GMSD Distance Learning and Pandemic Updates

Parent & Family FAQ

 
 
Germantown Municipal School District COVID-19 Updates March 27, 2020
For GMSD Families 
 
 
 
 
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GMSD Families,

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.

GMSDatHOME

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]

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      Visit our website for more COVID-19 information .     

Germantown Municipal School District 3350 S. Forest Hill Irene Road, Germantown, TN 38138 | Phone: 901-752-7900 | Fax: 901-757-6479

***It is the policy of the Germantown Municipal School District to provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified persons without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, marital status, national origin, handicap/disability, sex, genetics, or age. The Germantown Municipal School District is not responsible for questionable or controversial content found through links external to this site.
© 2020. Germantown School District. All Rights Reserved.
 
 
 

 

 
Germantown Municipal School District COVID-19 Updates March 24, 2020  
 

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A Message from GMSD Superintendent Jason Manuel

 


 
Dear GMSD Families,

What has happened will most likely be the most historical moment in many of our lives. Yesterday, our teachers returned from the break to an uphill work-from-home journey--a path that will not be easy.

Both the Governor of Tennessee and the Commissioner of Education have told local districts that either Tuesday or Wednesday the state will be releasing updated recommendations on the closure of schools. The Germantown Municipal School District is following the governor's recommendation to close schools through at least April 24th. The district will keep you informed as we are notified about additional school closures.

Thank you for submitting your questions to [email protected] .  Please take the time to read through this communication in which we address some of the questions that have been submitted.
What are GMSD staff members working on this week?
Our staff came back to work yesterday. This week, as the district utilizes its stock-piled days, our staff is working hard to complete the following actions:
Staff is learning how to use Google Hangouts to communicate with our students and families.
  • Our middle and high school staff will review and use best practices in our learning management system, Schoology. Our elementary school staff will be learning how to use Schoology for the first time. The district believes that moving all students to one platform for communication and learning management is vital in the days ahead.
  • Teachers will be reaching out to students this week.
  • Staff is working around the clock to compile and post resources for each grade level and each subject. These resources can be found at bit.ly/GMSDatHOME and are currently live.
Start Exploring online resources at GMSDatHOME

  • Staff are working to create lists of essential standards that have not been taught in each grade level at each school, and creating supportive resources for both teachers and parents aligned to those standards.
  • The district is publishing daily suggested schedules to support our students as they are keeping their brains active at home.
  • Teachers and staff have also begun crafting plans to implement virtual IEP meetings. Soon, parents who have currently scheduled IEP Meetings will be receiving direct communication about rescheduling for a later date. Meetings will be held virtually through Google Hangouts and documents will be signed through DocuSign.
Is the district taking grades or collecting assignments?
At this time, the district is not collecting assignments or taking grades on any of the provided resources and activities. *Students in Advanced Placement (AP) and Dual Enrollment (DE) courses are addressed in a separate question below.

How can parents engage with the work being done this week?

  • Explore our bit.ly/GMSDatHOME website for many resources. The resources will continue to grow as teams add new overall resources, content and standard-specific resources, and social-emotional learning resources.
  • The district has purchased Accelerated Reader (AR) to be available for all students K-8. In addition to being able to take AR quizzes at home, students will have access to a digital library.
  • Our teachers will be available to families, but we understand the reality that some instructional and technological support will need to be provided at home in order for students to access this support.
  • Accordingly, just as our teachers are doing this week, we are recommending that parents, caregivers, or older siblings participate in our Learn From Home Virtual Academy.
  • All courses are hosted using Google Hangouts, which the district has provided for all staff.
Learn From Home Virtual Academy
(for Parents & Caregivers)

This week in our Learn From Home Virtual Academy, our technology staff will cover the basics of Schoology and Google Hangouts; how to log in, how to turn on your notifications, how teachers will use the platform to both stay in touch with and provide resources to our students. These tips and tricks will be useful to anyone who will be assisting your child with distance learning and are applicable to students grades K-12, including students with disabilities.

Join us LIVE online at https://meet.google.com/ohe-fnfz-vhm or join by phone at ‪+1 302-364-6761 PIN: ‪994 222 208#

Wednesday, March 25th from 10 am - 11 am
Wednesday, March 25th from 1 pm - 2 pm 
Thursday, March 26th from 4 pm - 5 pm
Thursday, March 26th from 5 pm - 6 pm
*Recordings of this session will be posted on Friday, March 27th at our bit.ly/GMSDatHOME website.

