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Urgent News

Update Center

Coronavirus (COVID-19) & Distance Learning Information

NOTICE: this page is updated frequently as necessary. Please bookmark this page for the most current information as Spectrum addresses this situation.

Frequently Asked Questions

all in-person school activities are being cancelled - such as concerts and awards ceremonies. The staff are continuing to work on creative ways to still celebrate our students’ accomplishments.

This is especially true for graduation. We look forward each year for the opportunity to celebrate our seniors and their accomplishments - sending them off to new adventures. We’re considering many options and have appreciated the feedback we’ve gotten. We’ll be communicating more with senior families over the next couple of weeks.

At this point in time, courses will continue to be grading on the standard grading scale as noted in the Spectrum handbook and the individual course syllabi. Of course, the situation is evolving as Spectrum continues working with our partner colleges to adapt, as needed. We will certainly keep students updated if the grading practices were to change at any point during the remainder of this school year.

No, Because we are functioning within an asynchronous distance learning format, we have shifted from a daily attendance recording system to a weekly attendance recording system.

Attendance is being calculated based on the completion of three items within the total of your required weekly work:

                1. Monday's Introductory Video, 

                2. Assignment Submissions Throughout the Week

                3. Weekly Check-in Form 

We have stressed logging in to Schoology on a daily basis in all of your courses to encourage you to stay connected and to manage your school work throughout the week. 

If you choose to complete all of your required work in one or two days, feel free to do so.

Questions: (1) Will distance learning continue until the end of the school year and, if so, (2) when should my student pick up the rest of his or her belongings?

Answer(s):

(1) Spectrum will follow guidance provided by the Governor and Commissioner of Education regarding distance learning. 

(2) In keeping with the current "stay-at-home" executive order from the Governor (through May 18), Spectrum has very limited staff on site at random times during the school week. Please see the May 13 communication that is posted on this page for more details. 

Spectrum will offer and provide care to, at a minimum, to enrolled students aged 12 and under who are
children of emergency workers critical to the State’s response to COVID-19 and grocery workers.

Spectrum may require verification of students, which may include securing a letter from the employer or
showing an employment badge. Spectrum will also provide before and after care for these students, if
needed. This care would be provided at no cost to families. Transportation to and from the care program
may also be provided, in collaboration with Northstar Transportation, as needed.

Spectrum has reached out on multiple occasions to determine need and will continue to do so. Parents in
any of these categories of workers have been asked to contact Janice Dammeier, Spectrum’s Volunteer
Coordinator.

Childcare would be provided at whichever school site was best suited for the care at any given time -
considering requirements of the Minnesota Department of Health related to cleaning, social distancing,
etc.

Spectrum’s Class of 2020 will be participating in a car parade next Thursday, May 21st, at 5:00 p.m. Spectrum staff, families, and friends will be lined up on the side of the road in their vehicles to cheer them on and let them know how proud we are of their accomplishments. We invite any of our students, families, staff, and friends to join us as a spectator (while remaining in vehicles) to participate in this memorable occasion. More information on the location and route of the parade will be coming out early next week as well.

In addition, the Class of 2020 virtual graduation ceremony will go live after the parade at 7:00 p.m. for all of us to share in the occasion from our homes. This will include virtual performances from Spectrum’s choir and band, speeches from our valedictorian, salutatorian, and our special guest, Representative Eric Lucero, the presentation of graduates, and more. Everyone is encouraged to join in viewing the ceremony.

We learned from the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) on Thursday, April 23 that, consistent with the governor's executive order to extend distance learning through the remainder of the school year,  all spring athletics have been cancelled for the remainder of the season. This includes practices, tryouts, scrimmages, contests, competitions, and postseason tournaments.

We know this is very disappointing - especially for our seniors. A lot of time, energy, and effort has been invested by coaches and athletes to prepare for the season - with the hope that we would be able to complete at least a partial season. Students - don't let this set-back define you. We know your greatest days are still ahead!

Over the next several weeks, full athletic registration fee refunds will be returned to each student athlete who paid for a spring sport. There is no need to contact the Athletic Department.

We will share further details about the new directive as they become available, including any impact on summer athletic camps.

We are grateful for all of our Spectrum student-athletes, coaches, and families!

Rick Peterson
Athletic Director

More information concerning athletics can be found on the Spectrum Sting Athletics page here.

