Message from Manuel J. Fernandez and Christen Sohn - May 17, 2020

Message from Manuel J. Fernandez and Christen Sohn - May 17, 2020
Posted on 05/17/2020
Good evening CSUS caregivers and scholars,

We hope everyone had a good week and weekend, and that you were able to enjoy a bit of the outdoors, even if only from a balcony or wide open window. While the sunshine can be a balm for our cooped-up selves, it is also a reminder of the many end of year celebrations we typically look forward to as this time of year rolls around. We, like you, are awaiting many updates and answers that will help us shape year-end and summertime events for scholars. What we can promise is that we will do all we can to ensure our scholars are offered thoughtful, meaningful experiences to every degree that it is possible.

In past letters, we’ve used a “Q&A’ - type format to respond to questions we know are on your hearts and minds across the week. We will be doing so again this week to provide clarity around issues of remote teaching, end of year logistics, and grade transitions in the fall.

I was notified this week about a new “Progress Report” for my scholar - why now? What do these grades mean?
This week you received an email about a Progress Report detailing your scholars’ grades and assignments for second semester up to March 13. This "Progress Report" details your scholar's graded assignments as of March 13, when the school building closed. This is not a complete picture of your scholar's grades. On March 13 we were only a little more than a month into the second semester, and many scholars were only beginning to complete and turn in work. Moving forward, these grades will not be visible in Aspen, so we wanted to share them with you now. Scholars will not be penalized for low/failing grades as of March 13; we know they have been working hard to complete assignments remotely since then. If you have any specific concerns or questions, please feel free to connect with me or your child's classroom teacher.
We have received feedback that the progress reports were not helpful to all families especially at this time. We apologize for not considering this when we decided to share them. Our intent was to move from graded reports to the new Credit- No credit model and to be transparent. Again, apologies for not understanding how the reports may have been received.

How do I know what work my scholar is completing during the week?
You can see whether your scholar is completing work/receiving credit when you log into Aspen by following these instructions. Video instructions are also available here if you skip forward to 2:23-2:40. If you need information about how to log in to your Aspen account, instructions are available here. If you have not logged in before and need your username and password or someone to walk you through the process, please contact Ms. Robinson at trobinson@cpsd.us.

What do “Credit” and “No Credit” mean?
If scholars make a reasonable and appropriate attempt to complete an assignment, they will receive 'Credit.' If your scholar did not complete an online assignment, the assignment will be marked “No Credit.” These are not ‘grades’ - there is no point value assigned to Credit or No Credit - but a common language for communicating with caregivers and scholars about completion of online work. If you would like more information about an assignment, or about your scholar’s work in a given subject, please reach out to their teachers; they are happy to answer your questions and offer their support.

I don’t know anything about Google Classroom. How can I help my scholar?
You are in luck! Ms. Connolly has created this tutorial for caregivers interested in knowing more about how Google Classroom works. Please go to the G Suite for Caregivers webpage to learn how to access your scholar's Google Classroom account and to learn about the weekly Google Classroom summary you will be invited to receive over the next week in your email. Please reach out to Norah Connolly (nconnolly@cpsd.us) with questions.

My scholar is overwhelmed by their work. What should they do?
They should take a deep breath and not worry too much. We know that there are many stresses and worries in everyone’s lives right now, and that those can make it hard to focus or get started, especially on self-directed tasks like online learning. While we want scholars to be exerting effort and doing their best work, scholars will not be penalized for any “No Credit” assignments. The No Credit designation gives teachers important information about what resources and support a scholar may need in the upcoming school year.

Scholars can start each week by reviewing the link for their grade level on the CSUS website - this shows the weekly assignments for scholars at each grade, as well as what teachers are available for Office Hours each day. Teachers are happy to meet with scholars at those times not only to answer questions but also to support them in other ways, including helping to make a plan to get started with or catch up on work - this can be a great way to make a connection and put together a plan for tackling tough assignments. We also encourage all scholars to attend their Cobra Den meeting on Fridays for an opportunity to engage socially with peers and staff.

My scholar has belongings they need to retrieve from a locker at 840 Cambridge Street - how can we get those back?
We are coordinating with the district on a plan to clean out lockers and return any belongings currently stored at the physical building to scholars and families, and will keep you informed of any updates.

My eighth grader is graduating. What will graduation look like?
Upper schools around the district are deciding what virtual graduation will entail for 8th graders. We are looking for ways to make it feel commemorative and personal even though we are apart, and we know the CSUS community will join our 8th graders in remote celebration! We will be in touch with grade 8 scholars and families throughout the month of May.

I contributed funds toward the eighth grade trip. Now what?
If you contributed funds toward the eighth grade trip prior to the building closure, you will be contacted this week about next steps for returning money to you.

What plans are in place for scholars transitioning to a new grade in the fall?
CSUS staff have already begun preparing for scholars’ transition into, within, and away from Cambridge Street. Our teachers and related service providers are connecting with their colleagues across grade levels to share information, and are planning ways to introduce themselves to new scholars prior to the start of school. We have tentative plans to hold orientations for all incoming grades during the last few weeks of August. We also plan to distribute summer reading materials to all CSUS scholars as a way to begin building a community of readers before classes resume in the fall. If you know any incoming 6th grade families, you can let them know that CSUS will be in touch soon with dates for upcoming virtual transition events for scholars and families.

We hope that this update has been helpful. If you have questions, concerns, or suggestions please do not hesitate to reach out to any staff member. We may not be in the building but we are as always here to serve you.

Stay safe everyone!

Peace,
Manuel and Christen
Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2020 Intrado Corporation. All rights reserved.