Letter from Principal McWright 8/28/2020

Dear Denver School of the Arts Community,

We hope that you are doing well and continuing to stay safe. We have just completed our first week of school. I do hope your week was very productive and enjoyable in light of our circumstances. As with any endeavor, some challenges arise in the beginning. As such, Denver School of the Arts experienced a few minor technology mishaps this week. Nonetheless, we are committed to resolving these issues as they arise, while improving our process daily.  As we move into our second instructional week, I would like give a few reminders and provide you with some updates.

Just a reminder:

School Hours/Bell Schedule

Classes will begin each day at 8:30am for all students. We have built in 10 minute passing periods (Monday through Thursday) and 5 minutes on Friday, so students are able to have a short break between classes. Students will have a 45 minute lunch period. Afternoon teacher office hours are built into the schedule every day of the week. Fridays (typically our Stripe Days) will end at 12:35 pm. The remote bell schedule can be accessed here.

Teacher and staff work hours are 8:00 am – 4:00 pm Monday through Friday as aligned to the DPS School Calendar.

If you are still having trouble with Schoology, please visit these sites:

Schoology

For the 2020-2021 school year, Denver Public Schools and Denver School of the Arts will be using Schoology as the learning platform. This will be new to a large percentage of our DSA students and parents. Yes – IC is also visible to students and parents, but it won’t have the amount of detailed classroom information that Schoology will hold.

For Parents:     Parent Schoology Training Materials

For Students:  Student Schoology Training Materials

Grades will be visible in Schoology beginning September 4, 2020. To ensure you are able to view grades, please access your Parent/Student portal account. A link is provided below.  If you do not have an account you may sign up via the link below:

Parent Portal/Student Portal

Parents can access Schoology through Parent and Student Portal. To sign-in to the DPS Parent Portal, click on this link. If you do not have a Parent Portal account you may create one by clicking on this link, DPS Parent Portal. If you have any questions, please contact our Counseling Support, Ruben Coral:ruben_coral@dpsk12.org. 

Grading

Just a reminder, unlike the spring semester, all grades will be recorded. There is no option for students to receive credit or no credit. All classes will be worth a grade. Any student who fails a high school class will have to make up that class via credit recovery. For this reason, we ask that during the remote learning process, students log into the classroom platform at the assigned time and participate as if they were in person.  

Attendance (New)

I would like to emphasize the importance of attendance during remote learning. Attendance will be taken each day and accountability for assignments will be as stringent as if students were in their classroom setting. If a student is going to be absent, the process for parents to excuse/report absences is just like it would be if we were in-person. In addition, parents are asked to report all absences, including appointments, i.e. doctor, dentist, etc.

We ask families to please call our attendance line to report any absences. Denver School of the Arts’ Attendance Line is 720-424-1846. We ask parents to use this number so the information can be capture through our main office. We do appreciate the emails to teachers regarding absences, however, teachers do not have the ability to update absence reasons in Infinite Campus and therefore absences may not be correctly reflected if not recorded through our main office.

We understand there will be times that students may have difficulty with technology or absent for whatever reason. However, when absent, it is up to the students to contact their teacher via office hours or outside of class time to make up the work that was missed.

Google Meet

Google Meet is the district-supported video conferencing platform for staff and students. Each teacher should have provided a Google link on their home page in Schoology. This will be the link students will use to log into classes each day. If a student is having difficulty logging in, please have them email their teacher for support.

Zoom (New)

In addition to Google, Denver Public Schools has agreed to allow teachers/staff to utilize the zoom platform for instructional purposes. Please be advised, at this time, Denver Public Schools does not have a Data Protection Addendum with Zoom.  If you wish for your student to participate in a class that utilizes zoom as a platform, I ask that you complete the Denver School of the Arts parent consent form. If you have multiple students attending Denver School of the Arts, you will need to complete the form for each child.

Live instruction

Data collected by both DSA and DPS during the spring semester of remote learning indicated that students (and their parents) felt more engaged with classes that included live instruction, as opposed to classes where students did not have opportunities to interact live with their teacher and classmates. As a result, and per DPS expectation, all classes at DSA will be taught live during remote instruction. The objective is to provide instruction that is structured in a manner each class provides authentic and engaging opportunities for students to interact with classmates in meaningful and academically/artistically focused ways, and time for students to complete independent classwork.

As we are ensuring our process is more robust than the Spring semester we ask all students to closely adhere to the expectation involving our remote learning process:

Expectations for Remote Instruction

To continue the rich traditions of Denver School of the Arts we request that all:

  • Students will be actively engaged in their classes, which includes attending live classes, completing class and homework, and actively seeking support with academics/arts when needed.
  • Students will work to establish daily routines that mirror, as much as possible, a “normal” school day. Examples: being on time for remote classes, dressing appropriately for a school day, working at a desk or table.
  • Students will engage in all learning with academic honesty.
  • Students will reach out to their teachers through email, online office hours, or scheduled one-on-one meetings if they have questions or need support.
  • Students will follow all DSA regular classroom behavior expectations and school rules.
  • Students will identify a space at home where they can work effectively and successfully.
    • Advocate for times and areas where they can focus on their school work.
    • Sit at a table or desk, if available.
    • Keep their normal school materials accessible.
    • Dress appropriately when engaging in live classes.
  • Students will not participate in cyberbullying. DPS is committed to providing a safe and secure school environment for all students. We believe students should be able to learn in an environment that is free from threat, harassment and any type of bullying behavior, including cyberbullying. Students who engage in any act of bullying are subject to disciplinary action, which may include suspension or expulsion, and referral to law enforcement.

We do understand that devices are not always reliable. If you need a device or support with the school device provided to you, please reach out to Mr. Kimbl. As stated previously:

Technology

Technology will be provided for all students who request a device for remote learning. Students who checked out devices last spring were allowed to keep the devices over summer and should use those devices for this year’s remote learning. If you need a device or have any technical questions, please contact Mr. Kimble:michael_kimble@dpsk12.org.

Student support

Students will continue to receive support services (IEP, 504, social and emotional). These supports will be managed by our school and central support teams. They will be handled in a similar manner as was in the spring semester. Assistant Principal Aspen Burkett and her team have meet with many families and will continue to reach out to families before school starts with expectations, procedures, and support information.

Again, we do understand the difficulty of this situation. Moreover, we do appreciate your support and understanding as we all work through this together. I cannot say enough; our administrative team, staff, and Denver Public Schools are sensitive to your needs and will be here to help where we can. As always, I would like to thank you in advance for your thoughtfulness and flexibility. Please continue to take care of yourselves and remain safe

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

All the best,

Anthony McWright, EdD

Principal