A warm welcome to all members of the TAISM community as we begin the 2020-21 school year. While there are challenges in this time of pandemic for our parents, students and staff members, our TAISM Mission and Core Beliefs provide a consistent and strong foundation upon which our educational programs are developed and thrive. We look forward to building close relationships among our students, parents, faculty, and administration in order to provide the most effective learning environment we can for our students. We also remain committed to a balanced learning experience that fosters academic, social, emotional and physical growth and development for our students, and we know this occurs most effectively when we work together. And our TAISM Learner Profile, with the seven essential attributes exemplifying TAISM’s Mission in action, will continue to guide our work in nurturing our students’ development so they can achieve their highest aspirations and contribute to creating a better world.
As Mr. Schafer communicated previously (Return to TAISM), we are beginning the 2020-21 school year at TAISM using an Online Learning System. We plan to transition to a Hybrid Learning System (a combination of online and on campus learning) as per authorization from the Omani authorities, and when the school administration has determined that it is safe for us to do so. Our Online Learning System will be based on a synchronous model for learning, and utilize our existing Google platform of communication tools, including Google Classroom, Google Sites, Google Docs and our TAISM Gmail system. We will also be using Zoom as our primary video conferencing tool, as well as GoToMeeting and Google Hangouts / Meets when appropriate.
Online Synchronous Learning Schedule:
In the High School, our online school day will begin at 8:30 am and conclude at 3:30 pm, just like our regular on campus learning schedule. Students will attend classes in real-time following our regular 6-day rotating block schedule. Students will be expected to attend each of their classes online during the time period the class is in session, and teachers will be present and engaged with the class during that time period. Similar to when school is in session on campus, teachers will also be available to communicate with and provide feedback to students during their prep periods and during dedicated work time after school ends at 3:30 pm.
Daily Class Schedules
|Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Day 4||Day 5||Day 6|
Daily Class Schedule Times
|Sunday (Assembly) and Monday (Home Group)||Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday
(When there is no Assembly or Home Group)
8:30 Start of Assembly or Home Group
8:50 End of Assembly or Home Group (20)
8:55 Start of First Block
10:15 End of First Block (80)
10:25 Start of Second Block
11:45 End of Second Block (80)
11:45 Start of Lunch
12:35 End of Lunch (50)
12:35 Start of Third Block
1:55 End of Third Block (80)
2:10 Start Fourth Block3:30 End of Fourth Block (80)
8:30 Start of First Block
10:00 End of First Block (90)
10:15 Start of Second Block
11:45 End of Second Block (90)
11:45 Start of Lunch
12:35 End of Lunch (50)
12:35 Start of Third Block
1:55 End Third Block (80)
2:10 Start Fourth Block3:30 End of Fourth Block (80)
All classes will meet live, via meeting links shared through Google Classroom. Times listed are Muscat times (GMT+4).
In the High School, each week will start with an assembly at 8:30 am on Sunday morning. While the assembly will be coordinated by the HS Principal, various staff members and students will share announcements and information, typically via a pre-recorded message posted to Home Group Google Classroom sites. While High School Assemblies will generally be asynchronous, there will be some live assemblies that students attend via Zoom or GoToMeeting.
Home Group is how our school day starts at 8:30 am each Monday morning. Home Group sessions will be synchronous video meetings using Zoom or GoToMeeting. The purpose of the Home Group program is to provide a structured time to address the academic, social, and personal needs of students in the high school, with considerable attention to building a strong community.
Class Format and Learning Experiences:
Teachers will create online learning experiences for students that replicate, as best we can, the learning experiences that occur when students are attending classes at TAISM. During each class period students can expect a variety of learning activities and levels of engagement - including large group live meetings, small group collaborative break-out sessions, individual work time, and live teacher feedback. Teachers will make careful and deliberate decisions about the learning experiences they create based on the learning goals for the class period. Students can expect to be engaged in the content of the class for the full class period, with clearly described and communicated homework assignments.
