As we stated in our last update, students will have the option of attending school on-line this year. Parents will be asked to complete a form stating they want to participate in on-line instruction and return that form to their school or to central office by July 1. This form will be posted on our website by June 22 or you can pick up a hard copy at the central office. Parents may also complete the form and email to their building level principal if they have that option. Enrollment in the on-line program will not require administrative approval. Students can enroll in our on-line program if they are a resident of Hamblen County. It is important to note that we still want every child to complete the registration/student enrollment process so we will have all of the necessary demographics if we need to contact parents. It is also important to note that we want students to remain in one of these programs and not constantly move back and forth from on-line to actual on-site classes. Changes can be made at the end of the grading period. Finally, students and parents must acknowledge that daily attendance and completing coursework on-line is mandatory.
We have posted a survey on our website which is designed to help us better understand the plans that parents have for next year. This information will be valuable in helping us create an effective instructional program for the upcoming school year. Please complete this survey by June 29 if possible. Parents can pick up a paper copy of the survey at the central office if they cannot access the on-line option.
3. Purchasing Your Own Computer
Many have asked what type of computer they should purchase if they want to buy one. Most new computers will work if you can connect to the internet. Your current computer should work if you can download You-Tube videos or livestream movies. Many different computers and configurations would work, but the school district is purchasing computers with the following specifications which you may use as a guide to purchase your own:
Dell Latitude 3300
4GB 1600MHz DDR3L (1x4GB)
Intel Core i5 5200U Processor Dual Core
128GB Solid State Drive
14" HD AntiGlare Display w/ Camera
10hrs + Battery Life
802.11 AC WiFi (Intel Dual Band Wireless)
USB 3.0 w/ Power Share
Ethernet (RJ Network Port ) (10/100/1000)
Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit
The school district is moving toward being a PC school system and we are no longer supporting Mac computers. However, parents can access the lesson through a Mac if they want. The district is recommending an El Capitan (10.11 or better) with Safari if you are going to use this computer model.
4. Purchasing a Computer Through the District
We are not endorsing any specific computer or brand with this offer, but parents may purchase the same computer we are buying if they so desire. The school district does not have the necessary staff to help guide everyone through this process and be of any technical assistance, but we do want to help in a small way if we can. Parents may purchase the same computer we are buying by contacting Technology Express, Oak Hill Drive, Kingston TN 37763. Their phone number is 800-209-1256. Please let the representative know you are calling to order a computer that is associated with Hamblen County. The representative will take your name and contact the district to make sure your child is a student of Hamblen County. They will verify and then contact you for payment. The cost of the computers are approximately $600. It is important to understand the district’s involvement will end with this announcement and that we cannot help with anything after you make the initial contact. This would be an individual decision independent of the school district’s involvement. It is important to note that educators can also take advantage of this deal. Staff members would use the same process. It is important to note that we have many local vendors who can assist you and provide the necessary service after your purchase. We encourage everyone to purchase locally if you can.
5. District-Issued Computers
We will loan students a district computer to complete on-line programming if needed. The necessary application and protocols for distribution of these computers will be announced after July 6. It is important to note that we have purchased over 2,000 computers for students to use next year. We are committed to ensuring every parent needing a computer has access to on-line instruction so parents do not need to be worried about being left without technology. Our most significant concern is that thousands of schools have just purchased computers. The demand is exceptionally high at this time, and supply lines have been damaged by the virus. Normally, the computers would be here before the start of school, but there is a possibility we will not have them on the first day of school. We encourage parents to have a back-up option if our computers are delayed by a few weeks; however, our goal would be to have everything ready by July 31.
6. Parent/Student Training
In preparation for the virtual learning option, we are going to offer training for elementary and middle school parents and students to learn more about how to use Google Classroom. Trainings will be held at each school site on the following dates:
a. Tuesday, July 7 at 6:00 p.m.
b. Thursday, July 9 at 12:00 p.m.
c. Monday, July 13 at 6:00 p.m.
d. Tuesday, July 14 at 12:00 p.m.
All sessions will be conducted at each school building to help reduce the number of participants and offer greater convenience for our parents. We will provide an on-line training option for those who are unable to attend the in-person training session. We will also provide simple written instructions if you cannot attend physically or on-line. Parents who have students in multiple schools would only need to attend one session. This training will be mandatory for parents who elect to enroll in the virtual on-line program. Parents will be asked to complete a registration form so we can have sufficient staff available at the workshops to help you. Parents can download these forms from our website or contact the school for a paper copy after July 1.
7. Kindergarten Registration and Jumpstart
We will have kindergarten registration and Jumpstart together this year. Students will register for kindergarten on July 20 at their individual schools. All elementary schools will be open from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. to assist with registration. We will continue the orientation process for kindergartens for the next three days on July 21, 22, and 23. It is extremely important that all parents with kindergarten children attend this registration day and Jumpstart. Students will not be required to wear masks, and we will divide the students into small groups to minimize the potential for exposure. Parents or children with compromised health conditions who cannot attend should contact their principal for over-the-phone registration. We may provide an on-line orientation program for parents if we have a large number of students unable to attend in person.
You will need the following documents to register your child for preschool and kindergarten:
Child will be four (4) years of age on or before August 15
Evidence of a current medical examination
Proof of address
Child will be five (5) years of age on or before August 15
Evidence of a current medical examination
Proof of address
8. Sample Lessons
We have developed two on-line sample lessons for parents to review. These lessons are only for PK-8 grade students. We have a different format for high school students. It is important to understand the purpose of these videos is not designed to focus on actual instruction. They are designed to model what a typical on-line lesson may be and also to determine if parents can access the lesson. Please locate these sample lessons on our website and see if you can access them. These lessons will be added to our district website homepage and will be available by Monday, June 22. Do not worry if you are unable to fully view the lesson because we will help you during the parent training sessions which were described in statement 6. Each school will provide the name and contact information of a staff member who will help parents who are struggling with this process. Although our initial efforts will be focused on parents wanting to participate in on-line instruction, every parent should attempt to watch the lesson because everyone needs to be prepared to attend school on-line if the virus forces us to close.
9. Special Education Students
We are required to provide special education services for all students if those services are identified in the individualized educational plan, or IEP. Providing those services to children enrolled in on-line programming becomes more challenging, but we will ensure the needs of our special education students are met. Case managers or teachers will contact parents to discuss how on-line special education students will receive accommodations and support. These conversations will occur in July as we get closer to the start of school.