Life School District Parent Updates
Back to School Remote Instruction
Dear Parents and Guardians, Life School would like to thank you for your patience and understanding as we move closer to the beginning of the school year.
Staff members are working tirelessly to create a brand-new virtual learning environment for all students as we look to start this school year remotely. Life School strives to know every student by name and need, and it is through this lens that we would like to provide detailed information and clarify the expectations for students and parents during the first three weeks of virtual learning.
During the spring, due to Covid-19, we had to quickly adjust from face to face instruction and were able to take our curriculum 100% online in a very short period of time. Over the past couple of months, Life School staff have been diligently working on improving our remote learning experience for our students and families. As we continue to plan and prepare for the first day of remote instruction on August 19, please take a moment to complete this short Technology & Wellness Survey no later than August 9th if you have not already done so.
SYNCHRONOUS & ASYNCHRONOUS INSTRUCTION
During remote instruction, Life School will be offering asynchronous instruction with synchronous support. Asynchronous instruction does not require all participants to be virtually present at the same time and offers more flexibility for students to complete assignments at their own pace within a given time frame and with intermittent teacher instruction. All assignments will be submitted through the specified Learning Management System (LMS). Elementary students in K-6 will complete assignments remotely through Google Classroom, while secondary students in grades 7-12 will complete and submit assignments through Canvas. Students will be expected to check in with all classes each day through the LMS. Although much of the remote learning experience will be offered asynchronously, teachers will offer a daily synchronous instruction time through the LMS to offer mini-lessons, small group instructions, or an opportunity to answer students’ questions live.
REMOTE INSTRUCTION STUDENT EXPECTATIONS
Students and parents should review the Remote Learning Student Expectations page, as students will be held accountable for knowing and following these expectations during asynchronous and synchronous instruction.
Life School’s grading policy will remain the same whether students are learning remotely or face-to-face. Students in grades 3-8 must earn a 70 or higher in their reading/language arts and mathematics class and an overall average of 70 or above in their core classes (reading, science, language arts, social studies, and mathematics) in order to be promoted to the next grade. Students in grades 9-12, or 8th-grade students taking high school credit courses, must earn a 70 or higher in order to receive course credit for each of their classes. Teachers will post assignments and due dates through the LMS weekly for students to complete. Students will turn in all assignments to their teacher through the LMS. Teachers may deduct points for late assignments.
STANDARDS BASED GRADING (K-2)
Grades K-2 at Life School use standards-based grading (SBG) as an intentional way for teachers to track their students' progress and achievements while focusing on helping students learn and reach their highest potential. It is based on students showing signs of mastery or understanding various lessons and skills. Teachers use formative and 1:1 assessments to gather report card grades. SBG formative assessments will be conducted virtually on a one-on-one basis with the student’s teacher or instructional aide. Students are required to attend these scheduled 1:1 conferences to ensure they are progressing and meeting requirements within the standards.
Students will be required to interact with their LMS daily in order to receive daily attendance credit. Detailed information about your child’s daily attendance requirements will be shared with parents prior to the first day of school.
90% RULE AND COURSE CREDIT
The minimum attendance for class credit rule of TEC 25.092 will be in effect for the 2020-2021 school year. In order for students to receive course credit or be promoted to the next grade level, they must be in attendance 90% of the school year. For remote students, that means they must complete the required daily attendance assignment from their homeroom teacher for grades K-6 and for all courses in 7-12. State law provides that credit for courses for high school graduation are to be awarded based on a student’s demonstrated proficiency in the essential knowledge and skills for the course. Students must earn 70% or higher and be in attendance at least 90% of the school year in order to receive course credit. Please refer to the Student Handbook for further details regarding promotion and retention.
GPA and class rank calculations will be the same whether students are attending remotely or face-to-face. Details about how GPA and Class Rank are calculated can be found in the Life School Course Guide.
Parents and students will be able to obtain a copy of their 2020-2021 Class Schedule on August 12, 2020, through the Student Portal or the Parent Portal. Instructions on how to create a Parent Portal account can be found in the link provided.
SCHOOL SUPPLY LISTS
School Supply Lists for grades K-6 have been updated to reflect items your child will need for remote instruction highlighted in green. You can find the revised school supply list on our district website at 2020-2021 Life School Supplies List.
Over the next few weeks, our educators will continue to work and prepare for the 2020-21 school year which starts on August 19, 2020. We understand that you may have questions regarding how we are moving forward with student monitoring, feedback, and grading during remote instruction. Please reach out to your student’s teacher or a member of the campus administration team to address your individual questions.
At this time, unless prohibited by additional guidance from the governor or the Texas Education Agency, Life School plans to return to in-person instruction for those who chose it by September 9. We will continue to provide updates to our Life School families as decisions are made.
Dr. Troy Mooney
Chief Academic Officer, Life School