In the High School, we will continue to use Google Classroom as our primary learning platform for online learning. Each class will have it’s own Google Classroom site, specific to that block. Teachers will generally use the Zoom or GoToMeeting video conferencing tools for whole class meetings, as well as Google Hangouts and Google Meets for synchronous video conferencing during each block.
Students will be able to use their school-issued iPad and their chargers at home. While not required, a home computer may be valuable for students to more efficiently and effectively engaged in some learning tasks. Band instruments will also be a critical piece of equipment for band students, as well as subject specific notebooks and supplies as communicated by teachers (e.g. drawing materials for Art classes).
School-issued iPads are intended for educational purposes. Apps that will be used are preloaded on the device and Google Classrooms and TAISM mail can be easily accessed. Use of social media applications or non-education related games are prohibited on the school iPad.
Throughout the learning process there will be multiple opportunities for students to share their thinking, demonstrate their learning, and receive and respond to feedback. Teachers will publish assessment expectations and deadlines along with each learning task. Students will be given the opportunity to demonstrate their learning using strategies that are most appropriate for the standards being addressed in the unit.
Grading and Reporting:
Grading and reporting student progress and achievement will follow our regular grading strategies and scale. Feedback will be given regularly to students and academic achievement will be reported using our regular grading scale:
- A Excelling at Meeting Grade Level Standards
- B Meeting Grade Level Standards
- C Approaching Grade Level Standards
- D Below Grade Level Standards
- F No Credit
- A grade of Incomplete indicates that insufficient evidence was submitted by a student to warrant a grade. In this situation, the student will work with their counselor and teacher to create and complete a plan to demonstrate the required learning to earn a grade for the class.
We will continue to monitor and report progress on the Behaviors that Support Learning, with an emphasis on Preparation, Organization, Engagement and Perseverance. It is more difficult to observe and assess collaboration in an online learning environment, so our teachers may monitor but will not be reporting progress on this behavior. Progress in the Behaviors that Support Learning are reported using the scale: Always, Consistently, Sometimes, Rarely.
|PREPARATION||The student is well prepared for learning, meets deadlines and fulfills commitments.|
|ORGANIZATION||The student has required materials organized, and organization contributes positively to their learning.|
|ENGAGEMENT||The student takes initiative and strives to maintain an active role in the learning process.|
|PERSEVERANCE||The student puts forth best effort, works with determination and diligence, and seeks resources to overcome obstacles and setbacks in order to achieve learning goals.|
|COLLABORATION||The student works well with others, respectfully shares knowledge and builds consensus to achieve common learning goals.|
In general, our expectations for student behavior in our Online Learning environment are guided by the same code of conduct as when we are learning on campus.
CODE OF CONDUCT
The following principles are the foundation of our school. All other rules and procedures are based on these ideas. Students should follow this code of conduct at all times while at TAISM and while engaged in our online learning environment.
- Students are expected to be truthful.
- Students will show respect for all members of the TAISM community.
- Students will show respect for property – their own, that of others and the school’s.
- Students will behave in a manner that ensures their safety as well as the safety of others.
As stated in the TAISM Board Policy Manual, Section 7.40, Student Rights and Responsibilities, each student has the opportunity and the right to use the School as a means for self-improvement and individual growth. In so doing, the student is expected to behave in such a way as to assure other students the same opportunities.
TAISM holds honesty and academic integrity as high ideals. Students are expected to be honest, trustworthy, and to display personal integrity at all times. Cheating, plagiarism, or any form of academic deceit will result in disciplinary action. Students who are found to be cheating or knowingly providing answers will be given a failing grade on the assignment or test, expected to repeat the assignment and the Principal and parents will be notified. Repeated or serious instances of academic deceit could result in suspension or expulsion. A record of offenses will be kept. Academic dishonesty is defined as (but not necessarily limited to) the following:
- The giving or receiving of information on an exam, test, quiz, or other assessment, in such a way that would be considered cheating. This could include copying from another, bringing notes to a test, using technology to share answers with another student, or other similar unauthorized help.
