Dear GSA Middle School parents and students,

As you know, we will embark on our distance learning adventure on Monday, March 23. We hope that our students will enjoy their Spring Break and return to school on March 23 refreshed and ready to learn in their virtual classroom. While this is an unprecedented challenge for us, our teachers have (of course!) risen to that challenge, and we are even finding exciting new opportunities in the technology we will be using. This is a learning process for all of us, so this plan is a fluid one. As this is a learning process, we all need to hold patience and assumption of positive intent for all participants – teachers and learners! If you’re running into challenges or glitches with this system please let me know.

Here’s what your family can expect:

· Teachers will communicate with students using their GSA email account. Expect to receive at least two emails a week: once at the beginning of the week to set an agenda and schedule for the week, and once at the end of the week. Teachers may communicate via email more frequently.
· Teachers will host online classes at least twice a week using Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Office 365 suite of applications. Students who were on campus Thursday will have practiced with this app. I’ve attached notes for students about using this system (you may have received them from your advisor as well).
· Currently, our plan is for classes to happen during regular class times (for example, Math will continue to meet at 8 am). This should avoid any scheduling conflicts.
· Teachers will host “office hours” on Teams during any regular class times they are not hosting a live class. You can expect to get a quick response from your teacher during this time.
· Most classwork will happen through Teams, so our first few days of distance learning (March 23 and 24) expect to spend time learning the system. We expect lessons that further students’ learning to begin by Wednesday, March 25.

Some important notes:
· We have found that Teams works best with the Chrome browser.
· Students will need to be using a computer with an enabled camera. If you don’t have that at home let us know – we can make arrangements for you to borrow one from the school.
· Many students prefer to use a headset for ease of communication during online classes.
· Please set up an area in your home for school work. Ideally, this will be a quiet spot where you won’t easily be interrupted. If possible it should also be close to the router for best internet service.