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Principal's Message

7 days ago

March 25th, 2020

Dear BMS Parents and Families, 

Welcome back! We realize that this is not our traditional welcome back letter, but we are still glad to be serving students and families during school closure. As we navigate through this unconventional return to school, the BMS staff would like to provide some insight as to what to expect over the next couple of weeks. The BMS teachers returned to work this week to plan and share with their colleagues the great ideas they have to support students. We have been meeting virtually through Zoom and enjoying the opportunity to see each other’s faces instead of just hearing voices. 

We would like to provide you information based on what we know so far. Below is a list of information that we know is important to communicate:

 

● As of today, Arizona Schools are closed until April 10, 2020. We will not be required to extend the number of school days or add additional instructional hours. 

● We must ensure that each student who has a section 504 plan, or who receives special education services through an individualized education program, has access to educational opportunities. 

● AIMS and AzM2, the Arizona State assessments, have been cancelled for the 2019-2020 school year. 

● We must communicate often to students so that they can grow instructionally and so that they can continue to feel connected. 

● We must communicate often with parents so that they feel supported and that they have the tools to help their student. 

● We must support each other during this challenging time. This is an unprecedented event. 

● We should have fun when we can, even if it is virtually! Our teachers will provide General Educational Opportunities for our students to continue to grow, stay connected to us, and to learn.

● All contents will provide General Educational Opportunities: Social Studies, Math, Language Arts, Science, PE, Art, SPED and Band. 

● Special Education teachers will coordinate with general education teachers and provide modifications for their students. 

● Lessons will be available to students and parents on Google Classroom by Monday of each of the weeks that we are closed. Paper Packet Pick-Ups will be available from 8:30am-10:00am in the Bus Lane on Patagonia near the middle school office each Monday of the weeks that we are closed. This will start Monday March 30th. Until then please encourage your students to read on a daily basis. 

● Teachers will be available to you, and to our students via email during typical school hours of 7:30 until 3:30. These hours are teachers’ virtual “office hours” during which you have access to them. If emailed during these times, you should expect an email back the same day. If emailed after these times, you should expect an email the next day. 

Our instructional structure: 

● Instruction is a review of previous learning. Students should be able to complete their work without extensive support. We have taught our students many of the grade level standards. If we were physically in school, we would be reteaching standards that have incomplete mastery and enriching standards that are at mastery. 

● Students’ workload comprises 50% of what they would do on a typical instructional day. 

● Work will not be graded and we will not assign grades in Powerschool at this time. 

● Work completion will be monitored. 

● Teachers will give students feedback on a weekly basis, either individually or class-wide. 

● There will be no formal assessments. Teachers will provide a menu of extension and engaging activities. 

● The assignments we are giving can easily be accessed on a smartphone or other device (XBox and Playstation). Please let your teachers know if you have no device, smartphone, or connectivity that will allow the student to access email or Google Classroom. Paper Packets will be provided if needed. Educational opportunities through Zoom.com may be used by your teacher.

Parents can help in very important ways: 

● Create an environment where your student can learn and grow. Provide set times for them to do school work. This can be broken up as you see necessary. As long as students complete the work for the week, their schedule can be flexible. It is suggested they keep as normal “school hours” as possible to prepare for a return if needed.

● Encourage them to make the commitment to read and write every day for a period of time. Set aside a quiet time each day to do this. You decide the length of time that is right for your student. ● Contact your student’s teacher via email if you have any questions about the assignments they assign 

● We want to help students stay connected to us. Staff will be reaching out to them.

Our office will not be open to the public during the school closure. Some of our students have medications that are administered and kept at school. If you are in urgent need of those medications, please contact Venessa Nunez at vnunez@bensonsd.k12.az.us by appointment to pick up your child’s medications. 

In closing, we know that these are challenging and uncertain times. Please do not hesitate to contact myself or Mrs. Howe, our student services coordinator. We are available by email and will be checking our phones regularly. 

We Love You, We Miss You, We are in this together!

Proudly, 

Mr. Webb and Mrs. Howe