Navarro Early College High School

Letter to Families from Mr. Covin (Principal)

Dear Navarro Community,

 

I hope all of you are in good health and spirits. The Navarro staff is working very hard to prepare for the start of this school year. It has been a challenging few months for all of us, and we are excited to welcome back our students for the school year. The first three weeks of school,beginning September 8th, will be from a distance. The school board has also approved the district to request a waiver for additional virtual only instruction for a longer period of time. Please know these decisions were not made lightly, and had their basis in the health and safety of our students, staff, and community. Please be sure to monitor all district communications for additional decisions regarding this school year. We will also post any updates on our social media outlets including our website, Facebook, and Instagram accounts. We encourage everyone in our Viking community to follow us on social media, both for information and to see the amazing things going on in our Navarro school community.

 

We have several virtual and drive-thru events coming soon, including:

 

Virtual Freshmen/New To Navarro Orientation (August 21st from 11-12:30): Students new to Navarro will be given information about Navarro High School! Specific details will be sent as we approach this date.

 

Student Zoom Meeting with Campus Administration (August 21st from 2-3): Students will be given the opportunity to ask questions to campus leaders. Look out for a communication as the date approaches. 

 

Back to School Supply/Material Pickup (September 1st from 10-12): *This has changed from August 25th*. Students and families will have the opportunity to participate in a drive-thru distribution of school supplies. Information packets will also be distributed, largely geared towards students new to Navarro. The Family Resource Center will collaborate with us on this event to provide other needed items for families.

 

Student Communication and Technology

 

Our staff is currently performing individual outreach to ALL students enrolled at Navarro this school year. Please be on the lookout for a phone call from our staff, as well as a quick survey. Many of you have already received a call, and we anticipate contacting all families by August 21st. For a successful start to virtual learning, I must emphasize the importance of two-way communication from the school to the family. We need your help with maintaining this communication. It will be essential for all contact information to be available for our teachers and administration, in order to contact your student, provide information, and facilitate engagement in learning. Support staff will be verifying contact information with you during outreach. This process will be essential in a virtual learning environment. When staff makes contact with our students and their guardians, systems we will utilize for communication will be reviewed. Our primary systems for communication will be BLEND, email (AISD issued email for students), and phone calls when necessary. We will also be contracting with the vendor Remind, to utilize the expanded version of this communication app. Information on technology needs will also be collected and we will provide updates as available on the district provided technology rollout to students in need of a device. Returning Navarro students will keep their district- issued chromebook from last school year. Incoming students will be provided information on obtaining their district issued device. Students can request for replacement items, a hot spot or any other needed devices through the parent cloud by clicking on the technology distribution tile. Please see our tutorial videos on social media for assistance on how to find this. Hot spots to access wifi are also available for pickup, and we will be getting these at the campus soon to distribute.

 

Grading and Class Schedule

 

We will also review items with families such as the parent cloud (district system for parents to monitor grades and attendance) and BLEND login in and expectations (BLEND is the online platform ALL teachers will be utilizing for online instruction). I want to be clear that this school year virtual learning assignments will count for a grade! It will be extremely important for students to commit to our distance learning curriculum and fully engage with teachers and staff. It will also be more important than ever for parents and guardians to be our partners in the education of their students. It will take a team approach for ALL students to be successful in a distance learning environment. 

 

Navarro ECHS will continue to follow a rotating A/B schedule for distance learning. Students will have 8 classes with periods 1-4 on A days and 5-8 on B days. A days will be on Monday and Wednesday with B days on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Fridays will rotate between A and B days. At this time we plan to have time dedicated to advisory every day. Student schedules are being finalized currently, and there will be an opportunity for students to request schedule changes (to be communicated soon). Students and their guardians will be able to view their schedule of classes in BLEND and the parent cloud on or around August 17th.

 

First Day of School!

 

On the first day of school, students with technology access will need to login to BLEND to connect with their teachers. It will be important for students to remain actively involved in communication with all their teachers beginning on our first day of school, September 8th. It will be especially important for them to remain in contact with their advisory teacher. The first week of school advisory teachers will work with your student to help them understand expectations for distance learning, assist with any questions and other needs, and provide information on the returning of required forms. All advisory teachers will implement activities to build relationships with students and address social and emotional needs. In academic classes, teachers will focus on similar items the first week of school. A bell schedule for virtual learning is noted below:

 

 

Virtual Learning Bell Schedule

 

Period

Type of Learning

Time

1st/5th Period

Synchronous 

9:00-10:00

 

