Dear Horizon Families:
We are excited to begin the new school year with you all, and want to thank you for entrusting our school with your child(ren)’s education for the 2020-2021 school year. This year will be very different from previous years due to ongoing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. Horizon Science Academy Columbus High School (HSACHS) shares your concerns about the health, safety, and education of your child(ren), and we have been working diligently to prepare a learning plan for the school year to address these needs. This letter is to outline these changes and to explain our district’s efforts to continue to provide a quality education to your child(ren).
The most significant change has to do with the delivery of educational services this school year. Due to social distancing guidelines and recommendations from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), we are electing to move online for the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year–this can be extended depending on the state of public health at the mid-year point. What does this mean for you and your child(ren)? We have elected to use a blend of synchronous and asynchronous online learning in order to meet the needs of our students, our families, and our staff. The new blended schedule is as follows:
Monday: Synchronous Day
Tuesday: Synchronous Day
Wednesday: Asynchronous Day
Thursday: Synchronous Day
Friday: Asynchronous Day (Teacher Office Hours)
Synchronous learning days mean that students will be expected to follow their regular class schedule: teachers will be holding virtual lessons via video chat and Google Classroom, and students will be expected to log-in to these sessions promptly, and engage in the learning opportunities guided by the teacher in a similar way to a more traditional classroom setting–just online. Daily attendance will be taken based on students’ ability to timely join sessions and participate in their online classes.
The Synchronous Learning Day Bell Schedule is as follows:
Additionally, we will offer asynchronous learning days where students will be expected to log-in to their Google Classrooms and complete the uploaded assignments (at their own pace) by the end of the school day in order to be marked “present” for daily attendance. We are making these changes because our data from the Spring shows that, although some students can thrive in a self-paced online environment, many of our students need to have the interaction with their teachers and peers, and benefit from being able to ask questions, solve problems, and meet learning goals in real time. We also know that this is a rigorous schedule for students to take upon themselves at home, and we want to be able to provide some flexibility in learning opportunities, which is why we are adding the asynchronous days where students can work more at their own pace instead of being tied to a more traditional class schedule. These asynchronous days also create opportunities for students to contact their teachers for extra assistance or attend virtual office hours for additional tutoring.
In order to continue to provide quality feedback regarding your child(ren)’s educational performance, you can expect more frequent communication from the school this year. In order to meet our accountability measures from ODE regarding child attendance and participation in the learning opportunities that we provide, we will be contacting you if students are not attending their online synchronous lessons and not meeting their deadlines on asynchronous days. We want to make sure that our students are learning and not falling behind due to the disruptions that COVID-19 has brought on our lives, which means that students need to be responsible for meeting their expectations for attendance, participation, and educational growth. So that we can make sure that students are being accountable and responsible, we need to make sure that we have accurate contact information for all of our students’ families; otherwise, your student(s) could be falling behind and you could be missing the valuable interventions the school is taking to make sure that our students can succeed.
Also, we know that some students require additional support in order to succeed in their studies. We will be doing regular data review to identify students who are struggling in the online environment. Select students may be invited to physically attend their lessons at the school building on synchronous days in order to receive this next level of intervention so that they can get on track with their studies. If students are attending in the building they will be expected to follow all health and safety guidelines; if students are unable to follow these guidelines, these opportunities for in-person learning will be removed pending an administrative review. Additionally, some students who are enrolled in various school programs (such as some CTE courses) may be asked to physically attend the building in order to get their hands-on experience or service minutes required for those programs. These expectations will be communicated with students and families in advance to determine the best way to meet the needs of all parties.
All students are required to obtain and use a school-issued laptop for the duration of remote learning. Students can pick-up their devices during school hours the week of August 17th (8:00am – 3:00pm). When picking up the device a parent will need to be present to sign documents relating to our Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) and to provide a $25.00 device insurance fee. A presentation on Remote Learning will be shared with students on their school gmail accounts on August 17th. Students will need to review the presentation and complete a survey (in which they may also ask questions relating to remote learning) as soon as possible once it is sent. A question and answer session will occur, by grade level, on Monday, August 24 (Zoom Meeting links will be sent out prior to each meeting).
Our primary mission is to provide equitable access to a quality education in the safest way possible for all students, families, and school staff. Please see our school website, hs.horizoncolumbus.org, for our Student and Parent Handbook, 2020-2021 Policy Amendments, and Remote Learning Plan for very specific details on our plans for the first semester. If you want any more information regarding our school’s remote learning plan and policies for the 2020-2021 school year, please feel free to reach out to us via phone (614) 846-7616 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for choosing Horizon Science Academy Columbus High School. We are all in this together.