No. Due to the limitations imposed by distance learning and the narrow timeline available to adapt curriculum and plans to connect with community organizations during this challenging time, Spectrum feels it is in the students’ best interest to have Service Learning end after the 3rd quarter (March 20th) - with no Service Learning requirements in 4th quarter.

Note: We recognize that this may impact expectations for current juniors as they are preparing for and implementing their senior capstone legacy plan. More information will follow at a later time as adjustments are made to accommodate this change.

As found in Spectrum’s mission, Community Outreach is a pillar of our identity as a school. Service Learning is an important aspect of that outreach, and will remain an integral part of our curriculum as we move into the 2020/2021 school year.

May 19, 2020

Spectrum Class of 2020 Parade and Pick-up/Drop-off Updates - May 19, 2020

The folllowing is an email sent out by Spectrum's Excutive Director, Dan DeBruyn. 

 

Spectrum Community,

Please see the attached document for an update on the Class of 2020 parade and virtual graduation ceremony this Thursday. It also includes details for pick-up and drop-off of items next week.

PDF of details for Parade and Pick-up/Drop-off Updates

SPECTRUM DISTRICT & COVID-19 UPDATES

May 19, 2020

Spectrum Class of 2020 Parade and Pick-up/Drop-off Updates - May 19, 2020

The folllowing is an email sent out by Spectrum's Excutive Director, Dan DeBruyn. 

 

Spectrum Community,

Please see the attached document for an update on the Class of 2020 parade and virtual graduation ceremony this Thursday. It also includes details for pick-up and drop-off of items next week.

PDF of details for Parade and Pick-up/Drop-off Updates

Update from Spectrum's Executive Director - May 13, 2020

The folllowing is an update provided by Spectrum's Excutive Director, Dan DeBruyn. Click here to watch the video. 

 

Good morning Spectrum Community,

My name is Dan DeBruyn and I have the privilege of serving as Spectrum’s Executive Director.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been over two months since we’ve been able to greet you in person. No doubt, this has been, and continues to be, a challenging time. Distance learning was not what students, parents, teachers, or staff anticipated to close out the 19-20 school year and we want to extend a huge thank you to everyone for the way that you have stepped up, persevered, and risen to the occasion. With only a week of school remaining, we want to be an encouragement to each of our students. We know they can do this! We encourage them to stay strong, remain positive, and continue working together to make the push to the last day.

I have two quick messages today. The first is regarding drop off and pick up of materials from the school and the second is about graduation, and an opportunity to cheer on and congratulate the Class of 2020.

First, I’d like to share the plan for drop off and pick up of materials at school. This process will take place during the week of Memorial Day for all students. All lockers will be emptied by staff and placed into a labeled bag for each student. Students and parents will drive to the drop off door of their building and receive the bag with all of the student’s items (such as locker contents, awards, and yearbooks). Inside that bag will be another labeled bag. Students will place all of their items to be returned into that bag right away (including textbooks, supplies, and their Chromebook and cord) and drive up to the next door to drop them off. Everyone will remain in their vehicles and hand their bag to a staff member wearing protective equipment. More information with details on dates and times will be sent out next week.

Second, I’d like to share about an opportunity to celebrate and honor Spectrum’s seniors. Spectrum’s Class of 2020 will be participating in a car parade next Thursday, May 21st, at 5:00 p.m. Spectrum staff, families, and friends will be lined up on the side of the road in their vehicles to cheer them on and let them know how proud we are of their accomplishments. We invite any of our students, families, staff, and friends to join us as a spectator (while remaining in vehicles) to participate in this memorable occasion. More information on the location and route of the parade will be coming out early next week as well.

In addition, the Class of 2020 virtual graduation ceremony will go live after the parade at 7:00 p.m. for all of us to share in the occasion from our homes. This will include virtual performances from Spectrum’s choir and band, speeches from our valedictorian, salutatorian, and our special guest, Representative Eric Lucero, the presentation of graduates, and more. Everyone is encouraged to join in viewing the ceremony.

I want to once again express how proud I am of our teachers and staff for all of the work they’ve invested in our students and distance learning. On behalf of the teachers and staff, I’d also like to say how proud we are of our students for their diligence and determination. And lastly, a huge thank you goes out to our parents for working with your students, supporting them through distance learning, and making the sacrifices necessary for them to be successful. We appreciate you and are so thankful for your support.

