COVID-19 Updates

Duchesne Academy is closely monitoring news about the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Nebraska. Our decisions will be guided by health experts, including the CDC and local health authorities.
 
Please continue to watch for ongoing information from the school, as this is an ever-evolving situation. Important information will be sent by e-mail, through the Burt Street News, posted here on the website, and through social media.

 
Seniors, senior parents, and staff:
 
Yesterday the administration met with 63 of our seniors to discuss their wishes for how we will end their year. The top desire came through loud and clear—to walk to Cathedral and graduate with each other. Mrs. Brudney reached out to Fr. Grewe immediately and we have secured a new graduation date of July 30, with graduation practice on July 27.
We will be sending a survey to the students to identify their top events for their end of the year celebrations and plan to recreate as much of that as possible for them in the day/s immediately preceding July 30. So please mark your calendar and join us in looking forward to a wonderful end to the school year.
 
God Bless you all!
The Administrative Team
Duchesne Students, Parents, and Staff:
 
We have received word from the Nebraska Department of Education and Governor Ricketts that schools will not be able to reconvene this year. We have much to mourn in the loss of our treasured ceremonies and celebrations of each other’s accomplishments, particularly our seniors who have worked so hard for four years.

The administration wants to assure everyone that though we cannot come together in person, we are working hard to create safe virtual ceremonies that will celebrate our community. Our events through April and May include:
Registrations for courses in the 2020-21 school year are due this Friday, April 3. Please send the signed form to your advisor. Let’s start planning for being in the classrooms together again!

Campus Ministry is offering a Palm Sunday retreat to deepen our Lenten preparation. The theme of the retreat is: “Apostolic Isolation: Echoes of the Apostles in the Upper Room.” We will be pondering our shared experience of social isolation as we look towards celebrating Holy Week in a new and unique way.

EASTER, the holiest day of our calendar is a day for worship and family. It will be a NO HOMEWORK holiday from Holy Thursday through Easter Monday. Our class schedule will not need to be altered. Mon, Tue and Wed April 6, 7, and 8 are normal schedules. No classes will meet Thur/Fri or Monday of Easter break, and a normal Tuesday-Friday schedule will follow April 14-17.

Senior Retreat will be a virtual event. Teachers, seniors will NOT be in classes on April 17; please keep the class in your prayers as they come together to celebrate their class and their journey through Duchesne.

Ring Ceremony will be delayed until May with more details to come. We want this to be a memorable and joy-filled event, but we also need to ensure everyone is completely safe. We will announce the details of our celebration of the seniors passing of leadership to our juniors soon.

Field Day will be a virtual event on April 24. No classes will be held this day, so the previous day, April 23 will be a MONDAY schedule. I am looking forward to enjoying a beautiful spring day with all of you!

May Crowning will be a virtual event on May 4. We will celebrate the qualities of Mary in our students.
Finals are cancelled, though a final essay may be assigned in place of the test. The last day for senior classes is May 4 with all work completed by May 8. The last day for all other classes is May 12 with all work completed by May 15.
Honors Day and Prize Day will be virtual events; dates and times will be announced in early May as we plan to celebrate the incredible accomplishments of our students this school year.

Graduation may also be a virtual event. Seniors, while we are not yet sure what the event will look like, please know that we delay only because we want to ensure that this is a beautiful and memorable event for you all.

As we enter these final days of our Lenten Journey, I know that we are all feeling the cross that Jesus bore. I hear from so many students and parents about the deep sadness you are feeling in the loss of our community. I pray that with Easter we too can rise above the loss and pain to be reborn in hope and a focus on all that is good in our life and in our world through the support and love of each other.
 
God Bless You All,
Dr. Hickman
I am bursting with pride for how well our faculty has transitioned to distance teaching, as well as the passion and creativity they are demonstrating. Each teacher cares deeply about the students and collectively they are doing a beautiful job of working together to help one another in this transition. Dr. Hickman has demonstrated incredible leadership and support to our faculty and is monitoring their work collectively. I am also amazed and delighted with our girls. We know this is so hard for them to be away from their friends, so it is great to witness ways they are building a virtual community.

As our days turn into weeks, there is a real need for all of us to take care of our mental health. We are all in this together. No one should feel alone or isolated. Please continue to reach out and let us know what you need, what you are experiencing at home. Our counselors are available for our students and Dr. Hickman and I are always available to listen to students and parents.

Thank you for being supportive, kind and loving during this time. We genuinely appreciate it. And please continue to have your daughters practice social distancing to do our part to “flatten the curve” so we can return to school!
 
Meg Brudney
Head of School
A message from Head of School, Meg Brudney
 
As this pandemic continues to grow, I have decided to physically close the school, effective, Monday (6 a.m.), March 23rd. This will give all of us time to gather what we need to work from home. Your fobs will not work starting Monday, March 23rd. As timing would have it, we have recently changed all of the external locks on the building. The #22 key for those who have one will no longer work for external entry. (The locks were changed as part of our safety and security plan. It was done over Spring break because the building was relatively empty.)

If you need to enter the building, please email or text Laura or me. One of us would be happy to meet you at the school or find someone who will.

The maintenance team will continue to work from 7:30 to 3:00 Monday through Friday. Please do not call them if you need to enter the building.
All school events are canceled until further notice.
Duchesne administration sent the following letter to our families:

Parents and Students,

This evening there was an announcement that Omaha Public and Omaha Catholic Schools will close for the next week, or more. Duchesne is thus announcing its closure and the beginning of online learning.

All events are canceled in the coming weeks, including:
 
  • All classes—information about online learning will be mailed separately;
  • Athletic practices and competitions;
  • All extra-curricular activities;
  • National Honor Society Induction (scheduled for March 25)
  • Quarter 3 Honors Assembly (scheduled for March 26)
  • 9th-grade Teacher Appreciation Event
 
However, the building will be open and staff will be available, including counselors. Anyone who is concerned about their own risk of exposure, anyone who feels sick, and anyone who may have been exposed please do not come to school.