Asynchronous

10:00-10:30

Break/Transition 

 

10:30-10:35

Advisory 

Synchronous/Asynchronous

10:35-11:05

Break/Transition 

 

11:05-11:10

2nd/6th 

Synchronous 

11:10-12:10

 

Asynchronous

12:10-12:40

Lunch

Lunch

12:40-1:25

3rd/7th

Synchronous 

1:25-2:25

 

Asynchronous

2:25-2:55

Break/Transition 

 

2:55-3:00

4th/8th

Synchronous 

3:00-4:00

 

Asynchronous

4:00-4:30

 

The district is still in the process of approving final bell schedules so the minutes could change slightly. We will share the finalized bell schedule when it is approved. Each period will have a combination of synchronous learning and asynchronous learning as shown above. 

 

Synchronous learning means students are expected to engage with their teachers directly online. This could include class discussions, lessons and demonstrations, assessments or any other activities where students interact directly with the teacher online. 

 

Asynchronous learning means students are working on assignments and activities the teacher posts to BLEND, but is not interactive in real-time. Students complete lessons independently or as part of a group and receive feedback on progress and/or a grade for the task. It will be very important for students to engage in both forms of learning, and it is important to understand this will be the responsibility of the student, in order to achieve mastery of the skills and concepts of the course and also to gain credit for the course. 

 

Teachers will further discuss classroom procedures and expectations with your student during the first week of school. Our teachers have been and will be working hard to create meaningful distance learning opportunities for our students. We are confident students will achieve mastery of course objectives if they engage fully with their teachers!

 

In Person Learning Models

 

Navarro ECHS is excited for the opportunity to have students back on campus for in person learning as soon as it is deemed safe to do so by our local government and health officials, as well as our district. 

 

We will have the structures in place to implement many models of in person learning. We are prepared to receive students in a traditional way that is similar to a regular school year, potentially with a percentage of students on campus each day. Another model is a homeroom model. Students would remain in a ‘homeroom’ class to be supervised during regular school hours without changing classrooms. Breakfast and lunch would be served in the classrooms. Students would be assigned a homeroom teacher and would primarily continue to progress with the online curriculum, but greater opportunities for some ‘paper based’ assignments would be available. Structured opportunities to participate in certain Career and Technology Education (CTE) classes and fine arts/athletics classes would also be possible if safe. We would also be able to offer in person advisory activities to assist with the social/emotional needs of our students and academic advising. At this time, it is our plan to open up in person learning with this homeroom model, but as circumstances change we will be flexible in our approach.

 

In short, Navarro ECHS is committed to providing as safe as possible in person learning opportunities to our students, and we will be highly flexible with the ability to increase learning opportunities on campus quickly as conditions continue to change.

 

Safety Protocols

 

Safety protocols are currently being developed and reviewed as we prepare for students to return to on campus learning at some point during the semester. Screening protocols for students and staff will be implemented, including self-screening instructions and on campus screening systems prior to entering the campus common areas and classrooms. ALL persons entering the building will be required to wear a mask and follow social distancing protocols. Masks will be required for health and safety purposes and will be treated as such, not as part of the dress code requirements. We will work with students on following these protocols successfully, but these items will be strictly enforced to assist with the safety of everyone in our school and community. We are confident we will have ample supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) available throughout the school year for students and staff.  Students, staff, and all visitors should bring their own masks, but should one be needed, we will have masks available. Safety plans are continuing to be reviewed at the district and campus level, and more details regarding self-screening processes will be shared with our school community as we move closer to in person learning opportunities for our students.

 

Family Choice--Virtual Learning

 

Families will also be asked about their intentions for their students when we are able to return to on campus teaching and learning. This will assist us in the planning process both for safety and educational purposes. TEA has stated guardians will be able to choose an online learning only model as we do return to in person learning. I understand it is difficult to make these decisions in many cases, especially when we will have to adjust on campus instructional models dependent upon the circumstances. There will also be opportunities for families to change from online only to in person attendance during the school year. It will be important for all families to make an initial decision now, and this will be asked when you are contacted. Also, please complete any surveys from Navarro or Austin ISD as quickly as possible if you receive them.

 

Navarro ECHS is very thankful for the opportunity to begin engaging with all of you soon. As we approach the first day of school on September 8th, many communications and updates will be shared. Please continue to monitor any communications via phone, email, and social media outlets. Most importantly, stay safe and in good spirits as we navigate this unprecedented time together as Vikings!

 

Sincerely,
 
Steve Covin
Principal