Please continue to stay safe and let us know how we can help.

 

Update from Spectrum's Executive Director - April 24, 2020

The folllowing is an update provided by Spectrum's Excutive Director, Dan DeBruyn. Click here to watch the video. 

 

Good morning, Spectrum Community. My name is Dan DeBruyn and I am honored to serve as Spectrum’s Executive Director.

It’s hard to believe we’re now completing 4 weeks of distance learning.
I want to share with you some comments I made at the school board meeting last night. It is sometimes said that in times of crisis people’s true character is revealed. I can not express enough how proud I am of our teachers, staff, students, and parents for the character you have shown as we continue to navigate distance learning and both the challenges and opportunities it’s brought to our doorstep.

At the forefront of most people’s minds is the Governor’s press conference yesterday afternoon and the announcement that distance learning will now continue through the remainder of the school year. While the announcement was not a surprise to most people, it’s still disappointing because we miss seeing the students, our staff, and our families and we look forward to the time when we can all reconnect in person.

In light of this extension, I’d like to share three things with you today: activity plans, adjustments that we’ve made based on your feedback, and a couple of announcements.

First, with the extension of distance learning, we’re now able to finalize plans for various activities

  1. As directed by the MSHSL, all athletic activities are cancelled for the remainder of the school year. More information will be coming out soon from Mr. Peterson, our Athletic Director, regarding fees and summer programs.
  2. In addition, all in-person school activities are being cancelled - such as concerts and awards ceremonies. The staff are continuing to work on creative ways to still celebrate our students’ accomplishments.
  3. This is especially true for graduation. We look forward each year for the opportunity to celebrate our seniors and their accomplishments - sending them off to new adventures. We’re considering many options and have appreciated the feedback we’ve gotten. We’ll be communicating more with senior families over the next couple of weeks.

Second, thank you so much for your feedback regarding our distance learning plan. We are continuing to make adjustments daily. Here are just a handful of examples:

  1. The School Board passed a temporary grading policy last night, which will provide more flexibility - particularly for final grades at the high school level.
  2. Introductory lessons/videos from teachers for each class are now being posted on Mondays, even when they are scheduled professional development days, to ensure students have the additional time needed to complete their work.
  3. Teachers have graciously adjusted their office hours online to accommodate student needs later in the afternoon; and
  4. Many safety nets have been put into place to follow up with students, check on their needs, and support students and parents.

As always, please continue to let us know how we can help and provide feedback through the updates page on our website. Our leadership team reviews the comments at least twice a week and tries really hard to be responsive to the needs of our community in a timely manner.

Lastly, I wanted to share two quick announcements

  1. First, the Board-approved calendar for next school year will be posted on the school website by Monday. More information regarding late starts and early dismissals will be coming out in the near future; and
  2. Second, I want to remind you to please let us know if your situation has changed and/or you are in need of school lunches or childcare.

Thank you again for your ongoing support and please continue to stay safe.
 

Click here to view video update on distance learning at Spectrum. You can read the transcript below.

Hello, Spectrum Community. My name is Dan DeBruyn and I am the Executive Director for Spectrum Middle School and Spectrum High School.

I want to thank you again for your support of our teachers and staff as we journey together through distance learning. We’re here to serve and support you, our students and their families. Please continue to let us know how we can help.

This evening, I want to share briefly about three quick items: social media, service learning, and spring break.

First, in these times when social distancing and distance learning have become the norm, we want to continue finding ways to support and connect the Spectrum Community. Beginning this week, we’ll be launching a weekly social media campaign to help tell our students’ stories, build people’s spirits, and bring us closer together. This week we’re encouraging people to share about how their pets bring comfort and joy into their lives. Be on the look out and please share in the campaigns with us. We’ll also be sharing some special stories that took place prior to distance learning as well as some of the encouraging things happening, even now, with our students and staff. We hope to begin highlighting the class of 2020 as well.

Next, due to the limitations imposed by distance learning and the short timeline available for our teachers to adapt curriculum and plans and to connect with community organizations, we feel it’s in the students’ best interest to have Service Learning end after the 3rd quarter (which was March 20th). As a result, there will be no Service Learning requirements in 4th quarter.

