Here is the latest news from our Superintendent, Karen D’Avino. Ms. D’avino’s update includes information about Spring Break, the last day of school, Department of Health information, state testing, info for an online discussion taking place tonight, and more!
(Hardyston, NJ) The Sussex County Division of Health COVID-19 Hotline is now open. Residents may call the Hotline number at 973-579-9488 to speak with a Sussex County Division of Health (SCDOH) staff member or Sussex County Medical Reserve Corp volunteer. The Hotline’s hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Additional information for residents can be found at the locations listed below:
Sussex County website https://sussex.nj.us/covid19
Please join us for a virtual meeting. If you have questions for the Superintendent of Schools or the Assistant Superintendent of Schools, we are hosting a Virtual Meeting via Zoom conference. Please see the information and link in this post. Hope to see you there on Friday night, March 27 at 6:30 p.m.
Karen DAvino is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Open Discussion Between the Community and Vernon Schools
Time: Mar 27, 2020 06:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
This week marks the completion of the first week of online learning and teaching for students and staff. During these unprecedented times, I wanted to share a heartfelt thank you to everyone. For the students who have had to struggle through learning virtually, we thank you for your diligence and patience. For the parents/guardians who have been mom’s and dad’s while also being teachers, mediators, caregivers, providers, and breadwinners, we are grateful for your hard work and patience while the district shifted to online learning nearly overnight. For the teachers, administrators, and tech people in our district, I am in awe of their desire to connect with students and provide instruction in an entirely new format for the first time in the history of our state.
Next week begins week two of virtual learning. We continue to work with the department of education and the department of health to do what is in the best interest of our community. Your health and wellness are a primary concern from the Vernon Township Schools. As this situation continues to unfold, we will keep you informed. In the meantime, the District wishes you continued success with online learning and practicing healthy and safe practices in your homes and in our community. If you should need anything next week, please do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher, administrator, or member of the Central Office staff.
Karen D’Avino, Superintendent of Schools
Proposed Academic Plan for School Closings due to the Coronavirus
Proposed Academic Plan for School Closings due to the Coronavirus in Vernon
This plan is contingent on the State of New Jersey establishing that the days where distance learning is happening through teacher contact and on-line learning are counted towards the required 180 days of instruction that districts are required to provide. New Jersey recently authorized that credit will be given to districts for on-line days which are used in emergency, health-related situations where the New Jersey Department of Health has authorized the closing of a school.
Requirements by the New Jersey Department of Education:
Lessons have been established for each grade level and content area. These lessons are uniform and planned according to a calendar that would be set up with the staff members. Programs like Schoology, Moby Max, Sumdog, and other on-line teaching and learning platforms will be used. Attendance will be maintained through Schoology. These plans have been prepared for a two week period of time, as required by the New Jersey Department of Education.
Attention has been paid by special needs teachers and the department of special services to provide either on-line learning access for children with special needs or paper packets, appropriately created to meet the needs of IEP/504 plans. Access to reading and writing assignments delivered digitally will be provided by Read and Write for Google Chrome and via the accessibility features of the Chromebooks.
Through a district survey, we have approximately 2% of our population without wi-fi access at home. The district will be providing Kajeets (mobile hotspots) for those without access to wi-fi.
The food service preparedness plan is in response to the possibility of the Vernon Township School District closure during a health-related emergency. District At-Risk youth will be provided a nutritious breakfast and lunch option. All meals will follow the National School Breakfast and Lunch guidelines provided by the USDA.
Plan: Meals will be prepared on site at Vernon Township High School, by Sodexo designated staff. If necessary, meals will be created at an alternative site, as well as pick up of meals.
Meals will be available for pick-up at the VTHS main entrance, 11:00am to 1:00 pm
Meals provided: Breakfast and Lunch
Whole Grain Bagel w/butter or Whole Grain Muffin
Bundled with string cheese/graham cracker and apple or orange juice.
Sandwich or Wrap/ (Turkey & Cheese, Ham & Cheese) or
Whole Grain Bag/Cheese
Bundled with whole fruit (apple, orange) veggie sticks, and milk (alternative option: apple juice)
Students with specific allergies will be identified and receive a modification of the menu. Menu is subject to change as communication with local vendors is ongoing.
The CSA or a designee will be on site during the time of meal distribution.
At the outset of the closings:
Students would be told to take their Chromebooks home with them. We would supply Chromebooks to students from grades 2-12.
We would establish through a live stream on our Youtube channel, through regular podcasts, Schoology, and email, instructions to parents and students about what is required of them as well as updates on what is happening on-line with our students and staff.
We would establish a teacher support website that would be monitored to help our staff with any “glitches” in their technology, curriculum and assessments that they were concerned with.
