Distance Learning Q & A: Mischke and Bauman answer student questions and outline the “new normal”

Questions ranged from the status of spring sports to what daily academic life will look like

With Distance Learning beginning on April 6, Principal Mark Mischke and Activities Director Tom Bauman took the time to answer some of the most pressing questions students had about the next month of the school year.

Students asked a variety of questions ranging from the status of Spring Sports to what daily life will look like as the district begins distance learning.

Jillian Elton, Abby Nunn, David Nunn, Alayna West, Emily Fuchs, and Gretta Heinecke collected the most pressing questions from their peers and gathered reliable information regarding these topics.

What will daily academic life look like?

  • Teachers have been asked to put all course materials on Google Classroom by 9:00 a.m. each day. Students are not required to be online at that time, but are encouraged to be.
  • Mischke talked about the importance of getting back into a daily routine that works for you and your family. Try to make a schedule and stick to it every day. Expect to have between 30 and 60 minutes of class work each day for each class you have. If work takes longer than that, contact your teacher.
  • It is recommended that you are up at 9:00 a.m or at least checking on assignments as early as possible each day so you can stay on top of schoolwork. However, you do not need to be online at 9 each day.

When are teachers available?

  • Teachers are available every school day from 9 am to 3 pm.

What is the best way to contact teachers?

  • Use email to communicate with teachers first. Communicate with teachers to find out what they prefer to use, commonly either Email or Google Classroom.
  • Some teachers are using Google Classroom for the first time, so don’t start contact with Classroom.

How strict will attendance be? How will attendance even work?

  • Attendance will take the form of a simple daily check-in on Campus Portal. You mark yourself present once per day. If you don’t consistently mark yourself present, a staff member will be connecting with you and your family.
  • Please communicate with teachers if you’re unable to check-in or participate in classwork. You may feel healthy enough to mark yourself present on Portal but not well enough to complete rigorous coursework
  • Advisory teachers will push out simple assignments for you to complete at the beginning of the day to gauge how students are interacting with the online curriculum.

If a student were to get sick, how should they work and communicate with teachers?

  • Connect with teachers mainly via email if you are unwell. There are systems in place for both teachers and students who are sick

What will assessments and tests look like?

  • Assessments depend on the teacher. Look for class-specific information on Google Classroom communications from teachers. With the Pass/No Credit system, you have room to make some mistakes, so do your best and be sure to communicate with teachers if you’re unable to do a certain assignment or confused about expectations.

Why did the school do Pass/No Credit for Third Quarter? How will that look Fourth Quarter?

  • Because we didn’t finish Third Quarter in school, grades were not final. Without the final weeks of the third quarter, many classes still had assignments to put in the grade book and students did not have the opportunity to make up missing work or retake assessments. In order to be fair to all students, grades for Third Quarter were entered as pass/no credit, and would not affect students’ GPA. The same pass/no credit grading will still be in place for Fourth Quarter distance learning.

How will College in the Schools (CIS) credit work?

  • Students will get credit for all CIS classes third and fourth term.
  • Teachers will work in conjunction with college professors to ensure that all requirements are met. Many colleges are going online as well so an online curriculum is in the works.

Will Wright Tech move all courses online?

  • Mischke said that all classes will be moved online and that more official communication will be coming from the Wright Technical Center.
  • If Wright Technical students are not receiving emails regarding their classes, they are asked to email their Wright Technical teacher(s) beginning April 6.

Are Zoom, Google Hangouts, or other “real-time” meetings required?

  • Teachers will not be requiring live class meetings, but they may be available to students in small or large groups.
  • Live meetings cannot be graded, but may be helpful or take the place of other assignments. There will always be non-live work for classes.

What is the best way to make distance learning effective?

  • Reach out to teachers with any questions or concerns you have. Their goal is to make distance learning an accessible and positive experience for all students, so any feedback you have for them would be appreciated.
  • Make sure you are logging in and interacting daily. That will be the key to success.
  • Keep in mind that for most teachers, this is their first attempt at distance learning, so they are still willing and able to make changes to the curriculum to help students.

Are Spring sports happening? How will we know more about Spring sports and activities?

  • Bauman and Mischke both mentioned that Governor Tim Walz has been alluding to the fact that schools just may have to be closed beyond May 4 for continued safety.
  • Bauman said that Spring coaches are putting together plans including reaching out to athletes or participants regularly to see how things are going for kids. He is encouraging “out of season” coaches, advisors and directors to do the same.
  • Look for communication from Spring coaches sometime during the week of April 6 if you haven’t heard from them already.

What is the status of Prom? We know it’s canceled, but is that the end of it?

  • A Prom, as we have known it, had to be canceled.
  • Bauman said the school is still looking to find ways/opportunities to connect and celebrate students this school year. He said it just couldn’t look the same or be held in the same or similar venue. However, he said there still may be ways that the school finds to appreciate the seniors and students in general as we move into spring and summer.

Where should I look for updates about school and other events?

  • Information will be posted frequently at the @BHSBison Twitter account, the BHS Homepage, and the BHS Facebook page. The Hoofprint will continue to cover this situation from a variety of perspectives.

What is the ACT going to look like?

  • All April tests are postponed.
  • Look for more information from the district if they are rescheduled.
  • The ACT has floated the idea of June 13 as a potential date, but sites are not known. It is not known at this time if BHS will be a testing site. Assistant Principal Stephanie Ward will know more about this as the date approaches.

What is the deal with the MCAs?

  • Minnesota has applied for a waiver for MCAs. No additional MCA tests will be given this school year.
  • Mischke speculated that completed MCA tests from earlier this school will probably not count, but he will follow up.
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