Lastly, I wanted to remind you that spring break, which is scheduled to begin this Thursday, April 9th, and go through next Monday, WILL continue as previously approved by the school board. While students had two weeks off as required by the Governor’s executive order, our teachers and staff spent that time making the necessary preparations to build and develop a plan for implementation of distance learning. We appreciate your understanding, and we’ll continue to monitor your feedback, and make adjustments to our distance learning model, as needed.

Please continue to stay safe and enjoy your time together during what, for many of us, is a sacred and time-honored season. We appreciate each of you and are truly grateful for the sacrifices being made to ensure our students’ success. Thank you!

The folllowing is an updated provided by Spectrum's Excutive Director, Dan DeBruyn. Watch the video here

 

Good morning Spectrum Community,

My name is Dan DeBruyn and I have the honor of serving as Spectrum’s Executive Director.

I’m connecting with you today for three reasons:

  • To share some insights as we’ve begun implementing Spectrum’s Distance Learning Plan this week;
  • To highlight the importance of the social/emotional health of our students, families, and staff; and
  • To make some announcements

As we kicked off distance learning this week, many teachers, staff, parents, and students were anxious and a number were also enthusiastic about this new adventure in teaching and learning. Students and teachers have been reconnecting after the two week school closure, which we’ve heard from many has been refreshing and helpful in bringing a little normalcy back to people’s lives.

Of course, there have been a number of challenges in implementing the plan. This is especially the case when those things are outside of our control - such as access to Schoology. Schoology’s a great platform and learning management system that’s served our school well for a number of years and has all of the tools necessary for successful distance learning. Unfortunately, with over 20 million users across the country, complications and access issues have come up. Schoology’s been working around the clock to address these concerns and has made some improvements. Updates from Schoology can be found here. Spectrum’s IT staff are incredibly talented and knowledgeable - working closely with Schoology to address issues as they arise. We are so grateful for people’s patience and the grace being extended as we work with them to address concerns.

Limited access to Schoology has brought questions to the forefront about assignment completion and attendance. We want to remind people that attendance is being kept in terms of work completion and check in points and not specific days or times during the week as long as things are completed by 3:00 p.m. on Friday. It has been recommended to consider having students work at non-peak times (such as 7-10 a.m. or after 2:00 p.m.) to gain better access. Please know that grace will continue to be extended to students for attendance and the timeliness of assignment completion as we work together to address access issues. Our teachers, and staff are happy to work with you, providing flexibility and grace, to help our students be successful.

We also continue to have families in need avail themselves of the opportunity to have lunches delivered from the school on a daily basis. If your student(s) are in need, please contact our Lunch Coordinator, Jennifer Russell by email at jrussell@spectrumhighschool.org.

The second area I want to highlight is the importance of maintaining positive mental health for students, parents, and our staff. In a time when there are many unknowns, it’s important that we monitor our own well being as well as the well being of our students. If there is a disruption to learning, we will work through that together when we return to school. Our teachers are trained at meeting the academic needs of students and differentiating as needed to help them be successful. In addition, our school counselors are available to talk with students about any mental health needs and/or work with parents to refer them to outside resources. We need to continue growing our grace as we work together. Each of us has challenges unique to our situations, our jobs, our families, and our friends. Many teachers are teaching students while also helping their own children through distance learning. Many parents are adapting to working from home while assisting their own children with school work or having their students at home while they’re at work. Some families are impacted by economic challenges to their careers. Children are trying to make sense of it all, while putting forth their best effort to do their part. We’re in this together!

Since the current executive order has schools extending distance learning through April 30th and returning to school on May 5th, Spectrum is determining which large events will need to be cancelled this spring. While we’re still holding out hope that some events will be able to continue in some fashion, there are a number of events that are necessary to cancel in advance. As those decisions are made, we’ll be updating the events on the Frequently Asked Questions portion on our website and noting them as “Cancelled” on the website calendar.

So far, the following items have been noted:

  • Prom 2020, previously scheduled for Saturday, May 2nd, has been cancelled at this time
  • The 6th-12th grade Band Concert, previously scheduled for Friday, May 1st, will not be happening on May 1st. Discussions are in progress about a possible alternative to this concert.
  • The National Junior Honor Society and Nation Honor Society Induction Ceremony, previously scheduled for May 1st, will not be happening on May 1st. Discussions are in progress about a possible alternative.
  • Spring Break, scheduled for April 9, 10, and 13) WILL continue as scheduled.