Please watch for ongoing information from the school in the coming weeks. Important information will be sent by e-mail, through the Burt Street News, posted on the school web site and through social media.

We know that this event is going to cause extra stress for some families. The Duchesne community remains committed to supporting each other during these difficult days.

Laura Hickman, Ed.D.
Students and Parents:
 
We will have a late start on Thursday and Friday, March 19 and 20 to allow time for teachers to train on software that may be needed in the event of a school closing
 
Double Block Schedule Late Start
10:00-10:10 Advisory Group Homeroom
10:14-11:19 Block 1/2
11:23-12:28 Block 3/4
12:28-12:58 Lunch
1:02-2:07 Block 5/6
2:11-3:16 Block 7/8
 
(NOTE: Club meetings are thus cancelled on Thursday)
At this time we have no further plans other than the normal precautions, which will be reviewed with students Monday morning:
  • Wash hands frequently and well
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Stay home if you are ill
  • Keep surfaces sanitized
 
The administration team is following all the updated information through the Department of Education and the Superintendent Office and are in regular communication with both. They, in turn, are in regular contact with local health agencies. We will continue to follow their advice and keep you updated to any changes.

We are planning for the worst and praying for the best in the coming days, weeks and months. Please join us in prayer for the health of all in our community.
Staff is using strong disinfectants to ensure the building is clean and ready for students.

Duchesne Academy and Preschool maintenance staff and school administrators are working to ensure the building is as clean as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Duchesne staff and our nightly cleaning crew regularly check with the Centers for Disease Control and follow recommended guidelines for disinfecting surfaces. They are paying extra attention to surfaces students and staff touch often such as desks, doors, doorknobs, handrails, lockers, and all restroom fixtures. The extra emphasis began before students left for spring break. The school uses a strong, Clorox-based disinfectant.

At this time the school has not been informed of any student, staff, or faculty member diagnosed with COVID-19 or who has been asked to self-quarantine.

In the event the school must close due to virus exposure, staff will thoroughly sanitize each surface to ensure the building is safe for students.

In addition to daily cleaning procedures, faculty and staff have received aerosol disinfectant to use as they believe is appropriate in their classrooms and offices.
  • We held the National Honor Society Induction Ceremony online. You can read the list of inductees and watch the video here.
  • The Third Quarter Honors Assembly was live-streamed on Facebook. You can read the honor roll list and watch the Facebook Live video here.
  • Senior Retreat will be a virtual event. Teachers, seniors will NOT be in classes on April 17; please keep the class in your prayers as they come together to celebrate their class and their journey through Duchesne.
  • Ring Ceremony will be delayed with more details to come. We want this to be a memorable and joy-filled event, but we also need to ensure everyone is completely safe. We will announce the details of our celebration of the seniors passing of leadership to our juniors soon.
  • Field Day will be a virtual event on April 24. No classes will be held this day, so the previous day, April 23 will be a MONDAY schedule. I am looking forward to enjoying a beautiful spring day with all of you!
  • May Crowning will be a virtual event on May 4. We will celebrate the qualities of Mary in our students.
  • Finals are canceled, though a final essay may be assigned in place of the test. The last day for senior classes is May 4 with all work completed by May 8. The last day for all other classes is May 12 with all work completed by May 15.
  • Honors Day and Prize Day will be virtual events; dates and times will be announced in early May as we plan to celebrate the incredible accomplishments of our students this school year.
  • Graduation will be July 30, with graduation practice on July 27.
 
Event Cancellations:
  • Senior/Mother Alumnae Induction
  • Spring Program
1. SCHOOL IS OPEN. INCREASED ABSENCES.
2. SCHOOL IS OPEN. SIGNIFICANT & PROLONGED ABSENCES.
3. PHYSICAL SCHOOL IS CLOSED. CLASSES ARE HELD ONLINE.
 
INTRODUCTION: COURAGE & CONFIDENCE
As a Sacred Heart community, our concern is always for the well-being of all our students and employees. Sometimes, this means exploring alternative instructional delivery methods. This document does not address employment issues. Instead, it addresses how we can best prepare ourselves for prolonged absences and/or school closures.
 
As you read through this document, you will see an escalation in our instructional protocols for how we, as a caring and creative community of educators, might support students’ well-being and academic progress when the conditions for teaching and learning aren’t ideal or like anything we’ve experienced before.
 
In the coming pages, we discuss some of the implications for potential significant, though temporary, adaptations in your teaching practices. We want to begin by acknowledging that we all function differently when it comes to taking in a lot of information at once, especially in times of uncertainty. For some of us, the amount of information shared in this document, as well as the conditions of uncertainty, may cause anxiety, concern, frustration, or agitation. For others of us, having all the available information actually helps us begin to feel more comfortable about planning for the possibilities.
There are many resources available to support you. Of course, if you are unwell or unable to teach your class, the first priority is for you to take good care of yourself, rest up, and get better. Your department colleagues are incredible resources; these brilliant educators can help lighten the load when we’re all lifting together. Your department head and team of administrators are ready to partner with you. The tech department is always available to help you with any instructional technology needs you may have. And, School Counseling is here for all members of the Duchesne community, including adults.
 
Courage and Confidence, colleagues. We can do this if we do it together.

THE “LEVEL I” SCENARIO & WHAT WE’RE SOLVING FOR
School is open and there are increased absences. Students and adults are absent more frequently and in greater numbers. There may be some students here and there who have temporary medical accommodations for attendance in place.
The challenge we’re solving for is this: How do we keep learning on track for absent students without overloading teachers with a flurry of individual emails and requests for re-teaching? How might we instead create a system for communicating daily work, keeping the learning moving forward, and supporting students who are trying to get back on track after an absence?
 
