We are entering a period of crisis for our local community and our nation. Many families are experiencing financial hardships with loss of income, struggles related to the balance of working from home and childcare, the feelings of isolation from friends and other loved ones, learning new routines and new normals for our children, and struggles related to technology as an entire family attempts to access digital content simultaneously. As the cases of COVID-19 continue to grow in Shelby County (223 as of today) more and more families will also be struggling with the illness itself.
Germantown Municipal Schools hope our families understand, as your public school system, our mission is to provide equitable opportunities for all students. There are students in varying situations of home-support and supervision; parents, neighbors, older siblings, and grandparents. We are working with our teachers to provide educational opportunities while exploring flexible solutions to reduce additional hardships on families. Virtual education, by nature, presents many barriers for our diverse student population. Even in times of non-crisis, GMSD is beholden and committed to the education of all children in all circumstances while following other state and federal guidelines. In the coming weeks, our staff will continue to follow guidelines while delivering multiple activities and resources.
Updates are coming from the Tennessee Department of Education
Guidance issued this week includes:
"Considerations for learning activities that are based upon content and skills already experienced by students will be most appropriate at this time, given the anxiousness that many students and adults are facing."
Questions about ensuring equitable access and academic growth during school closures:
Will the school year be extended? Is it possible that students will go to school over the summer?
Per the Commissioner of Education, Penny Schwinn, the school year will not be extended. The State of Tennessee has issued a blanket waiver to the 180-day requirement for public schools.
What will happen to students who are on-track to graduate in May? What is being done for students who are not on-track to graduate? What is being decided around credits and grade point averages?
The district will be updating families as information becomes available to us. The Tennessee State Board of Education Meeting on April 9th from 2 pm- 4 pm will cover the topics of graduation, credits, and other temporary policy changes. Follow this link to listen to the meeting.
Listen to the TN School Board Meeting
Will the district be issuing devices to elementary school students?
The District is working to provide equal learning opportunities for all students but is also committed to the health and safety of our students and staff. As our team begins to evaluate the feasibility and safety concerns surrounding a device distribution, we need to understand the magnitude and type of need in our community. We are asking parents who may not have access to devices or concerns about internet access to complete this survey.
Family Device & Internet Access Survey
How will I receive my child’s Quarter 3 Report Card?
Teachers are working with students and families to collect any makeup work and have until the end of the day, Friday, March 27th, to input all Quarter 3 grades. Quarter 3 Report Cards will be available beginning April 8th through our Skyward Family Access Portal. Directions on how to access that report card can be found here.
How to Access Student Report Cards
Recapping this week’s Virtual Academy for Parents & Caregivers
How does a parent login to Schoology?
To log in to Schoology, go to http://app.schoology.com and enter the email address you have associated with Skyward Family Access. The first time you log in, you will need to reset your password by clicking the “forgot your password” link.
What do I need to do to prepare my child’s devices for Google Hangouts?
For GMSD-issued devices: This week, the app has been remotely installed on all student iPad devices. Student laptop users (both Chromebooks and MacBooks) should use their Google Chrome browser to access the Google Hangouts link provided by their teacher.
For non-GMSD devices: Smartphone or tablet users need to download the app Google Hangouts Meet for IOS or Android. Computer users need to download the Google Chrome browser which is the most compatible with Google Hangouts.
For those still having trouble accessing any of our online features or programs, please contact your school-based curriculum technology support person or media specialist:
Dogwood Elementary: [email protected] & [email protected]
Farmington Elementary: [email protected] & [email protected]
Forest Hill Elementary: [email protected] & [email protected]
Riverdale K-8: [email protected] & [email protected]
Houston Middle: [email protected] & [email protected]
Houston High: [email protected] & [email protected]
For device repairs or general technology questions, please contact [email protected].
To view “Schoology and Google Hangouts 101” or any future recordings of our Virtual Academy for Parents & Caregivers, please visit our bit.ly/GMSDatHOME webpage.
What topics will our next Virtual Academy for Parents & Caregivers cover?
Members of our Teaching, Learning and Assessment Team will host a session Modifying a GMSD Suggested Learning Routine to Work for Your Family
School counselors will be posting a video session for parents & caregivers. Join Denise Fisher and Dan Haddow for Screen Time: A Helpful balance.
What can families expect next week?
During the week of March 30th - April 3rd, here’s what families can expect throughout the week:
- The GMSDatHOME website will include access to these new resources:
- GMSD Teacher-Created “Choice Boards” for grades K-5
- Suggested home learning routines for grades K-8
- myOn through Accelerated reader which provides access to 35,000 book titles for grades K-8
- Students may begin to engage in teacher-created live session learning opportunities via Google Hangouts or be provided with activities in Schoology
- Staff will continue responding to student, parent, staff emails and/or calls
- Teachers will be announcing open work-from-home office hours for helping students
- Staff will be conducting virtual IEP meetings
- Teachers will not be taking or posting grades
Does your family need any help?
Our school counselors and social workers are compiling social resources to assist families who need assistance in leveraging financial resources, information about unemployment, internet access, mental and physical health support, and many other social services.
Parent Resources for Assistance
Our staff is here for you. If you have any questions, please contact [email protected].
Please continue to submit your questions via email to [email protected]