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Distance Learning Dashboard2020-05-08T17:16:06-05:00

Distance Learning at Wingra

Droplets. Vectors. Cocooning. Even the words we are saying have changed. And as we adapt to incorporating social distancing into our lives, so too must we navigate distance learning.

What is distance learning? For starters, distance learning is not online learning. For some schools that rely on 1:1 devices and utilize digital learning tools on a regular basis, their distance learning may involve a large amount of screen time and virtual learning. However, this is not the Wingra experience and this is not the expectation for our version of distance learning.

Wingra School has been doing something different since 1972, and we’re going to continue to be innovative and responsive, especially in a time of need. In the wake of standardized tests being cancelled and school day minimums being waived, schools across the country are asking themselves—some of them for the first time—what really matters when it comes to education. At Wingra, we have always prioritized creating a school that children deserve and we will continue to move forward in service of learning, the whole person, social justice, democracy, and the world.

Our goals are always to give our students the tools they need to be active and engaged citizens, and to promote lifelong learning. Each year, the content of our programming is informed by what’s going on around us: what’s in our communities, what’s on our students’ minds. Our Sky students studied watersheds during the Madison flooding; they visited Tenney Locks and researched water contamination. This moment isn’t any different. Our Sky teachers are now crafting a unit on social isolation, connections, and social media. 

This is a great opportunity for all of our students to use the skills they’ve been practicing. Skills like identifying problems that exist in their communities and how they can contribute to solutions. Skills like working independently to find personal interest areas and strategies for exploration. Skills like seeking out an expert in the field or citing multiple sources. Skills like facilitating a meeting (now, perhaps, with their family at the dinner table). Even our five-year-olds have expertise in these areas.

Finally, as we look in the rear view mirror, Wingra as we know it may seem distant. But, as we all know, objects in mirror are closer than they appear, and a Wingra education is at our fingertips. With our collective creativity, patience, compassion, and optimism, we will find new meaning in John Dewey’s idea that “the only ultimate value that can be set up is just the process of living itself.” As always, and especially now more than ever, we thank you for your partnership in your child’s educational journey. We look forward to learning and growing together.

Our primary goals of distance learning are for students to continue to grow as:

EMPOWERED, REFLECTIVE LEARNERS

CONNECTED, COMPASSIONATE COMMUNITY MEMBERS

Our priorities are to:

  • Cultivate relationships between and among teachers, students, and families
  • Offer structures, routines, and supports for students and families
  • Support social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development
  • Continue each child’s learning progression in levels and all-school classes
  • Maintain key aspects of our educational practices such as responsiveness, student-choice, sharing, reflecting, and feedback

We recognize that while our school building remains closed we will be in an extraordinary state of learning. We are committed to being responsive, open-minded, and flexible. At Wingra, we value process over product. Our process for distance learning reflects a natural learning cycle that involves a continued partnership of staff, students, and families.

As part of this learning cycle, staff will engage in ongoing reflection during planning and staff meetings, taking into account a bi-weekly survey of families to respond to what is working and what is not. We strive for continuous improvement.

Student Expectations

Even though learning is taking place at a distance, our words, actions, conduct, and attitudes still have a direct impact on one another. Our school wide expectations for students still apply.

  • Be kind.

  • Be safe.

  • Be respectful.

  • Be ready to learn.

Communication

You are likely now more involved in your child’s learning than ever, which can bring both a lot of insights and a lot of questions. We encourage you to continue to reach out to your child’s teaching team with questions about your child’s experience or their curricula. Email is the best way to reach them:

Teachers will do their best, during this time of especially full inboxes, to respond to your emails within 3 school days. We kindly ask for your continued patience and that you refrain from contacting teachers via their personal cell phones.

Tech Usage

We will continue to prioritize hands-on, interactive, experiential activities for students. Still, distance learning most likely means an increase in the amount of time children are spending on screens and online. We advise families to follow these general safety tips:

  • Review your child’s privacy settings on any social networking sites to ensure that they match your level of comfort
  • Advise your child to be cautious about posting and sharing personal information, especially information that could be used to identify or locate them offline (such as address, telephone number, or full name)
  • Encourage your child to block and report anyone who sends unwanted or inappropriate communications, and to talk with you about their online exchanges
  • Check-in with your child at the conclusion of a virtual morning meeting, small group lesson, or one-on-one session with a teacher to discuss their next steps on or off the computer or other digital device.

