Finland Middle School
1825 Finland Avenue | Columbus, Ohio 43223
Phone: (614) 801-3600 | Fax: (614) 278-6334 | Attendance: (614) 801-8874
Lori Balough, Principal | Jason Phillips, Assistant Principal | Erin Harris, School Counselor
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Finland Middle School
1825 Finland Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43223
Fax: (614) 278-6334
March 17, 2020
Dear Finland Middle School Families,
There is a phrase, ‘May you live in interesting times.’ We think it is fair to say that we are living in interesting times right now. The purpose of this letter is two-fold: 1) sharing resources with parents on talking with their children about the Coronavirus; and 2) communicating the processes we will be using to continue education.
In times of crisis, parents may have difficulty knowing what to say when talking to their children. This is normal. As things seem to change on a day-to-day basis, concern can make both children and adults anxious.
1) We would like to offer some things to think about in case your child appears to be struggling with the current situation:
- Children look to adults for how to respond in times of crisis and will mirror the reactions of adults. The words we use and the actions we take will frame how children view this new circumstance. Remaining calm ourselves helps reassure our children to do the same.
- Routines are our friend. Routines bring familiarity and comfort to our lives. When we know what to expect and feel some level of control, we are better able to adapt to changing circumstances. Regular bed, meal, study, art, and play times are some of the ways to embed routines into our daily lives. Unpredictability and loss of control can leave us feeling stressed and anxious.
- Regardless of the logic, it is important to listen to children’s feelings and answer their questions as best we can. Fear is an extremely contagious and powerful emotion. For some children fear can lead to irrational conclusions that cloud their every thought and action. Being able to verbalize these fears allows caregivers the opportunity to add a touch of realism, practicality, and being proactive. It also helps us reframe their concerns, so these fears can be significantly reduced.
- Finally, communicate hope. While children are very good at sensing insincerity, they are also influenced by aspirational thoughts and behaviors. Hope for better days and better outcomes can be more powerful than fear. Communicating that hard work, good decisions, and ingenuity will lead to a better tomorrow is an empowering thought.
- For tips and expert guidance, please consider exploring the following links:
- Talking to Children About COVID-19 ( from the National Association of School Psychologists) https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources-and-podcasts/school-climate-safety-and-crisis/health-crisis-resources/talking-to-children-about-covid-19-(coronavirus)-a-parent-resource
- The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children (TLC Institute – part of STARR Global) https://starr.org/covid-19-school-cancellation-and-trauma/
2) We will be educating students remotely for a period of time. Below are answers to some of the questions we have received about this process:
- What about Devices and Internet access?
- Almost any device that supports Internet browsing will work. Your child does not need to have a ‘Chromebook’ to access the lessons from their teachers. Any computer, tablet, phone or other internet capable device will work for this purpose.
- Last Friday, we made our first attempt to ensure that every home has access to a personal computing device. Many families already had their own device(s) and some students borrowed a device from school. If your student did not borrow a device or an additional device is needed because your household has multiple students attending the South-Western City School District and one is not sufficient, please contact your child’s school attendance line leaving your child’s name, grade, and homeroom/first period teacher’s name, and a call back phone number. We will make arrangements with you to secure a device.
- We are in the process of securing an extremely limited number of wireless access points. These requests will be based on financial need beginning with the senior class and working downward through grade levels. Follow the procedure above if you have this need and we will try to assist you to the best of our ability. For requests that can’t be met, please consider exploring places near your residence that offer this service for free or consider accessing district WiFi from common areas outside of our school buildings. Please remember that social distancing (6 feet) is a best practice and congregating on school property is currently prohibited.
- One final note: the district will not be filtering devices or access points while students are working remotely. While the district acceptable use policy remains in full effect, we are counting on caregivers to monitor the use, search activity, and social interactions in which students engage through these devices.
- If you encounter any technical problems with your child’s Chromebook, please contact our Helpdesk for Chromebook assistance by calling (614) 801-3014 or emailing email@example.com
- How will learning activities and submitting assignments work?
- Email will be the primary method of communication during this time period. Every student has been issued a district email/account address.
- Assignment and learning activities will be distributed through email or another learning platform that have already been used in the classroom (such as Google classroom and iReady). These activities should take your child a regular class period to complete (25-50 minutes). Please remember some students work more quickly than others so times may vary. Videos, text, links to Websites, and downloadable PDFs will be among the most common materials with which students interact. While some activities will be completed in a single sitting, others could take several days. Students should expect to submit three items per subject per week that will receive teacher feedback. This will likely take the form of a graded activity. This could happen automatically as a normal course of the lesson, they may require uploading a pdf, it could be in the form of an email to the teacher, OR printed/created to submit in a physical form.
- What is the best way to communicate with staff?
- All staff have email addresses and phone extensions. Staff will communicate these directly to students. The format of email addresses in our district is firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be patient as our staff members work through their email and phone messages. Between student and parent communication, creating lessons in a new way, providing students feedback, and taking care of their own families, they will be stretched very thin at times. Many staff will be working remotely, therefore we encourage the use of email to communicate with staff members.
- How will the end of the grading period be handled?
- March 20 marks the end of the grading period. Recognizing the unexpected way this grading period has ended, students are encouraged to communicate with teachers sooner rather than later so that grades can be calculated for the quarter.
- Teachers have been asked to finalize third quarter grades no later than March 30, 2020.
- All assignments given beginning March 24 will be considered part of the final grading period.
- How will the district be distributing food to those in need?
- Our building will be used to distribute ‘Grab-n-Go’ breakfast and lunch meals for students who need food assistance. Meals will be available from 10:00 a.m. till noon, Monday through Friday, beginning Monday, March 23. A list of locations will also be available on our district Website at www.swcsd.us.
- For families with more immediate food needs, please visit our Website for additional resources.
- Assignments and other materials can also be returned during food pick up times. Please include the building and teacher name on any assignments/materials.
- How do I get the medication(s) my child left at school?
- If your child has medication in the clinic that you need to have returned, please contact the school phone number at (614) 801-3600.
We are grateful for our families who partner with us to make this community stronger for our children. Thank you for your patience over the past few days as we worked through our plans to close school, finalized our remote learning options, and provide families with the tools to help support their children’s learning at home.
Sincerely, Ms. Balough Principal
The most recent information regarding school closings, and electronic teaching and learning can be found on the homepage of our district Website at www.swcsd.us. Thank you for your patience as we work to keep our students safe and learning.
Infinite Campus (IC) is the District’s Internet-based student information system. Important features of IC are the Parent Portal and NEW Mobile App. Through the IC tools parents are able to access their child’s information, such as class schedules, attendance, academic reports, transportation information, coursework, and put funds in their child’s food service account online. Parents can also designate how and where they wish to receive emergency communications, attendance calls, general announcement messages, and e-mail messages from teachers, the school, and the school district.
To create an IC account, please go to: https://sites.google.com/swcsd.us/parentresources/infinite-campus/parent-portal-mobile-app
If you already have an IC account, please update your emergency contact information at: https://sites.google.com/swcsd.us/parentresources/infinite-campus/online-emergency-information-submission