Virtual Learning at Lincoln Academy 2.0

Dear LA Students and Families,

Based on recommendations from the Governor and Maine Department of Education, we now know that we are looking at virtual learning through the end of the year. While the school will be ready to return to campus if the situation changes, we have to plan to work virtually for the rest of the year.

Losing this spring on campus is a huge sadness for all of us. I don’t know of any teacher or student who wouldn’t rather see each other in person. This isn’t how any of us wanted to see the year end. However, it is worth remembering that the entire country is experiencing this same loss. This year will forever be remembered as something different and historical. Our goal in this time is to make the most of a difficult situation, to do our very best in the face of hardship.

As students, you have faced many obstacles in the last month, and generally you are persevering and succeeding. You should be proud. And when you feel overwhelmed, take a deep breath and try to make a small connection with school. Each step matters. We are here to help.

We truly appreciate your feedback in the recent parent and student surveys. That feedback is helping us design the rest of the year. While there are real struggles in virtual learning, we also have some real opportunities right now. We have the freedom to pick and choose the best possible learning in this format, at this moment in history. Many of you are learning skills that will serve you for the rest of your life, even if they aren’t the skills we planned as the 3rd Trimester curriculum.

As you read on you will find an outline of the rest of the year. Please read this information carefully, send us your questions, and give us your best effort during this next phase of virtual learning. Remember, we are here to answer questions, hear your frustrations, and help you solve problems. This is not the time to retreat in the face of struggle, this is the time for us to work together.

Logistics

Calendar:

April 27-May 22: Virtual Learning Instruction. Classes will continue to meet using the established weekly schedule. The last new instruction and assignments will be delivered on Friday, May 22nd.

May 26th-May 29th: Students submit their last week of assignments. Teachers are available to assist students who are struggling to complete the trimester’s work. Teachers will also be at work preparing for the closing two weeks.

June 1-June 12: Grade level final reflections & activities will be conducted through Advisory groups. These reflections and activities will replace our traditional final exam period. Seniors will complete these tasks by June 5th. Details on what these activities will look like coming soon!

Graduation/Final Senior Activities

A group headed by Jenny Mayher has been formed to design the activities that will make up the closing activities for the Class of 2020. This small group of teachers and administrators will work with an advisory council of students and parents from the class of 2020 to find ways to celebrate and commemorate this graduation.

Canvas Usage

Teachers will continue to use Canvas as the primary method of sharing assignments, grading work and communicating with students. Canvas Conferences and GoogleHangouts will be used for optional live sessions and one-on-one tutoring.

Every staff member is expected to post a weekly Canvas module. This module will include the following:

  • An agenda for the week that lists the weekly expectations. This agenda should appear as an assignment or discussion with a due date. Students should submit that they have seen this on the day that it is assigned – this often counts as a participation grade for the students.
  • 3-4 separate assignments, each of which has a due date one week from when it was assigned.
  • Each assignment should also appear on your calendar view.
  • Long assignments should be broken into weekly chunks with separate assignment dates

A full selection of screencasts and instructions for Canvas for both parents and students can be found here.

Please contact Stephanie Cheney cheney@lincolnacademy.org if you are having difficulties using or accessing Canvas.

If you have questions about academic work, please contact Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Kelley Duffy, duffy@lincolnacademy.org.

Late/Missing Work

Teachers at Lincoln Academy understand that a variety of circumstances (time zones, shared devices, work, power outages etc) may make it difficult to adhere to a fixed timeline during Virtual Learning. Teachers will enter zeros for missing work as this helps provide everyone with a clear picture of work submitted, HOWEVER, students may submit late work and have those zeros replaced with a new grade. Students should communicate with teachers if they fall behind. Teachers will be happy to help students prioritize work and catch up!

Attendance/Engagement

Attendance does not mean the same thing in the virtual world, however engagement is key to success. Teachers will track student engagement in several ways:

  • Responding to weekly agendas (often a participation grade)
  • Submitting weekly assignments
  • Connecting with the teacher through email/Canvas messages or participating in optional live sessions

Teachers inform our Student Support Team (SST) weekly regarding students who have had low engagement and the Student Support Team works to connect with students and helps them re-engage in virtual learning.

Advisor

Advisor groups are still an important part of the Lincoln Academy experience – even during virtual learning. Advisors will check in with advisees weekly through email or group video chats. Advisors will continue to check advisee grades and will continue to serve as a front line resource for parents and students.

Office Hours

Office Hours occur twice a week on Tuesday and Friday afternoons. Teachers are available for the following activities during these times:

  • One-on-one video conferencing, phone calls or emails with struggling students
  • Video chat, phone calls and/or emails with advisees

Students and parents should reach out to teachers to set up time to talk during Office Hours if they are struggling with any aspect of Virtual Learning.

Trimester 3 Grading Protocols

Virtual Learning creates new challenges for assessment. Several goals were weighed when trying to determine how to grade in this situation:

  • Building a system that is fair to students who are significantly disadvantaged by virtual learning.
  • Building a system that continues to motivate and reward students for their effort in this difficult time.
  • Ensuring that the grading system provides information of value to students, parents, teachers, and colleges

During Trimester 3, teachers should grade and assess using traditional practices and departmental guidelines. However, final trimester grades will appear differently this trimester to reflect the unusual circumstances that students and teachers are working under.

  1. All 3rd Trimester classes will be graded Pass/No Credit. A student may petition to reveal their passing grade if desired. The only students who should do this are students who have done markedly better in T3 than their T1/T2 average, or who have excelled in a trimester elective.
  2. In year-long courses
    1. Students who were passing for the year and receive a “Pass” in 3rd Trimester will receive credit
    2. Students who were passing for the year and receive “No Credit” or students who were failing for the year and pass in T3 will be reviewed to determine if they can receive credit for the year.
    3. T3 grades will not be averaged in Class Rank and GPA numbers for 2020. Guidance will append a note to transcripts explaining the calculation of these numbers.
  1. Regarding 3rd Trimester Elective courses
    1. Students will be allowed to retake any T3 Elective course that they wish to repeat in a subsequent year (ex: Acting – b/c they didn’t obtain the experience they hoped)

June 1-12

Trimester 3 instruction will end on May 22 although students will be able to submit work through May 29th. Students will spend June working with their advisor on a culminating reflection activity. These activities will take the place of final exams. Each grade level will have slightly different reflection activities. The details of these culminating activities are still being hammered out by a small group of Department Heads. Details will be shared soon.

Food deliveries and weekly pick up at the Student Union will remain in place for the rest of the school year!