Middle School Distance Learning

The Moses Brown middle school promises to continue to support a learning community that honors our mission in our changing world. Even in this time of distance learning, relationships and care come first; these are not only central values of a Moses Brown education, but also necessary in order for our students to learn.

We are striving to balance structure and flexibility, consistency and creativity, in ways that let your children continue to grow and learn and hope to use screen time intentionally and meaningfully. We’ll seek to balance these pieces and ask for feedback from students and parents so that we can adjust as needed. We ask that you partner with us as part of this process.

After April 13, MB’s middle school is moving to a divisional schedule that is different from the daily schedules to which your children are accustomed. We have prioritized creating schedules that are sustainable for students, families and teachers for the duration of our school closure, while helping students to remain engaged in learning and in our MB community. These schedules are shared in the division-specific sections in the Distance Learning handbook sent to parents. All schedules are on a Monday–Friday 5-day format to allow easier integration with other family schedules, and for families with children in multiple divisions.

The middle school faculty believe that middle school students are prepared to navigate distance learning with minimal oversight from parents. All middle school students have experience using Google Classroom as our learning management system and every teacher will deliver and collect daily work through this system.

The Distance Learning Middle School schedule has been designed to create both flexibility for instruction and predictability for students and teachers. For the duration of distance learning, we will move away from the 7-day rotation and to a more consistent 5-day model for class experiences and connections with teachers.

The school day begins at 8:45, Monday through Friday, with advisor check-in, and ends at 2:50 each day with arts or music classes. Please refer to the schedule printed in the Distance Learning Handbook for the complete schedule.

Middle school students will have 2-4 synchronous class experiences per day. Each class experience will be relatively short (approximately 20 minutes) to provide instruction, opportunities for support and guidance about strategies for approaching the work assigned.

Middle school students should expect 2-3 hours of work per week for their core subjects in Math, English, Science, World Language and History. For “minor” courses in drama, art and music, they will have 1-2 hours per week of work to complete and teachers will establish daily expectations for long-term projects. Physical Education teachers will provide activities and exercises to complete during a student’s free time.

Middle School teachers will continue to provide critical feedback to students about their skills and performance on required assignments, creating different types of assessments to identify and assess student’s understanding.

More information

Notes about the Middle School Schedule
• All assignments for the day will be posted by 9:00 unless a teacher has scheduled a synchronous meeting time later in the day to explain the assignment.
• Advisors will check in daily with their group to deliver messages, offer guidance and connect.
• Teachers will notify students via Google Classroom about any mandatory synchronous meeting times. Students are expected to attend any synchronous learning times on time, enter the meeting sites on mute and remain focused on each meeting.
• World Language teachers will notify students about their designated class times on Monday-Thursday. Friday’s World Language time will be dedicated to extra help sessions, open office hours and small group work.
• The time slots for arts and music classes will be dedicated to class meetings and on-line check-in time for arts and music faculty to meet with students. Teachers will communicate their expectations in Google Classroom.
• Physical education and Wellness classes will not hold synchronous class meetings; students will be expected to complete assigned work in their free time.

Middle School Student Responsibilities
• We expect students to establish a simple and clear daily routine and use their planners to manage their work.
• We expect students to read their MB emails regularly during the day to access any new messages.
• We expect students to maintain the same level of behavioral and community expectations on-line as they do in the schoolhouse.
• We expect that students will be on time for each synchronous learning opportunity, join the meeting on “mute,” be present visually and be respectful in their participation and focus during those meetings.
• We expect students to maintain their connection to Google Classroom and other classroom resources and to communicate technical issues in a timely manner to the appropriate people.
• We expect students to practice their self-advocacy skills by using their advisors, teachers and classmates as resources.
• Without written permission from a teacher or Head of Middle School, students should never record, screenshot, share, re-post or otherwise capture digital content created or images of classmates during a video class.

How Can Middle School Parents Help?
This is new territory for all of us. To help make the most of this situation, middle school parents are asked to assist their children in establishing a daily routine and help them maintain a distraction-free environment for learning, allow their children to practice their self-advocacy skills by reminding them about the many resources available, communicate with their child’s advisor with concern, questions and need for support, assist their child in making social connections with classmates, and work with the school as a supportive partner in this new experience.

If your child is struggling or there is information that would be helpful for faculty to know, please share with us. It is important to us that we understand how best to support your children’s learning, and to help problem-solve when it needs to happen differently. Please communicate with your child’s teacher, advisor, Jared or Debbie about how best we can adjust the learning experience to respond to your particular circumstances.

Distance Learning
Synchronous learning refers to activities when students and teachers are engaged in the same activity at the same time, in real time, mostly likely through video connection or an on-line chat. Asynchronous learning refers to activities that happen outside of a defined time: independent assignments, reading, problems, etc.

General Guidelines for Parents and Guardians
• Help your child establish a schedule for their days.
• Encourage students to work independently and allow that there will be challenges, failures and struggles along the way.
• Ensure that students have access to supplies for learning. (Please contact Jared if you need help obtaining supplies or devices.)
• Communicate with the school.
• Maintain a sense of school community.
• Encourage healthy habits to limit stress.
Reminder: as MB utilizes technology for distance learning, parents are reminded that many of these products have the ability to capture video and sound within range of the camera and microphone within your home or anyplace your child uses this technology. Please be mindful of your child’s use of these technologies and protect your family’s privacy while classes are in session.

MB’s school nurse is still available for questions and concerns in her “virtual office.” Contact Barret Clarke from 8:00am–3:00pm via email or phone. Middle school counselor Jess Stewart is also available during regular school hours to “meet” with students and/or parents in need of a check-in for emotional support and/or support with managing time and study habits. Reach out to her by email to set up a time and method for connecting. School phone: 831-7350

Have a question about your child’s distance learning?
Debbie Phipps, Assistant Head for Academic Affairs Lower School (email)
Jared Schott, MS Division Head Middle School (email)
Krista Haskell (gr6) (email)/ Jessica Stewart, Emotional Support (email)
David Wasser, Technology (email)
Marie DelPadre, Attendance (email)

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