FIVE PLANNING & COMMUNICATION PRACTICES TO START NOW
The practices listed below are quick and easy ways to help absent students access their curriculum while they are home. Though each requires a little time upfront, they will make your teaching life easier in the long run, allowing you to get ahead of the steady drip of emails asking, “what did we do in class today?” Or worse, “did you do anything while I was gone?”
 
1. Post daily updates to Canvas, including: the agenda of what you did in class; links to resources, notes, slide decks, and copies distributed to students who were present; expectations for homework.
 
2. Set up the buddy system with your students. Ensure that everyone in class has the phone number of at least two classmates. Remind students to bring their devices (iPad or laptop).
 
3. Set expectations with students so they know what to do when they are absent. Remind them to check Canvas each day, and to connect with their buddy to call/video conference into class if they are well enough to do so and it is appropriate for your class.
 
4. Remind students to stay home when they are sick, and reassure them that you will support them in keeping up with their work, to include allowing them to attend remotely if appropriate.
 
5. Start recording your lectures/lessons when possible and posting to Canvas as part of your daily update. You can, quite easily, record your screen during an in-class lecture and capture your audio narration while you teach. Or, if you anticipate that you will be absent, you can pre-record a lesson for students to watch with the sub. Canvas Studio offers easy recording options for lessons.
 
BUILD YOUR REPERTOIRE: ESSENTIAL DOWNLOADS AND TRAINING
 
Download and set up Zoom (required)
Classroom teachers in English, Fine Arts, Math/CS, Religious Studies, Science, Social Science, and World Languages, and Administrators, will have paid accounts with site licenses, allowing for unlimited video-conferencing minutes with up to 100 participants and the ability to record your meeting. You will receive a Zoom Account Invitation via email. Follow the instructions in the email. These are a Basic account so you will need to request the 40 minute time limit be waived; Jason has requested this for all users with a @duchesneacademy.org email.

Test Drive Zoom in Departments
Practice the five essential skills listed below with at least one other person in Zoom. For tutorials on how to do each of these tasks, please refer to
1. Joining a meeting
2. Scheduling a meeting
3. Sharing your screen
4. Troubleshooting audio
5. Setting chat/mute parameters for participants
6. Recording the meeting
7. Breakout rooms
 
Access Canvas Studio
Training is available on Canvas: How do I use Canvas Studio
 
Other recording options include QuickTime.
 
THE LEVEL 2 SCENARIO
School is open, but with significant and prolonged absences. The question here is how do we ensure instructional continuity in a hybrid model where some community members are physically present, some are virtually present, and others are absent? In Level 2, we are trying to find creative ways to support families with mitigating health circumstances who are more vulnerable and may need to stay home, those who may be quarantined but otherwise able to participate in school, and those who are recovering from illness and want to get back on track. This means finding new ways to support each other.
 
TEACHING DURING A LEVEL 2 EVENT
Teaching during Level 2 is going to require both planning and flexibility. It is likely going to be the toughest of the different teaching scenarios. You have to plan for students whom you may not see face-to-face and students who will be in your class physically. The best way to think of it is like you are teaching in a blended or hybrid classroom. You will need to plan your lessons so that those students at home can move forward with the rest of the class without being physically in the class. Even if the students FaceTime or Zoom in, it is not the same as being there. Frankly, Zooming or FaceTiming into a running classroom is often difficult to follow, the sound quality of discussions is poor, and you miss a bunch that is going on in the room. Still, it does provide some degree of community and allows the student to still feel, at least partially, a part of the class. So how do you do this? What follows are some strategies for making a hybrid model as successful as possible.
 
A More Thorough Update in Canvas. Similar to Level 1, you need to post daily updates in Canvas. At Level 2, you need to expand these updates. They need to explain everything you did in class, not just an overview. Think of it as more of a “This is what you should have learned today,” rather than a list of “This is what I taught/we did today.”
 
Recording is Your Friend. Try to record your lectures and reviews whenever possible and post the link to Canvas. You can do this real-time in your class, afterwards, or as a dry-run while you prep for class. This practice will save you from having to try to catch individual students up later. Recording work well for many purposes, not just a lecture or tutorial. Consider capturing your feedback to student work, or to a model or sample (i.e. art project or lab). For labs, consider having the students in class run the lab and partner with a student at home to help do the analysis and write up via a shared doc.
Preload Resources. We use a wide range of resources in all our classes. Preload handouts, instructional materials, guided notes, links, etc. into Schoology before class begins. That way, if a student is attending remotely, he or she will have access to the materials you are distributing in person. Don’t forget about the white board. If you use the board extensively in your lessons, take a picture at the end of the period and post it. If you have a physical copy that doesn’t yet exist in electronic form, you can take a picture of it (using your iPad or phone), or create a PDF using the scanners in the building. Again, this is more work upfront, but the resources can be used by both groups of students.
 
Assessments. Assessments with online students and on-ground students will require some careful planning. It may be that students learning remotely cannot take the same assessments as those in school. Traditional assessments can put remote students in a tricky position where a quick Google search makes cheating both easy and tempting. It’s our job to create a learning environment that sets students up for success rather than for a moral dilemma. You can always create two different types of assessments. You can create collaborative tests using shared docs, individually assign assessments in Canvas, build tests in Canvas (with randomized test questions, one take only, and limited time windows for taking). If you set limited time windows, remember that accommodations still apply. Students with learning plans will need online accommodations just as much as they need on-ground accommodations. You may also choose to give everyone an alternative type of assessment for this period of time (long-term project-based learning, for example).
 
Check-in points. Figure out how you are going to check in with your virtual
students. On-ground, this is easy. We physically see them. How can you do this virtually? Do you want to do an update in Canvas with a quick thumbs up for those who have seen it? Do you want students to email you? Could you make a “water cooler” discussion board for students to post questions and issues they are having? Encourage classmates to respond, too. The goal with these checkpoints is both to ensure students are following along and to share the responsibility of building and caring for the learning community with the rest of the class. It is essential that you check in with the remote students at least twice a week to see how they are doing and so that they do not fall through the cracks. If students are slipping behind, please notify the counselor, who will follow up with the family and loop in the appropriate administrator if necessary.
 
