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Covid-19 Updates | List Of All Communications

A Letter To The Senn Community | June 2nd, 2020

To Our Senn Community, 


Our Senn Administrative Team hopes you are all well and safe right now given the current state of our city and nation. The tragic killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the many others that have come before them is something we cannot ignore. The subsequent protests that have taken place this weekend have further shown the absolute need for our community to address the inequities in our society.  This need has been apparent to us at Senn for some time and as a community, we strongly believe that Black Lives Matter. We are anxious to continue the many conversations that started prior to the school closure - normally, we would find ways to share our truth and strive for understanding through classroom conversations, community town halls, small group meetings, etc. but, unfortunately, we are not able to do that right now. Teachers will grant students space to discuss how they are feeling during their class time, but we recognize this is not a replacement for the very specific conversations that we can have collectively. We plan to structure those very soon as we enter into the final phases of re-opening. 


Until then, Dr. Jackson shared a powerful personal message with parents and students, and we hope that you all take a few minutes to read it. We are all in this together for our students, our city, and our future. At Senn, we, as educators, understand the power that we yield in supporting the voices of our students and how - together- we can create opportunities to dismantle the systems that allow racism to persist. To that end, our approach to this work is through a lens of antiracism. This means that we acknowledge that it is not enough to be “not racist,” but the importance of being “aggressively against racism.” We are actively assessing our systems to ensure they support, recognize, and honor the identities of all Senn students. 


To help with these conversations that you are having within your own families, our team has put together some resources that may aid both parents and students to talk about race.



  • Teaching Tolerance provides ready-to-use recommendations and strategies for a trauma-informed approach to teaching through coronavirus. Use and share this site which provides support during this challenging time: https://www.tolerance.org/

  • Anti-racist reading list - this is a comprehensive reading list by the Evanston Library that offers reading for all ages. A great resource for parents and students.  

Finally, if your family is in need of assistance or you  know of a family who could use help during this challenging time, the CPS Hotline can connect them to vital support services. Please encourage the family to contact the CPS Hotline at 773-553-KIDS (5437) or familyservices@cps.edu. Please do not hesitate to reach out to any of us if you have any questions or concerns. 

 

Sincerely, 

 

The Senn Administrative Team 

 

Principal Mary Beck 

Assistant Principal Timothy Adams

Assistant Principal Carter Carey

Assistant Principal Jennie Medellin

 

Dear Senn Community - 

 

Thank you so much for your flexibility, patience, and feedback as we adapt our policies and procedures to Remote Learning. As you know, we started on March 18 with a solid plan focused on continued learning and community connection. Senn’s technology foundation allowed us to lead the district in innovative practice and allowed students to continue their coursework. Once Governor Pritzker announced school closures through the end of the school year, this plan evolved to increase student engagement and provide more structure. We are now entering the third phase of this plan in response to the recent CPS District guidance on Semester 2 grading, current student engagement, and the feedback we have received from students, parents, and teachers.

What will remain the same: 

  • Daily student engagement/check-in from the hours of 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
  • High quality, rigorous lessons that will ensure students develop content knowledge
  • Teacher availability both live and via email
  • Support for students from counselors, Diverse Learning department, teachers, administrators, and community partners 
  • Flexibility in due dates, student make-up work, and assessments
  • Student progress towards graduation requirements 

What will change:

  • Additional structure to the learning hours, now by class period M-Th (see below)
  • Fridays will serve as ‘check-in,’ make-up day, office hours with teachers 
  • Grades will be issued and pass/incomplete will be based on student engagement (see below)
  • Final grade reports (see below)
  • Some senior requirements have been waived (specifics shared directly with seniors)

What is not confirmed:

  • When (if) students will be able to re-enter the building to clean out lockers
  • Last day for seniors (dates are tentative)
  • Graduation celebration/prom substitute
  • Schedule for the school year 2020 -2021 return

 

 

The information below provides more details on the shifts we are making, specifically to the times when students log on to specific classes and how they will earn grades or “pass” status. They reflect what we believe will best support progress so that all Senn students can successfully end the school year. This continues to be a difficult time for all of us, and I want to again thank our entire community, but specifically our parents, for the support they are offering for students’ remote learning. As a parent myself, I fully understand the challenges we face balancing work, homeschooling, and the uncertainty of the future. Please feel free to reach out directly to me if you need further guidance, or have any questions /concerns. 

Sincerely, 

Mary P. Beck 

 Remote Learning Block Schedule - starting Monday, May 11

Based on feedback from students and parents, we realize that under our current practice many teachers are posting assignments to students at the same time - meaning one student could receive multiple assignments for the week on Monday morning. While due dates are flexible, many students shared that getting all assignments at once is very overwhelming and makes prioritizing difficult. Additionally, because we had a flexible schedule, there are times when students are asked to attend more than one 'live' session at the same time, further adding to the difficulty of managing their learning. 

