Online Learning: Phase Two

Dear Academy Families,
 
I have been so impressed by you and your sons' response to this unprecedented challenge facing all of us.  This week, teachers attempted to contact every student to check on him. They also spoke to many parents. The response from this week was overwhelmingly positive. Some of the feedback includes: Families are connecting ways they never have in the past; other than a few slow starts, the boys have been able to access the online content; and, the single-platform and single-email address, saaclosure@sa-academy.org, has been helpful for receiving a quick response and assistance. It was reassuring to many of us that the few concerns that were shared were anticipated and have been addressed. Below is a brief description of the next step in SAA's online learning process.
 
What is the next phase?
 
SAA decided to use this week to get students, families, and the faculty acclimated to online learning and to work out some of the early bumps. Beginning next week, SAA is moving into the second phase where there will be additional content, classes, and opportunities for live online meetings. The bulk of instruction will continue to be recorded lessons that can be accessed at a student's convenience.  Teachers will begin offering online live-meeting times to connect with their students and to provide a way for the boys to connect with one another.  The focus on content learning will be recorded lessons similar to week number one.  We are waiting to roll out live-lessons for introducing new content because it poses several problems, especially for those who are unavailable at the scheduled time, or who may experience technical problems during the lesson. Live-meetings will be an opportunity to expand learning and for collaboration with teachers and peers.
 
What should I expect next week?
 
Starting next week, SAA is moving into the second phase where there will be additional content, classes, and opportunities for live online meetings.  The rigor and quantity of work will continue to increase as everyone becomes more comfortable with the new learning paradigm. Teachers are asked to continue respecting your time by not sending emails to your already overflowing in-box. Lessons and information will be posted on FACTS LMS (Learning Management System). Students should be able to complete assignments with minimal assistance from parents.
 
How will SAA balance the many expectations?
 
Parental expectations seem to fall on a wide spectrum between two extremes. Some families want their son to have his day filled with learning opportunities from the school. While other families prefer the school focus lessons on the educational essentials so the family can structure their time as they choose. SAA faculty has developed a plan that provides for both a variety of our families' needs and wants. The plan includes providing mandatory assignments along with a host of additional optional and enrichment assignments. 
 
Will there be a schedule students must follow next week?
 
Next week's schedule will continue to provide flexibility. Each family has different needs. We understand that these needs may change for your family through the week. There will be enough opportunity to fill your son's week with activities, but provide the freedom to schedule how your son completes his learning assignments. The lessons can be adapted into small chunks, completed each day, or in a marathon work session. 
 
I am confident you and your son will be excited as you see the incremental changes that are rolled out in the next few stages. However, we do encourage you to give feedback on your sons' experiences. SAA has a plan, but like all good plans, it must be adaptable as circumstances change.

Please, above all else, be safe. Keep your family safe. We want everyone to return to The Academy healthy and happy. Let us know how we can help.
 
Sincerely,
Dr. Patrick Atkerson
Director of Curriculum and Student Services
 
P.S.  You are welcome to address any (and all) concerns to the email address saaclosure@sa-academy.org  This is monitored by the administration and requests will be directed to the person who can assist you the best.