Principal's Newsletter

Welcome to the Wood Oaks Newsletter.  This is my primary means of disseminating information to families, so please check back often.  I generally update this page once a week, usually on Fridays, but will occasionally put out a mid-week issue if there is information to share that cannot wait for the weekend.  To subscribe to this newsletter, click on the orange bell below, click on the newsletter, and fill out the pop-up form.

Newsletter Issue 9.25.20

Technology Resources Clarification (First Posting)

I have heard of some confusion in regards to finding information online about children’s classes.  I am going to try to break it down for you on a basic level.  As tech questions arise, always remember that there is a plethora of resources available to you at all times on the D27 Technology Resource website. There are step-by-step videos and information sheets on all of our resources, along with a Tech Support Form you can use to access human support during normal working hours.

  • Infinite Campus Parent Portal – This is the program that we use for scheduling, attendance, and grades.  If you have questions about a student grade on an assignment, this is where you should look.  There is some confusion as Canvas will show a grade for work that is submitted through that program, but that grade is not always the final grade.  Any grade you see in Infinite Campus is an actual grade that is being used to calculate a student’s overall grade. (Parent Portal App Instructions)
  • Canvas – Canvas has always been used as a way for teachers to share course information with students and parents.  This year, it is also where we are storing our Zoom links and agendas for easy access by our remote learners.  We have made a concerted effort to standardize teacher Canvas pages this year.  Apparently, the views change quite a bit when accessing a page on a computer vs. a smartphone.  I would recommend finding the tool that works best for you and sticking with that.  The key point we have tried to share is to access all course information through the calendar function in the agenda view. By doing this, you will see the Zoom links and agendas for courses in chronological order across the day.  Daily homework is posted with a due date of 11:59 pm.  We do this to keep the assignment on the day it was assigned, so parents can see what a child should be working on for homework.  In 99% of cases, that assignment is not due at midnight, but in class the next day.  Teachers will be clear if that is a hard deadline, but it is meant to be a way to keep it on that day.  For long-term assignments, teachers will post an assignment that states that students should “continue working on _____” on the days between assignment and due date.  If a teacher has a student submit an assignment electronically in Canvas, and they submit it before class, but after that 11:59 pm deadline, Canvas will attach a “late” tag to it.  Unless the teacher has made a separate deadline (rare), that assignment is not truly late.  If you go into Infinite Campus (remember from above, these are the actual grades) you will see that there is no “late” tag on the assignment there.  (Canvas Overview Video / Canvas Parent App Video)

We sincerely wish we could accomplish all we needed to accomplish with these two platforms by just using one of them and alleviate some of this confusion.  Unfortunately, neither one of them is strong enough in the other area to do both.   So, we have both of them.  If you have assignment specific questions, the classroom teacher is always your best resource.  If you reach out to them via email, you will get clarity from them as soon as they are able.  For more general questions, try the tech resource page linked above.   

All D27 Schools Closed (Only Posting)

All District 27 schools will be closed for a District Holiday on Monday, September 28.  Schools will reopen under normal school hours for a B day on Tuesday, September 29.

Custodian Appreciation Day (Only Posting)

Next Friday is National Custodian Appreciation Day.  This year has been unlike any other year for pretty much everyone involved in pulling off in-person teaching and learning.  That may be more true for our amazing custodial staff than possibly any other group.  After a summer of moving almost every piece of furniture in the building and doing the normal summer cleaning/refreshing, they spend hours each day wiping down all door handles, railings, and other surfaces.  This is on top of all of their standard duties and responsibilities. Then, at night, they do a complete disinfecting of all classroom and office spaces.  I know you all join me in thanking our building chief, Mr. Tim Schachte, his assistant, Mr. Marcus Dubose, and the other seven members of our day and night custodial teams. They are all truly amazing!

