COVID-19 & E-Learning Updates for CCA Parents

Email Update to CCA Parents from Aaron Whisler, 4/2/2020

Dear JH/SH Parents – 

It’s hard to believe that we only have one day left in the school week and then, hopefully, a chance to catch our breath a bit this weekend. As noted before, I will try to be in regular communication throughout the process so that you not only get vital information, but get that information from a primarily centralized source. Here are a few items of note as we head into Friday:

Zoom Meetings with Teachers – 
Tomorrow (Friday, April 3) we will do a trial run of Zoom meetings in a few subject areas. If a teacher intends to meet with a class, he or she will contact you or your student with information. Watch Google Classrooms and email for information, including links to the Zoom meetings.

E-Learning Survey – 
Please use the following link to fill out a survey regarding your first week of e-learning: https://forms.gle/bBnRmKprwmfy4BCPA

I trust that your e-learning experience has gotten off to a good start. I appreciate the hard work and dedications on every side of this partnership. Take time to relax and enjoy this beautiful weather!

Sincerely,
Aaron Whisler
Head of School
Calvary Christian Academy

Email Update to CCA Parents from Aaron Whisler, 3/31/2020

Dear JH/SH Parents – 

I trust that your first day of e-learning went well and that the process got off to a relatively smooth start. There’s going to be a lot to learn on all fronts, so please know we’re working hard to learn the new systems we’re operating to catch any issues that need to be addressed and, I hope, make your experience as seamless as possible. Throughout the coming month, I will try to communicate regularly to hit high points that need attention. After today’s e-learning session, I wanted to address a few questions you might have.

Why am I seeing double-classrooms?
At some point today you or your child might have noticed two classes appear in Google Classroom for each subject they are taking. We are working on merging Google Classroom with RenWeb and when we activated the merger today, it duplicated classrooms. We are working to address the issue and hope it will resolve quickly. In the meantime, you will find that classes such as 08 SCI or 08 BIB that start with a two-digit grade and an abbreviated subject are RenWeb-based and might be empty, whereas “8th Science” and “Bible 8” are Google Classoom-based and will have material. Just looking at your home page for Google Classroom, you’ll identify the active classes easily by the fact that they have at least some content visible whereas the RenWeb versions will be empty.

Why was my answer marked wrong when I typed it correctly?
In Google assignments, if you do not type the answer exactly as the teacher did in the answer key, the answer will be marked wrong. Even a capitalization or punctuation difference will count the answer wrong. However, teachers can override the grading and give points for correct answers, so they will be counted correctly! We are working to address this issue when setting up assignments so that this problem is not ongoing. Using the grading feature is a part of the learning process for us as a faculty. The biggest thing is not to worry, your correct answers will be counted as correct!

I noticed assignments given today were not due today. Is that correct?
Yes, we are giving some extra time for assignments as we know students are working in a non-traditional format. Generally speaking, assignments early in the week will be due mid-week and assignments from the middle of the week onward will be due by the end of the day on Saturday. Of course, assignments are varying in length and difficulty (such as papers or research projects), so I’m being a bit broad here, but I thought I’d address the overall topic. Just make note of the due date in Google Classroom or other avenues of information as you move through the week. 

Again, I hope that your e-learning got off to a good start and that we can learn together from this first week and continually refine the process. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns and we’ll do our best to help you out! 

Sincerely,
Aaron Whisler
Head of School
Calvary Christian Academy

Email Update to CCA Parents from Aaron Whisler, 3/27/2020

Dear Parents,

It’s hard to believe that Spring Break is nearly done and our return to educational pursuits is imminent. As you know, next Tuesday, March 31, we will begin our e-learning experience. The process of getting everything set in place has been (and continues to be) an arduous one, but our faculty has thrown themselves into the effort and I trust we will deliver an excellent product in the coming weeks.