Below are the primary digital tools that we will be using during distance learning.

We will continue to use email as a primary communication tool between school and families. The distance learning curriculum will be accessible through the weekly Wingra e-newsletter.
Google Meet is one tool that will be used for virtual morning meetings, small groups, and one-on-one sessions between students and teachers. For privacy reasons, students should refrain from taking a screenshot, photo, or video of the virtual chat at any time. 
Zoom is another tool that will be used for virtual morning meetings, small groups, and one-on-one sessions between students and teachers. Keeping in line with Zoom’s Terms of Service, students should not create their own Zoom accounts. Instead, they should be joining as participants using the meeting codes and passwords provided by their teachers. We are setting up all of the recommended features that make our video calls private and safe. For privacy reasons, students should refrain from taking a screenshot, photo, or video of the virtual chat at any time. 
Google Classroom is a learning management system being used by the Lake and Sky to post assignments, host discussions, collect student work, and give feedback to students. This platform is directly accessible by teachers and students. To view Google Classroom, parents or guardians are encouraged to sit with their Laker or Skyer to get a sense of the platform, read messages from the teachers, and see activities and discussions.

Please know that it is a Wingra School policy that staff do not initiate or accept social network friend requests with current students or former students under the age of 18.

Each week, the Wingra email newsletter contains links to our distance learning curriculum for levels and all-school classes. Core areas offered weekly are:

  • Art
  • Library
  • Math
  • Music
  • Reading
  • Spanish
  • Technology
  • Unit Project Work
  • Wellness
  • Writing

In addition to these areas, students will have the opportunity to meet virtually with their whole class at least once per week through the familiar morning meeting structure. Students will also have the opportunity to meet virtually in a small group or one-one-one with their teachers at least once per week. Utilizing virtual meetups helps to maintain connections between students, teachers, and families, however, we recognize that our ability to facilitate a social curriculum is limited. We hope families are able to have more discussions and cultivate richer relationships with their children in which they participate together in growing and learning.

Curriculum materials across levels distinguish between the work that is expected each week and activities that are suggestions or invitations. In some cases, it is up to the student to submit their work (i.e., via Google Classroom) and in other cases we are asking parents to send their child’s work directly to teachers via email. We understand that home circumstances vary widely and so we encourage everyone to engage with the distance learning curriculum in ways that are enjoyable and empowering for the students as well as manageable for the adults. Above all, do what you can. We are flexible and we are here for you.

ALL-SCHOOL CLASSES 

  • How do I access the curriculum?

    • Every week, each all-school class (Art, Wellness, Library, Music, Spanish, Tech) offers a “menu” of activities differentiated by level, which can be accessed via a link in the Wingra newsletter.
  • What are the current units of study?

    • All school teachers typically integrate their curriculum with the unit themes for each level. For distance learning, all-school teachers have shifted their focus to activities that can be integrated into the lives of students and families at home.
  • How are virtual meetups being used?

    • Currently, there are live virtual sessions for Wellness and Tech via Zoom and Google Meet. All school teachers are also joining virtual morning meetings and small groups throughout the week across levels.
  • What work is required each week? How is it submitted?

    • The activities in the all-school classes are optional, unless otherwise stated. However, we have seen examples of people (young kids and adults) sharing that the things that are keeping them going during this health emergency are related to creative outlets and personal wellness. A live fitness class, a recyclables art project, or a good book might just be what you or your child need right now. Students and families are invited to email pictures of and reflections on their activities to each all school teacher.
  • How are students getting feedback?

    • Since the activities in all-school classes are optional, all-school teachers are focusing responses and feedback on the emails that they get from students and families. In some cases, students are receiving feedback through Google Classroom or live virtual sessions.

NEST

  • How do I access the curriculum?

    • The Nest distance learning curriculum is organized in a Google doc each week, which is linked in the Wingra newsletter. Information, activities, and links to materials and resources are all contained in the Google doc.
  • What are the current units of study?

    • We are finishing our unit “People Movers: Things That Go.” Starting on Monday, April 20, we will begin a unit called “Everyday is Earth Day.”
  • How are virtual meetups being used?

    • We are using Zoom for a once-a-week Sharing Time. We are using Google Meet for the teachers to meet with Nesters one-on-one (or two) for reading and CGI math.
  • What work is required each week? How is it submitted?

