for current Gordon families

May 2020

The Commons is now open online for current Gordon families!

It is at www.gordonschool.org/commons, and the password has been included every Thursday email since late April.

There, you will find the readaloud library, #Stayathome Soccer School, and the Visiting Artist's video series, along with:

  • resources from the school psychologist
  • all the Zoom links to upcoming parent events
  • information on Team CompassionNet and volunteering in the Online Learning Community
  • a bulletin board open to all

 

Gordon's Online Learning Community seeks to keep students and teachers connected, sustaining the qualities that define the Gordon experience. Rolling out this reimagined community,  Gordon has prioritized a thoughtfully paced day, joyful learning and play, and family partnership. more on the guiding principles of the Online Learning Community

What do parents need to do to participate in the Online Learning Community?

Added March 30th: Mr. Henry emailed this slide deck to families with videos and links illustrating the steps below.

Every parent should be sure they know their login and password for the parent portal at www.gordonschool.org/parentlogin. Use the "forgot login" prompt if you need to, or reach out to Cheryl Fanti at cfanti@gordonschool.org or 490-4921 x114

All students will need a signed Online Learning Privacy Policy and Permissions form. Parents can access this form in the parent portal at www.gordonschool.org/parentlogin. It is very quick to complete. Fill it out as soon as possible, March 31st at the latest, or get in touch with Technology Director Marlon Henry at mhenry@gordonschool.org with any questions or concerns. 

Identify a separate, quiet space in your home for your child to learn. Online learning will involve typing, recording, or listening to audio or video. An open area in a shared family space will help avoid isolating your child and to allow parents and caregivers to monitor the child’s learning and screen activity. Find a way to keep your child away from the distractions of a TV or their bedroom. A strong wireless connection will also be important.

Added April 6th: When selecting a space where your child will work, keep in mind what will be visible when your child photographs or videos themselves in this space. Your child will be invited to share photos or video from their learning space.

Here are complete checklists of the hardware and software each student will need:

Early Childhood and Lower School students will need:

Reliable internet connection
Suitable desktop, laptop, or tablet
Functioning web camera and microphone
Charging adapter

Early Childhood and Lower School students will need to download the following apps to any device they'll be using:

Seesaw digital portfolio app
Zoom video conferencing software

Middle School students will need:

Reliable internet connection
School-managed Chromebook
Charging adapter
Functioning web camera and microphone

Middle School students will be using the following applications, which are already on their school-managed laptops:

Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets
Google Classroom
Zoom video conferencing software
Screencastify chrome extension

Added March 29th: A printer is not required to participate in the Online Learning Community.

 

How will the days be structured?

The Online Learning Community will provide students with opportunities to learn together and independently, every day. Each day's schedule will include set times when students and teachers will be online and interacting simultaneously as well as lessons that students can access according to their own schedule. 

This mix is essential as different households will have different technological capacities, students will be sharing tech with siblings and parents, parent's work commitments and child care schedules will vary, and children will have different capacities to sustain focus, whether or not they are focused on a screen. 

Each day's lesson plan will have plenty of content and structure to keep children engaged for a full day's worth of learning. A major difference will be that the learning will not need to all take place between 8:10am and 3:20pm. Most of the classroom work on any given day, especially in Nursery to fourth grade, will be independent work that a family can tackle on their own timetable.

Families should also know that Gordon understands that home lives can be unpredictable. If a child misses a Zoom connection, or cannot complete a day's work in the given time, there is no need to stress. If there is consistent mismatch between the daily work and the child's capacity, however, families should reach out to the teacher directly.


How does the day begin?

By 8:10am every day, classroom teachers and advisors will have posted that day's schedule to the Online Learning Community in the parent portal at www.gordonschool.org/parentlogin.

Middle School students will also receive an email in their Gordon accounts with all the links they need for the day.

Parents of Early Childhood and Lower School students will need to get their child started in the morning by logging into the Online Learning Community at www.gordonschool.org/parentlogin. Middle School students will be able to get themselves started, but it is still valuable for those parents to log in on their own devices and preview the day with the student.
 

A note on personal space

added April 6th: 

For students, one key element of the Gordon experience is the opportunity to connect independently with peers and adults outside of their families.

Please give your children space to continue this work online! If your child is settled in and interacting over Zoom, give them some space and stay out of the video.

Because it's on a screen, a Zoom class might feel like a public show or performance, but it isn't. 