Flexibility. As teachers, we know how to adapt. As you begin to think about the possibility of remote learning, either for some or all of your students, start thinking of what is most essential for student learning. Some of your existing expectations and policies may not serve students in this unique moment. Please approach late and makeup work with some flexibility while students and/or faculty are asked to stay home. Teachers should work with the student and the counseling office to devise a plan for student work and recovery. Also, though all of our families have access to the Internet and computers, it may not be constant and there may be expectations that students share computers with family members. We will need to work with each student, trusting that they, too, are doing the best they can.

SUPPORTING ABSENT STUDENTS: VIRTUAL ATTENDANCE
If a significant number of students are absent for a prolonged period of time, we will use a flexible attendance plan. If students cannot physically be on campus but are able to attend virtually, they can join their classes remotely to keep up with their studies. The school will activate an additional attendance code allowing teachers to mark students remotely present. Students who are ill and unable to virtually attend should focus on getting better. They will be marked absent in Infinite Campus so you are aware of their inability to participate in learning.
 
Keep Posting Daily Updates to Canvas, including: the agenda of what you did in class; links to resources, notes, slide decks, and copies distributed to students who were present; expectations for homework; screencasts of lessons and lectures whenever possible.
 
Enlist Students: Set up a buddy system to ensure every student has at least two other classmates they can call to attend class virtually. Remind students that they can (and should) still attend class if they are able.
 
Attend with Audio: If students already have copies of shared resources (or can retrieve them from Canvas), students can simply call into class. Ask students to exchange phone numbers with their buddies and have the in-class buddy call when the period begins.

Attend with Video: Students are very adept at video conferencing. Using the buddy system, students can set up FaceTime (most popular), Google Hangouts, or Zoom calls to attend virtually. Please make sure the on-campus student is on our school WiFi to avoid being charged for data.
 
Teacher Hosted Virtual Classroom: Teachers may choose to set up a virtual classroom so that many students can join. Create a meeting in Zoom and post the link or meeting code to Canvas.
 
Loop In The Counselors: School counselors are the “point people” to make sure teachers are aware if a student is on an extended absence when families notify the school. If a student or parent communicates directly with any member of the school community that they will be attending virtually, that faculty/staff member is requested to let the registrar and counselors know as soon as possible.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR DEPARTMENTS
 
Departments
• What’s the baseline that students need to know, understand, and be able to do for us to be confident that they have met our learning objectives?
• What assessments are coming up? Will these work for students at home and students in class? How might we tweak these to work for both?
• What major assignments are coming up? Will these work for students at home and students in class? Will students at home face a moral dilemma around academic honesty? If yes, plan something different.
• What is the most essential work remaining in this unit? This semester?
• What practices, assignments, and assessments can we streamline or prune altogether? Is there anything we can make optional/extension work?
• What lessons can we collaborate to build together? How might we divide the instructional load and share what we create?
• What constitutes “present” for this course in a given week? What will remote students need to do to “attend” while classes run on campus? How will we communicate our expectations to students?
 
Administrators, Counselors
• How are we communicating with teachers about students with prolonged absences?
• Which administrators will support which departments? How frequently will we check in with department heads? Department members? Are there members of our community whose work has been significantly reduced who might be available to support teachers whose work may be overwhelming right now?
• How will we regularly collect/solicit information from teachers about the progress of students, and any students of concern? How will we communicate our plan to teachers and coaches? Who will take point to connect with families if a student is “remote” but isn't keeping up with his/her studies?
• What are the current pastoral needs of our community, especially those at home? Who is checking in and connecting with these community members?
 
THE “LEVEL 3” SCENARIO
Campus is closed; classes are held online. The essential question here is, How do we support student well-being and academic development in the midst of a major disruption to our daily operations for an extended period of time? How do we continue to foster student learning without being able to meet our students in person?
 
ANTICIPATED CHALLENGES IN SHIFTING ONLINE
When traditionally on-ground schools move unexpectedly to fully online learning, there are some anticipated challenges. Fortunately, we aren’t the first school to think through this move.
 
Schedule. We will follow a prayer schedule week: M#1; T#2; W #3; Th #4; F #3. This will help build predictability and keep us all on a schedule.
 
Attendance. How will you take attendance? What constitutes “present”?
 
Community. How will you support kids’ needs to socialize and connect? Opportunities for peer-to-peer connection will be especially important.
 
Clarity. For kid's sake, clearly put all assignments in one place (LMS), explain objectives and expectations up front, and meter the workload. Interestingly, at the Taipei American School, teachers who don’t customarily give regular homework in this way (Fine Arts & PE) tended to overload.

Administrators. Train administrators how to walk the halls of a digital school and provide some measure of accountability and support for students and staff. Decide what the school will record and who will have access.
 
Assessment. Have a game plan for assessments (Formative only? Allow summative? What happens to AP courses?).
Screen time. Think creatively about what students are doing/working on so they aren’t glued to a screen for 8 hours each day.
 
Set Expectations. Clarify expectations for students/families, including attendance, participation, work load, communication if absent, etc.
 
Tech Check. Clarify expectations for home technology requirements. Let the tech team and administration know if there are students unable to participate in learning due to limitations to home connectivity.
 
Transition. What's your transition back plan? Pastoral needs can be high.
 
KEY TERMINOLOGY FOR ONLINE LEARNING
Though much of teaching and learning online is the same as in the shared physical classroom, there are a few key terms that will help you navigate the shift.
 
Asynchronous: Class interactions happen via Learning Management System (Canvas) without real-time interaction. Students engage in class materials and complete work at their own pace, typically within a given timeframe, often using discussion boards to drive peer-to-peer engagement. If you’re comfortable using Canvas, you are already totally capable of running your classes fully online.
 
