By CRISTINA JANNEY
Hays High School released a letter Tuesday with a framework for how continuous learning will look when school goes back into session virtually on April 1.
Plans for middle school and elementary school students are still in the works and will likely be released Monday, Superintendent Ron Wilson said.
HHS Principal Martin Straub said teaching will vary greatly from class to class.
Teaching and learning may be a combination of live and/or recorded virtual instruction and communication, project-based learning, physical activities, video sharing, reflective activities or packet completion, the letter said.
The Kansas Department of Education has recommended students in grades six through 12 only engage in online classes for three hours per day.
The graphic below shows the students' class schedule. April 1 will be a maroon day.
Straub said online lectures or instruction with teachers may only last 10 minutes with students working on self study or project-based learning the rest of their class period.
Hands-on classes go virtual
Straub said some classes will be more difficult to move to online learning than others. Students in Pathways classes, such as welding or woodworking, will be watching instructional videos and may be asked by their instructors to offer feedback on what they have learned from those videos.
Students in some art classes will be able to pick up kits to continue working on projects at home.
"We know it is therapeutic for kids to work on art," Straub said. "Kids enjoy working on art when they are stressed."
Students in music classes may be able at some point to sing during a Zoom class. Culinary students might develop a menu and shopping list instead of making a dish in a lab.
Straub acknowledged teachers will not be able to cover all of the curriculum they normally would if they were teaching students in person.
"When you think about what they recommend for high school age — three hours of class or less — we cannot do as much as we did in the past," Straub said.
Accountability will also be a challenge, Straub said.
"How do you keep kids from cheating?" Straub said. "Our situation is so different than it was two weeks ago. We want to be there for kids and support kids. We want to identify what they need and what skills and outcomes are essential. We want to focus on that and hope kids can be successful."
Grades will be assigned at the end of the semester. This will be based on the first two-thirds of the semester and work completed in the coming weeks.
Straub said assigning those grades will be important to establish GPAs for students who will be returning to school next school year.
However, Straub said he anticipated little graded homework would be assigned in the coming weeks.
Seniors have asked if their last day of classes will remain the same. Straub said probably, but staff has been working so hard on getting everyone back to learning, that detail has yet to be worked out.
The Kansas Department of Education has also suggested school districts, which require more than the state's required 21 credits for graduation, could lower those requirements to the state standard.
HHS requires 25 credits to graduate. Straub said HHS staff had not discussed changing that requirement. He said this would be a decision left up to the school board.
However, Straub said 99 percent of the district's currently enrolled seniors are on track for graduation.
Straub admitted what the learning plan may look like when it launches may be very different than what it looks like in a couple of weeks or in May.
"We need to make sure our kids are OK," Straub said. "These are emotional times for adults. I can't imagine how it is for kids."
Teachers take the lead
Teachers are trying to be flexible to meet the needs of students, Straub said.
Teachers have been very involved in the planning process for continuous learning. Hays High staff started working on plans to teach remotely two weeks ago when the NCAA first started talking about canceling its basketball tournament.
All teachers were able to give input on the plan, Straub said.
Straub admitted he is feeling stressed — as are HHS teachers. Some teachers are facing trying to teach and communicate online with as many as 150 students.
"We love our kids," he said. "We want to let them know how much we miss them and we hate that they are not in the building. We also know we are all in this boat together."
How to get your questions answered
Straub encouraged students and parents to contnue to ask questions about the new learning model. The school has posted a frequently asked questions page that is accessible through the HHS webpage.
Straub said the FAQ page will be continuously updated. You can email questions to [email protected].
Any child age 1 to 18 can pick up a lunch and breakfast from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at HHS (teacher’s parking lot), HMS (parking lot), or Lincoln Elementary (front of school). Choose any location any school day.
Internet access for families without
The district conducted a survey of families, which included questions about internet access. Straub said the survey indicated most families in the district have access to internet.
The technology department is working with local internet providers on low or no-cost options for families without the service.
