StM News
COVID-19 School Information & Messages

March 16

Dear Middle School Parents:
I hope that you and your families are safe and doing well during this difficult time.  It is during times such as this, that I am ever more grateful to be a part of such a loving, empathetic teaching and learning community.

The faculty and I met with each grade level on Friday to explain in person what online learning will look like for the students.  We were able to share our expectations for them as well as to answer their questions. (And they asked such good questions!)

We wanted to reach out to you today to make sure you understand our plan for continuous learning.  Our faculty have been hard at work in preparation to move fully to distance learning starting this Wednesday, March 18th. (Many assignments have already been posted for students.)  Below is a summary of our Continuity of Learning Plan which details the expectations for our students, teachers, and parents during this period of online learning. 

Advisor and Teacher Expectations:
Advisors will be communicating with their advisees weekly via email or their Google Classrooms to check on their progress in all of their courses, as well as their physical and emotional well being. 

Teachers will establish and communicate weekly office hours when students can contact them with questions or concerns about assignments.  Teachers will post office hours through email, Whipple Hill, or their already-established online learning program. Teachers will also post the specific method(s) that students can reach them during their office hours, including e-mail, Google meet, Google doc comments, etc.  Students will have at least 24 hours to complete and submit an assignment from the time it was assigned.  This will ensure that we are as flexible as possible in accounting for things that might be outside a student’s control.

Online learning assignments will align with the course’s already-established expectations, standards, and objectives, though content itself may shift in the best interest of the students.  We aim to provide meaningful learning experiences for the students as they work remotely.  

We will be posting inspirational quotes, funny memes, and tips on how to stay mindful and creative during this stressful time at our MS website:  www.stminthemiddle.com.

Student and Parent Expectations:
To ensure academic success, students will consistently check their school email, Whipple Hill, Google Classroom, and any other online learning program established by their teachers for class assignments and announcements.  We have instructed them to check at least 5 times a day.  (First thing in the morning, mid-morning, mid-afternoon, late-afternoon, evening, etc.) Students should work independently to complete and submit their assignments on time.  Moreover, students should reach out to their advisers, their teachers, Ms. Stewart, or Ms. Velasquez with any questions or concerns they are having with distance learning.

We are suggesting that you help your child establish a daily routine that balances school work, screen time, outdoor play, family time, chores, etc.  

Emotional Support
Please know that Mrs. Heath is still here for you and your child!  Don’t hesitate to contact her at christina.heath@stmsaints.com if you need support of any kind. Also, be sure to check Mrs. Heath’s email that was sent out earlier today regarding ongoing counseling services being offered during distance learning.

Tech Support
If your child is having difficulty specifically with his or her Chromebook or other technology, please email technology@stmsaints.com.

Students are expected to adhere to the rules for academic honesty and proper online etiquette throughout the entire period of distance learning.

Understanding and Flexibility
We understand that this period of distance learning will be a challenge for everyone, and that we need to be flexible and patient with our students and families as they adapt to this difficult time.  At the same time, I ask that you be equally patient and understanding with our faculty as they navigate teaching their classes online.  We feel confident that our teachers will continue to provide the excellent academic experience that is long associated with St. Martin’s Episcopal School while also being there to love and support them as they navigate this new endeavor.

As always, please contact me by email (jvelasquez@stmsaints.com) or by phone if you need me.  (Cell 504-442-1991) Like so many others, the volume of emails and calls I am receiving is higher than average. I appreciate your patience and understanding if my response time is a little slower than usual.  

Together We Are Saints.

Gratefully yours,