Synchronous: Class interactions happen in real-time, at the same time. Students may virtually attend class together via video conference, livestream, or chat. We have Zoom for synchronous meetings. Most online courses are a blend of synchronous contact and asynchronous study/work. In describing their experience of shifting school completely online, Colleagues at the Concordia International School in Shanghai explained that asynchronous instruction worked best for deep learning, whereas synchronous instruction was essential for maintaining relationships.
 
Studio/QuickTime: A digital video recording of your computer screen, usually including audio narration.
 
Video Conference: A virtual meeting in which participants in different locations are able to communicate with each other with audio and video. We will use Zoom for this function.
 
TEACHING DURING A LEVEL 3 EVENT
At Level 3, all students will be learning remotely. Faculty and staff may also be working remotely, but could work from school unless there is a campus closure. This determination is made by the administration of the school. If the school is closed, but the campus is open, teachers might be able to collaborate in real-time at school. At some schools, we have seen departments collaborate face-to-face in homes. If there is a quarantine or it isn’t safe to gather, departments can gather virtually using Zoom. Either way, it is expected that teachers will gather at key points as a department and even as a whole faculty. We will need this time to stay in touch, support each other, and plan.
 
At this level, the way we teach fundamentally changes. You need to think about teaching in chunks. It is very hard to post work everyday for all your classes. Instead, you want to make some decisions. Do you want to post everything for a week-long chunk? Do you want to post a 2-week unit? How are you going to scaffold the work for students? How often are you going to commit to do updates and post resources? Remember that students will probably meet with you virtually one time in a week. Other than that, you will use other tools to communicate with them. Because of this, you need to rethink how you will lay out your course. Remember your students are not just taking your course, but trying to keep up with all courses. Although they do that now, doing this totally online will be different and take some practice. The shift may be particularly challenging for students with executive function learning differences. You will not be able to “read the room” to gauge their understanding, so you need to figure out ways to check-in on every student individually. It is super easy to fall behind virtually and hide in the back of the virtual room. You’ll need to double-down on checking for understanding and touch points.
 
Thorough Update in Canvas. With every step away from the physical classroom and into the virtual one, updates in Canvas need to be more comprehensive and detailed. You’ll need to give context for the week’s worth of work, including your objectives (in student-facing language), expectations for learning, a preview of the assignments, and where to find the resources, assignments, and assessments. Think: Lesson Planning 101. Start with the end in mind: what do my students need to know and how will I know they learned this? If you do one big post with everything in it, you will help students plan out their week. If the unit spans several weeks, you will still need weekly updates with assignment checkpoints to ensure they are progressing and not waiting until the very end.
 
Record Your Update. Once you set up your Canvas update with the overview of the week, we recommend that you record yourself walking students through your post, just as you would in class. This is your chance to tell them verbally what they will be doing that week/unit and what your expectations are. This practice is especially important if students are working for multiple weeks on one project or one unit. They need to know where they are headed in their learning, not just what is due right now. Post the recording in your Canvas update. You may want to record or post a sample final project or a model of student work so students know what to expect. Importantly, as a school where fostering relationships with students is core to our pedagogy, a recording with your voice will help make a switch to online learning feel less impersonal and more relational.
 
Preload & Vary Your Resources. Just as you did in Level 2, preload all your resources and point to them in your weekly post. Consider the types of resources you expect students to access. Our library databases are mostly available off campus, but it’s worth double-checking. It’s good practice to add PDFs of readings and to vary the type of media (ie: recordings, TED talks, video tutorials, etc.) to make up for you not being in front of them.
 
Assessments. As we noted in Level 2, assessments with online students require careful planning. Traditional assessments can put remote students in a tricky position where a quick Google search makes cheating both easy and tempting. It’s our job to create a learning environment that sets students up for success rather than for a moral dilemma. This is a good time to consider other types of assessment. If a traditional test is out, how else can you evaluate what students understand? How else can you assess the development of a key skill? Project-based learning, with multiple checkpoints along the way, is a great fit for remote learning.
 
Check-in points. You need to make sure you are checking in with students twice each week. You will want to make sure you do this before posting your attendance on Wednesday and Friday. Attending virtual classes, posting to discussion boards, email, submitting assignments, etc., all constitute check-ins. The point is that you want to know students are working and not falling behind. If they are not checking in, we want to catch them early. Consider creating a “water cooler” discussion board for students to post questions and write about issues they are having. You can call it “Questions, Concerns, Comments” as an example. An open forum like this will allow not just you, but classmates to respond as well.
 
Late Assignments. Holding students accountable will be very important when we don’t see them every day. It will be very easy to fall behind quickly unless we help students stay on track. We want to be helpful and supportive, but don’t let a student dig a deep hole.
 
Flexibility. This is the time to adjust your curriculum to fit into a virtual school world. What is your comfort level? How will you use the synchronous and asynchronous tools? Make your plans, lay out your course, take a deep breath, and be flexible. If something doesn’t work, just like in your classroom teaching, adjust and go back or move on. Remember to reach out to your colleagues and tech team for support. We can do this...together.

EXPECTATIONS FOR CLASSROOM TEACHERS
Communication. Teachers are expected to be in their courses on Canvas every school day. Post all instructions, assignments, and learning materials to Canvas. Each week, post an update with an overview of the learning objectives and expectations. It pays dividends to be overly-clear; we don’t have the benefit of reading the room and clarifying on the fly. Please answer email within 24 hours and allow 24 hours between posting and expecting work from students.
 
