Wellness week is over, yeah! This is probably what most of you are thinking as it did not have the healing properties that many of us desired. Wellness week in its original state was a great idea. Unfortunately, it morphed into something beyond its original intention. John Davis’ Distance Learning Response Plan and his email about Wellness week asked us to give no new assignments or content and stated we should not penalize late work more than 15 %. It in no way told us we could no longer grade late work before marking it down; it in no way told us we had to look through our thousands of grades in Canvas to be sure we didn’t penalize something too much, and the tone in no way seemed like, “you better do this or else”.
Unfortunately, I feel like the more people got their hands on the idea of Wellness week; the more it changed into a week of more work and more stress for teachers. Shortly after John Davis unveiled Wellness week to us in the Distance Learning Response Plan, a District office director sent out an email to parents (not teachers) in an effort to clarify Wellness week. Unfortunately, this email claimed more things that we were going to do that were not in the original plan and were not communicated to us. Specifically that all students could “re-take” any work that they received a grade lower than a C-. Wellness week was not intended for a student with a B to retake assignments until they had an A in a class. It was intended to get students who had F’s and had done very little work a chance to catch up and be successful in their classes. Additionally, as the days went on, we received “Clarifying” emails from our Site Administrators. These correspondences originated at PVHS where additional requirements were added, and the tone was more of a mandate. Voila, no longer a “Wellness” week, but instead a week of added work and stress for teachers.
As we come to the end of the first semester:
Are you allowing students to turn in make-up work?
Are you dropping the students’ lowest 2 scores or maybe lowest 4 scores?
Are you offering extra credit?
Are you allowing retakes for students with F’s?
Are you reaching out to students and parents in an attempt to assist them in passing your class?
Are you tutoring students during your office hours?
Are you limiting the quantity of work you are assigning?
Are you limiting the penalty when grading late work?
If you are doing any of these and giving your students multiple and many opportunities to be successful in your classes, then you are probably doing what the District Office is asking of you. After all, students and teachers are both stuck in this same messy situation. We are all trying to do the best we can to get through it in one piece.
The District is moving forward with their plan to reopen school on January 13, 2021 in some type of Hybrid model. What this will look like, I really don’t know. In this constantly changing world, it could be one of the hybrid models in the SMJUHSD Reopening Plan or it could be a different model altogether. Keep in mind that many things could change before January 13 and it is quite possible that reopening school could require more negotiations between the District and the FA. Please do not pay attention to the many rumors already being spread about how it will look for the start of the second semester. Nobody at this point in time knows how Jan 13 will look. We will have to wait and see were things go as we approach the reopening day.
Sometime this week, Kevin Platt will be reaching out to those of you with accommodations during Distance Learning. The reason for his communication with you will be to restart the accommodation process for returning to the classroom. Yes, that is right; you will need to go through the process again. Teachers without accommodations, who are currently working at school at least two days per week, are in a different situation. It is assumed that you will remain in the classroom when the students return for in-person instruction. If for some reason you feel you cannot return to school with students in the classroom, you must reach out to Kevin Platt.
If you are being evaluated this year, your pre-observation conference should have already been completed.
Non-tenured teachers should have their final evaluation completed by February 15, 2021 and tenured teachers should have it completed by May 1, 2021. Thank you to the many administrators who have already completed the entire process with many of our teachers. Remember, if you for some reason receive an unsatisfactory evaluation this year, our MOU states that you can be reevaluated next year and have your 2020-2021 evaluation thrown out.
Veterans Day is on Wednesday, November 11, and there is no school. Wednesday’s classes will take place on Monday, November 9, and there will be no Flex Monday that week.
There will be no Finals schedule this semester. The week of December 14-18 will be a regular week per our Full Distance Learning Schedule.
Thanksgiving vacation is coming soon. The week of November 23-27 will be a well-deserved break.
Have a great rest of your semester,