As such, we will be shifting our schedule starting Monday, May 11. Our hope is that this adapted schedule will reduce anxiety and better support students' ability to organize their learning, resulting in increased engagement and success. We will continue with the model where students attend live sessions and teachers offer support during other times and/or work on assignments during the scheduled periods. Teachers will introduce new assignments during their period and not before/after. On Fridays students will be expected to complete independent work and teachers will be available for questions and to provide feedback. 

Our intention is that this shift will further support students who are feeling overwhelmed and disorganized in managing their days. While we recognize that some students may be working, serving as caregivers, and supporting their families in other ways, it is important to note that attendance is not mandatory. Students can still access their assignments on Google classroom at any time after it is posted. Teachers will be available via email as well. 

Example: 

  • Monday: 45-minute live lesson
  • Wednesday: Assigned work on Google Classroom (teacher available via email or chat)
  • Friday: Office hours for questions, check-ins, and feedback.

 

 

Mon.

Odd

Tues.

Even

Wed.

Odd

Thurs.

Even

Fri.

Office Hrs

Ind. Work

Feedback

Block A

10 - 10:50

1st

period

2nd

period

1st

period

2nd

period

Soc. Soc

Math

Block B

11 - 11:50

3rd 

period

4th period

3rd 

period

4th period

W. Lang.

PE/JROTC

Block C

12 - 12:50

5th 

period

6th

period

5th 

period

6th

period

Eng

Major Stu.

Block D

1 - 1:50

7th

period

8th

period

7th

perio

8th

period

Science

Arts

 

Teachers should continue to be available to students and parents for at least (4) hours per day.  The (4) hours can include the following activities:

  • “live activities” - discussion, lectures, etc.
  • Office Hours
  • Providing feedback
  • Answering questions of students and parents 
  • Reaching out to families

Remote Learning Grading Guidance- Starting May 11

Below is a portion of the district's guidance on grading for the remainder of the school year. The full Remote Learning Grading Guide can be found here. Although the (3) options seem straightforward there may be additional questions so teachers will be sharing their specific practices with families via Google Classroom. Any questions or concerns parents and students have should first be addressed to the teacher and can include counselors and/or administrators if further clarification is needed. 

Best Practices - Grading for Mastery

  • School should focus on issuing assignments aligned to the critical standards
  • Schools should avoid giving grades or points strictly for participation in virtual activities
  • Students should not be penalized for submitting work past its original due date
  • Teachers should provide meaningful feedback, giving direction to students’ continued effort toward mastery
  • Schools should provide ample opportunities for make-ups or retakes, without penalty. This includes all assignments and projects which have been assigned since March 16th

 

Teachers should only issue an F for an assignment if:

  • The teacher made sure the student was aware of assignment expectations and made efforts to communicate with the student and their family about expectations.
  • The teacher provided support to the student to successfully complete the assignment.
  • If the student submitted the assignment, the teacher provided meaningful feedback in a timely manner on the assignment.
  • If the student submitted the assignment, the teacher offered the student the opportunity to re-take or improve the assignment grade.

GPAs, Promotion, and Graduation for High School Students

High schools will use a modified semester-based grading system that will provide students the opportunity to improve their GPA, which is important for students who are pursuing postsecondary education. The grading system will also protect the academic standing of students who earn a lower grade I the fourth quarter. The district’s revised grading system will now allow students to improve or maintain their semester grade in order to earn a letter grade. At the high school level, students will receive either a letter grade, Pass, or Incomplete based on the following criteria:

Semester 2 (S2)
Transcript Grade

Qualification

Letter Grade

·       Achieved a cumulative S2 grade that met or exceeded student’s Q3 grade

Pass (P)
GPA is not impacted.          

Students earn credit.

·       Participated in digital instruction and earned a cumulative S2 passing grade below Q3 grade

·       No access to digital instruction but completed printed work packets

Incomplete (/)

GPA is not impacted. Students do not earn credit and are offered the opportunity to engage in credit recovery to meet graduation requirements.

·       Had access to digital instruction and earned a cumulative F in S2.

  • To further understand how student grades will be calculated, feel free to use this tool developed by CPS Math teachers.
  • The district will also recommend that the Board waive the following non-credit bearing graduation requirements for this year’s seniors (class of 2020): Service Learning, State-mandated Assessment (SAT/DLM-AA), Constitution Test, Financial Literacy, and Computer Science. 

Support for Understanding Grading

The Senn Equity Team has cultivated a few articles that teachers are reading to further understand the updated grading policies. Please consider reading the following pieces to further add context to our current practice. 

Quarter 4 Updated Calendar

Date

Activity

May 11

Updated Schedule goes into Effect

May 11- May 16

AP Exams (digital)

May 22

Progress Reports Distributed

May 25

Memorial Day - No School 

June 3 - 4 

Senior Finals **Tentative**

June 5

Senior Grades Due *Tentative**

June 16

Final projects/work due

June 17

Grades due

June 18

Last Day of School, grades distributed