Work Load. Aim for 3-4 hours of class work per week maximum, including: time for reading/watching/listening, engaging with peers via discussion boards and docs, attending class virtually via zoom, assignments/learning tasks, etc. Advanced Placement courses may assign additional work or practice tests as needed. Given the dramatic shift in teaching and learning, students, families, and counselors will rely on the grade book to track progress. Please post and grade two assignments per week (it’s up to you how big or small these are), spread out over the week. We'd like to avoid students feeling slammed on Fridays. In order to help students plan their week and schedule their time, please strive to post all work for the week by 4pm on Monday. At a minimum, you must give 24 hours notice for all work due, with the exception of any work completed during your designated class period. When assigning timed work within your class period, please be sure to respect extended time for students with accommodations. Assignments may not be due during other class periods nor any later than 10pm.

Attendance. Please maintain constant knowledge of who is "present and participating" and alert Mrs. Pavel if any student does not show up for class. There are many ways for you to sync with students to ensure they are following along with their studies. You could ask students to join a virtual class on Zoom, reply to a discussion board post on Canvas, collaborate on a shared doc, submit an assignment, or simply respond to an email. Regardless of the method you choose to make sure students are out there in the ether, the expectation is that you hear from each student during your designated class period and alert the office to their absence if the student is not already marked out in Infinite Campus.
 
Office Hours. Plan on being available to answer student questions for the duration of Office Hours. You may choose to host office hours via email, 1:1 zoom meetings, small group zoom meetings (by opening up a meeting and posting the code on Canvas), -- or any combination of these methods. Please post an update on Canvas explaining to students where they can reach you and/or how they can schedule time with you during Office Hours.

BEST PRACTICES FOR ONLINE TEACHING & LEARNING
The flow of online learning is unique. In any given week, we recommend each course accomplish three tasks: preview, prepare, and engage in learning.
 
 

Teacher Posts… 

Using These Tools… 

Preview

Canvas Update:

·       Overview of the lesson

·       Objectives & connections to prior lessons/learning

·       Quick Attendance Check (to ensure students are present and following along)

·       Post an update in Canvas

·       Record using Studio or QuickTime

Prepare

Canvas Assignment:

·       Course readings (textbook, novel, packets), digital texts, podcasts, video content, recorded lecture, recorded lesson, etc . 

·  Create/Post content: upload audio, video, screencast, text, links to docs, images...

·  Access existing curated content from school library or online

Engage

Canvas Assignment: 

·       Reflective writing, journaling, guided note-taking

·       Discussion boards, assignment submission, post/share/ respond to audio, video, images, media

·       Writing, collaborating, peer editing shared docs

·       Virtual labs/simulations; home labs/observations

·       Remote synchronous class

·       Practice problems

·       Research, writing, projects

·       Online assessments (AP)

·       Quiz, formative assessment

·       Summative assessment

Asynchronous Tools

 

Synchronous Tools

 
TEN TIPS FOR RUNNING A SYNCHRONOUS CLASS
A synchronous class can take many forms, and a video conference is certainly not the only way. Below are a few tried-and-tested suggestions to get you started if you do choose to get your class together on Zoom.
 
1. Determine the length of your class. Holding attention online for over an hour is difficult. Consider this ahead of time.
2. Login ahead of students and greet them when they enter “class.”
3. Set up Chat parameters. We recommend allowing public chatting only. We do not recommend allowing students to chat privately. Use the private chat feature as the instructor to catch up late students, nudge students who are not jumping in, ask everyone to respond to a question like you might in class to get a heat check of student understanding.
4. Call roll to bring the class to order. You can ask them to say here, type here in chat, or take a screenshot of your participants list. You will need attendance records for later, so make sure you do this upfront.
5. Once class begins, either change your settings to mute students on entry, or, work with your class to establish some shared Zoom norms, such as: mute your mic when not speaking, say your name before you participate (sometimes it’s hard to tell who is speaking).
6. Remind students that the same tech rules apply to a virtual classroom as to the physical classroom. No taking or posting images/video of classmates and instructors to the web or to Social Media without permission. Students have the ability to screenshot and screencast.
7. Begin your instruction by sharing your screen and toggling over to your Canvas class. Show the update that you posted for the class; this should have the outline of the work for the week. Walk students through the update, pointing out where the resources and assignments for that week are located.
8. Preview your objectives for the virtual class and any expectations you have of them during the call (notes, participation, response online after class, etc.)
9. Start your presentation, discussion, lesson, etc. Enjoy, for a brief moment, the luxury of teaching in a dress shirt and pajama pants.
10. About five minutes before ending class, go back to your Canvas page and remind students about the upcoming work for the week. This may seem overly-redundant. Just remember: this will be a monumental shift for students and they will need all the clarity and support they can get.
 
RUBRICS AND RESOURCES FOR DISCUSSION BOARDS
Discussion boards are excellent ways of fostering peer-to-peer learning. The optional rubrics and resources below are simply meant to make your life easier. You are not required to use them. You absolutely may edit, adapt, or build on them.
 
Setting Clear Expectations
When online is the only option for students to share their ideas and questions with one another, it’s important to set clear expectations for posting. Here’s an example: “Please post your first response by 10PM on Tuesday night. The post must be at least 250 words in length and reference the readings. Be sure to use MLA format for your citations. You must respond to three of your classmates by Friday 10 p.m.. Follow-up posts must be substantive (at least 100 words) and move the discussion forward. Simply saying, “I agree”, etc. will not earn credit.”
 
Resource: Discussion Board DOs and DON’Ts for Students

Do think before you post. Complete the reading or preparation work before you write.

Do post your response early to give your classmates more time to reply. Check back later to see what comments have been added. 

Do explain your opinion and use examples to help others understand your points.

Do post something that furthers the discussion and shows depth of thought. The best part of a discussion board is that you get lots of think time before you post. Use it.

Do reply to several of your classmates’ posts, adding examples or asking questions.

Do remember that it is harder to tell when something is a joke online. Use humor 

sparingly. 

Don’t agree with everything you read. It makes for a really boring conversation. Politely disagree when you have a difference of opinion.

Don’t reply to the same people each time. Try to bring in other voices.