We would set up real time “Go to Meetings” so that teachers can correspond with colleagues and administration while the school day is going on.
The Central Office would be the hub for this activity and the technology would be used to keep the administration in the loop as the process of education continues virtually.
One building could be kept open for videotaping and for internet access – like we do during community-wide power failures, dependent on the closure or impact of the virus.
What our teachers would be able to do:
Attendance would be counted based on the students logging into programs at home on their home device via Schoology.
We can set up centers where folks could go, if they did not have internet access. (2% of the Vernon students’ households do not have internet access)
We would establish with parents that we are using Sumdog for math and for ELA.
The program would be monitored by each teacher. Email communication or through the Schoology platform is encouraged during the school day and regular operating hours. Teachers would not be expected to run live sessions with students. There would be a list of assignments for students to work on.
We would also establish a reading list of books that can be accessed on line or in the library and update this list depending on the length of the school closure.
All grades issued at this level are up to teachers but we strongly recommend PASS/FAIL.
Information to parents would be done through podcasts, videos and S’mores from the Central Office and Principals office.
Attendance would be counted based on our students logging into classes and programs at home on their Chromebooks.
We can set up centers where folks could go if they did not have internet access.
We would use MobyMax. MobyMax can engage the entire class with Fluency Games, Whiteboard Activities, and Interactive Lessons on-line for both Math and Language Arts as well as other academic areas.
Teachers would use Schoology for every student by using their accounts to get information to the students and their parents.
On-line platforms would be used as well as on-line textbooks.
Assignments will come from our teachers through Schoology and the new Schoology conferencing tool.
It is strongly recommended that grades be PASS/FAIL.
Attendance would be counted based on students logging into classes and programs from their Chromebooks.
Our teachers will be using Schoology to contact students with requirements, work and assessments. This information would be available to parents as well.
Online platforms and online textbooks would be used along with Flipgrid, and the Schoology Conferencing Tool. Assignments will come from our teachers through Schoology.
Assignments will be graded by teachers and papers will be put through Turnitin for electronic verification.
It is strongly recommended that grades be PASS/FAIL
Overall Impact on Teaching and Learning
We do not want this extraordinary situation to adversely affect student grades. This is why PASS/FAIL is encouraged across all grade levels. Each teacher in each content area will be creating on-line, virtual content in order to engage students and maintain academic lessons and alignment with the curriculum to the best of our ability during a potential school closure.
Our district technology staff will be available (electronically) Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. to answer questions from parents and students regarding access, password changes, etc. The Schoology Conferencing tool is very helpful for supporting interactive educational conversations between teachers, administrators and students during this unprecedented time.
Preparation for this Initiative:
We have elevated and maintained all cleaning protocols for Chromebooks to make sure the additional 2nd grade Chromebooks are available.
Principals will establish open communication with all parents in their schools through video chats, email blasts and s’more communications
Teachers will have time during Common Planning times and during our March 20 in-service to review Schoology and other on-line learning platforms that will reach the most students possible.
Parents would be informed through virtual meetings by Central Office administrators about what to expect from digital remote learning.
Regular Podcasts and email would keep staff informed of what is happening and what is expected.
Ahotline will be established with the IT department to make sure all concerns are addressed in a timely manner.
Nurses would give updates to parents in their district on proper hygiene practices.
Efforts will be made to keep one central building open for staff to be able to work from and for students and parents.
Mr. Russ Rogers
Mr. Vincent Gagliostro
Mr. Matthew Shea
Dr. Charles McKay
Ms. Karen D’Avino
March 17th Family Podcast
Superintendent D’Avino and assistant Superintendent Dr. McKay share news about Vernon’s online learning days, info about where to go for Internet if needed, info about free and reduced lunches, and more.
For students receiving free or reduced breakfast/lunch, the High School will be serving box lunches from 11am-1pm. Just a reminder that the CDC has mandated that we should not exceed 50 people in a building at one time. Should you come to the High School and see a high volume of cars/people, you may want to wait a few minutes for the crowd to dissipate.
If you need tech assistance, please enter a helpdesk ticket and our IT department will respond as quickly as possible between the hours of 8-4 M-F: https://vtsd.on.spiceworks.com/portal
If you have limited or no internet at home, first please fill out this form to be added to a waitlist for mobile hot spots: https://forms.gle/Swf7GnFdSpSYDksB9
For Internet access, our High School will be open for those who need Internet from 8-4.
Also today we will have Chromebooks and chargers available at the High School from 1-3pm in case your 2nd thru 12th grade student was absent on Friday. If your student is PK-1 and you do not have a home computer, feel free to come out at this time and get a Chromebook too.
Lastly, for additional tech resources for families, check out our support site at vtsd.com/tech.