Distance Learning Update
April 17, 2020
Dear Families and Friends of REACH,

We are all currently living in difficult and uncertain times. We are aware that this disruption to our daily lives has our families and scholars facing unique circumstances, but experiences like these should be viewed as opportunities that are fostering innovation, community, and compassion. Resilience is one of our core values, and it is in this time that we must channel our natural ability to adapt and persevere to help us overcome this moment. Part of this moment requires us not to lose sight of our mission. The REACH family continues to provide quality instruction to all students, no matter the circumstances, by utilizing various applications and tools.

When the school closures began, REACH had a plan to continue instruction for our students. We started distance learning on March 17th with Chromebooks and student work packets available for pick up and then started Zoom lessons for our 3rd-6th grade on March 19th. TK-2nd began using the Seesaw platform, Google Classroom and other teacher selected platforms to monitor student work. Lower grades (1st-2nd) began conducting Math and ELA lessons via Zoom the week of April 13, with our 1st grade team piloting the transition. 

In addition, our teachers and staff are continuing to meet virtually to collaborate and discuss what works and what doesn’t. Regardless of COVID-19, the REACH culture has always been focused on positive change-- how we can improve and create the best program possible. The strength of our teams has been crucial to fostering an environment where students can feel supported while they continue to grow academically and socially/emotionally as well.

Given that school will remain closed for the remainder of the school year, all grades have moved to a virtual learning format and are less reliant on enrichment, take-home packets. Here are some ways in which each grade level is meeting the needs of students through distance learning:
Our TK/Kindergarten team is using Seesaw and/or Google Classroom as a way to not only make work interactive but also allow students to interact with each other. On a daily basis, work is posted that covers all subject areas: Reading (phonics, comprehension), Writing (HFW practice, CVC word spelling and Rainbow sentences-who, what, where, when), Math (fact families- addition and subtraction), Science (design and build process) and Social Studies (school core values). 
First and second grade teachers are utilizing amazing resources such as MobyMax, Khan Academy, Pearson Realize and many more. Additionally, the team has started using SeeSaw. SeeSaw allows the teacher to see scholars’ individual responses in real time, which creates a better check for understanding when introducing a new skill. Teachers are also able to give immediate feedback to students.
In third grade, teachers are delivering live sessions that follow the same lesson structure as one in the classroom with three academic Zoom sessions daily. Currently, in Math, they are focusing on Graphs and Data. Students have practiced reading data charts, bar graphs , line graphs and pictographs. Students are creating their own bar graphs based on a survey they’ve conducted at home.
Our fourth grade teachers are holding daily Zoom sessions for Math, ELA, and Science. They are currently learning about poetry analysis, and using FOSS Virtual Investigation to explore how circuits work. The fourth grade team is utilizing many options to keep their students engaged; for instance, ELA is using FlipGrid and Flocabulary. In Social Studies they are taking virtual tours to historically and culturally significant locations. In addition to working on all things fractions, Mr. Johnson is also continuing his tradition of showcasing Origami in the classroom to show how it relates to geometry.
In fifth grade, students are reviewing how the human brain responds to environmental stimuli, as well as continuing their investigations into how animals interact with the environment, specifically why monarch butterflies migrate from the Northern United States to Mexico. Some of the fun activities being utilized include Scratch and Kahoots. In ELA, scholars are using Flocabulary, Kahoots, and Jeopardy while working on their reading comprehension skills. Students are excited about creating a “ghost town”-- they will produce an imaginative story with images that include their likeness within the gold rush era. Fifth grade Math students are learning how to calculate the mean from a set of numerical data, and next week will work on line plots. Students complete independent practice on the interactive platform, Quizizz.com.
Sixth grade is bringing the fun using Quizizz to hold House competitions every Friday. They include questions on academic material, and then random questions on sports, movies, pop culture, and their teachers and admin. Everyone wears their house shirts during this time. Teachers also provide supplemental sessions daily for students who need additional support; 1pm for ELA and 2pm for Math.
Free Breakfast and Lunch has been distributed on site since the school closure with a break from April 6-17, and alternate locations provided during this time. Breakfast and lunch meal service with drive-up pick up resumes on April 20th. Hours will be extended from 8:00 am-1 pm.
The feedback from the families of our students has been tremendously encouraging during this time period. Some comments from our parents:
“I have been amazed at how our teachers have adapted. I'm sure they never planned to teach online but seemed like veterans from the start - all while fielding questions about the virus, field trips, and life from our kids.” -Heather Edberg
“I am so glad my daughter goes to REACH. The teachers and kids jumped right into distance learning after only two days of packets. Remote lectures and class work has been going smoothly ever since. The technology focus where they were already using Google Classroom and Chromebooks on a daily basis prepared them for this unexpected event but also prepares them for the future…” -Gina Newland Wulfestieg
Please know that in these uncertain times we are confident that we can continue to provide quality education. We are here to support our students and their families, and we are so grateful for all the positive feedback and messages of encouragement. Thank you for partnering with us on this pioneer journey of distance learning!

With gratitude,

Dr. Rentie
REACH Leadership STEAM Academy