My child has left their medication/musical instrument/other essential items at school, will there be a time that students are allowed in the building to get their materials?
Germantown Municipal School District is first and foremost committed to student safety and the mitigation of community spread in Germantown. Students will be allowed to enter the building to retrieve “essential items” beginning later this week.

Guidelines for Essential Item Pick Up for Parents and Students

Essential items, at this time, might include:
  • Student Medication
    • *Please note that school nurses are calling families of students who take daily medications and making arrangements. If you are not contacted by the end of the day, Tuesday, March 24th, please reach out to your school principal via email.
  • Musical instruments
  • Supplies for Advanced Placement (AP) or Dual Enrollment (DE) coursework, or ACT study materials for 11th graders.
  • Student issued devices or chargers for devices for grades 6-12 
Non-essential items, at this time, include:
  • Library Books
  • Textbooks
  • School supplies
  • Workbooks
If you need to retrieve something that is not listed among the essential items above, please reach out to your principal via email and they will provide further guidance. Please note that we will offer future pickup opportunities, but the district has prioritized the items listed above as the immediate needs of students.  It should also be noted that these protocols as currently listed are in compliance with Germantown's Safer At Home Directive; No. 03-2020; Section 7.iii.

Essential Item Pickup will only beavailable via an online appointment.
To schedule your pickup time, please use the following links.
Essential Item Pickup safety protocols:
  • Students may bring one adult or caregiver during their pickup time.
  • No more than ten individuals at a time are allowed in the building. Those ten individuals are asked to maintain a six-foot distance at all times.
  • Each individual will only be allowed fifteen minutes in the building.
  • Individuals should not enter any classroom or office space other than their destination. This is not a social time.
  • School officials will be assisting our administrators to enforce these protocols inside the building.
  • Individuals who are feeling ill should not come to the building.
  • Visitors should wash hands prior to entering the building, as soon as they enter the building, and as they exit the building. Have hand sanitizer readily available if you plan to participate in Essential Item Pickup.
  • Individuals should avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • The district is taking these precautions very seriously, and we expect our community to do the same.

Will student meals be available?
While GMSD schools are closed, students may now obtain meals from local YMCAs and other locations. A listing of meal distribution sites can be found at the following Shelby County Schools' link: http://www.scsk12.org/coronavirusfacts/studentmeals.

Meal distribution sites will be open between the hours of 11 am and 1 pm each day. Information about local food pantries is also provided on this website. Meals will be served to all students age 18 and under. The student must be present to receive a meal.

Questions that pertain to high school students only:

How will Advanced Placement (AP) courses be handled? Are those tests canceled or rescheduled?
The College Board has announced that some testing will occur online this year. All students enrolled in AP courses are encouraged to regularly check the College Board website at  https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/about-ap/news-changes/coronavirus-update?excmpid=ph898695 which is providing updates. Many of the exam syllabi have changed with the move to online testing. PLEASE take advantage of the free AP Review classes being provided by the College Board, which begin on WEDNESDAY, March 25t h . They are led by the chief readers (the people who lead the grading of the exams) so it would benefit students greatly to see what they emphasize. These sessions are available both live and on-demand.

How is the district dealing with students who are enrolled in Dual Enrollment courses through a post-secondary institution?
Post-secondary institutions are continuing with virtual instruction and students in those courses should be in contact with their teachers. If you have questions specific to dual enrollment coursework, please reach out to [email protected] .

Has the ACT for juniors been canceled or rescheduled?
Students who have registered for the April 4th test are currently rescheduled to June 13th. The district will provide updates as more information is made available.

Has the district made any plans to cancel or to reschedule the end-of-year recognitions or celebrations?
Decisions around special events will be made once we know the governor’s and local health department’s guidelines for school closures and social gatherings. The district is committed to providing opportunities for students to be recognized for their achievements and participate in traditional activities. We will keep our community updated as we receive further guidance.


 
 
      Visit our website for more COVID-19 information .     

Germantown Municipal School District 3350 S. Forest Hill Irene Road, Germantown, TN 38138 | Phone: 901-752-7900 | Fax: 901-757-6479

***It is the policy of the Germantown Municipal School District to provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified persons without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, marital status, national origin, handicap/disability, sex, genetics, or age. The Germantown Municipal School District is not responsible for questionable or controversial content found through links external to this site.
© 2020. Germantown School District. All Rights Reserved.
 
 
 


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