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Parent Updates

Message from Mark Smith, Director

March 13, 2020

Dear Families,

I wanted to thank you for your flexibility and understanding as we begin to navigate uncertain times. The truth is that the situation is changing daily. Please be assured that our priorities are centered on the health and well-being of your children. We will continue to evaluate the ongoing situation with those priorities firmly in place. We will continue to communicate developments to you as decisions are made, and I welcome your feedback, input and questions.

We appreciate and value your support as we move ahead, and look forward to resuming normal operation as soon as we can.

Yours,

Mark SmithMark Smith
Director, Quest Forward Academy Omaha

Contact Mark

msmith@questforward.academy

402-312-5885

Transition to Distance Learning on Monday, March 16

Friday, March 13, was the last day of in-person learning at Quest Forward Academy Omaha. We are keeping students active in classes through a distance learning model. Schools have recently been advised by state and local officials that they should plan to remain in a distance learning model for the next 6-8 weeks. It is possible that we will be advised to continue as distance learning for the remainder of the regular school year. Specifics about our current plan are below.

Plan for Distance Learning

We are holding our classes at their normal days and times. Each student should have their school Chromebook and a charger at home. Mentors have created links to video calls so that students can join class sessions remotely and will communicate these to the students via Google Classroom and email. We are also using the features of the Quest! app and Google Classroom to track artifact work and post other class information. We have practiced using these tools with students so they know how classes will function.

Our general expectations as we operate using distance learning are as follows:

• Students are expected to join their regular classes remotely, at the regular time, and participate daily.

• Mentors will take attendance each class based upon students who are present on the video call and interacting with the class session.

• Mentors will be available for online help (video, email, etc.) during the regularly scheduled class times, as well as some scheduled “office hours.”

• Mentors will give daily direction to students to help students set daily goals and expectations on work that should be completed each class session.

• Students should find a place that allows them to connect to class sessions and interact productively. This would mean keeping them free from other distractions when they are in learning mode. I would suggest trying to find a place that is quiet, where the TV and other devices are turned off, and where they won’t be distracted by siblings and others.

This is new territory for all of us, and we will all need to work cooperatively and communicate calmly and patiently to implement this plan effectively.

If you have questions or concerns about how this plan might work for your student, please contact me at msmith@questforward.academy or 402-312-5885. Our goal will always be to provide the most productive learning environment possible for our students — either in person, or remotely.

Tentative Upcoming Calendar

Thur 3/19 –
Wed 4/1

Spring Break

School closed for Spring Break. Please note that we are extending Spring Break three days longer than originally planned.

Thur 4/2

Term 4 Begins: Distance Learning

We will not hold spring intersession, but we will begin Term 4 using remote instruction. Thursday, April 2 will follow an “A Day” schedule and Friday, April 3 will follow a “B Day” schedule.

Distance Learning Class Schedule

Mondays and Wednesdays: A Days

Tuesdays and Thursdays: B Days

Fridays

Mentors will be available to meet with students on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays both in the mornings beginning at 8 am, and after school until 4:30 pm.

Fridays will be something new this term. Not only will they be an opportunity for students to connect with mentors for extra help, they will also provide opportunities for students to connect with each other in some more informal ways, helping to restore some of the non-academic aspects of school that are an essential part of a complete education. Some of the things that may be happening might be book clubs, distance board game sessions, etc.

Changes to Intersession

In order to make these changes possible, and to ensure that students are able to complete their coursework before summer, we have made the decision to cancel the spring intersession. This will allow us to reallocate those days to extra days of instruction in Term 4 classes. This will particularly impact students that had internships planned for this spring. Please know that we will be working with students affected by this on an individual basis to identify alternatives. We will also be evaluating where it makes sense to adjust requirements so that our shift to distance learning and changes in the schedule do not negatively impact requirements for graduation.