March 25 update for Tahoma families, staff

March 25 update for Tahoma families, staff
Posted on 03/25/2020
Dear Tahoma families,
Earlier this week we promised an update about online learning. We would like to share that today as well as information about the Student Housing Committee.

Our staff is currently finishing Phase 1 of a plan to implement online learning for our students and moving into Phase 2. In the first phase, we published the Learning Connections website (Ideas for Week 2 are now posted); and, we distributed about 1,500 computers to Tahoma students to increase access for the extended school closure.

In Phase 2, students and parents will be hearing from their teachers. We will also be training our teachers in how to provide remote lessons and support students during the coming weeks. Phase 3 will include online lessons from individual teachers for their own students, and students will be expected to complete these lessons. The structure for this will be weekly, and we will have built in “office hours” for students to receive support.

We hope to begin Phase 3 the Monday after Spring Break, but we will have some “soft-start” activities happening next week as teachers test connectivity with students and post some initial content to our learning systems. Families may see more direct engagement of students with some of the soft start activities next week at high school than at the other levels, as a higher proportion of teachers and students have been using these tools as part of their courses previously.

“Next week we won’t be trying to ‘do school,’ but families will definitely see some engagement at all levels,” said Dawn Wakeley, executive director of Teaching and Learning.

In the coming days, we’ll have more information to share about what an average week will look like at the different levels, what the learning will look like, etc. Wakeley pointed out that remote learning is difficult in the best of circumstances, and that Tahoma’s team is putting the system together in the midst of the closure and on a tight timeline. “We’re going to be novices at this,” she said, adding that staff will continually reassess what elements are working and which ones need improvement.

The general plan calls for elementary classes to use the Seesaw platform, and for secondary students and teachers to use Google classroom. Please stay tuned for further details next week.

Student Housing Committee process suspended
Among the many activities and work interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic is the Student Housing Committee and its work to create a plan for how best to accommodate enrollment over the next 10 years. A subcommittee was nearing completion of proposed attendance area changes for next school year to deal with rising enrollment at Lake Wilderness, Cedar River, and Tahoma elementary schools.

Because the committee no longer can meet, due to the governor’s order to stay home and avoid group gatherings, the School Board has approved a request by district administrators to postpone the committee’s work until next fall and to suspend proposed attendance area changes.

Administrators told the School Board that the addition of two portable classroom buildings at Lake Wilderness Elementary School will be sufficient to accommodate next fall’s anticipated enrollment. Cedar River and Tahoma Elementary will add instructional staff; Tahoma Elementary also will make adjustments to existing areas of the school that should be sufficient to accommodate anticipated student enrollment for next fall.

Thank you,
Tahoma Communications Office
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