    • At the top of the Nest curriculum Google doc there is a summary of activities that are priorities for the week. These are typically associated with unit project work, reading, writing, and math. We also hope that each child is making time to play inside and outside everyday. We are asking parents or guardians to take pictures of their child’s work and compile them into one email to send to their assigned Nest teacher at the end of the week.
  • How are students getting feedback?

    • We are using email to respond to the end of week emails we get containing student work. We are focusing individual assessment and feedback for reading and CGI math through live sessions in Google Meet.

POND 

  • How do I access the curriculum?

    • The Pond distance learning curriculum is organized in a Google doc each week, which is linked in the Wingra newsletter. Information, activities, and links to materials and resources are all contained in the Google doc.
  • What are the current units of study?

    • We are wrapping up Independent Projects with the Ponders. Our next unit will be “A New Season” incorporating the budding of Spring, distance learning, and other topics that emerge.
  • How are virtual meetups being used?

    • We are using Google Meet or Zoom for morning meetings, small group meetings, group read aloud, and one-on-one weekly meetings.
  • What work is required each week? How is it submitted?

    • In the Pond curriculum Google doc activities are organized by day, updated by 5pm for the following day. The left column summarizes the “To-Doskees” which is the work that Ponders should complete. We are asking parents or guardians to take a picture of one or two of your Ponder’s activities during the week and send it in an email to the Pond teachers with their observations and comments by the end of the week.
  • How are students getting feedback?

    • Through our one-on-one weekly meetings with Ponders we will continue individual instruction, assessing student’s understanding, and providing feedback in real time.

LAKE

  • How do I access the curriculum?

    • The Lake distance learning curriculum is organized in Google Classroom each week, which students have access to. Parents or guardians are encouraged to sit with their Laker to walk through Google Classroom to get a sense of the platform, read messages from the teachers, and see activities and discussions. This is also where you can find our weekly plan sheet Google doc.
  • What are the current units of study?

    • Lakers are working on their Independent Projects as well as Wingra Towne Mall for math.
  • How are virtual meetups being used?

    • We are using Google Meet and Zoom for morning meetings, lit groups, and office hours. In some cases, we are using Facetime for one-on-one meetings with Lakers.
  • What work is required each week? How is it submitted?

    • We expect every Laker to join our morning meetings and lit group virtual sessions. The weekly plan sheet contains a summary “To-Do-List” which outlines and color codes the “Must Do” activities each week. Lakers submit their work via Google Classroom.
  • How are students getting feedback?

    • We are using email and phone calls to communicate with students and families. Students receive direct feedback on their work through Google Classroom. Our virtual sessions with Lakers allow assessment and feedback to happen in real time.

SKY

  • How do I access the curriculum?

    • The Sky distance learning curriculum is organized in Google Classroom each week, which students have access to. Parents or guardians are encouraged to sit with their Skyer to walk through Google Classroom to get a sense of the platform, read messages from the teachers, and see activities and discussions. This is also where you can find our weekly plan sheet as a PDF.
  • What are the current units of study?

    • We are in a unit called “Isolation and Connectivity,” which emerged in response to Wingra’s building being closed and the onset of distance learning.
  • How are virtual meetups being used?

    • We are using Google Meet for morning meetings, lit groups, and office hours. We are also using our one-on-one or small group virtual time for playing, community building, sharing, and sense making.
  • What work is required each week? How is it submitted?

    • The weekly plan sheet summarizes the work for the week as well as optional activities. Our expectation is that the students do what they can do and connect school work to real life and make meaning as best as possible. Skyers submit their work via Google Classroom.
  • How are students getting feedback?

    • Students receive direct feedback on their work through Google Classroom or through email. Our virtual sessions with Skyers allow assessment and feedback to happen in real time.

The following list is composed of advice from level program guides—because the ways you can support your child’s learning haven’t completely changed—as well as the many lists of advice for parenting during a pandemic, and other ideas. What resonates with you now may change over time so we invite you to revisit this list occasionally as a grounding exercise during these turbulent times.

Do what you need to do to feel healthy and safe (put on your oxygen mask first)

Find joy in the little things

Help your child get plenty of sleep and eat a nourishing breakfast

Read the weekly Wingra newsletter for distance learning curriculum and updates

Assess what your child knows about the health emergency before talking to them about it

Develop a schedule and routines for your child and your family

Have dinner with your child and whole family without electronics (or reading!)

