2020-2021 Academic Plan
Waldron Mercy Academy is opening for the 2020-2021 academic year with full, in-person learning for students. While we are able to open at full capacity safely, parents have the three options to decide how their children will learn this year:
In-person - students learn on campus five days a week
Mixed model - students learn some days on campus and some days at home
Distance learning - students learn from home five days a week
Families who choose the all virtual option will come to school and pick up learning materials, including Chromebooks, iPads, and textbooks, the first week of school.
All students will follow the same daily schedule. Students who are learning from home in the mixed model, distance learning, or quarantining if the need should arise, will attend live classes remotely in real time via webcam five days a week. Students in Montessori, preschool, and pre-k will receive approximately 1125 minutes of live instruction per week. Students in kindergarten to grade four will receive approximately 265 minutes of live instruction in each major subject area per week. Students in grades five to 8 will receive approximately 275 live minutes of instruction in each major subject area including Spanish per week. Students will also receive instruction in specials each week that include Spanish, art, music, phys ed. Some will also participate in STEM and library classes.
Across all grade levels, that is significantly more hours in front of a teacher than the WMA distance learning schedule that was used in Spring 2020. Details on live classes as seen from home can be found below under “Remote Instruction.”
Social and Emotional wellbeing is a top priority. The first few days of school will be focused mainly on the wellbeing of the students and helping those in the building to adapt to a new routine. The focus on wellbeing will continue throughout the year as needed, but particularly during the first weeks of school with designated check-ins throughout the day.
The daily schedules are as follows. Please note that we have allotted time for social/emotional check ins for our students each day, whether they are at home or in the building.
Schedules for grades 3 and below are unique to each class but similar to the ones above, in that they span the full length of a school day. Classroom teachers will provide their specific schedule to their class and their parents.
Mixed Model Weekly Schedule
Families have been divided in half into the Blue Group and the Gold Group alphabetically by family to determine which days they will learn on campus, and which days they will participate virtually.
The Blue Group will be in the building on Monday and Tuesday and the first two Fridays of the month. The Gold Group will be in the building on Wednesday and Thursday and the second two Fridays of the month. Therefore, the first two Fridays of the month will be Blue days and the next two will be Gold days and if there is a fifth Friday, it will be used to make sure both Blue and Gold have an equal number of Fridays in the building (days off may cause an inequality). On the days that students are not in the building, they will attend class remotely but in real time via webcam.
To facilitate remote synchronous instructions for students participating in the mixed model or full distance learning, each classroom will be fitted with newly purchased webcams and microphones that are far superior to those in teacher’s laptops. The webcam will be used by the teacher during instruction to zoom in on images (such as the board). The microphone will pick up a teacher’s voice clearly so that they do not have to stand directly in front of the computer when teaching and will also help to pick up students’ voices as they contribute to class discussion and answer teachers’ questions.
Students will watch this live webcam instruction via Zoom. Their teacher, and whatever their teacher is displaying on the SmartBoard, will be displayed directly on the student’s computer at home or in a simulcast room.
Group work is still encouraged, particularly among remote and in-person students, using breakout rooms where possible. Teachers will conduct class discussions with both groups of students participating synchronously using Zoom.
There will be times during the day when the camera is turned off, such as times between classes as teachers are changing rooms and during lunch and recess. This will provide your student screen free opportunities throughout the day.
Teachers will interact with the students who are physically present at school and those at home. Support teachers, assistants, and possibly student teachers will also engage with the students virtually.
Remote Learning Guidelines
Teachers will take attendance in all classes. Students are expected to be present throughout each class meeting. Cameras should be activated for the entirety of the class period (not muted or blocked) unless a teacher specifically requests otherwise. Students’ faces should be visible in the frame of the camera. Students are not permitted to take or post images, videos, or screenshots of classmates, instructors, or class content to the web or social media.
Students should be prepared for class by working at an appropriate workspace that will be conducive to learning; bedrooms are discouraged unless the student is at a desk. Students should be in a seated upright position. All cell phones and other devices should be put aside so your children can focus on their online lesson. During class, students should not be eating, playing with toys or video games, or engaging in other behaviors which could distract others.
Students should use breaks between classes to get snacks, have lunch, use the restroom, etc.
Students should follow all other behavior and academic guidelines as outlined in the student handbook.
All students, regardless of academic program, will follow the same policies in regards to attire. In consideration of COVID-19, several changes have been made for the 2020-2021 academic year:
No dry-clean items such as blazers and ties will be required.
There will be no mandatory switch to or from a winter uniform. Wear whichever is more comfortable.
Students learning from home should follow the same uniform rules as those at school to create a united community, with the exception of shoes as noted below.
Students will be required to wear their uniform on Monday each week. If Monday is gym day for the student, the uniform should be worn on Tuesday.
On the remaining days, students have the choice to wear their standard uniform, gym uniform/Spirit Wear, or any other branded WMA clothing (such as old sports uniforms or play shirts).
There are no specific shoe requirements, other than flip flops and sneakers are not permitted when wearing a school uniform. Sneakers are permitted on gym days.
Students at home may wear shoes of their choice until they return to in-person learning and need to follow the previous rules.
Assignments will be posted in Seesaw (grades PreK-2) or Google Classroom (grades 3-8) following each class.
Homework guidelines can be found in the handbook. However, feel free to reach out to your student's teacher for individual concerns.
Regardless of the learning model, teachers will continue to communicate with parents and students via email and their teacher websites.