Don’t get personal. Focus your criticism on ideas and arguments, not on your classmates.

Don’t bring the outside in. No inside jokes, references to people who aren’t in the conversation, or comments you wouldn’t say face-to-face

 
Top Ten Discussion Board DOs and DON’Ts for Students. From Power Up: Making the Shift to 1:1 Teaching and Learning (Neebe & Roberts, 2015). Reprinted with permission.
 
Tips for Discussion Board Prompts
Discussion board prompts are just like the prompts you use to start discussions in your class. You just need to adjust them a bit since you will not all be in the same room answering these orally. If you need a bit of assistance with this, here are some things to consider:

• Think about the learning you want students to gain from the discussion.
• What do you want to see in the responses? Convergent ideas (how, what, why), Divergent ideas (predict, if...then), Evaluative ideas (opinion, defend, what if)?
• Since you want to avoid yes and no responses, how might you frame the question in such a way that students have to think before posting and not just answer off the top of their heads?
• Remember, just like in a face-to-face class, sometimes questions just flop. Don’t give up; just adjust. Feel free to post a response that clarifies what you are looking for, gives more instruction, or poses a completely new question.
• Once you launch a discussion board, monitor it as you would in a face-to-face class. Avoid jumping in too soon or over-responding. You don’t have to respond to every post. Remember you set it up to where they have to respond to their classmates. Allow the exchanges to take place.
• When responding, be sure to model how you want students to respond. Consider including links to support your statements, quotes (cite them), restating a portion of the post you are responding to, and using the name of the student(s) to whom you are responding.
 
The discussion board platform is also a great place for providing global feedback to students, just as you would in class if you were using a student sample to retool thesis statements or craft a stronger hypothesis. Just because we’re learning online doesn’t mean students have to learn in isolation. We can still insist on an environment in which mistakes are expected and growth happens in community. Ask students to post a draft of their project check-point. Tell them you will give feedback directly on the discussion board (and that students will receive their grade privately). This will likely feel very awkward at first. We often aren't used to learning and stumbling with an audience. It can be a very vulnerable feeling. Remind students that we learn more deeply when we learn in community. They’ll be surprised how much they grow by seeing the insights of classmates and the feedback to their challenges, which may someday be their challenges, too. Early replies from you to a few students will be seen by, and shape, the responses of other students.
 
Rubric: Grading Discussion Board Posts
Recall that you can add a rubric to any Canvas assignment and click the boxes to score student work. Here’s a sample that you could use or adapt.

 

 

5

4.5

4

3

Critical Thinking

Response clearly addresses all elements of the prompt. Exhibits attention to detail and mastery of the topic. Student evaluates and synthesizes course concepts, theories, or materials appropriately, using effective examples and supporting evidence. 

Response addresses the prompt and demonstrates a clear understanding of the topic. Student applies and analyzes relevant course concepts, theories or materials, using examples or evidence for support. 

Response addresses some elements of the prompt. Student summarizes course concepts, theories, or materials. Post may reveal some gaps in understand- ing or familiarity with content. 

Response does not adequately address the prompt. Student relies on statements that are unsupported by course concepts, theories, or materials. Post demonstrates misunderstanding of content and/or a lack of sincere effort. 

Engage-ment

Thought Leader. 

Asks good questions for classmates to consider. Responds to multiple peers in a manner that advances the discussion. Draws connections between comments. Takes risks in developing new ideas. 

Engaged Participant.

Asks thoughtful, open- ended questions. Builds off of previous comments in the discussion board. Responds directly to peers in a manner that adds meaning to the discussion.  

Skimming the Surface. 

May ask clarifying or perfunctory questions. Responds to peers in a manner that demonstrates superficial engage- ment with their ideas. 

“Post and Go” 

Student does not make meaningful contributions to the discussion community. Does not respond to peers, even when prompted to do so. May disrupts the community with discourteous behavior.

Style & Format

Meets or exceeds required word count. Post(s) are practically perfect grammatically. Student consistently provides academic citations for ideas not his/her own. 

Meets or nearly meets required word count. Post(s) may include a few errors that are minor enough that they do not distract the reader. Student references sources for ideas, but may do so inconsistently. 

Meets at least 80% of the required word count. Post may include errors that distract the reader but do not detract from the argument. Student does not provide citations for sources.

Falls significantly short of the required word count. And/Or post 

contains multiple flaws that seriously confuse the reader. Student does not engage sources, and thus, none are cited. 

 Adapted from the University of San Francisco Educational Technology Master’s Program scoring guides and the Phillips Exeter Academy Harkness Discussion rubric.
 
EXPECTATIONS FOR COUNSELORS, COLLEGE COUNSELORS, & ASC
ASC, Counselors, and College Counselors will be available during Office Hours and during the to meet/work with students. They will continue providing services to their caseloads, primarily in a one-on-one format, throughout the course of each work day. Both ASC and Counseling staff will be available to help support students who are absent/cannot participate, and may choose to lead small groups online for study sessions, tutorials, or personal support. Counselors will work with the Administration, including the Dean’s Office, to communicate with families about attendance/participation concerns and support students in getting back on track.
 
EXPECTATIONS FOR MODERATORS OF ACTIVITIES & CLUBS
Faculty moderators will discern, in dialogue with student leaders, how it makes most sense for an activity, club, or other community group to continue its work in the event of a closed campus. In some cases, it may not make sense for an activity, club, or other group to continue to engage in the context of a closed campus. If a faculty moderator determines this is the case, they should communicate their decision and rationale to group members.
 
EXPECTATIONS FOR LIBRARIANS
The library at Duchesne is an exceptional resources as you plan and design your courses. Mrs. Doyle be available to students and faculty during normal school hours. Teachers may want to reach out to see how they can access library resources to support the program via databases and other materials in their lessons.
 