Tips for Working Remotely (Second Posting) 

Children learning from home while teachers instruct from school is a new concept for everyone.  It is essential to a child’s success that parents and teachers work collaboratively to help them during these brand-new times. It is also important to remember that children have not yet developed all of the executive functioning skills needed to manage the tasks that teachers would typically assist with at school. We will all be working on these concepts throughout the school year to help children with organizational strategies, work habits, and managing school during these unprecedented times. We continue to learn and grow together, and I wanted to share a few tips that parents might find helpful. 

  • Dedicate a space for your child to work when they are home. Open spaces in view of adults is ideal, when possible, so that a quick glance or reminder can be provided if and when necessary.  
  • Find a place to post the student’s schedule for the day in clear view.
  • Set out supplies like notebooks, pencils, computer, etc. in the sequence of the child’s daily schedule so that he/she knows what’s needed as the day progresses.
  • We would prefer that cameras remain on during instruction, unless the teacher directs the child to turn it off or if the child asks permission. This allows the teacher to monitor from school and engage with the child as needed. We understand that some students may be uncomfortable with having their camera on.  If that is the case, please have your child reach out to the teacher to explain.  Most students should have their cameras on for the duration of the lesson.
  • If you are a home that has multiple children/adults working remotely, it’s OK for the child to use headphones to login to the classroom. 
  • If multiple Wildcats are working from the same home, they should each have their own dedicated space.  Teachers are reporting that they are observing small groups of friends logging in from one home.  If this is arranged in order to streamline child care needs, please find ways for them to each have their own space. 

Understandably, every household is different with some parents working remotely, children having varied degrees of support, multiple children working remotely at home at the same time, etc.  We will continue to work through ways to assist families during what is becoming our new normal. 

Fall Parent Teacher Conferences (Second Posting)

Fall Parent/Teacher Conferences will be held at the following times:

  • Wednesday, October 14, 5:00 – 8:15 pm
  • Thursday, October 15, 1:00 – 4:00 pm
  • Thursday, October 15, 5:00 – 8:15 pm
  • Friday, October 16, 8:15 – 11:30 am
  • Friday, October 16, 12:30 – 3:30 pm

Online registration for these important meetings will begin at 9 am on Tuesday, September 29 and is open through 4 pm on Friday, October 9.  You will be receiving your login information in your email in the coming days.  These conferences will be held using Zoom. Those links will be emailed to you in the days leading up to conferences and will also be available on each teacher’s Canvas page in the Announcements section.  As you will be directed into a waiting room until the teacher admits you at your conference time, it is crucial that you are readily identifiable via Zoom.  Please ensure your screen name is either your full name or your student’s full name as listed in the parent portal.

Curriculum Night Videos (Final Posting)

Based on our video analytics, it seems that many parents have chosen to wait before viewing the Curriculum Night videos teachers posted on Monday evening.  We did decide to leave them up through the end of the month to provide some flexibility for parents to view those videos as you are able.  This is just a friendly reminder that those are still up on teacher Canvas pages.  Here again are the directions on how to find those videos, and here is the Principal’s Welcome Video.

Morning Student Drop-Off (Second Posting)

As we enter our fifth week of school our traffic routines are mostly going smoothly, and we thank all of you that are taking precautions to drive safely through our traffic lanes. With the change of entry doors for students, we are noticing that some parents are using the left lane to go around parents dropping off a student. Please stay to the right at all times for dropping off your child. During morning drop-off, the left lane is used only for our staff entering the parking area. Please be patient as it only takes a moment to wait for students exiting their car. We appreciate your assistance keeping our arrival area safe for everyone. 

Teacher Contact (Final Posting)

Please understand that teachers are directed to not be checking emails outside of school hours.  While their contract day ends at 3:35 pm, they spend many hours outside of school developing lesson plans, grading assignments, populating Canvas, and this year, setting up Zoom links.  If you or your child reach out to them in the evening, please do not expect a reply until the next day.  Our guidance of teachers is to reply to emails within 24 hours, at least with an acknowledgement of receipt and a note that the content is being evaluated.  If your child has something come up with an assignment that is due the next day, they can still email the teacher that night, informing the teacher of the issue, but should not expect a response until the following day.  Thank you for your understanding.