Dear Bethel Families,
Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year!
Wow- We've already got the first week down and we're about to close week two. Our staff, students, and community have done amazing with our #ReopeningTogether. Thank you for doing your part to make the start of the school year successful!
As you know, in the spring COVID hit without warning. None of us could have predicted a shutdown with one day’s notice. Our staff members did what they could with what they had and so did you. We were all doing our best to find our way through foreign territory. Grace and flexibility helped us get through then and are still necessary as we navigate the 2020-2021 academic year.
We learned so much from our experience in the spring and since having gone through it, we now know we can do better. Over the summer we did a lot of reflecting and research. We requested feedback from you, our administrators, and our staff via surveys so that we could learn, adjust, and grow. We took a long look at the survey results and implemented them as best we could. As a result, we made some much-needed adjustments and improvements.
I am taking this opportunity to share with you the details of what our district is putting into place. It is a lot of information but I want to assure you that we’re here to help you through the process. If you have any questions or need support we are here to serve you. I think you’ll agree that as we have returned to school with so many unknowns, each of these updates were necessary.
The survey results indicated two common areas of opportunity; consistency and communication. We have created procedures to put into place to improve both of those areas.
First, let’s talk about consistency in the classroom. This summer, BLS ordered additional ChromeBooks and we are only a few weeks shy of achieving a district-wide goal of going 1:1 with ChromeBooks! When this summer's order arrives, each student will have their own ChromeBook. We made another change in technology. To help better serve our students and families, the district upgraded our Learning Management System (LMS) to Google Classroom.
What does this mean? It means that all teachers and students k-12 are now utilizing the same management system in the classroom. This upgrade streamlines our educational system on campus and at home. Soon students will know exactly where to go to get assignments and messages from teachers. We are prepared, in the event of a shutdown, to effectively educate remotely. Your children will be familiar with the system and know where to find school work, where to submit assignments, and how to connect with their teachers.
While there is no access for parents to log into the Classroom, your child(ren)’s teachers will invite you (if they haven’t already) to sign up for “Guardian Email Summaries”. These summaries include upcoming assignments, missing assignments, and class activities (announcements, assignments, and questions recently posted by teachers). In short, these summaries will keep you updated on what is happening in your child’s classroom. Your Email Guardian Summary invites will be sent by your child's teachers by Sept 11th. Once you accept the invitation, you can set your preference to receive the summaries weekly or daily.
You may be thinking, "Ok, so I'll get emails about what's happening in Google Classroom, but what about everything else going on in the school?"
As the district’s new Communications Director, I have spent the last couple of months creating solutions to existing communication gaps. I have worked with Mr. Firks, administrators, and teachers to streamline our communications so that you know where to go when you need information. It is my goal to ensure that our district communicates clear, consistent messages with ease. To achieve this goal, BLS will be utilizing three tools- one for each level of communication; district, classroom, and student.
DISTRICT LEVEL INFORMATION
Bethel Local Schools App: This app is for both district-wide communication and building updates. You can access information about staff members, lunch menus, documents, events, live feed, and news all on your phone.
To make sure you know the most important information, be sure to sign up to receive notifications from the district, each building, and/or emergency notifications. You can sign up to receive any one of those notifications or all of them. These messages will come to you through push notifications on the app.
CLASSROOM LEVEL INFORMATION
Bloomz App: This app is for teacher/parent communication at the classroom level. Teachers are not required to use a communication app (MS & HS teachers often use email as a communication tool with parents). However, if a teacher does want to use a communication app, it will be Bloomz. Most elementary teachers and a lot of the MS teachers will be using Bloomz. If you haven’t already, you will receive an invite to your child’s classes via email. If you’ve not received an invite, please email your child’s teacher requesting access to Bloomz.
INDIVIDUAL STUDENT INFORMATION
ProgressBook: While not an actual app, it works like one. With the tap of the icon and a quick login, you can access information specifically about your child’s grades and assignments. Once all students have their ID numbers and ProgressBook is updated, you will be able to access your child’s grades here.
I am very pleased to be sharing this communication plan and even more excited to begin implementing the entire plan in the next couple of weeks. We are diligently working with our IT department to get everything in place to better serve you and your family. We hope to have everything fully functional by mid-September.
Bethel’s sense of community is strong and we believe our social media platforms are a great place to tap into a glimpse of our amazing community. We have every reason to be proud and we want to brag on our students, staff, and families. If you want to see The Hive in action and Bees of all ages doing amazing things, please follow us on IG, Twitter, and FB @thebethelbees or visit our district website at https://www.bethelk12.org/
Thank you so much for your patience as we continue to take steps to better improve the district’s communication processes. If you have any questions or comments please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to serving you this year,
Bethel Local Schools