- Using someone else’s ideas or statements as one’s own, without giving credit to the author, would be considered plagiarism. This could include not giving a proper citation in a research paper by crediting the source of information, the copying of another student’s work (i.e., homework assignments) and handing it in as one’s own, the giving of one’s work to another to copy, or any other similar use of another’s work.
There are several important responsibilities for students which will support their success in our Online Learning environment. Specifically, students are expected to:
- Establish a daily routine for engaging in online learning that begins at 8:30 am and continues until 3:30 pm.
- Be punctual, attend and remain present as active participants in the learning process throughout each class lesson. Being an engaged and active participant in a class lesson includes having the camera on.
- Participate in the online learning environment using protocols and etiquette established by and monitored by their teachers. These protocols and etiquette include turning on and off for speaking, hand raising (using video conferencing tools when available), sharing speaking time with classmates.
- Dress appropriately for school when in an online learning environment. While we will not require students to wear a TAISM polo, students are expected to dress for a school learning experience (e.g. pajamas, tanktops, thin strap sleeves are examples of unacceptable clothing).
- Create a learning space appropriate for live synchronous video conferencing with their teacher and peers. Appropriate spaces include a table or desk in the family room or the bedroom, or while seated on a couch or chair in the family room. Inappropriate spaces for video conferencing include laying on a bed.
- Abide by the school’s Technology Acceptable Use Agreement and the High School Code of Conduct as described in the 2020-21 High School Student/Parent Handbook.
Students are expected to attend every online class period. Teachers will record attendance in PowerSchool for each class and the High School Office will communicate with families when students are absent from classes. Parents/Guardians are expected to contact Ms. Zarita in the High School Office to excuse their student when they are unable to engage in the online learning.
Teachers will be available for appointments or help-sessions when the teacher is available during the school day and after school hours. Students are expected to contact their teacher via email to arrange these meetings at times outside their regular class period.
Our High School Counselors, Chrystal Kelly and Sara Knudson, will continue to be available during this time for online appointments or check-ins via Zoom, as well as GoToMeeting and our Google communication tools. The High School Counselors have Google Classroom classes that will be more active during this time to share resources and guidance, and to continue the college planning process with students.
We encourage parents to communicate with teachers and to be connected to the learning process for their student(s). Please do so via Gmail. All staff email addresses can be found in the TAISM Staff Directory at parents.taism.com. Teachers are expected to respond to parent emails within 24 hours.
As we work together to support our students’ learning, here are a few ideas regarding how parents can best assist in an Online Learning environment:
- Help your student become more independent in their learning and able to advocate for their learning. In order to support the development of these parallel lifelong skills parents might:
- Remind their child to communicate with her/his teachers and/or counselor when they have questions or additional help or support is needed.
- Inquire with their student about the learning experiences and encourage their student to be consistently engaged in the learning process.
- While nurturing independence and self advocacy, please also monitor your student’s engagement in the learning process and provide reminders about the synchronous class schedule. To support these outcomes, parents might:
- Engage with your student about their learning - ask your child to summarize what they are working on in each class, check for understanding, make sure they are clear about directions and tasks.
- Request Google Classroom Guardian updates and check in with your child daily about the learning activities they are working on. NOTE: If you are not already receiving guardian notifications in Google Classroom, then you may email any one of your student's teachers and they can add you to this process.
- Help your students establish routines that support learning. These routines include:
- a morning routine that fosters engagement in the learning process, with a designated work area and a daily plan that are conducive to learning.
- a nightly charging routine for their school-issued iPad and/or personal device.
- Monitor the use of the school issued iPad per your regular home agreements about technology use and remind your student about the TAISM Technology Acceptable Use Agreement they have signed.
- Keep in mind that students are social beings - opportunities for students to connect with each other are encouraged.
We look forward to working with you and your students this year.
Richard Petersen email@example.com
For general questions you may contact Ms. Zarita Saldanha, High School Office Secretary, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For technology related questions please contact our Tech Support team at email@example.com.
All staff email addresses can be found on parents.taism.com.