Dear WMS Families,
What a week! I thank you for your support and very much appreciate the kind words many of you have shared. You don’t know how much they mean to my team. I am very proud of everyone’s—students, parents, staff—engagement with the first week of Full Virtual Learning. I know what works for some of you may not work for others. We will do the best we can to address the individual needs of all 850+ kids who attend WMS, and I know we are committed to getting better every week. Please let us know if we can help.
Questions, Needs, Concerns
A list of essential contacts can be found on page 3 of the Walkersville Middle School Student & Family Handbook: A Guide to Virtual Learning
Must Read & Sign: Recording of Google Meets
Teachers may record all or portions of classes on Google Meets to provide a resource for students who cannot attend live instruction and for students wishing to review content. Recordings will be posted on class Schoology pages. Please read this important information and sign.
FCPS Google Meet Recording Permission
Wednesday Schedule Change
To ensure that we are meeting the needs of all students, FCPS middle schools have adopted a stricter protocol for Wednesday. All students will be required to check-in with their teachers at the prescribed time. Teachers will then give directions for the day, which could entail a combination of any of the following: whole-class instruction, small-group instruction, and independent work. The Wednesday schedule is slightly different, with every class meeting for a shorter period of time, so please familiarize yourself with starting times:
Student Virtual Learning Schedule
As you know, students have one elective and PE that alternate meeting days during the same period. Therefore, we will alternate which class meets each week during that elective-PE/health period. Here is the schedule:
Wednesday, Sept 9: Monday/Tuesday classes (A Week)
Wednesday, Sept 16: Thursday/Friday classes (B Week)
Wednesday, Sept 23: Monday/Tuesday classes (A Week)
Wednesday, Sept 30: Thursday/Friday class (B Week)
& so on….
For example, a sixth-grade student has PE/health on Mondays during period 6. However, the same student has visual arts on Thursdays during period 6. Next Wednesday, Sept 9, the student will attend PE/health during period 6. During the week of Wednesday, Sept 16, the student will attend visual arts during period 6.
Again, every student has one elective class that meets during the same period as PE/health on alternating days. What I have just described, explains what to do for that period of student’s schedule only. We are explaining this to students today and again on Tuesday of next week.
Missing Assignments for Middle Schools
This summer FCPS middle schools adopted a common approach to addressing missing work. Since a grade of zero has a statistically greater impact on a student’s final grade than it should, schools will be using a new protocol. A grade of 50 will be entered into Schoology gradebooks by teachers for missing assignments. Students will have five days to turn in any missing work without penalty during Full Virtual Learning. To help families differentiate between a missing assignment and a low grade, the lowest grade a student may receive for a submitted assignment then is a 55. If you have any questions about your child’s grades, please contact the individual teacher. Remember, if you see a 50, the assignment was not turned in. If you see a 55 or higher, the student earned that particular grade.
At the beginning of every year, FCPS principals make an important announcement to students explaining the serious consequences for bringing a weapon, especially a gun, including look-alike toy guns, to school. I will hold off on making this announcement until the days when students return to school. However, I want to make clear that students should not be displaying any kind of weapon or toy weapon during virtual learning classes. I understand that some of our students participate in hunting outside of school, but they should not be displaying these weapons any time during class. Students who do may receive severe consequences. We are sharing this with students during next Wednesday’s advisory class.
Let me transition from that very serious announcement to again thank you for your patience and support. “I miss the kids…It’s not the same,” are common sentiments shared with me when I see teachers in person. Nonetheless, we are honored to serve the WMS community in virtual learning. I wish you all a wonderful Labor Day weekend.