March 26, 2020
Online Schooling Update!
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!" Philippians 4:19
Dear Parents and Students,
Thank you so much for your support as we have converted to our online academic platform. This has been a significant learning curve for all of us, and we are so grateful for your grace, support, encouragement, and patience.
As we move forward with this platform, we are asking parents of 4th - 8th graders to please remind your children to check for teacher comments in Google Classroom. Our teachers want to be sensitive to all of our parents and not overwhelm you with email messages intended for your children.
Online learning will continue next week from March 30th - April 3rd. St. Matthew will continue with our planned Spring Break from April 6th - 13th. School will resume on Tuesday, April 14th. However, at this time, it is unclear if we will be returning to our building for instruction or continuing to utilize our online platform. Decisions will be made based on safety and governmental mandates. Either way, we are prepared to progress forward with your child's academic journey. We will keep you updated with all decisions through Remind and Constant Contact.
God's blessings on your week!
[To view the 3/13/2020 email letter from Principal Sue Palka, click the link: https://conta.cc/2WfbaFR ]
"I can do all things through Christ who strenthens me." Philippians 4:13
On the wall in front of my desk, I have a Scripture verse from Philippians 4:13 posted at eye level, so that every time I glance up, it catches my attention. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." I placed it there because it is such a beautiful reminder that Jesus is always in control and will provide us with everything that we need and exactly when we need it. I have to admit, during this past week, my frequency for staring at this verse has significantly increased! However, we have peace in knowing that God is in control; He's got us!
For the past few weeks, St. Matthew Lutheran Church and School has been designing a "Pandemic Plan" for the entire ministry. Attached to this email, you will find a modified version that pertains to just the school. Our dedicated staff has been training and preparing for how to convert to an online format if circumstances would warrant. Last night, Governor Whitmer's proclamation of closing all Michigan schools activated the plan.
We consulted many resources when we devised this plan. Some of the most helpful came from online educational agencies, as well as teachers/administrators who just experienced this situation in China. Frequently, we were advised that quality is more important than quantity and that this new format will take some adjustment from both teachers and students, so the need for patience was frequently expressed!
Our current plan includes:
- Every teacher in grades Preschool through Grade 8 will provide age-appropriate online academic opportunities on a daily basis.
- Every teacher will host a daily online meeting through the platforms of Google Hangouts or Zoom so that students have the opportunity to hear and see their teachers. A schedule with meeting times and information about utilizing these designated platforms and times will be sent to parents. Furthermore, Mrs. Welte is also making a "Parent/Student Training Video" that will instruct everyone how to utilize each platform. Teachers will also record online meetings and send the link to parents in the event that students are not available during scheduled meeting times. During online meetings, a devotional thought will be shared as well as various important messages about the daily assignments.
- We have been advised to keep instruction to three core curriculum areas as well as one non-core class per day. Each teacher has designed a schedule of courses that will be instructed each day. Novi Share Time teachers will provide instruction for the non-core classes.
- Teachers will send instructions through SeeSaw or Google Classroom. In addition, a daily checklist of assignments that need to be completed each day will be sent to parents.
- Every student is expected to participate and complete all assignments. Teachers will contact parents if students are not participating.
- Teachers will provide various forms of feedback regarding assignments.
- Although a plan is in place and training has been occurring, it will take teachers two days to get lessons and videos made. You will receive information on Monday, March 16, regarding schedules and meeting times. A classroom meeting and a trial run with one assignment will occur on Tuesday, March 17. Full academic schedules will begin on Wednesday, March 18.
- In the event a wifi-enabled device is needed for your family, please email Mrs. Welte at Yvonne.Welte@st-matthew.org by Sunday. We have a limited amount of Chromebooks that we might be able to loan out.
- Your patience and understanding are very much appreciated. Although this plan looks wonderful on paper, every school is resorting to online instruction. We pray the broadband of Oakland County will support these efforts.
God is our strength and our refuge, an ever present help in times of trouble. We pray that your family remains safe and that you feel His peace during this challenging time.
In Jesus' Love,