments.

5—Take an active role in helping your children process and own their learning 

In the course of a regular school day at Sage Ridge, your child engages with other students or adults dozens, if not hundreds, of times. These social interactions and opportunities for mediation include turning to a peer to exchange a thought or idea, participating in small or large group discussions, asking questions for clarification, collaborating on group projects, and countless other moments. Some of these social interactions will be re-created on virtual platforms, others will not. Human beings learn best when they have opportunities to process their learning with others. Beyond the check-ins recommended at the start and end of each day, families should regularly circle back and engage with their children about what they’re learning. However, it’s important that your child owns their work; do not complete assignments for them, even when they are struggling.  If this does happen, please let the lead teacher or content teacher know so that they can offer support.

6—Establish times for quiet and reflection

A challenge for families with multiple children will be how to manage all of their children’s needs, especially when those children are different ages and have different learning goals. There may be times when siblings need to work in different rooms to avoid distracting one another or partner together to collaborate and support one another’s learning.  Families may experiment with noise-cancelling headphones (no music necessary!) to block out distractions; schedule times to share their learnings with one another; create a family schedule to help guide the tasks for the day .

7—Encourage physical activity and/or exercise

Make sure your children remember to move and exercise. This is vitally important to their health, wellbeing, and to their learning. Our physical education teachers will recommend activities and exercises, and it is important for parents and guardians to model and encourage exercise! Think also about how your children can pitch in more around the house with chores or other responsibilities - it feels good to do good!

8—Remain mindful of your child’s stress or worry

It is imperative for parents and guardians to help their children manage the worry, anxiety, and range of emotions they may experience. Difficult though it may be, do your best not to transfer your stress or worry to your children. Limit their exposure to social media or news sources if these are causing worry.  Whether they admit it or not, they will be out of sorts, and all children need as much normal routine as families can provide.  As a school, we will do our best to provide resources that support parents with social emotional learning during this time.

9—Monitor how much time your child is spending online

While we do not want our students staring at screens for many hours a day, in a Distance Learning Model, we will need to make some adjustments to the ways we are teaching and learning. We will seek to share a wide range of educational activities that can be done on and offline.

We ask that families remember most teachers are not experts in Distance Learning (yet), and that it will require some trial-and-error before we find the right balance between synchronous and asynchronous learning experiences. We will periodically check in with you to assess what you’re seeing at home and what we need to adjust. We thank you in advance for your patience and partnership! 

10—Keep your children social, but set rules around their social media interactions

The initial excitement of school being closed will fade quickly when students start missing their friends, classmates, and teachers. Help your children maintain contact with friends.

Please also monitor your children’s social media use, especially during an extended school closure. Older students will rely more on social media to communicate with friends. Social media apps such as SnapChat, Instagram, WhatsApp, TikTok, or Facebook are not official, school-sanctioned channels of communication. 

We ask parents to monitor their children’s use of social media.  Faculty will refer students to our google suite platforms and monitor any virtual communications designed by faculty. 

Remind your children to “be kind online” and to be polite, respectful, and appropriate in their communications and to model the Pillars in their interactions with others. A student’s written words and tone can sometimes offend or cause harm to others, whether intentional or not.  Faculty and Staff  will remind students about tone, etiquette, and making positive choices. 

11--Be patient 

The transition to distance learning will stretch our families, teachers, and students, especially initially. We will work hard to be responsive to challenges that arise, and we know that routines and new teaching methods will become easier and more accessible with practice and integration of feedback. We know circumstances might change rapidly. While we work to respond, we also know it will be important for families to balance work and family well-being. We also recognize that transitioning to remote learning is only one of the changes that parents will need to make during this time, and we encourage you to give yourselves and each other grace as we navigate this together.
 

  • Coronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Distance Learning
  • Scorpion School
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