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Preliminary Opening of School 2020-21 Frequently Asked Questions

Preliminary Information About Morehead Plans for 2020-21 School Year

In partnership with district and parent leadership, we are reaching out to provide additional updates on the opening of school. We know everyone has many questions. We wish we had all the answers! We know many of you are trying to make the right decision based on the health and safety of your children. A great deal of uncertainty does not make those decisions very easy.

There has been some hesitancy to put out too many specific details because things are ever-changing, often daily and sometimes by the hour; however, there is an understanding of the need and desire for parents to make informed decisions. We are happy to share what we know right now.

Now that we are operating under Plan C (remote learning), it is important to understand that we are still working on the logistics of the daily routines, systems, and structures. What is planned today may not be true tomorrow, much less in a couple of weeks.  We are also concurrently planning for Morehead’s physical space (should we go to Plan B after the 1st 9 weeks).

Below are Frequently Asked Questions and tentative answers. Please remember that this information is what is known right here and now and can change at any time. We will continue to provide you with updates and new information as it becomes available. 

We are on this journey together and decisions are being made with the health and safety of our children in mind. We all want what is best for our students and children. The ideal is to have our traditional opening of school where we can learn together under one roof as a united community. Unfortunately, we know that will not be the case, at least for the start of the school year. Please continue to reach out with your questions and concerns to cynthia_webb@dpsnc.net. Frequently Asked Questions with tentative answers will be added to this document weekly.

 

FAQ

When does school start? 

The first day of school for Durham Public Schools Plan C is August 17, 2020.  

How many students will be in each classroom? 

The number of students assigned to a classroom for the 2020-21 school year is 18 students for grades PK-3 (according to House Bill 90). Should DPS revert to  Plan B, the number of students in each classroom will vary and be determined by the square footage of each room.

Who will be teaching my child? 

During Plan C, Morehead students will be taught by their assigned classroom teacher. Class lists will be released no later than August 7th.

Will Morehead still be teaching in a Montessori style? 

Some things about remote learning will likely mean Morehead will look a little "less Montessori" than usual during the first 9 weeks. We are working to deliberately  include as much Montessori focus and methods as possible. 

Will we be in the Morehead building? 

Morehead will have limited personnel in the building. Morehead’s building will remain closed to the public.

Will the students still receive specials such as Art, Music, PE, and Media? 

Yes, students will still receive instructional support from their specials teachers. More details are forth coming.

How will EC, AIG, and ESL services be provided to students?  

We are being creative with new classroom assignments for students going to 1st and 4th grade to ensure that our students will receive the services they need from specialized instructors in the most efficient way possible, while taking into consideration all other aspects of classroom placement. More details will be shared.

Will each student be assigned their own device? 

Yes, DPS has gone 1:1 with devices and every K-5 student will be assigned a Chromebook that they will use at home. Communication for device pick up is forthcoming.

Is there a remote option for PreK?  

Montessori Primary Years (Pre-K & Kindergarten) instruction will be provided to students by their Morehead classroom teacher.  Reminder: All PK and new families to DPS need to complete the online enrollment process to secure their seats at Morehead. New families who do not enroll students before the deadline will lose their seat.

What can I expect from remote learning this fall compared to the spring? 

When we went to remote learning in March it was a very sudden and unexpected change and we were building the bus as we drove it. We were not teaching new content and not all students had devices. Now that DPS has made the shift to 1:1 allocation of devices for students, each K-5 student will have a device and wireless hot spots to access remote learning. Not only will teachers be introducing new content, they can progress monitor growth, create formative assessments, and conduct more small group sessions than in the spring. 

What if our child will not stay in front of the screen during the lesson?

The first contact can be to reach out to your child’s teacher to express your concerns and work as a team to resolve any issues. DPS is currently working on flexible options for families for asynchonous learning

When will class lists be released?

Class lists will be released no later than August 7th. If the timeline can be amended, we will communicate to the community. Creation of classes is based upon student educational needs as well as ensuring the social emotional make-up of the class. All of these characteristics for class creation are framed in the research for student development.

What will the daily school schedule be? (in other words, will it be 9:15-3:45)?

Grade level teams are meeting to discuss and maximize remote learning options. We understand this is important to families and are working hard to get this information to families as soon as possible.

Do you have any idea what the hours will be like?

Hours/Schedules have not been determined yet. More information will be forthcoming.

Will classes across the same level (ie Primary, LE, UE) have the same work?  Will the schedules be synced?  

More details on Morehead’s schedule are coming soon.

Will the expectations for teachers be the same across levels in terms of in-person meeting times and workload?

