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BFT Distance Learning FAQ Spring 2020

FT Distance Learning FAQ

Updated April 6, 2020

 

 When will schools be open?

Technically schools are closed through May 1, but we will most likely be closed the rest of the school year (based on Governor Newsom's press conference).

 

Do I need to submit course approval form if I plan to take online courses toward advancement on the salary schedule?

HR is not requiring a course approval form through this summer. You will turn in a new form (that has not been created yet) with your transcripts when we return. Essentially this means that all courses that are ‘for credit’ are 'approved'. If this works, we will push to make it permanent! The transcript deadlines are not changing.

 

I never had my third evaluation or summative conversation. What do I do?

If you are permanent and you had two evaluations, this evaluation year counts for you. No one will be having 'distance learning' evaluated. An administrator can still request to go over your summative form B with you but there will be no third evaluation. If you are temporary or probationary, the District should be communicating your standing for next year. HR is still planning on an April timeline to let new hires know their status. A third evaluation will not impact your rehire status.

 

I did an Alternative Evaluation. What happens now?

You will not be required to present to staff although you can if you would like to. You can submit a written reflection to your supervisor instead.

 

Can I break up the two 90 minute ‘office hours’ into chunks that work better for my class?

Yes. As long as you are offering 180 minutes of potential time to work directly with students, you can split it up in whatever way makes sense for your class. 

 

Do students have to attend my 'office hours'?

No. It is a time for you to be available to help students, go over problem sets, answer questions, stay connected. You can schedule small groups or larger groups during this time. 

 

Why are we doing office hours instead of live teaching?

It was clear that teachers and students need flexibility at this time. Many of our families don't have multiple devices but do have more than one child in school making it very difficult to not miss classes if they were offered live. Also, many of our home internet situations would make it very difficult to have many students on at once, especially with video turned on. At the secondary level, this could involve up to 160 students.

 

Can I teach 'live'? 

 If you can make it work, please go ahead and try it.

 

What happens if I haven't been hearing from students?

The point of the participation tracker is to catch our students that are having difficulty connecting with us online. Counselors, site TSAs, Sped teachers, administrators and others will be supporting students through 'distance learning'. 

 

Will there be grades?

At the Secondary level, classes will be Pass/Fail.

 

Should I collect work?

Yes. You should collect work and give feedback as you normally would. Classes at the secondary level are Pass/Fail so you will need work to make that determination.

 

Why are there distance learning teacher leaders?

The whole point of the teacher teams is to take some work load off of individual teachers. Our teachers are in all kinds of different places when it comes to technology and it doesn't make sense for each teacher to try to curate what is available 'online' individually except for electives. The teams will provide a 'base' and you can provide anything else. To the student, it will all be the work of the class. There is also a concern that teachers will get sick or need to take care of sick family members so the class needs to continue in some way since there are no subs.

 

How much curriculum will be provided?

It is hard to know at this point but it should allow for you to add your individual curriculum without going over the specified hours for the week.

 

When will I receive curriculum?

If your subject/grade level has a teacher leader team, you should receive an email every week that you can incorporate into your weekly lessons for your students. 

 

Are district provided materials mandatory?

To my knowledge, for K-8 they should be incorporated into whatever you are giving for the week.

 

I teach an elective. Am I part of the plan?

Yes. You just may not have centrally provided curriculum. You should curate your own materials and send to your students. You may want to work with your grade level to make sure students are not receiving too much work a week.

 

My site is making an office hours schedule. Do I have to stick to it?

 It would be best to try but because of different constraints you may not be able to. Let your administrator know your needs around this. The plan is flexible on purpose.

 

I need help transitioning my class. Where can I get it?

You can reach out to Jessica Lee who is running PD. You also can reach out to the Digitech team for help. Some of your colleagues may have great ideas to share as well. Your administrator should also be able to give you support.

 

April 6th feels too early to start. What will be expected by this date?

Your distance learning team should have something ready to go by the 6th. I recommend providing some activities for your students if you haven't already. I think April 13th is a more realistic date to be fully operational. K-5 families may not have devices yet so be flexible.

 

I'm having technical issues or technical needs. Can the District support me?

It depends on what it is. You should submit a helpdesk ticket to let the district know the problem.

 

I don’t have access to the Internet at home?

Contact BFT at president@berkeleyteachers.org so we can assist you.

 

Will the District purchase Zoom Pro?

Yes.

 

I'm sick. Do I still have to teach?

You should not teach if you are too sick to do so effectively. BFT is still working with the district on how sick leave will work. An FAQ about sick leave will be sent separately.

 

How can students pick up work?

With the shelter in place being extended to the end of April, I'm not sure if this will be an option. The district may figure something out here.

 

What are 'best practices' with distance learning?

All teachers will participate in a PD session on this topic provided by BUSD.

 

What are some tips for best practices for online teaching and learning?

BUSD is working on putting out clear guidelines and professional development offerings about hosting online sessions.  Meanwhile, please only allow for hosted meetings. Do not allow for students to be in your online meeting when you, the host, are not there. In Zoom, you can and should enable the password feature so that only your students are able to enter the meeting.

 

What happens if I have a discipline problem on Zoom?

Please let your administrator know immediately so they can follow up.

 

I'm a Sped teacher. What do I do?

BFT has gotten answers to many Sped questions and will send them out as we get more information. Also, a small group of Sped teachers, including the BFT Sped Site Reps, have met and will continue to meet with the district to get clarity on the responsibilities of case managers.

 

Will there be staff meetings?

Yes. If your site feels like there is something off with how these are going, please let your Site Rep know. You should not have more mandatory faculty meetings than you had before sites were closed.