April 17, 2020
Dear Friends,

As our local school families continue to adjust to having students at home, parental unemployment or changes in work schedules, and/or health concerns, our community of donors has gone above and beyond to help those in need.  Thank you for doing as much as you can, as often as you can!
 
Through your generosity, school families in need received another $15,000 in grocery gift cards this week to stretch their weekly budget. Your gifts to the Education Foundation have also provided Wi-Fi hotspots to students without reliable internet access - a necessity to stay engaged in distance learning. And I’m happy to say that distance learning is up and running at the high school this week, with middle schools and elementary schools to follow soon.

Check out the new short essay by one of our teachers, Walt Williams, who describes what it’s like to teach in the age of coronavirus. It’s fascinating to hear how teachers and students are navigating distance learning in our district.

And don't miss the SVHS Film Festival tonight ! The school's 2020 film fest is put on by the Media Arts Program and will stream tonight from 7-9pm. We've included the link in our School District News below. 

The teacher in me is always on the search for incredible free or low cost online resources that are available to students. My favorite this week - Zooniverse - offers a fun and meaningful way for your student to take part in real, cutting edge research while learning about the sciences and humanities. Parents are welcome to participate, so you can make it a family activity! More details below.      

I hope you and your families are doing well… please keep safe!

With gratitude,

Mary Favaro
Executive Director
SVEF NEWS
GROCERY GIFT CARD DISTRIBUTION
“We are all living with awful stress and uncertainty right now.”

Every week we hear stories about how school families are struggling during this crisis. Yesterday we heard from a family with three children at home, the youngest just a few months old and two elementary students. Normally both parents would be working full time, but the mother just lost her job and now they are struggling to make ends meet. A grocery gift card every week buys extra food and necessities for the family, making life just a little more certain.

Your gifts to the grocery gift card program are making a difference for these families. Thank you!
THANK YOU TO READERS BOOKS
We want to thank Readers Books one more time… they donated five cartons of children’s and young adult books so students can keep on reading at home! 
WHAT IT IS -
TEACHING IN THE TIME OF CORONAVIRUS
By Creekside High Teacher Walt Williams

It's Thursday the 16 of April and I’ve been looking forward to the boy’s tennis match with Napa all season. My lineup is set, the boys are looking strong this year and we have two vans and 10 players pumped for our 2:00 departure. Before that I have to teach my normal Thursday classes of Algebra, Art and Geometry. Students are having trouble with exponential functions in Algebra (if only there was a real-life example…) but are inspired preparing for an end of the year art show plus are secretly learning about three-dimensional construction by making mini-libraries in Geometry…
 
I wake up from the dream, not at my normal 5:30 but sometime around 8. Our Creekside virtual staff meetings are MWF at 8:30, which means I have my daily virtual office hours from 12-1 and a student Zoom meetup at 2:00 but otherwise the day is open. I check my phone while making coffee downstairs; three students have sent work somewhere between 7:00 last night and this morning. Normal school hours no longer apply. Normal rules no longer apply. Normal no longer applies.
 
I sent out an inquiry letter to students along with this week’s Google classroom assignments. Just checking in with what’s working and what’s not. They like watching videos and answering questions, and they like to be challenged but not too much. Most have developed personal schedules and are happy that the district has provided and prioritized chromebooks and Wi-Fi access. They all appreciate the support and staying connected. Participation is at about 50% and growing which might seem low but for my posse it’s pretty good.
 
Most reported they would rather be in school doing work because of distractions (I flash on my Thursday to-do list: mortgage refinance, painting trim, yard work, exercise, chicken skewers and pot stickers for dinner). I put on my new favorite Pandora station (MIA radio) and dance around the kitchen to Panjabi MC. The new normal at least has a good soundtrack.
 
I check into my Google Classroom around 9, grade papers, input scores in Gradebook and read SF Gate and the NY Times online. I check email around 10 and am ecstatic to find a request from the Education Foundation to write for this week’s newsletter. Any positive teacher validation is greatly appreciated.
 
I have a student who checks in most days during office hours and as my Algebra TA Snapchats and Instagrams the students who are not keeping up with assignments. Distance Learning has required some pivoting in how I teach but I can only dive down the rabbit hole of social media so deeply.

The 2:00 Zoom meetup is lightly attended but it’s always nice to see familiar faces. My colleague tears up telling a story of how she cherishes the memory of a field trip the Friday before this all began. This is hard and this is messy but this is what it is.
SCHOOL DISTRICT NEWS
TONIGHT! SVHS Film Festival 2020 Will Stream tonight, April 17,
7:00pm-9:00pm!
Access the live stream here: https://svhsvideo.com/
LATEST SVUSD COMMUNICATIONS: Click here for SVUSD's Latest Coronavirus Weekly Communication to all parents:
BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETINGS: Stay up to date and informed. All district board meetings are open to the public, and you can always watch a recorded version of the meetings. Click here to see the latest from April 7:
COMMUNITY INFORMATION & LINKS
Sonoma Community Members Send Video Thank You to the
"Unsung Heros: Our Grocery Workers"
https://tinyurl.com/SonomaGroceryWorkersThankYou


HOW YOU CAN HELP

Community Leaders Join to Launch Broad-Based Coalition For Food Security

Sonoma Valley Looking For Community Volunteers

For more, follow @SonomaValleyTogether on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
HOMESCHOOL RESOURCES
Featured Homeschool Site: Zooniverse
I love this site… Zooniverse! You and your child can participate in real research projects, ranging from classifying bugs and identifying asteroids to mapping the life histories and criminal careers of Australian prisoners. For more info, check it out at https://www.zooniverse.org/.

More high quality, comprehensive educational resources can be found on our on our website at: https://www.svgreatschools.org/homeschool-resources.html.
BUSINESS PARTNER NEWS
Thank you Sangiacomo Family Wines for your community leadership and ongoing support of Sonoma schools and students!

And...congratulations on the release of your first-ever Rose'!
Sangiacomo Family Wines
21545 Broadway, Sonoma
(707) 934-8445

Sangiacomo Family Wines is the Harvest Fair and Sonoma County Winegrowers' Sustainable Farmer of the Year for 2019!

for supporting our students during
this challenging time!