August 14, 2020
Dear Stoddert Families,
I hope you and your family were able to relax and stay safe over the summer months. Stoddert is a special place because of the people – our staff, our students and parents, our community – and we’ve been working hard over the summer to make SY20/21 as special as always. I hope this update is helpful to you as we prepare for the opening of SY20/21 and learning at home.
Learning Devices. In order for learning at home to be successful, each Stoddert student needs to have access to an electronic device; if you have more than one child who attends Stoddert, we want each of your children to have access to a device. If you are in need of a device (or devices), please complete this tech survey at your earliest convenience: DCPS Tech Survey. Device Distribution will occur in the Stoddert lobby on Tuesday, August 25 and Wednesday, August 26 at pre-scheduled times.
Parent Survey Results. In June parents were asked to complete a survey about distance learning. Although your responses to many survey prompts were quite varied, there was consensus around these themes:
- You want more “live” synchronous instruction. 88% of survey respondents favored “live” synchronous instruction over asynchronous instruction.
- You want a common platform, and a place where expectations, assignments, and schedules are clearly posted.
- You want teachers to interact individually with your children.
- You want more timely feedback on your child’s performance.
In response to the need for more “live” synchronous instruction, DCPS has established differing expectations for various grade levels. For children in 3rd-5th grades, the expectation is 3 hours of synchronous instruction on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, and 1 hour of synchronous instruction on Wednesday. The expectation for children in kindergarten-2nd grade is 2 hours per day four days per week, and one hour on Wednesday; for PK4 students the expectation is 1 hour per day. For all grade levels, breaks will be embedded as appropriate.
Synchronous instruction will consist of:
- Whole-class engagement: interactive modeling; seminars or discussions; virtual field trips
- Small groups in breakout rooms: collaborative content assignments; mini-lessons
- Timed offline activity: teacher remains online; students build, practice, or explore and bring back results to the teacher
The amount of “live” synchronous instruction, and the examples bulleted above are reflective of a typical “in-person” school day. During a typical day, teachers do not engage students in whole-class instruction for the entire day; instead, students are engaged in small group work, mini-lessons, and guided independent practice in addition to whole-class instruction.
Your child’s distance learning schedule will also include:
- Morning meeting
- Asynchronous learning
- School-wide weekly Town Hall assemblies
- Specials (health/PE, library, STEM, science/garden, art, music)
- Stretch/movement breaks
- Lunch/recess break
- Closing circle activity
In response to the other consensus items:
- Canvas will be used as the common instructional platform for all DCPS schools. This is a new platform, and different from what was used during last spring’s distance learning. We will use the Canvas platform to post expectations, assignments, and schedules all in one place.
- Teachers will be expected to connect individually with each student at least once a week, and provide timely feedback on student performance.
Parent Resources. I urge you to take advantage of the resources DCPS has made available to parents to help you prepare for distance learning, including:
Back-to-School Packets will be mailed during the week of August 17. Classroom assignments will be included in those packets.
Class Lists. We’ve been working on class lists for several weeks. The most important factor in the creation of class lists is the recommendation of students’ prior year’s teacher(s). We also try to accommodate parent requests, if those requests do not conflict with prior year’s teacher recommendations, and if those requests were submitted by the deadline. We will consider changing class lists only in the most extenuating circumstances.
There has been a slight delay in providing the class lists to the PTO for posting onto this website. We expect the Stoddert front office to provide this information to the PTO on August 18. An email blast will be sent out when the lists are posted. The lists will stay up until Saturday August 22.
Sneak Peek. For the last several years we’ve hosted a Sneak Peek on the Friday before the first day of school. Sneak Peek is an opportunity for you and your child to locate their classroom, meet the teacher, find their desk, and drop off supplies. This year, our Sneak Peek will be a virtual event on Friday, August 28 at 2:00 p.m. You will receive more details, including log-in directions, from your child’s teacher during the week of August 24.
Sprout Box Supplies will be available for pickup in the lobby before the first day of learning at home. Details including specific dates and times for pickup will be available in the near future.
Other News. Our Summer Bridge Program for rising third-graders began on Monday, August 10, with approximately 40 students participating. Mrs. Busick and Mr. O’Beirne are teaching the Summer Bridge Program, with Mrs. Park serving as Instructional Coach.
Staffing Changes. Here’s a summary of staffing changes for SY20/21:
- Assistant Principal Scott has accepted a position with an educational consulting firm, and is happily working virtually from home in that position.
- Ibis Villegas is leaving the Reading Specialist position to return to the Assistant Principal position.
- Andrea Gross will be filling the Reading Specialist position.
- Ashleigh Sable will be teaching 1st-grade, filling the vacancy created when Andrea Gross moved to the Reading Specialist position.
- Alexandria Dibble will be teaching PK4, filling the vacancy created by Valerie Ford-Barnum’s retirement.
- Mark McCants will be teaching kindergarten, replacing Debra Mundell who retired at the end of SY19/20. Mark has previously been our STEM teacher and Math Resource teacher.
- Thomas Morris will be our STEM teacher and Math Resource teacher.
- We are adding a third Special Education Resource teacher, and Nikki Allinson will serve in that role.
- Jemma Benton will be teaching 2nd-grade, filling the vacancy created by Kaleb Collier’s departure.
- We are adding a fourth 3rd-grade classroom, with Patrick Coons as the teacher.
- We are adding a fourth 4th-grade classroom, with Amy Orlando as the teacher.
- Ana Villarraga will be filling the ELL vacancy created by the retirement of Kathleen Smith.
- Isabella Lobo will be working as an ELL aide, filling the vacancy created when Jemma Benton moved from the ELL aide position to the 2nd-grade teaching position.
- We still have a need for one more ELL aide, to fill the vacancy created when Amy Orlando moved from the ELL aide position to the 4th-grade teaching position.
Our PTO is working hard on updating our Stoddert.org website, including this year’s calendar which will include Back to School Night, monthly PTO meetings, virtual Coffee with the Principal, and more. PTO is also working on virtual Extended Day Program offerings, with more information and details to come – so be sure to check back often!
As always, I thank you for your continued support.