Fall Update for John Marshall Families
John Marshall High School

Dear John Marshall Families:

Yesterday, we shared with you some important information and dates that will be helpful to know as we look ahead to a new year and Distance Learning (DL). Today,  we want to include you in our vision for what school will look like for JM students in Distance Learning 2020.     

With that said, I’m pleased to present: JM @ Home,  our distance learning plan. When we set out to create it, we took the lessons we learned in our first round of distance learning last spring and capitalized on what went well and we’ve worked to improve what didn’t.

Will teachers be teaching live?                         

We know that our students learn best when they can learn in real time, so this fall’s distance learning instruction is designed to provide live, or synchronous, instruction daily.  Of course, we realize that this may not be possible for some students in challenging or unusual circumstances, so lessons will be recorded and posted for asynchronous access later on.  We are using Google Classroom as our distance learning platform and you can expect that this will be consistent for all high school classes.

Students will be expected to attend distance learning classes daily. Teachers will be taking attendance in Skyward. Students who cannot attend a live class will work with their teachers on a case-by-case basis to utilize the asynchronous option. They will remain accountable to their teachers and must access the lesson within 24 hours to be considered in-attendance.

Traditionally, our school has followed an eight period day. In a distance learning environment, expecting our students to sit through eight consecutive hours of screen time is unrealistic and doesn’t allow our teachers and students to get to substantive teaching and learning. So we’ve changed our schedule. We will run an A/B day alternating schedule with a four period block of 84 minute classes each day. It is important to note that with this new schedule we’ve also adjusted our start and end times.                                 

Students will begin their day at 8:25 a.m. and their school day will conclude at 3:13 p.m. The District will implement a later Distance Learning (DL) start time for secondary students of 8:25 AM - 3:13 PM, with a 50-minute lunch period. A later start time while in DL will offer benefits for our students. Given current transportation scenarios, we will not be able to continue a later start time if the District goes to full in-person learning, and we will resume our 7:40 and 3:03 start/end times at that point.        

 Here are some schedule samples:

Sample Schedule A

9th Grade Student

Day One/A Day

Day Two/B Day

8:25- 9:49

Hour 1: Rocket Hour 

Time to conference with teachers in-person or virtually, work on classwork, meet with student services, etc.

Hour 5: (originally Lunch*)

Time to conference with teachers virtually or in person, work on classwork, meet with student services, etc. 

9:59- 11:23

Hour 2: World History 

Hour 6: Biology 

11:23- 12:13

Lunch 

Lunch 

12:13- 1:37

Hour 3: Math

>Hour 7: Physical Education 

1:47- 3:13

Hour 4: Spanish I 

Hour 8: English 

Sample Schedule B

12th Grade 

Day One/A Day

Day Two/B Day

8:25- 9:49

Hour 1: AP Government 

Hour 5: AP Biology   

9:59- 11:23

Hour 2: AP English

Hour 6:Spanish  

11:23- 12:13

Lunch 

Lunch 

12:13- 1:37

Hour 3: Band 

Hour 7:  Sociology 

1:47- 3:13

Hour 4: (originally Lunch*)

Advisory and time to meet with teachers virtually or in person, work on classwork, meet with student services, etc. 

Hour 8: AP Calculus 

*Note: this is the class period in which the student would have had lunch during a traditional 8 period day.

What can families expect instruction to look like?   

Teachers will not be lecturing the whole time. Rather, teachers will offer a variety of activities within each class including direct instruction and teacher demonstrations, class discussions, whole-class and small group activities, individual and group projects, mini-lessons, targeted-instruction based on formative assessments, time to practice new skills, and time for conferencing with students one-on-one. Students will be participating in class discussions and activities, collaborating with their peers, practicing new skills, and receiving direct feedback from their teachers in real time. Part of the time might even be for some built-in social interaction as we know that’s an important piece our students are missing through distance learning!

Rocket Hour and Advisory         

Last year we launched Rocket Hour for our freshmen and sophomores. Rocket Hour gave students the opportunity to seek additional academic help from their teachers and participate in advisory and elective opportunities in their first hour class each day. In our JM @ Home plan, we are planning to continue to offer this level of support and will share details of this plan in a future letter.

Will Students Be Able to Come to School for Support?                         

We are developing a plan for students to be able to come into the building when they need support. Students would be able to come to school to meet with counselors and social workers, to access computer labs if they do not have a device, to check out books from the library, and to receive additional academic support from teachers. We plan to use FlexiSched software to allow students to make “reservations” to come to school. FlexiSched is the same software we used last year for Rocket Hour so many of our students are very familiar with it already. Using FlexiSched allows us to control how many students are in the building at any given time as well as track student attendance in the building. We are currently working on safety protocols, transportation options, and determining student numbers and will share this information in our ongoing communication.

More to Come!             

This letter is a snapshot of what distance learning will look like for our Rockets this fall.  I want you to have the most current information as we plan for our first day of school September 2, and I’ll continue to update you as we finalize important details.  In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact me with your questions. I’m here to help! You can reach me via email or you can call my direct line at (507) 328-5403.

Looking forward to making JM @ Home the best-possible learning experience for our Rockets!

Eric Johnson, Principal