Dear Brent Families,
We are facing so much change. Headlines appear faster than we can read them, life has shifted in pace and location and our community institutions, schools among them, are shuttered. But our physical space doesn’t define Brent. Our core purposes as a school do:
Social Justice: It is our responsibility to prepare our children to engage in an unpredictable world and to shape it for the better.
Collaboration: It is learned, necessary for learning, and joyful.
Academic learning: It is an individualized and collective progression of skills, sparks inquiry, and reveals many paths towards a solution.
Authentic learning: It inspires curiosity, introduces complexity, and connects to student interests.
Routine: It establishes clear and consistent foundations so that we can do the hard work of growing.
Our purposes will shape this new era of school, no matter how long it lasts. We will evolve as we get new information, learn from the mistakes we make and expand our understanding of what Brent can be for our students, faculty and families.
We will move sequentially and methodically toward distance (virtual) learning. Thus far, we are planning for four stages, each designed around a set of goals that give time and space for determining and resolving issues with access, testing a wide range of digital platforms and approaches (why you will see grade levels doing different things at first), and building virtual engagement skills and breadth:
Spring Break (March 16th-March 23rd)
Structure faculty collaboration and schedules
Establish contact with families
Build out the Microsoft Teams platform as our primary point of virtual engagement
Research other virtual learning tools
Week One (March 24th-March 27th):
Close Brent building to all access
Establish daily academic assignments and schedules
Initiate progress monitoring of student work completion
Set up virtual classes in Microsoft Teams
Plan for virtual learning that includes interactive instruction
Pilot: Some focus teachers and service providers may pilot interactive instruction with students receiving special education services.
Week Two (March 30th-April 3rd):
Train students and families on Microsoft Teams and establish classes and schedules
Establish a common calendaring approach
Introduce other new learning platforms, including DCPS Clever and DCPS Canvas.
Extend progress monitoring to include feedback (the progress monitoring format from week one will likely change)
Launch interactive (new) learning through both recorded and live points of engagement
Pilot: Some teachers will pilot small groups and individual conferences.
Week Three and Beyond (April 6th On…):
Increase the frequency of interactive learning
Extend progress monitoring to small groups and individual conferences
Host points of community engagement beyond the classroom (think Community meetings, modified Book Buddies, etc.)
Brent and the DCPS System
Our instructional approach and curricular models are different than most DC Public Schools. You may receive emails with instructional packets and instructions that do not apply to Brent students. Teachers will incorporate pertinent resources into “must do” student learning. Families can also consider DCPS instructional packets as “can do” or optional extensions.
Though we are on a parallel track, we will still take advantage of DCPS’ developing expertise with virtual platforms and other best practices that emerge. We also encourage you to read all DCPS emails, digesting the academic portions as previously suggested.
3/16 Email From Grade-Level Teachers
All families have now received an email from grade-level teachers that includes the following information about Week One:
- Teacher Office Hours: All teachers will hold daily Office Hours. During this time, teachers will be immediately available to respond to any inquiries. If you have an urgent need and it is not during your teacher’s Office Hours, reach out to another person on the team. Non-urgent inquiries sent outside of Office Hours will be addressed by the next Office Hour period.
Office Hours for ECE - 2nd
Office Hours for 3rd - 5th
- Schedule of Academic Assignments: Corresponding to the materials sent home with students on Friday, March 13th, teachers developed these assignments to maximize student independence. The assignments are either based on very recent classroom instruction or a review of past learning.
- Progress Monitoring: For Week One, each grade level established a basic checkpoint to track student work completion. Those checkpoints are intentionally different so that we can learn from the most effective mechanisms.
- Specials Teachers (Art, Music, PE, Science, Spanish, and Sport): An email is forthcoming. Trimester specials will move to Third Trimester classes as already calendared. Second Trimester Specials Report Cards will be included with term 3 report card packets.
If you did not receive yesterday’s email, please reach out to your classroom teacher as soon as possible.
A shift to virtual learning requires device and internet access. We are working to anticipate and respond to any gaps in access. Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, Comcast is offering 2 months free to new Internet Essentials customers in response to recent and anticipated emergency measures associated with the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Visit https://corporate.comcast.com/press/releases/internet-essentials-low-income-broadband-coronavirus-pandemic?linkId=84225537&linkId=84226462 for more details.
Meal sites are open in each ward on weekdays from March 16th to March 31st from 10am-2pm. Visit https://dcps.dc.gov/coronavirus for more information.
We are also partnering families who might receive or contribute to food, utility or clothing needs. Fill out this form https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfukf_R4bujtKXJSMz8NBBTrpRhAZz-QRSxqL5QG3mbnoJJcQ/viewform
if you have an offer or a need; all information will be held confidential by the Brent administration. Thank you to the families who have already responded.
If you have not picked up your child’s Week One packet, require access to a student laptop to engage in virtual learning, or have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202-590-7458. The leadership team has access to these centralized points of contact, allowing us to respond as quickly as possible.
Brent is open by appointment (email or call) from 8am-2pm through March 24th – we will practice social distancing here. The building will fully close on March 25th but email and phone access remain.
Each week we will follow the following communication protocols:
TuesNews will launch the goals for that week’s learning, communicate updates, and highlight virtual community connections.
School-wide emails will announce time-sensitive information
Weekly class/grade-level/specials communications will set the week’s learning expectations and format
Social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) will highlight social connection, collaboration, and community spirit
We are committed to helping our Brent community make meaning of a confusing time. Please do not hesitate to reach out. We’re still here and when you say Calling All…Brent Bears still answer.