April 10, 2020
Dear Stoddert Families,
I hope this message finds you well. I’m working from home most days and making occasional trips to Stoddert to receive important deliveries and distribute learning packets. After having me around the house for three weeks, I think Mrs. Bryant wishes I would spend more time at Stoddert!
In an effort to make information updates more systematic and streamlined, I’ll be posting one communication per week, on Friday of each week. Each communication will include new information, reminders, good news, and a FAQ section.
Daily communication from teachers
All teachers have made the shift to Microsoft 365 as the central platform to share instructional material. Teachers will also send a daily email to students and parents, summarizing the things that students are expected to do each day. These daily emails can serve as a helpful checklist for parents as you monitor your child’s daily work.
Have you and your family considered journaling or recording your experiences as you live through what will hopefully be a once-in-a-lifetime experience? For example, you and your children can write and/or draw about your feelings and experiences, collect news articles, conduct and record virtual interviews with others, etc. Twenty years from now you may enjoy looking back on those things!
iReady Math Wall of Fame is continuing during distance learning
This event is for all students in 2nd-5th grades, and gives students the chance to earn raffle tickets for an end-of-year iPad drawing. To earn raffle tickets, students must spend at least 101 minutes per week engaged in online iReady instruction. Students who earned raffle tickets last week are:
- 2nd Grade: John, Alexander, Rania
- 3rd Grade: Bentley, Sierra, Jonah
- 5th Grade: Viktor, Asha
Learning packets for weeks 4 and 5
The DCPS Office of Teaching and Learning (OTL) has created at-home learning packets for weeks 4 and 5. Those packets are hard copies of the exact same material that will be available electronically on Canvas. Having paper packets available as an option is something some of our students and families rely on, and is essential to the district’s equity commitment. The packets will be available for pickup in the Stoddert lobby on April 14 and 15 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Emancipation Day holiday
DC Government, which includes DC Public Schools, will be closed on Thursday, April 16 in recognition of Emancipation Day. Distance learning will not be in session on that day.
The guidelines for SY20-21 enrollment are summarized below and will be in place until school buildings reopen on Monday, April 27.
- DCPS is working on an option for SY20-21 enrollment to be submitted electronically and in accordance with OSSE regulations. The goal is for this option to be available to families and schools no later than Monday, April 27. The SY20-21 Electronic Enrollment Packet will be posted online as soon as it is available.
- In-person enrollment will begin when school buildings reopen.
- Lottery results were released publicly on Friday, March 27. At Stoddert, lottery seats were available only for PK4. Families will have until Wednesday, May 27 (one month after DCPS school buildings were rescheduled to reopen) to enroll and claim their seat.
Budget freeze and Stoddert hiring
Effective Monday, April 6, 2020, Mayor Bowser ordered a freeze of non-personnel spending and hiring for the remainder of FY20. However, hiring for DCPS teachers and principals is exempt from the freeze. So, we’ll soon begin the hiring process for teachers for next school year.
In February we worked closely with our Local School Advisory Team (LSAT) to develop Stoddert’s budget and staffing for FY21, with a priority placed on reducing class size. Accordingly, we’ll be hiring:
- One additional 3rd-grade teacher (for a total of four 3rd grades)
- One additional 4th-grade teacher (for a total of four 4th grades)
- One additional SPED teacher (for a total of three SPED teachers)
We’ll also be hiring two teachers due to resignation or retirement of existing staff:
- One 2nd-grade teacher due to a resignation
- One ELL teacher due to retirement
Good news to celebrate
We have three new dads among our Stoddert staff. Please congratulate these gentlemen:
- Assistant Principal Scott and his wife Andrea are the proud parents of a new son.
- Coach Wagner and his wife Maisa are the proud parents of a new daughter.
- Mr. Maubouche and his wife Jenna are the proud parents of a new daughter.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
- When will DCPS schools reopen? This is a bit of a mystery to all of us. April 27 is the most recently published re-opening date, but Mayor Bowser stated in a press conference that schools would not re-open on that date. However, a different re-opening date has not been determined.
- How long should my child work on schoolwork in a single setting? A good rule of thumb is that most children can productively focus for a length of time that equals their age + 20 minutes. So, for a kindergarten student, 25 minutes is a reasonable maximum, and for a fifth-grade student approximately 30 minutes is a reasonable maximum. And remember, when on-site school is in session, our students move frequently throughout the day. For example, they’ll have stretch breaks between subjects, they’ll move from classrooms to special subjects and to the cafeteria for lunch, and they’ll have recess. Students need similar breaks during distance learning.
- When will term 3 be over? Term 3 will end on Friday, April 24, which will be a records day for staff and no instruction for students. Term 4 will begin on Monday, April 27.
- How should students turn in Term 3 distance learning work to their teachers? Teachers are working with their students and families to set reasonable expectations for turning in work that may include email, uploading to Microsoft Teams, or other mutually agreed upon methods. Students will have until Friday, May 1 to submit all Term 3 work.
- How will Term 3 distance learning work be graded? During this distance learning time, when much of our instruction is being offered online, we know that students will have different levels of access to technology and workspaces for learning. Therefore, teachers will grade student work without penalizing them for assignments that they were not able to access or complete. Teachers will continue to offer many varied opportunities for students to display mastery and engagement, and any distance learning work completed and turn in will only benefit a students’ academic success. Students who are unable to complete distance learning work will not be penalized and will receive the grade they earned as of March 13, when distance learning began.
- Why can’t I access Microsoft Office? How do I fix connectivity/login issues? These are generally band-with issues. You can support band-with problems by:
- Clearing cache and browser history regularly (at least 1x per week).
- To avoid band-width connection issues, download Office software to your device.
- Using Chrome only. If you cannot download Chrome, sign in to Office.com rather than going through Clever.
- Is tech help available? Yes! Ms. Thompson has established a tech hotline for Stoddert families. The number is (202) 480-9474, and the hotline operates between 7am and 4pm Monday-Friday.
On behalf of all Stoddert teachers and staff, I extend a huge THANK YOU for partnering with us to deliver instruction to your children.