Teachers will receive guidelines on baseline expectations for lessons, schedules, office hours, etc. DPS has curriculum pacing guides for each grade level as well as curriculum maps for teachers to follow each quarter. Furthermore, grade level teachers plan together in professional learning communities (PLCs) according to local curriculum maps and pacing. PLC planning is important in looking at the pacing guides and curriculum maps through a Montessori lens.

What can we do to support teachers?

Please continue to be patient. 

Communicate with teachers directly when you have questions or concerns. 

Utilize teacher office hours. Office hours will be published when the master schedule is confirmed and released.

Keep address, phone numbers, emergency contacts, and emails up to date.

When will families receive updates?

Morehead updates by Principal Webb typically occur each Sunday via robo call and email. Mid-week updates are shared as they arise.

Will remote learning start on August 17 or August 24?

The first day of school for remote learning will be August 17th.

What do you think the chance is that Morehead is really going to reopen?

Face to face learning depends on COVID-19 trends. Student and staff health and safety are priorities. 

Can the school help facilitate the setting up of learning pods, tutors, and/or connecting people who might want a tutor but can't afford it to other families who could help share the cost? 

Teachers will follow district pacing guides and curriculum maps aligned as tightly as possible with Montessori standards when creating lesson plans. Due to teacher contract/conflict of interest, confidentiality, equity, and liability concerns Morehead staff are not in a position to set up or facilitate pods at this time. 

Will we have an Open House in person to meet teachers?

A Virtual Open House is being planned for August 13th. Details are forthcoming. 

Can any sort of in-person gatherings (outside) happen under Plan C?

There are no in person gatherings allowed on campus at this time due to health and safety concerns during the pandemic.

Will students be in the same classroom as they were last year if they are not moving up a level? For example, will Kindergarten students be assigned to their same Pre-K teacher?.  

Students who were enrolled at Morehead during the 2019-20 school year will remain with their assigned teachers unless moving up to Lower or Upper El.

Will we be expected to turn in assignments or homework through some sort of internet portal?

The district’s online platform will be Canvas. Assignments will be uploaded and posted there. We will provide more information at a later time.

Often peers are pretty motivating, but my child may not be surrounded by peers during this process. What are the teachers' thoughts on how teachers and parents can manage children who are resisting parts of remote learning?

It would be good for parents to make school a normal part of the student's daily routine. Setting expectations for routines is developmentally appropriate and will support a smooth transition to learning when we return. Additionally, high expectations at home for engagement in learning will minimize academic gaps.

Yes, peers are a motivator and during lessons there will be opportunities for the students to interact with each other. Teachers will work hard to make lessons interesting and engaging for the students so that they will want to willingly participate and engage with the teachers and their peers during group times.

Can you give us an idea of what a typical day will be like?

Schedules are in the process of being developed. More details to come.

For those of us who don't necessarily have the same work situation as we did in the spring.what should we tell any help we look to hire? 

Creating as much consistency as possible is important. There will be a schedule as to when students will be required to be active in class with peers and the teachers. There will also be recorded lessons and assignments to complete independently. Students may need help getting online and have daily materials ready prior to the class meeting. They may also need assistance completing individual assignments/homework. We are still in the planning stages therefore all formats and schedules are not completely set yet . We will be communicating more with you all as we get more guidelines and information as to how the daily operations will take place.More information is forthcoming.

We have multiple kids distance learning in the same home, will we get headphones? Or can you recommend any types?

Headphones were not on the device distribution list. We can consult with our IT department to determine if there are any recommendations. Some teachers have recommended over the ear headphones for younger students while older students may prefer earbuds. It depends on what is affordable and comfortable for your child.

Who can we contact if we are having trouble with Powerschool (login, changes, enrollment, etc.)?

Please call the school at 919-560-3954 or email Ms. Evans at karen_evans@dpsnc.net.

 

 

Important Links:

Durham Public Schools: https://www.dpsnc.net

Morehead PTA: http://moreheadpta.org/

Morehead Web Page: https://www.dpsnc.net/morehead

DPS Before and After-School Programs. https://www.dpsnc.net/domain/86

July 9 DPS Town Hall Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?fbclid=IwAR1V8mjSi6gW1jTVJgHDcxOjPw5yIibyZS5bszlGlgBxGpWZn-alcYmVu88&v=dvw1MbVwMSY

Ignite Academy FAQ: https://ignite.dpsnc.net/learn-apply-to-ignite

NC Public Health Toolkit: https://files.nc.gov/covid/documents/guidance/Strong-Schools-NC-Public-Health-Toolkit.pdf

DPS New Families Enrollment: https://www.dpsnc.net/domain/141