 

Your feedback is really valuable to us as we navigate distance learning and support each other through these challenging times. Please continue to utilize Help Desk and send your questions or concerns by using the buttons on the new Updates page on our website.

We care for and appreciate each of you and your families. Please stay safe and let us know how we can help!

Spectrum Community,

This email is a follow up to the video communication posted last night with updates on Spectrum's distance learning plan to begin on Monday morning.

Please take a few moments to watch the video, review the plan, and watch the summary video of student expectations with your student.

Spectrum's website has also been updated with current information on COVID-19 and Spectrum's ongoing efforts to provide continuity in education for the students.

Spectrum teachers, administration, and staff want to express our appreciation for your support during this challenging time. We are confident that, by working together, our students will continue to be successful. We are looking forward to reconnecting with your students on Monday.

Please send us any feedback in the designate "Concern or Question" box on our website here. We will be monitoring beginning today and are here to assist.

Thank you,

Dan DeBruyn

Executive Director

The folllowing is the transcript from the video recorded on March 27th by Spectrum's Excutive Director, Dan DeBruyn. 

 

Good evening Spectrum Community,

My name is Dan DeBruyn and I am Spectrum’s Executive Director.

I’m connecting with you today for three reasons:

  1. To share Spectrum’s Distance Learning Plan that was approved by the Spectrum School Board last night.
  2. To share a handful of pointers that we would like to encourage families to consider in preparation for Monday and the kickoff of our distance learning program.
  3. To provide some encouragement as we venture into the world of distance learning together.

Spectrum’s administration and staff have been working incredibly hard to create a distance learning plan that is user-friendly, consistent, flexible, and provides quality teaching and learning. This plan was presented to the Spectrum school board at their meeting last night where the Board asked many pertinent questions and moved forward with approval - keeping in mind that the document and plan will be adapted as needs arise and feedback is sought by parents, students, and teachers. The Spectrum distance learning plan can be found on the school website under the new tab for distance learning. It will also be sent out by email to all families and staff by tomorrow morning. Parents are encouraged to review the student expectations with their children. We’ve also provided a user-friendly video explaining those expectations that we hope will be helpful to your students as they prepare for Monday morning.

Second, we want to provide a handful of pointers that we hope will be helpful for parents as you anticipate your students starting distance learning on Monday. 

  • As is good practice for students when completing homework, we encourage families to set up a specific location in your home where your children can be expected to work on their school work.
  • In addition, it would be a good idea to establish some daily routines and discuss a schedule with expectations for school time. That schedule should include a conversation each night with your children about what they worked on and perhaps looking over their work together.
  • Of course, you know your children best and locations, schedules, and the amount of accountability will vary greatly depending upon their age and their level of self-discipline.
  • Another important consideration is to ensure your child has access to the internet at home. We recognize that internet access varies by community and speeds or data plans also vary. As all students across the state delve into distance learning on Monday, in addition to many parents working from home, we anticipate some glitches will happen. This is part of the reason we ensured that our distance learning plan allows for flexibility and most of the lessons are pre-recorded instead of being live streamed.

Lastly, we want to encourage parents, students, and teachers as we work together to make the best of the situation. While no one could have anticipated our current situation, we believe that, by working together, we can and will be successful. Please know that we do not expect parents to become teachers and we have tried to put the necessary supports in place to ensure your students success and ongoing connection with his or her teachers and other support staff. It’ll be important for grace to be extended from each of us.

Your feedback will be very important to us as we look to continually improve our distance learning model and plan. For this reason, we have provided a link on the Distance Learning page on our website for you to provide feedback and ask questions. This will be monitored daily and we will do our best to get back to you in a timely manner - including this weekend as we ramp up to Monday morning.

Our teachers are excited to reconnect with your students on Monday! Please continue to stay safe and let us know how we can help. 

Thank you.

The folllowing is the manuscript from the video recorded on March 25th by Spectrum's Excutive Director, Dan DeBruyn. 

 

Good evening Spectrum Community,

My name is Dan DeBruyn and I have the distinct honor of serving as Spectrum’s Executive Director.

This communication comes on the heels of Governor Walz’ press conference this afternoon where he issued a “stay at home” executive order from March 27 through April 10.

