Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Rivercrest Virtual Academy Curriculum

We have had tremendous interest in the Rivercrest Virtual Academy. In previous messaging, I have discussed the students' (and parents') commitment that is going to be required in order to be successful in this off site curriculum. This learning platform requires good time management skills, computer literacy, and self- motivation. Learning online can be very different from learning in the classroom!

An orientation schedule will be published soon for parents and students. In those sessions, we will provide guidance on using the district-provided technology. We will share resources about the Lincoln Learning courses that students will be completing. It is very important to understand - these classes require students to submit their assignments for grades each week. Students MUST do their work in order to receive grades. This requires active engagement with the online curriculum. Parent support and guidance will be key. 

For a sneak peek at the Lincoln Learning Curriculum and Buzz Learning Management System (LMS), please preview the Lincoln Learning videos below:




Other Student Tutorials can be found HERE

Student report card grades will be based upon assignment completion and submission. On a side note - students planning to participate in athletics and other school activities will be responsible for their own transportation to school. We are happy to offer this learning opportunity, but we want everyone to fully understand the commitment that is being made!


Friday, July 17, 2020

Rivercrest Virtual Academy - Update

The Rivercrest School District is pleased to be able offer a virtual option for our students for the upcoming school year. We have had a great deal of interest in this option, and we are continuing to learn more details about the Lincoln Learning curriculum that will be utilized. In order for interested families to make informed decisions about the Rivercrest Virtual Academy, we are extending the application deadline to July 23, 2020. 

To provide a bit more clarity about the Virtual Academy, please consider the following points. 
  • This is a commitment for both the student and parent. This is a rigorous curriculum that will require students to be diligent in their school work habits. Students should be self-motivated, independent learners. They should be computer literate. They should be able to manage their time well in order to work through the demands of the online curriculum. Younger students will need a great deal of guidance and support from the parent/guardian.
  • Each course has 180 lessons. These lessons will be broken down by quarter. Students will have the flexibility regarding lesson completion, but adequate weekly progress will be required. A pacing guide will be provided. As a general guide, the first quarter has 41 days. The second quarter has 40 days. Lesson times vary by subject. I do not know exact lesson times for all areas at this point. I am "guesstimating" that a lesson can be completed in 15-20 minutes. Keep in mind your student will have lessons in all content areas (English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, electives). 
  • Homes should be equipped with a stable internet service.  The district will not provide hot spots or other internet devices. The district is working to identify community hot spots where students could go for access. We are also working with internet providers for affordable services for parents to purchase.
  • Chromebooks will be provided for each student.

  • Please review the Lincoln Learning curriculum. Student tutorials can be viewed at this link.

  • The district will establish each student's schedule and determine the courses that are assigned.

  • Students will be responsible for completing all assignments and submitting them for grading.

  • Grades will be taken as if the student were in a traditional learning environment.

  • A Rivercrest teacher will monitor student progress weekly through a Google Meet.

  • High school students will be able to take Virtual Arkansas courses. Testing may occur on-site.

  • High school students will be able to take ANC courses by providing their own transportation.

  • Students will be able to participate in AAA activities/events by providing their own transportation to return to campus for those scheduled periods.

  • Meals will not be delivered. A pick-up point & schedule will be identified for meal pick-up.

I understand this is a big decision. An orientation session will be scheduled for parents and students
who make the decision to participate in this option. If you have already completed the application, we have
your information on file and will be in touch. If you change your mind about participation, please send
me an email to let me know. sally.bennett@smccolts.com

As situations change and we learn more, we will continue to provide updates.

Links:

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Breaking News

Today (July 9, 2020) Governor Asa Hutchinson announced a change regarding the start of the 2020-2021 school year for students. Students cannot start school BEFORE August 24th nor any later than August 26th. 

This impacts the previously announced August 13th start date. I anticipate that students in the Rivercrest School District will now begin school on August 24th. 

Once a new calendar is developed and finalized, that calendar information will be shared.

Thank you for your continued support in this every changing environment!

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Back to School Enrollment

I'm starting to get excited about the start of the 2020-2021 school year! It's been TOO long since students  and teachers were in the building. Schools weren't built to be empty for long periods of time, and I am eager to see everyone back on campus. 

Back to school preparations are well underway. The floors are waxed and polished. Classrooms are being set up with social distancing considerations in mind. Hand sanitizing stations are being set, and physical distancing/directional markings are being placed in hallways. Breakfasts will be served in classrooms, and lunches will be served in the cafeterias with staggered schedules based on spacing guidance. Entrances will be marked for different groups to safely enter our buildings. Water fountain retrofit plans include water bottle filling stations for the water bottles students will be asked to bring to school. These basic accommodations should contribute to the safety of both students and staff. 

Other improvements are being made. The driveway entrances are being upgraded with brick columns and swing arm gates. This will allow us to secure the campus without blocking the drives with school busses! I think that is a great improvement. The high school campus will have a brand new intercom/bell system when school starts, and this should help with communication between buildings. Our EAST program is another welcome addition at the high school. The room has been rewired, repainted, and is ready for the high tech equipment that provides for community-based service learning projects for students to tackle. I am excited about this unique learning environment for our students. The baseball/softball field work should be completed soon, and we have other improvements to that area on the drawing board. Lastly, we are in the process of installing a solar farm.This will help offset energy costs for the district. These projects have been exciting undertakings, and I know our students will appreciate the improvements.