Attached you will find two documents that I trust will help you begin preparing for e-learning. One is a listing of online resources that will be utilized in e-learning and the steps needed to prepare to use each. The other is a FAQ sheet that I trust will fill in a lot of blanks that you might have in your mind as you look towards next week. Among the items addressed are:

  • Communication to and from teachers
  • Primary online resources for materials, instructions, assignments, etc.
  • Pick-up plans for paper/pencil materials
  • Deadlines for graded assignments

To give you an idea of what the first week of e-learning will look like, here are some key items for the week of March 30-April 3:

  • Monday – Teacher Preparation Day; Material Pickup (Curbside; carline traffic pattern) – 11:00am-1:00pm and 4:00pm-6:00pm
  • Tuesday/Wednesday – E-learning
  • Thursday – E-learning (all) plus Elementary Classes – Zoom “Check In” (see FAQ sheet for times)
  • Friday – E-learning (all) plus Secondary Classes – Zoom “Check In” (see FAQ sheet)

Our online resources will be vital to this process. Please see the attached document and have your account set up (as applicable) by Monday evening.

NOTE: Google Classrooms (6th-12th) are nearly complete. Students can log in to their “ccanknights” accounts and use the Classroom app or classroom.google.com to find invitations. All classrooms will be set up by noon on Monday, March 30.

I trust that whether in the body of this email or the attached documents you will find answers to the majority of your questions. While further information will be coming on Monday, do not hesitate to reach out with any questions.

Let’s face it, we’re all new to the e-learning process. We’ll all likely make mistakes along the way! In essence, e-learning was never intended to be a long-term solution. But as we adjust to our current circumstances, we trust we can partner with you in pursuing excellence and that our heart for one another will be strengthened through the journey ahead.

Sincerely,
Aaron Whisler
Head of School
Calvary Christian Academy

E-Learning Essentials – Online Resource

E-Learning Essentials – FAQ

Email Update to CCA Parents from Aaron Whisler, 3/16/2020

Dear Parents,

Student textbooks and other materials will be available for pickup this afternoon from 2:00-5:30pm. The following procedures will be used in order to make your process as efficient as possible:

Early Education (PreK3, PreK4, K5)

  • Go to your child’s classroom
  • Labeled bags with materials will be on the tables

Elementary (1st-5th)

  • Go to your child’s classroom to pick up materials.
  • Textbooks will be on student desks
  • Lockers will be open to retrieve personal items

Secondary (6th-12th)

  • Visit the table for your child’s grade in the main gym lobby to pick up a packet of materials.
  • Go to your child’s locker to retrieve textbooks and personal items
  • Teachers will be available to help with locker access.

 

Please note that none of the materials being made available today are required academic assignments for the time from now through Monday, March 30. Some materials are designed to be used in e-learning, if necessary, starting March 31. Other materials could include suggested, supplemental materials that can be explored in the weeks ahead.

More information concerning possible e-learning will be coming in the weeks ahead. For now, enjoy the extra time off, rest and refresh, and be in prayer for continued wisdom, guidance, and strength for our school and for our nation!

Sincerely,
 Aaron Whisler
 Head of School
 Calvary Christian Academy

Email Update to CCA Parents from Aaron Whisler, 3/15/2020

Dear Parents,

New guidance was issued today by the Governor and ISBE affecting how the dates from March 17-20 and March 30 are to be handled. These days are now considered Act of God Days and, as such, are no longer an option for e-learning.

First, let me note that the schedule that was sent on Saturday, March 14, still applies in many respects. Tomorrow (Mon., March 16) will be used for staff training and student materials should be picked up from 2:00-5:30pm. Our desire is to put as many textbooks and materials in students’ hands while we have a clear opportunity.

Next, I want to make sure it is understood that while we will be connecting you to learning opportunities, no student work will be assigned this week that is to be turned in or graded, as these days are not Instructional Days. Any materials sent home at this point are in preparation for e-learning to take place starting March 31, if necessary at that time.

We will try to maintain consistent communication in the coming days as the situation remains incredibly fluid. Your partnership, as always, is appreciated and I trust we will serve you well as we continue to walk this uncertain path together. One thing is always certain: our God of love is in control!

Sincerely,
Aaron Whisler
Head of School
Calvary Christian Academy

Email Update to CCA Parents from Aaron Whisler, 3/14/2020

Dear Parents,

Yesterday afternoon, Governor Pritzker held a press conference in which he, along with State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen Ayala, mandated that all schools – public and private – close for the period of March 17-March 30. This announcement came on the heels of our communication that we would stay open for classes until Spring Break. This mandatory closing has caused us to alter our plans and we appreciate your patience as we re-evaluated our circumstances. Please note the following schedule (also attached) for the Academy for the dates affected:

  • Monday, March 16 – Student Non-Attendance Day; Faculty Planning Day
  • 2:00-5:30pm; Building open for families to pick up materials.
  • Tues-Thurs, March 17-19 – E-Learning
  • Fri-Mon, March 20-30 – Spring Break
  • Monday, March 30 – Student Non-Attendance Day; Faculty Planning Day
  • Tuesday, March 31 – Classes Resume
  • On-site or e-learning based on evaluation of circumstances

Please know that we have been exploring many ways in which to provide your children with an exciting and accessible experience during our e-learning days. Further details will be coming as we continue our preparations. A balanced approach for families is our utmost desire at a time when many parents are facing alterations, interruptions, or increased expectations in their employment setting. We are especially mindful and prayerful for those in the healthcare industry.

Should you have any questions as we move forward, please do not hesitate to reach out. While I’ve said this previously, I cannot express enough how much the patience and graciousness of our Academy families has been appreciated as we’ve navigated this unique circumstance.

Sincerely,
Aaron Whisler
Head of School
Calvary Christian Academy

Email Update to CCA Parents from Teresa Jordal, 3/13/2020
Gov. Pritzker has closed all public and private schools effective March 17-30. We will alter our plans accordingly. Please watch for further communication

Email Update to CCA Parents from Aaron Whisler, 3/13/2020

Dear Parents,

Earlier this week I communicated regarding the approach the Academy was taking to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) issue and provided what I trust were some helpful resources as we partner together in navigating these unusual times. As we head into the weekend and our final week before Spring Break, I wanted to update you as to our plans as we move forward.

Situation Monitoring
I continue to be in regular communication with the Regional Office of Education (ROE 17), both taking in the information they are sending daily and asking questions that I feel are pertinent and unique to our school. At this point, neither the ROE nor the McLean County Health Department is recommending closure of schools. Additionally, there are no reported cases of COVID-19 in our county. I will continue to monitor information and alerts from these organizations in order to make an informed decision as to the best plan for the Academy and its families.

School Closure
At this point, we do not plan on closing the school next week unless mandated by the Department of Health or other government organization. Of course, the situation is changing on a daily, if not hourly, basis and we will be watching for any information that could alter these plans. The goal is to stay open, head into Spring Break, and then reevaluate based on the status of the situation as our return from break draws closer. You may have seen that Unit 5 schools are taking this coming Monday, March 16, as a prep day for teachers as they plan for e-learning days. We do not intend to take the day off.

E-Learning Days
We have already begun laying the groundwork for e-learning days, should we be put in position to close the Academy for a prolonged time period. While there are numerous ways to handle e-learning experiences and plans can vary according to grade level, the strategy we employ will primarily be based on the following model:

  • All school textbooks and workbooks will be sent home for student use.
  • Daily lesson plans and guidance will be made available through RenWeb.
  • A system of returning completed work will be put into place.
  • Additional resources such as videos, live presentations, and more are being explored, but the main component of e-learning resources will be the use of our curriculum materials.

Communication and Preparation
Should the Academy face closure for an extended time period, we will alert parents by means of email, RenWeb Alert, and Facebook, as with other closures. If students have not taken textbooks and other resources home, we will open the building for a set time period so that families may come to gather materials. A timeline for obtaining materials and commencing e-learning will be laid out in the communications mentioned above.

Student Illness and Spring Break Travel
Many government agencies are posting regular guidelines for monitoring student wellness and travel considerations. We are regularly seeking the input of ROE 17 and the McLean County Health Department when applying these guidelines to our own policies. Please note the following:

  • If a student shows any of the symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath), parents should keep the student from attending and seek the care of a physician. While we know it is cold and flu season, we ask parents to use utmost discretion in light of the current situation.
  • Always follow our 24 hour, fever-free policy. No student should return to school until 24 hours have passed fever-free without the aid of medication.
  • Families travelling outside the US over Spring Break may be asked to quarantine for a period of two weeks upon return. We will continue to seek guidance in setting formal policy. However, please note that recommendations may change between now and the end of Spring Break.

I cannot begin to say how much I have appreciated the patience and support that our Calvary families have shown as we’ve sought to bring a balanced approach to our handling of this matter. We love and value all of you and covet your prayers as we continue to seek a wise and discerning plan for whatever comes our way. We joyfully submit to the sovereign care of our Mighty God!

Sincerely,
Aaron Whisler
Head of School
Calvary Christian Academy