Hello Zion Families!
I hope this notice finds you and yours well as you begin to settle into the new normal. At Zion our teachers have continued to work hard behind the scenes to prepare for what could be an extended school closure. Already Kansas has closed in-building education for the year and several Nebraska schools have closed indefinitely. Guidance from the Nebraska Dept. of Education indicate that distance-learning in some form or another be offered.
As Zion endeavors to continue to provide only the best in education, regardless of the circumstances, we have been exploring our options. Here's where we are so far:
1) All families have picked up packets for continuing coursework which will help keep skills sharp thru March 29.
2) Teachers at all levels have been exploring the use of two platforms that may be used to provide students with profitable resources to cultivate learning and socialization under lock-down/quarantine settings.
a) The Google Classroom. All K-8 students have been set up with zionkearney.org email and have been invited to join their classroom(s) - usually the homeroom + music. For the time being, these are being used as a supplement to the packet and teachers are providing pre-recorded read-alouds and other learning resources. Use of the Google classroom for homework assignments and submission may come later, but primarily in the upper grades. NOTE: If you are being overwhelmed with a deluge of emails, notifications and the like related to the Google classroom - please disable these in the Google classroom settings!
b) ZOOM Meetings: Zion teachers will be utilizing ZOOM meetings as a way to keep the students connected with their teacher and their peers. One of the hardest things about this is that students are placed in isolation which is not healthy for psycho-social development. Humans are social creatures and we crave connections with others. The ZOOM meeting allows kids to see each other and their teachers, which still fosters something in the way of connection.
As of right now, the Google classroom and the ZOOM meetings are exploratory in nature and we're trying to figure out what will work and what will not if we must teach vicariously. Our concern is how to best teach new skills for our students, especially our youngers. Paper packets can help keep already taught skills up, but we still have a lot to teach before closing in May!
Please be patient with us as we try to continue to provide the high level of education you have come to expect at Zion. Your feedback is important to us, please continue to inform us constructively with what is working for your child and what isn't.
Stay tuned! God's peace be with you!