As excited as I am to welcome all of our students back to campus, I understand that some concerns remain for some families about sending their student to school. We want to keep all of our students as part of our Colt family. The Rivercrest Virtual Academy is available. Using this option, you are still part of the district - you are simply learning at home with the strong support and guidance of parents. The Rivercrest Virtual School Application is linked HERE.  Applications will be accepted through July 17th. More information about the virtual school option can be found at this link HERE.  Regardless of the learning option selected, the Rivercrest faculty and staff are ready and eager to provide the best learning environment possible. 


Monday, June 29, 2020

FAQs

Rivercrest Reopening - Frequently Asked Questions

The Rivercrest Reopening committee is continuing to refine what school will look like on August 13th. We are excited to put together learning plans that will meet the needs of all our students - whether our students are on campus in our traditional/blended learning option or if the virtual learning option is selected. We still don't have all the answers, but we are trying to address questions as they are presented. 

A Frequently Asked Question document (FAQ) has been developed. We will do our best to keep this updated as more questions are asked. Please check back frequently for updates. 

We are still in a very fluid environment. Our guidelines continue to change, and we are working to be responsive to those changes. Educators have always been noted for their ability to "monitor and adjust." This has never been more true than it is now. 

We ask for patience, grace, and understanding as we continue to meet the daily challenges that we must face. Thank you for your continued support!

Friday, June 19, 2020

Rivercrest Ready Overview

  • Ready to return to school?
  • Ready to see friends?
  • Ready for sports programs to return?
I know that we are all ready to return to whatever the new normal is going to be. We continue to refine, review, and re-imagine what education will look like when we return to school beginning August 13th. Districts throughout Arkansas are charged with developing re-entry plans. Those plans are "works in progress" and will continue to evolve as our situations change. We hope the information that we are sharing in this overview helps answer many of the questions you may have about re-opening in August. Please keep in mind that as situations change, plans will change.

Our goal is to provide as safe an environment as possible.  We plan to provide for the full educational experience which will include opportunities for social interaction as well as extra-curricular activities. Please be assured we will adhere to guidelines provided by the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) and the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

The Rivercrest Ready for Learning Guiding Coalition has devoted countless hours problem-solving. We have dedicated time to research, to study, and to develop a re-entry plan that meets all state requirements while serving our students well. We now need the perspective of our families! We know your view of education may be slightly different, and we want to hear from you.


I am interested in parent/community/stakeholder input into our plan development. Though we have state requirements that must be in our plan, I want to address the concerns and needs of our local communities. I hope you will submit your questions, concerns, and offer suggestions on the form that is provided in the PRELIMINARY OVERVIEW that is linked here

Your feedback is important. Though individual responses will not be provided, the collective responses will guide our planning. The detailed plan will be published on the district web site by mid-July. Even at that point, the plan will remain flexible in order to address changing situations.

Thank you for your support as we continue to navigate through this very fluid educational environment. 

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Rivercrest Ready

We know that everyone is anxious about what the fall may bring. We are working diligently on our Rivercrest Ready re-entry plan for the 2020-2021 school year. As guidance is provided from the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Governor of Arkansas, we will use that information to inform our planning. Margaret Mead (in 1994) stated, "We are now at a point where we must educate our children in what no one knew yesterday, and prepare our schools for what no one knows yet."  Secretary of Education recently shared that quote, and I think it is very appropriate to where we find ourselves in education in 2020.  

We are beginning to see a slight return to our new "normal." We are pleased to implement Phase I of the return of team sports. During this initial phase, a number of restrictions are in place. Student participation is strictly voluntary. We will follow all guidance and directives, and we will begin with senior high athletes only. Junior high students will follow after our first week of implementation if everything runs as planned. All coaches and students will be screened each day, facial coverings will be required as directed, physical distancing will be enforced, and disinfecting procedures will be followed. The Arkansas Activities Association specific  guidance can be read at this link

A new future awaits our Rivercrest learning community. We are unclear exactly what that future will hold at this time. As we reorient ourselves to a future view, we will strive to recalibrate education based upon lessons learned. We will continue our focus to reconnect and renew our relationships with our students. We are currently exploring a number of options for the upcoming school year. Our number one option is a "normal" routine to school, following whatever the guidance is regarding social distancing, facial coverings, etc. Blended learning options are being explored, and we will be prepared for both technology-based and face-to-face approaches. We have purchased devices (computers) for every enrolled student in grades K - 12 to have an age appropriate device for off-site instruction should that be needed.  We are working with Internet providers to make affordable access available for families' home use. The state is providing online learning options that the district may utilize. These online resources will also allow us to offer off-site instruction/virtual academy-type learning experiences for families to select. We are working out the details of this option, and more information will be available in the near future. Our teachers are participating in professional development this summer to become better equipped to manage the anticipated instructional changes. As Albert Einstein said, "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." We are looking at new ways for teaching and learning to occur in this current environment. 

Please be assured that student safety is our number one concern. We want to return to school - as quickly and as safely as possible. Thank you for your continued support.