It's OK to watch a play performance, but it's not OK to hang around and watch play practice. Think of Zoom class as play practice. We'll let you know when the performances will be.
 


How will my child be able to maintain social connections in the Online Learning Community?

Gordon has always recognized that children's social connections are crucial, indispensable parts of their learning, and that these relationships are fueled by unstructured play and spontaneous interactions. As the school learns more about what is possible in the Online Learning Community, teachers will find more and more ways to support these interactions in the online experience.

As the Online Learning Community begins, every day will include age-appropriate, teacher-led ways for students to interact over video, drawing on patterns like Morning Circle and Advisory that have already been established in the on-campus classroom. These experiences are being reimagined for the online platform, and students and teachers will begin to connect next week in many new and creative ways.

Parents should note that, while many children are in touch with each other electronically, and families are organizing virtual play dates, Gordon will not be organizing any social time among students that is not directly supervised by a teacher. 


Is that enough time for real-time connections with teachers?

added April 13th: Phase 2 of the Online Learning Community offers many more chances to interact live with teachers and students via Zoom. See Lynn Bowman's April 10th email

In Early Childhood and Lower School, students will engage with their teachers live using Zoom and Seesaw. 

Zoom sessions allow for students to interact live with their teacher and classmates through video. During these sessions, students can connect with each other and maintain classroom routines like morning meeting. 

Teachers and students will engage live in a different way using Seesaw. Students can upload a picture of their assignment and students and teachers can both comment on it simultaneously. This structure allows for one-on-one, real-time feedback throughout the day in Early Childhood and Lower School classrooms.

In Middle School, students will engage with their teachers through Zoom throughout their day in different configurations: as a whole class, in small groups and one-on-one. Zoom allows for social connections and opportunities for students to receive meaningful feedback from teachers and peers. 

As this is new territory for us all, we will continually assess students' capacity to participate online in whole class settings and in smaller groups, and adjust the Zoom sessions accordingly. Feedback from parents, faculty and students will be important in informing these decisions.


What about online privacy?

The goals of Gordon's Online Learning Community require tools that are unfamiliar to some and may raise concerns about privacy and screen time. Rest assured that our shared values around these challenges and concerns have not changed. 

Gordon is committed to vigorously defending the online privacy of families. In the Online Learning Community, the digital spaces students use are both FERPA and COPPA compliant. Gordon will continue the practice of keeping names and other personally identifiable information out of any media visible to the public. Any live video call or exchange of personally identifiable information among students will be password-protected and overseen by a faculty member.

Gordon's Technology Director addresses this issue further in the Online Learning Privacy Policy and Permissions form, accessible in the parent portal at www.gordonschool.org/parentlogin.

Added April 6th: 

Please do not make screenshots, photos, or video captures of Zoom interactions.

The school might make and share video captures or screenshots of Zoom interactions. The school might make and share video captures or screenshots of Zoom interactions. The school has explicit permission from families to do this, and will always make sure students know they are being photographed.

Individual families do not have this explicit permission. Please respect each others' privacy.

When selecting a space where your child will work, keep in mind what will be visible when your child photographs or videos themselves. Your child will be invited to share photos or video from their learning space.

Gordon’s Online Learning Community launched using password protection, waiting rooms and other best practices to avoid any unwanted logins on Zoom. The school is aware of the security issues that some communities have experienced with Zoom and is confident in the security measures that are already in places.

Added May 11th

Gordon's enhanced Zoom security protocols are outlined in this document.


Will my child continue to receive learning support and counseling support?

Yes. The Online Learning Community includes Pathways instruction in Lower School, academic support in Middle School, and counseling services as needed.

In Lower School, Andrea Del Sesto, the literacy specialist, will continue to work with her students, posting lessons and partnering with teachers. 

In Middle School, Caroline Walsh and Carolyn Chase will continue to meet with students in academic support as part of the weekly schedule and will schedule additional meeting times as needed.

Gordon's school counselor, Judith Gnys, will be available to provide counseling services, consultations with parents regarding individual needs, and check-ins with individual children. Support will vary case-by-case depending on each child’s specific needs. She can be reached at jgnys@gordonschool.org or by calling or texting 401-663-6400.


 

The Commons
The password is in the Thursday emails

After school and Gators
Details now online

A Q&A for spring 2020
Your FAQs and beyond...

The Online Learning Community
All the basics explained

Messages to families
Including all of Noni's emails

Look for the helpers
The Gordon family responds