• April 30, 2020

    Dear Sewanhaka CHSD Families,

    I pray this email finds you and your family in the best of health. This has been a challenging time for all of us but my faith dictates that you have all found some light at the end of this tunnel. The fourth marking period has rapidly come upon us so I would like to take this opportunity to give you some direction and support so that our students can be successful.

    We know that the end of this year will look vastly different from the past. Our principals, assistant principals, coordinators and chairs are working diligently to help support your child through the end of the quarter. More information will be coming from this group to let you know how you should proceed and to provide our families with the tools to keeping our students engaged in the remote learning process.

    For MP4, we will be assigning our students numerical grades. Students will be given a minimum of one to a maximum of three assignments per week. Teachers will refrain from administering ‘traditional’ style exams, as they are not conducive to remote learning. If your child does not engage in remote learning, we will continue to reach out to families and keep our staff aware of the situation. Assigning numerical grades for MP4 will provide your child with a sense of normalcy and will remind them of the importance of active participation in remote learning. Teachers may alter their traditional grade expectations to maximize the opportunities for your child to be successful in MP4 and the overall course.

    Since there will be no final exams administered this year, all four quarters will be averaged to determine the final grade. To assess the most fundamental skills that students will need to matriculate to the next grade level, teachers will be providing an extended project-based assignment. A framework for these projects is being developed by department chairs and will be available within the next few weeks.

    Our groups of educators have done a tremendous job of educating and supporting our students thus far. Your immediate response to the changes and positive attitude has helped to make this transition more successful than we could have anticipated.

    Please know that we will assist you with anything you may need moving forward. We continue to get better everyday and our students are more the wiser for our commitment to their education.

    Remain safe and healthy!


    Taryn M. Johnson, Ed. D.

    Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction


    April 6, 2020

    Dear Sewanhaka CHSD Families,

    Thank you for continuing to be our partners in education.

    There are times in life when your resolve is tested and you question whether or not you can come out through the other side. Unfortunately, this has become one of those times. However, with the support of the Sewanhaka CHSD faculty, staff, and families, I believe we have created a positive remote learning experience for our students.

    As we rapidly approach the end of the third quarter, many of our teachers and families have questions surrounding the grading of students. The district is requiring that teachers use the six weeks of grading that we already have on record before schools closed to give a numerical grade to your child. If your child has positively participated during the remote learning period, those grades will be included as part of the quarter. If the participation rate was low for the student, those grades will be reflected in the class participation portion of the overall grade. Please make every effort to communicate with the teacher as to cultivate an understanding of the reason for lack of participation. We will not penalize students who are having technical or personal issues at home.

    To honor the work of students who have positively participated in remote learning without penalizing those students who have not, teachers will leave past due assignments blank in their grade books.  Past due assignments set to blank will display the past due icon only. These assignments will be EXCLUDED from category calculations and, therefore, are also excluded from marking period calculations.  

    To help our teachers communicate with parents, we are adding the following comments for use on report cards:

    • Outstanding participation in remote learning.
    • Student has shown satisfactory participation in remote learning.
    • Student has shown minimal participation in remote learning.
    • Student has not participated in remote learning. Please e-mail teacher.

    Our students will also be permitted to submit incomplete work during the fourth quarter. If this is the case, teachers will issue the third quarter grade as INC (incomplete). We will be happy to change to the correct grade at any time. Remember, the marking period ends on Friday, April 3rd and report cards will be published to parents on Friday, April 24th.  We will update you, as soon as possible, regarding fourth quarter grading.

    Not throughout any of our lifetimes have we experienced something as debilitating as this recent pandemic. Although academics are on our minds, it is important that we keep the social-emotional well being of our students in the forefront of the discourse as well. Our children need us now, more than ever, and their academic achievement is only as good as our communal support.

    Stay healthy and safe!


    Taryn M. Johnson, Ed. D.

    Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction


    March 25, 2020

    Yesterday, Apple released an update for its iPad operating system: iOS 13.4.  It is good practice for all students to keep their iPads updated to ensure that everything functions properly.
    Please do not attempt to perform this update during the day due to the high volume of internet traffic.  Students should either start their iPad updates at night before going to bed or in the early morning hours before the internet gets too busy.
    For help updating student iPads, please visit: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204204
    Thank you for your continued support.


    March 23, 2020

    We hope that with each day, the process of remote learning becomes a little easier and more familiar to all of our students.  Here is an update of what we all learned today:
    • Avoid internet rush hour.   To whatever extent possible, before 8:30am, students should download everything they'll need for the day and submit any assignments that are due.  Throughout the remainder of the day, the number of error messages, especially on Google Classroom, increase. This is due to the incredible amount of internet traffic right now.
    • Several teachers starting using Google Meet today and it worked well.  Please be sure to check the "Remote Learning Schedule" daily, as teachers are refining their methods of remote learning and may make changes. 
    • If an app seems slow to respond or gives students an error message while attempting to upload or download files, please do not delete the app and attempt to reinstall it.  It likely won't fix the problem, and during internet rush hour, it may take several hours for that app to reinstall. 
    • Students should check their e-mail often.  Please make sure they are using the Outlook app, and not the regular Mail app that comes with the iPad.  To set up e-mail with the Outlook app, tap on “Get Started” and allow notifications. Tap “Add Account.”  A window will open for “Microsoft 365” login, where students can enter their username and password.  
    Thank you once again for all of your support


    March 20, 2020

    As we reflect on our first day of remote learning, thank you for all of your support and patience.  Overall, we are very pleased with the great step forward we took today to return a continuity of instruction to our students.  Our faculty and technology staff worked very hard to make this possible, and we are very proud of their efforts.  While we ran into a variety of issues and new experiences, we will learn from them and make things even better as we move forward.  Today, our students were provided with not only instruction, but a return to something remotely resembling 'normalcy,' which I am sure is worth even more than we can imagine.
    Here are some reflections from our first day, and some information moving forward into next week:
    • Students should check the Remote Learning Schedule at the start of each school day, as teachers may update their method of providing remote learning.  When trying to access the Remote Learning Schedule, please note that this document can only be viewed by our students using their school Google accounts.  This is necessary to protect student privacy during their remote learning.  Parents cannot access this document from their own GMail accounts.
    • Students should also frequently check their school e-mail for messages from teachers, school counselors, and clinicians.
    • Please make sure students are using their district iPads for remote instruction whenever possible.  If a student has WiFi at home, they should use their district iPad, as cell phones have additional technical issues, especially when interacting with Google Classroom.
    • Google has recently made it much easier for schools to use their enterprise video conference platform, Google Meets.  Some teachers will choose to use it starting on Monday, and the app will be installed on iPads over the weekend.  
    • If students are looking to split the screen on their iPads so they can watch a Hangout or Meet while working in another app, they can split the screen following the instructions provided here:  https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207582
    • We received reports that there are sometimes issues sharing documents via Google Classroom.  We have spoken to other school districts, and this problem gets much worse at night; it seems to be is an internet or Google capacity issue.  Remember that schools in the western United States start using these tools three hours after us; in the morning, the east coast has Google Classroom more to itself.  If possible, try to encourage the uploading and downloading of files in the morning when the internet and Google Classroom seem faster and more reliable.  To whatever extent possible, avoid uploading and downloading during the internet rush hour.
    • Google has yet to resolve an ongoing glitch with Google Classroom where the app may crash if students zoom in and out too much on a document or file.  As a work-around for students to annotate .pdf documents, they can save or take a screenshot of a document and annotate it within the Photos app on the iPad.  The annotated document will be saved to the iCloud, and then can always be shared back with the teacher if that is desired.
    • Please continue to check the COVID-19 section of the district's website at www.sewanhakaschools.org for updated information on remote learning, including resources for technical support and frequently asked questions.
    Under the circumstances, today was an extraordinary day.  In short time, we were able to implement remote learning because of the efforts of our dedicated faculty and staff, along with the support of our incredible community.  Thanks to everyone, our students will have the continuity of learning that is so desperately needed right now.