Encourage your child’s observations, curiosity, and wonderings

Express interest in, support of, and confidence in your child and their learning

Prioritize projects, experiments, games, explorations, and creative ventures over tasks

Allow your child to make choices and learn from mistakes

Get outdoors everyday

Help your child set bite size goals

Emphasize good hygiene

Find positive qualities in your child’s friendships and encourage new relationships

Communicate your questions, concerns, and thoughts with teachers

Seek social connection for your child and yourself

Spend time with your child simply to enjoy their company and follow their enthusiasms

Let your child have down time—it’s okay for them to be “bored”

Help your child capture their learning and experiences through journaling or a scrapbook

We are working to keep the lines of communication open during this time. Even though we cannot be together in our building, we are here for you and your child. Here is a reminder of who you reach out to with questions or concerns.

Check with your child’s classroom teachers if you have a question or concern related to:

  • Your child’s experience – work expectations, interactions with others, a conflict or problem
  • Curriculum and distance learning at your child’s level 

Check with Debbie Millon, Head of School, if you have questions related to:

  • Wingra’s responses and decisions regarding COVID-19
  • School leadership, long-range planning, and school growth
  • Wingra policies and procedures; realms of authority and decision making
  • Your and your child’s experience and learning at Wingra School
  • Board of Trustees, strategic initiatives

Check with Christine Stocke, Director of Enrollment & Marketing, if you have questions related to:

  • Admissions, re-enrollment, and orienting new families to Wingra
  • School communications: weekly newsletter, email lists, website, social media, school calendars
  • Marketing and branding, including Wingra’s blog
  • Parent Service Program
  • Wingra Family Association

Check with Daniel Torres-Rangel, Director of Education, if you have questions related to:

  • School programs: big picture curriculum, distance learning, progressive education at Wingra
  • Authentic assessment and ways we make learning visible
  • Progressive education practices, as a whole
  • Your child’s experience and learning at Wingra School, including tech related issues

Check with Elizabeth Garcia, Administrative Secretary, if you have questions related to:

  • Picking up items at school during the building closure
  • Hot lunch/pizza 
  • Chaperone/Volunteer procedures

Check with Bonnie Schey, Business Manager, if you have questions related to:

  • Tuition and fee payments
  • Tuition assistance process and policy
  • School budget/finances

Check with Mary Campbell, School Stewardship and Sustainability, if you have questions related to:

  • Wingra’s relationship with the city and neighborhood
  • Donating to Wingra School

Staying Connected

Please read below for this month’s events and updates about their happenings.

  • Spring Gala: Originally scheduled for Saturday, April 25, this event has been postponed. More information will follow soon.
  • Outdoor Day: Originally scheduled for May, this event has been cancelled due to physical distancing requirements and the large amount of outdoor activities currently in Wingra’s weekly curricula.
  • Kids Night Out: This event will go on! Performances for this event will now be recorded with an official release date of May 27.
  • Family Picnic and Graduation: These events are in the works and being redesigned by current Sky students and families.

Wingra families, email Christine (christine@wingraschool.org) a photo or a line from a book you’re reading. Send a description of the family fort that has taken over your living room or a sound byte from your backyard. Be your identifiable self, or be anonymous. It doesn’t matter to us. This is a space. A collective one. A place to be vulnerable together, and we’re happy to start…

Latest COVID-19 Updates

To protect our health care workers, please only call 911 for emergencies:

  • If you have flu-like symptoms, call your regular doctor. Do not call 911 about flu symptoms unless they become life-threatening.
  • If you need community resources, like food or housing, call 211 (United Way).
  • If it’s a life-threatening emergency and you need to go to the hospital, call 911.

The YMCA is offering emergency child care for first responders and medical professionals beginning Monday, March 30. Please visit here to register your child.

We are following the recommendations of public health officials regarding preventative actions that stop the spread of all respiratory diseases. We encourage students, staff, and families to also do this by:

  • Washing hands frequently with soap and water

  • Avoiding close contact with people not in your household

  • Covering your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing

  • Staying home whenever possible

  • Cleaning and disinfecting spaces frequently

  • Postponing or cancelling any non-essential travel

Would you like to learn more?

Please email christine@wingraschool.org with any questions or to schedule a tour. She’d love to hear from you.

Community Involvement

Are you a local business in need of a performance space? A local artist, musician, or gardner who enjoys collaboration? Email christine@wingraschool.org with any ideas. It’s important to stay connected.