GMSD Distance Learning and Pandemic Updates

Staff Expectations during Corona

Minimum Expectations for teachers starting March 30th, 2020 through May 22, 2020

GMSD Staff,

As plans for educational opportunities are carefully assembled, the district would like for its employees to adhere to some minimal personnel guidelines and maintain structure in their digital environment.

Adhering to a routine allows us to foster habits that match our goals and aspirations. While our routine helps us develop good habits that are in line with reaching our full potential, it will also help to provide comfort in a time of uncertainty for our students.  

Beginning, Monday, March 30th, at a minimum, GMSD expects staff to:

  1. Continue abiding by GMSD policies as well as procedures found in the GMSD District Employee Handbook
  2. Utilize the uniform, district-provided platforms Google Hangouts and Schoology.  Zoom is not currently COPPA compliant for use as a communications tool in the Germantown Municipal School District instructional setting. Google Hangouts Meet is the district’s supported method for web-based, video meetings involving students. 
  3. Respond to student, parent, staff emails and/or calls within a 24-hour timeframe
  4. Collaborate with peers and plan activities throughout the week
  5. Host open work-from-home office hours for helping students
  6. Engage in either live-session learning opportunities via Google Hangouts or work with PLCs to record and publish activities in Schoology each week 
  7. Connect parents with suggested learning opportunities regularly 
  8. The district will be conducting virtual IEP meetingsComplete any necessary paperwork in compliance with timelines for IEPs, 504s, annuals, reevaluations, and initial IEPs.  Teachers may also be required to virtually attend these meetings.
  9. Maintain a schedule of learning opportunities in the Schoology platform.
  10. Be available for scheduled virtual meetings (faculty meetings, professional development sessions, RTI meetings, PLCs, etc) with parents and colleagues.
  11. While teachers can provide feedback on activities, they are not to take or post grades. 
The district understands that expectations may need to be tailored to each school, grade, and subject matter.  Principals will be working with their staff to establish specific guidelines and expectations.

Tips & Tricks for Working at Home:
As many of you are discovering, working from home can be wonderful. But there are challenges, as well. How do you keep from getting distracted with domestic duties? How do you get anything done if you have kids around?  We compiled a “Top Ten” list of tips for our staff who are working from home.
  1. Identify what needs to get done every day and make sure to do it. Make yourself a schedule and stick to it.
  2. Get dressed. Getting out of those pajamas goes a long way in establishing a routine for yourself.  You also won’t be tempted to circumvent #7.
  3. Get out of the house. Go outside, take a walk.  Make it a scheduled time each day. If you are completing the required work by your supervisor, enjoy the flexibility of being able to take a break.
  4. Make a visual cue (like a stoplight) for family members. Talk to them about limiting distractions during certain times, but then schedule breaks to give them your attention.
  5. Invest in creating a comfortable home office. Make a space where you can set up the tools you need and have the resources within reach. Try to find a space that doesn’t inconvenience the rest of the family.
  6. Pretend you're at work when you are observing “office hours”. For example, try to refrain from folding your laundry while collaborating with coworkers or talking with a parent.
  7. Conduct facetime (Google Hangouts) with coworkers and students regularly. While it's ideal that you meet in-person with coworkers and students, we must do the next best thing. Did you know that 93% of communication is nonverbal? Turn your camera on so that people can see your face.
  8. Use headphones on your Google Hangouts. Headphones will help limit the noise in your house (imagine if several members of your family are all on calls at one time) and help block distractions.
  9. Check-in with your PLC leader, grade chair, content lead, and/or supervisor several times throughout the day/week.
  10. Honor your work-life rhythm by respecting your own “off duty” hours.  Don’t answer the phone, etc.  

We drew inspiration from this blog by Christina Desmarais.

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