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM ADMINISTRATORS
The Principal will send a weekly communication to students and parents via email with updates, announcements, and a reminder that school is still in session.

Faculty and Staff can expect Wednesday faculty meetings (full Faculty/Staff, Department Heads, and/or individual departments) during the regularly scheduled period. Agendas and a link to the Zoom meeting will be sent to all attendees. Additionally, administrators will each take one or two departments to support. They will “walk the virtual halls” by checking Canvas and joining classes via Zoom when possible. Administration and administrative staff will monitor student absences so teachers can plan and teach. This means that while teachers will take attendance twice each week, administration will follow up as to why the student has not attended.
 
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM TECH
In the event of a school closure, the tech department may still be working from campus or remotely. The tech department will be monitoring email during normal school hours. Please include a phone number so that we can contact you quickly. All effort will be made to quickly contact you to resolve the issue.
 
CONTINGENCY PLANS IF YOU’RE SICK AND CAN’T FACILITATE CLASS/OH
If you are unable to facilitate your class, please communicate with Eric as soon as possible. If a team member needs to temporarily take over your course, please contact tech support, and they will add the teacher to your course. If you require additional support, please contact the business office for HR information. Remember, we are all in this together. We are all going to have to step in to help our colleagues through this.

QUICK LINKS TO TUTORIALS FOR TECH TOOLS
If you don’t find an answer to the exact question you have, a great first step is to search for the software/program name + function + tutorial (such as “Zoom record meeting tutorial”). And of course, you can email the tech team with questions.
A message from Preschool Director, Sara Wachter and Head of School, Meg Brudney to parents:
 
 
A message from Preschool Director, Sara Wachter to students:
 
 
  • Foresight, collaboration enable smooth online learning transition - While students celebrated surprise Congé Principal Laura Hickman was encouraging teachers to be ready for the worst: a closure due to COVID-19. Duchesne teachers and students have made the unprecedented transition to online classes; working together to continue learning and showing love in difficult times. 
    Read article here »

  • Archives reveal Duchesne life during 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic - Archivist Margo Bieker, A71, uncovered House Journal entries from 1918 which shed light on how Duchesne operated during the flu pandemic.  
    Read article here »
As stated by the CDC, preventing and mitigating an outbreak is the most important strategy. We all have a responsibility to adhere to the following preventive measures and we ask that you review them with your daughter(s) at home:
 
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
• If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
• Stay home when you are sick (and do not return to school until you are fever-free for 24 hours without medication).
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Social Distancing Matters | A Request from Head of School, Meg Brudney
 
I have been receiving emails from alumnae and parents who are medical professionals on the frontline asking me to strongly encourage our families to keep their daughters home, avoiding any sort of social gathering. They are deeply concerned because they have seen or are aware that some of our girls are gathering in public or at their friends’ homes. As a school, we cannot mandate your daughters to stay home, but we can implore you to listen to the guidelines set by the Department of Health, our Governor, and health professionals to do our part to flatten the curve.

The federal guidelines state: Americans should not gather in groups of more than 10 people, schooling should be at home and discretionary travel and social visits should be avoided.

A Duchesne alumna who is a Nurse Practitioner wrote this in her email to me:
“Duchesne is so amazing, students are caring, thoughtful, socially and environmentally responsible. This is their [the girls] social responsibility to the world right now. DO NOT SEE YOUR FRIENDS. Medical professionals have never faced anything like this in our lives, and we are scared but willing to face what is coming in the next few weeks. If you respect nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, physicians, and all of the people working for your safety please stay home. IT MATTERS!”

We are all on a learning curve. None of us in our lifetime have experienced anything like this, so it is truly our responsibility to listen to the professionals and follow their lead.
This week, we invite you to join us in prayer and reflection in the spirit of oneness with our God and with one another as all humanity copes with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Week 4 (April 12-18)
 
From the Sacred Heart Society
 
This week, we invite you to join us in prayer and reflection in the spirit of oneness with our God and with one another as all humanity copes with the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Week 3 (April 5-11)
 
From the Sacred Heart Society
 
This week, we invite you to join us in prayer and reflection in the spirit of oneness with our God and with one another as all humanity copes with the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Week 2 (March 29-April 4)
 
From the Sacred Heart Society
 
This week, we invite you to join us in prayer and reflection in the spirit of oneness with our God and with one another as all humanity copes with the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Week 1 (March 22-28)
 
Catholic Theological Union Resources - An assortment of some different events/resources put on by the Catholic Theological Union 
 
Fr. Paddy Gilger, S.J. Talks
 
Sacred Heart Events
  • Friday Morning Rosary 8:15 a.m.
  • April 16th - 17th: Senior Retreat
  • Tuesday, April 20: COVID-19 Lunch Chat with Susan Cook, RSCJ | Contact Mr. Quinn for Zoom link.
 
All Saints Parish – Fr. Jonathan Meyer posts videos of Masses, Eucharistic adoration, and reflections on a variety of topics.
 
Ascension Presents – A Catholic priest, Franciscan friars, and lay members offer insights with humor, wit, and wisdom. This channel live streams Mass at 9 a.m.
 
Breaking in the Habit – Fr. Casey Cole shares his experiences and wisdom as a Franciscan friar.
 
Catholic Central – Are there proofs of God? Do virtues really exist? What does it mean to be Catholic? Check out this channel.
 
ChurchPOP Editor – Jacqueline Burkepile interviews ordained ministers, men and women in religious life, and theologians.
 
David Wesley – David Wesley and occasionally virtual choirs sing powerful Christian hymns.
 
EWTN – EWTN posts daily Masses as well as its television shows.
 
Grotto Network – From its description: “We are here to share authentic stories that renew hope, cultivate goodness, and point us to Someone greater than ourselves.”
 
Vatican News – English – This channel features prayers, updates, and speeches chiefly by Pope Francis.
 
Vocacionesrscj – A channel by RSCJs! The videos are primarily in English and Spanish.