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GVSD April 13 Update

APRIL 13 - An Update from Our Superintendent
Posted on 04/13/2020
april-13-2020-garnet-valley-school-district-update

Good Morning,

I hope everyone is doing okay and staying healthy. Even though we've had a few days to digest the news that schools will not open this academic year, if you’re like me, it’s still hard to believe. Nevertheless, one of the few positive outcomes of the decision is that we can now start long-term planning for the remainder of the virtual learning school year. Over the next few weeks, we will provide a revised instructional calendar with specific dates for the end of the school year for seniors and underclassmen, graduation plans, course selection information, details about how and when we will open schools for faculty, staff, and students to retrieve their personal items, and a multitude of other issues that I know are important to all members of our school community. As you know many of our plans have to comply with health regulations and directives from the Governor, so I ask for your patience and cooperation in advance.

For this week, I wanted to share information on the results of the parent survey as we continue to refine our virtual learning implementation. Also, I’ve included this week’s instructional calendar, the updated parent FAQs, and a reminder about the GV-CTC and Mini-Thon donations.

Results of the Parent Survey

Thank you to the approximately 800 parents who responded to last week’s survey. I realize that the last thing parents need right now is to spend more time online, but please know that we not only appreciate your efforts, but also your feedback, which is a vital component in assessing our virtual learning program. Along with parents, we have surveyed our teachers and will soon send out a high school student survey–please encourage your children to take it! It’s important to remember that we are just two weeks into of our new delivery model, so making adjustments based on the feedback of teachers, students, and parents is paramount!

The first aspect of the survey that we observed was that respondents were spread nicely amongst the grade levels. This spread gives us a great holistic perspective of parents’ perceptions.

One of our greatest concerns moving to an online delivery model was workload. 65% of our parents felt that what was assigned was “just right” while 24% felt it was too much. 11% of parents thought that there was not enough work assigned. 84 respondents chose the other option and provided a range of comments that our team has gone through to get more nuanced information.

Like workload, we were also concerned with how the learning was paced for our students. Thus far 77% of the parents felt that the pacing of the work was “manageable.” 14% that it was paced too quickly while 5% thought it was paced too slowly. As was the case in the workload questions, some parents–approximately 55–chose the “other” option to provide written feedback.

Overall, we were pleased with the results of the survey, but we understand that we will need to adjust and improve on an ongoing basis. For example, parents saw communication, the organization of assignments, and the clarity of directions for assignments as overall strengths, but within the positive feedback there are definitely areas of growth that we are sharing with our administrators and teachers. These areas included parents' frustration with Seesaw and Schoology. They feel that it should be easier to navigate and more reliable. Another area of critical feedback was that parents want their students' virtual learning to include more "live" classes through Zoom.

Anecdotally, we know that parents are feeling a great deal of pressure and anxiety overseeing their children’s learning. This feeling is especially pervasive at the elementary level as children have less independence with their learning and require more supervision as they access technology. Perhaps most important for all of us is the social isolation of our children. Although I don’t think anyone has a great solution for this issue, our teachers continue to brainstorm and create ways to connect students virtually so that they can interact with their friends and teachers.

Again, we will take all of this feedback and make adjustments, refine our delivery methods, and create a virtual learning program that aligns with students' needs.

Instructional Calendar

As I stated in previous messages, we will continue to provide “breaks” in the calendar so that students can regroup, catch-up, and adjust to fully online learning. It will also be an opportunity for our teachers to plan and participate in professional learning. I will send the remainder of April’s calendar either later this week or early next week. We do plan to maintain Fridays as an embedded professional learning and planning day for teachers and a catch up day for students.

Mon 4/13 Tues 4/14 Wed 4/15 Thurs 4/16 Fri 4/17

Online Learning Online Learning Online Learning Online Learning Inservice Day

FAQs for Parents and Student

We continue to update information for parents and students. Perhaps the best resource to utilize when you have questions is our FAQ document. You can access it by clicking here

Mini-Thon and GV-CTC

Through the efforts of our amazing school community, the GV-CTC has raised over $18,500. As the closures continue, more and more of our families will need our support, so we still need donations. If you would like to participate, we ask that you use the GVCTC Venmo account: @GVCTC. If you are asked, the 4 digit code is 3706. Jennifer Tront, GV-CTC Treasurer, owns the account, so you will see her name appear. If you know anyone in our community who needs assistance, please have them complete this updated link (Food Services Assistance) and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

I would like to share this message from GVHS Madelynn Lederer:

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to Mini-THON. Your donations ensure that families with a child battling pediatric cancer at Penn State Children's Hospital never see a bill for their child's treatment. Please click here to donate, and thank you for your support! Please click on their names and take two minutes to watch these videos from two of our seniors, Kristin Deaver and Vikas Rana, who will explain more about why your support is important.

Have a great week!

Dr. Marc Bertrando, Superintendent

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