Obviously, this is a time when news is changing by the day. This is our attempt to answer some of the common questions we are getting from our families, based on what we know by the above date.
On March 30, the Governor’s directive mandated that all schools in Arizona be closed through the end of the school year. We are working diligently to determine our course of action for starting the 2020-21 school year and will update families throughout the summer. Families may not access campus during this closure.
We are going to take Friday Exploration plans one week at a time. At present, everyone has so much to adjust to that we’ll be using Fridays as “catch up” days for students, additional opportunities for advisors to connect with advisees, and AP course review sessions (as needed). As the weeks unfold, and depending on the health and well-being of faculty, we would like to offer a modest array of health and wellness options with continued academic review/support. We commit to continued updates and communication in this regard.
Families may not come to campus. If the item(s) needed are crucial to your child’s ability to successfully approach their distance learning assignments, please contact Ms. Patton or Dr. Sherrill so we can arrange curbside pickup.
The College Board has adapted this year's AP exams to accommodate all the changes taking place in schools this spring. Instead of taking AP exams at school, students will take 45-minute online free-response exams at home. For each AP subject, there will be two different testing dates (for those who wish to take the exam early and for those who wish to take the exam later). In addition, any student already registered for an exam may choose to cancel at no charge.
The testing dates are as follows:
May 11 – May 22 (Three exams per day spaced 2 hours apart.)
June 1 – 5 (This is the last opportunity to take an AP exam)
TGS understands that a shift to a distance learning approach will require students and families to adjust to a “new normal.” A continued partnership with parents and guardians can play a vital part in ensuring the success of the distance learning. Our teachers, counselors, and administrators are all available to support and guide students (and parents/guardians/caregivers) should they need help. Below are some guidelines for parents/guardians/caregivers to help students achieve success with distance learning. Overall, we encourage you to embrace this time at home as a new adventure with great possibilities. Enjoy your family!
Once distance learning is initiated by the school, it will be important for parents/guardians/caregivers to help students establish and maintain a routine and structure for their day, beginning with a regular bedtime and wake-up time each day. While some of our students may want to stay up late and sleep in, establishing a regular school day routine will help your child retain a sense of normalcy and stay engaged in learning. Be sure to help your child build in “breaks” during the school day, encouraging them to stand up and move around so they are not remaining sedentary throughout the day. Begin and close each “school day” with a brief check-in as well as checking in throughout the day at regular intervals to ensure that your child is successfully engaging in distance learning. Reach out to your child’s teacher if you observe your child struggling to stay focused. Setting clear expectations with your child about regular school day hours will help your child maintain a schedule and stay on top of his/her schoolwork.
Productive learning relies on a conducive environment. We recommend that you create a separate, quiet space in your home for your child to study. The family room sofa with close proximity to a television or your child’s bedroom may not be the optimal place for your child to learn. We recommend that you choose an open area in the family living space (kitchen table, dining room, etc.) to avoid isolating your child and to allow parents/guardians to monitor your child’s learning and screen activity. A room with strong wireless connection will also be important.
Your child’s teachers will maintain regular communication with parents/guardians/caregivers. The frequency of the communications will depend on your child’s age and level of independence. While teachers are available as resources for you and your child, please keep in mind that they will need to be in regular email communication with all of their families, so we ask that you be mindful when communicating with teachers, strive to be succinct, and focus on the essential. Please use email (not texting) as your primary method of contact with teachers.
Stay engaged in your child’s learning by asking them questions and having them share their thoughts while encouraging their independence so they can take ownership of their own learning. Some productive struggle is essential to learning, so we ask that parents allow their children to grapple with problems and come up with ideas for tackling them. Stepping in too quickly to help solve problems will deprive your child of the opportunity to learn, try new approaches, and gain greater independence and confidence. If your child becomes discouraged and/or overwhelmed by schoolwork, please reach out to your child’s teachers, advisors, or counselors.
It will be very important for your child to stay in social contact (through virtual means) with their friends and peers during distance learning periods. Encourage your child to interact with friends through Facetime/Google Meet or through phone conversations. They can form study groups created by their teachers or informal groups that they develop on their own. Social interactions, such as virtual lunch buddies, will help your child stay connected and feel a part of the school community.
Physical movement and exercise are vital to maintaining physical and mental health, reducing stress and anxiety, and improving concentration and focus for more effective learning and retention. Parents should monitor student stress levels and reach out to the school counselor for advice as needed. The health and wellness of our students is of the utmost importance to us, and so we will work with our PE department to set aside time (possibly Friday Explorations if they don’t already have PE) for students to maintain a level of activity even if homebound.
During certain times in the distance learning schedule, especially more unstructured time on Fridays, some students may need help with time management. Teachers are available to assist, but it is also important for parents to ensure that students are spending this time on school work. Even if a student says that he or she is done with assignments, this is a valuable time to meet with teachers, study with peers, and master the learning outcomes for the course. Students should be actively working during the designated times.
With the potential of multiple devices being used simultaneously in a home, bandwidth could be taxed. It will be helpful if parents monitor so that one user isn’t streaming or playing video games (Netflix, Fortnite, etc.) while another is having class via Zoom.