Hello OCRS families,
Thank you for all of your positive email messages to teachers and staff this past week. We have loved hearing from you and we miss seeing our students at school!
This Weekly Update has A LOT of important information, so please read it carefully. It will also be posted on the OCRS website in the "News" section.
Online Learning begins Monday, March 30th
All four elementary schools are moving to online learning beginning on Monday, March 30th. Chromebooks were distributed to all K-2 students this past Wednesday and student login information was emailed out on Friday.
The suggested online learning schedule was emailed to families on Thursday. All teachers and principals understand that this is a very challenging time for families, especially families that are also working from home. It's also an extremely challenging time for our teachers and their own families. As a school and as a district we will be VERY flexible in working with families whose schedules and work responsibilities may not allow for students to be online at specific times during the day. That is why what was sent is a suggested online learning schedule. Families know best what will work for them and their own individual circumstances.
Online learning is new to Smithfield elementary students, families, and teachers, so we will be learning how to most effectively use these tools together. We know that there will be issues that will need to be worked out, particularly in the first few days, so we will all need to be patient, understanding, and flexible with each other.
Please check your student into school each day by 8:30 AM (if at all possible) by visiting, https://forms.gle/1AyJH9HKxNF5...
If you miss the 8:30 AM deadline, please still enter your child's attendance later in the day so that we can keep an official record of their attendance. We are required to report our daily attendance to the R.I. Department of Education each morning.
If you have any questions or concerns about attendance, please email Mrs. Deus at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Technical Support with student Chromebooks or accounts
If your child has technical issues with their Chromebook or issues logging into their Smithfield G Suite for Education account, families are asked to contact the Smithfield Technology Team by sending an email to email@example.com or by calling 401-231-6606 and choosing option 5 (Technology) and then option 1 (Director of Technology). Please make sure to include your name, the name of your child, and a contact number and email address.
If you have not done so already, we encourage families to test out your child’s account to make sure that your child is able to login to their Smithfield Chromebook. You can use these “Getting Started with your Chromebook” instructions to connect the Chromebook to your home Wi-Fi and learn how to login, https://bit.ly/SPSChromebook. The instructions also show how students can access Google Classroom and find all of the information, resources, and assignments posted by their teachers.
What is the difference between Google Classroom and Google Meet?
Teachers and staff have been referring to Google Classroom and Google Meet quite a bit this week as we have been preparing for online learning. We thought that it might be helpful to clarify the difference between the two tools and how they will be used for online learning
Google Classroom is a tool that allows teachers to setup online learning spaces (Classrooms) for their students. These Classrooms can include messages from the teacher to the students, links to important resources and materials, and posted assignments. Teachers will also be posting videos of lessons that they taught throughout the day (although this will take a little time for teachers to learn).
Google Meet is a group video calling tool that will allow teachers to teach and interact with their students live throughout the daily online learning schedule. Teachers can also record the lessons and then share them with students via Google Classroom. Teachers will share links to their active Google Meet video calls through Classroom.
Expectations for Online Learning for Students
All classroom teachers hosted Google Meet video calls for students and their families this past Thursday and Friday. It was wonderful for teachers, students, and families to have an opportunity to reconnect! During those calls, Mr. Barrette and the classroom teachers talked about the expectations for online learning for students. We are going to follow the normal three OCRS school rules, but with a focus on how they apply to using the Chromebook and technology tools for online learning.
All students and staff need to use kind words when they are typing or speaking with each other using the Chromebook. An easy rule of thumb is "Would my Mom/Dad/Grandma/Grandpa be OK with me typing or saying this?" If the answer is "No", then we shouldn't type it or say it online.
All students and staff need to be respectful of each other when using the Chromebook to learn online. This means waiting for our turn to speak during any Google Meet video calls and doing our best to follow the expectations of the teacher. During our test calls on Thursday and Friday, we practiced together how to mute our microphones when we join a Google Meet video call. We know this is going to take all students a little practice to get used to before it becomes their normal routine.
The Chromebook, the students' G Suite for Education accounts, and the learning tools within their account are all the property of the Smithfield Public Schools. They are provided to students and families for the purpose of learning. Students should not be using the Chromebook or their Smithfield account for personal use, only for school-related learning.
Also, if a student joins a Google Meet video call and a teacher is not present in the call, the student should immediately leave the call and try again in a few minutes. Students should only be in Google Meet video calls when a teacher is present in the "Meet". Students do not have the ability to create their own private Google Meet video call, but they can join a Meet that a teacher has created and for which has shared the link.
Thank you again for your support during this difficult and unprecedented time. By continuing to work together, we will get through this as a community while we support our students' learning in a very different way.
Mr. Paul Barrette
Virtual Spirit Days!