Dear HC Band Family,
I hope all are well. By now, I’m sure you have heard the news from FCPS that we will remain online and in a virtual learning setting until at least January. As I personally went through the idea of the hybrid schedule being discussed in my own mind to prepare our program, I was wondering how a 50/50 alphabet split would work at the middle and high school levels with things like disproportionate core class enrollments, electives, transportation rotation, etc. to name just a few issues. There are obviously numerous unanswered questions and as I have told the students and I’m sure you’ll agree, the health and safety of all is paramount and isn’t worth the potential risks of running everyone back into this situation in an over capacity school building for a couple months of in-person instruction before the holidays, especially considering this disease may cause lifelong issues in some cases or worse. In the grand scheme of life and big picture, the time elapsed over a semester is relatively insignificant, however, we all know that the kids’ health status is permanent.
Regardless of our feelings toward this subject, the HC band staff has been encouraging our students to keep a healthy and positive mindset and routine. I often tell the students that we will not make excuses and will make the most of this time regardless of the size of this challenge. There are numerous life lessons to be learned daily in this process, in addition to educational opportunities beyond our normal instructional sequences. The staff and I will continue to push forward, prepare, plan, and try to help the students develop necessary life skills in addition to learning musical concepts that will open up opportunities for them.
Some things we will need help with as we face this reality:
- Parents must help us encourage the students to get into a positive, productive daily routine and schedule.
The routine should include the following:
- Regular daily wake up time and clean up, change clothes, eat, prepare for the day.
- I would encourage ALL students to have a regular and consistent workspace sitting at a table where they can eliminate as many distractions as possible. We’ll continue to remind students that they should get out of bed and approach virtual learning with focus, discipline, and effort.
- The class schedule requires roughly 4 hours of online instruction with time to do homework in the early afternoon.
- Students should use the afternoon time to COMMUNICATE with teachers if they are struggling. I’m always available for those needing help and am eagerly awaiting time to connect and help.
2. Parents, please help us teach the students that COMMUNICATION is the key. If Mr. Bayerle, Justin, and I don’t know the difficulties students are having, then we can’t be in a position to help students be successful.
3. Please be reminded that students working jobs should NOT be scheduled to work during the school day. Employers should NOT be scheduling kids for work while they are supposed to be engaged in school. School should be a priority. Anything less, puts our students at a significant disadvantage in the future in our society. If anyone needs me to speak with a student employer, I would be more than happy to do so.
4. Encourage students to TURN CAMERAS ON in Zoom classes. We used to say “Eyes on the Voice” in in-person instruction because eye contact has proven to help people retain information. We have discovered in overwhelming fashion that students miss instructions, details, ASSIGNMENTS, and all kinds of valuable information when they turn off the camera. When we can’t see them, we have NO idea if they are engaged or even there attending class. If there are unique situations, please communicate those with us.
5. Parents, my mindset is as follows: Teachers have 1 job right now…making sure all students are successful in life. We are here to make your lives easier so let us know what we can do for you.
Thanks to all for your support of the HC Band program! We will continue to grow and learn to the best of our abilities. As always, if I can be of service, please reach out email@example.com or (859)338-5692.
I will release some Senior Night MB info for parents/family attending soon based upon questions I received about details for tomorrow.
Thanks to all!
Director of Bands
Henry Clay High School