According to the HHS FAQ page, there will be a plan that is yet to be announced in place for paraeducators to provide assistance for students and teachers. Teachers will continue to provide the accommodations as best they can to meet the needs of our students.
Picking up personal items at school
See information below about procedures for picking up personal items and class projects from the school. This will take place March 31.
A complete copy of the letter sent to families can be found below.
Date: March 24, 2020
Good Morning Hays High Students,
The purpose of today’s communication is to share details about your education for the remainder of the year. Your teachers, counselors, and administrators are working hard preparing.
- • HHS teaching and learning will begin on Wednesday, April 1, 2020. Pay daily attention to your email and Canvas for specific details from each of your teachers; they will use a variety of approaches to educate you. While your experience will vary from class to class, teaching and learning may be a combination of live and/or recorded virtual instruction and communication, project-based learning, physical activities, video sharing, reflective activities, packet completion, etc. We DO NOT want to stress you out, but we also want to be sure to complete your learning of essential outcomes. We will do our best, but we also realize it is not possible to accomplish everything with limited preparation time and direct access to you! We will have to cut back some of our curriculum. Trust us, we will do our best; please join us in doing the same.
- • Teacher Availability: All of our teachers, counselors, and administrators will be available, beginning April 1, 2020, from 8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Obviously, the best time to contact your teacher is during your scheduled class with him/her but remember, they will also be available at the end of the day from 1:45-3:00 p.m. Thank you, in advance, for your patience while you wait for replies to emails… remember, some of our teachers instruct over 150 students. If you worry that the teacher did not receive your question, please call HHS at 785-623-2600 and we’ll help you make contact.
- • How to contact your teacher: Contact your teacher through school email, phone calls to HHS, and during online (“live”) teaching sessions. Teachers will “be available”, virtually, from 8:30-3:00 p.m. More information from your teachers will follow when we begin instruction on April 1. Some teachers will use apps/programs like “Remind”, Zoom, Canvas Conferences, and YouTube to communicate. Be flexible and stay connected by paying attention!
- • Hays High Office Hours: Beginning Wednesday, April 1, office hours will be from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (623-2600).
- • Schedule/Structure: Beginning April 1, 2020 we will implement the schedule below. We know it can work because it avoids conflicts in your class schedules. Although the times are different, it is like our HHS “master schedule” this semester. The schedule will alternate Maroon/Gold days, just like normal. April 1 is a Maroon day.
- • Things to notice about this schedule: later start time, shorter classes, 65-minute lunch break (no classes are offered during this time), all teachers have “office hours” for the last 75 minutes of the school day so you can ask questions and get help outside of class time when you need it
- • Lunch: ALL STUDENTS (really, any child ages 1-18) can pick up a lunch & breakfast from 11:30-12:30 at HHS (teacher’s parking lot), HMS (parking lot), or Lincoln Elementary (front of school). Choose any location any school day. Come take advantage of this offering! We’re glad we can do this for you!
Below is the HHS Calendar for the remainder of the year. NOTE… we will share more detailed information regarding the end of the school year when it is finalized. When we know details about end-of-year check-in and other information, you will know.
• Access to our HHS building is not allowed at this time. I am sorry about this; we absolutely miss not having you around. • IMPORTANT: On Tuesday, March 31, 2020, we will have a “PICK-UP / DROP-OFF” day at HHS. You will not be allowed to enter the building, unfortunately, so we will use specific separate entrances for each item being picked up, to keep numbers of people in one area low. We will send a map identifying entrances being used for this day, prior to 3/31. THANK YOU IN ADVANCE WITH YOUR COOPERATION! * We hope to have information regarding homes needing Wi-Fi by this day also… we’re working on this. • REQUIRED Pick-up times to keep numbers of people low:
Stay connected with us through your email account and don’t hesitate to call if we can help you with anything.
We sincerely miss having YOU, OUR STUDENTS in our hallways and classrooms!
Hang in there, WE CAN DO THIS… Go Indians!
Sincerely and “All-In”! Your Hays High School Staff