Successes under unique circumstances

Rick Jorgenson
Redwood Falls Gazette

Surprisingly, we are already to the fifth week of school and mid-quarter.

This means that one-eighth of the school year is already behind us.

We spent a great deal of time planning for this school year over the summer, and honestly, I am pleasantly surprised as to how well things have started. Much of the credit is going to the teachers, staff and students.

Whenever I go into a classroom, teachers are seamlessly attending to students in the room as well as those syncing in via Google Meet or Zoom. Observing this, it feels like teachers have been doing this for a long time and are highly proficient in managing this.

As for the students, they have been doing a wonderful job at wearing masks, complying with social distancing and communicating with teachers.

Our custodial staff have been keeping the buildings clean and sanitized, while office staff are ensuring phone calls are answered, materials are organized and documents are getting home to students and parents.

Paraprofessionals are working tirelessly to ensure student needs are met.

Thank you to the entire staff for making this year the best possible under unique circumstances.

As we are mid-quarter, I have received some questions on how to help students in the world of hybrid learning.

Here are some tips:

• Check Skyward: Make sure you have a Skyward Account and know how to use it. Contact the high school office at (507) 644-8112 if you need login information. This is the way for parents/guardians to check grades and attendance. Check this daily if possible.

• Ensure students are making progress in classes: By using Skyward, ensure grades are at an acceptable level and school work is being completed. Many teachers put “Practice Work” on Skyward. While this is not graded, it is important practice that needs to be completed so students are ready for assessments. At the high school level, students who do not pass classes will need to retake them.

• Communicate with teachers: Do not feel shy about doing this. Teachers and staff are happy to answer questions or provide information about your son/daughter. E-mail is a quick and easy way to do this, but phone calls are important too.

• Ensure you are wearing a mask: We need to keep our kids in school. The mask has become political, but it does not need to be. By wearing a mask in the community, you are helping to ensure our students can continue to attend school in the hybrid or in-person model, and athletics /activities can continue. We all need to do our part to mitigate COVID-19.

• Provide your child with a conducive learning environment at home: Ensure the Xbox, TV, etc. are off and students are focused on coursework.

• Ask your son/daughter what they did in school: Teenagers are not always the most willing to share, but the more you can be involved in your child’s education, the better. Ask specific questions, such as “What are you studying in history?” or “Tell me two things you learned about today.” If you are not specific, it is common to get an answer like “I don’t know” from a teenager.

• Read weekly e-mails: Every Monday, I send out a weekly e-mail. This contains information about our schedule, upcoming events, etc.

• Ensure your child is working on what they should be doing: Our expectation at RVHS is that students will attend each class (virtually or in-person) each day at the regularly scheduled start time. So, at 8:20 a.m., all students should be on their Chromebooks from home (or at school) for their P1 classes. The last class starts at 2:45 p.m. No students should be done with their work early in the morning and say they have nothing to do the rest of the day.

If you have questions on what a student should be working on, contact the teachers or let me know, and I can direct you to the right person.

A final thank you goes out to our parents/guardians and the community, both of which have been very supportive of the school. We are all in this together, and I appreciate everything you all do for our students, staff, faculty and school district.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me at (507) 644-8112.

– Rick Jorgenson serves as Redwood Valley High School principal