In addition, the Commissioner of Education directed all schools to begin implementing distance learning next Monday, March 30th and continue through Thursday, April 30th. Staff would return to work on Friday, May 1st and Monday, May 4th in preparation for the students’ return to school on Tuesday, May 5th. The purpose of the Distance Learning Period, as stated by the Governor, is to provide continuity of education during the COVID-19 pandemic, while also preserving the health, safety, and lives of Minnesota’s students, educators, and the broader public. If these dates are extended for any reason, we will continue to keep you posted.

The Governor’s Executive Order also directs Spectrum (and all public schools) to continue providing free school-age care to school-enrolled students pre-k through age 12 for the children of critical workers, which includes educators providing school-age care, grocery workers, medical, and other emergency personnel. If you fall into one of these categories of workers and are in need of childcare during school hours, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Janice Dammeier.

Teachers and staff have been working diligently to ensure that we’re prepared to serve our students and families through distance learning beginning on Monday. Tomorrow evening, the school board will be reviewing and approving Spectrum’s distance learning plan, which we will post on the school website and send to all of our families and staff on Friday. We ask that you read through the plan, review student expectations with your child(ren), and let us know if you have any questions prior to Monday morning.

We recognize that the current circumstances are challenging and impact each of us differently. I want to thank you again for the way you support each other and our teachers and staff. Spectrum is an amazing community.

Please continue to stay safe and we will be in touch soon.

Spectrum Parents,

As noted in the communication sent Sunday morning, Spectrum will be opening all three buildings at specified times for students to pick up supplies, materials, and instruments. If your child needs to pick up items, please have them enter the buildings through the Event Entrance @ either building.

The buildings will be open at the following times ONLY:

*Tuesday, March 24th from 7:30-8:30 a.m. AND 3:30-4:30 p.m.

*Wednesday, March 25th from 7:30-8:30 a.m.

Other Important Notes:

1. Choral music folders for all grades (6-12) have been relocated to the event entrance in the High School building.

2. Students will only have access to lockers and the music room for instruments. No other classrooms will be opened.

3. The buildings may not be staffed during this time other than a custodian.

4. Please minimize interaction with other people during this time.

5. These times are subject to change if further direction is received from the Governor or Commissioner of Education.

Thank you for continuing to work with us to ensure students are prepared for distance learning beginning Monday, March 30th.

Dan DeBruyn

Executive Director

The folllowing is the manuscript from the video recorded on March 22nd by Spectrum's Excutive Director, Dan DeBruyn. 

 

Good morning, Spectrum Community,

My name is Dan DeBruyn and I am Spectrum’s Executive Director.

This is the first of a number of communications I hope to send over the next couple of weeks while our school community, our state, and our country are dealing with COVID-19. Spectrum has been monitoring the situation very closely, including daily calls with the commissioner of education, superintendents, and charter school leaders across the state – as well as weekly calls with the Minnesota Department of Health.

The purpose of this first message is threefold:

  • To encourage you during this challenging time
  • To bring you up to speed on the work taking place at Spectrum in preparation for distance learning; and
  • To let you know about some important updates coming in the week ahead

First, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude and provide some encouragement. While we are not aware of anyone in the Spectrum community that’s been infected with the virus at this time, we are keenly aware that we are all affected to differing degrees – whether that be your job, students being home from school, family and friends, your physical or mental health, or in some other way.

Our community never ceases to amaze me with your resilience and the ways that you care for each other. Thank you to those community members who’ve reached out to offer assistance and help those in need throughout our school community and thank you all for your patience as we work together to navigate these uncharted waters.

Please know that we are here for you and let us know how we can be of assistance.

Second, I’d like to update you on some of the work taking place at Spectrum in preparation for distance learning. I’m very proud of our teachers and staff and the work they’re doing. Pulling together a distance learning program is typically years in the making. What an incredible privilege to work with such a group of highly dedicated and talented people working behind the scenes to ensure we’ll be able to provide continuity in our students’ education through a distance learning model beginning on March 30th. While we’re not sure when traditional on-campus learning will be reinstituted across the state, we are committed to providing the tools, strategies, curriculum, communication, and supports necessary for our students to be successful.

In addition to the educational work being done; our lunch coordinator has been making and delivering school lunches to those in need; our custodial and maintenance staff have been deep cleaning the facilities in preparation for the students’ return; and our administrative and office staff have been working behind the scenes to guide and coordinate this process and address other important logistical matters.

Lastly, I want to make you aware of some important things coming up this week.

We know that there are many questions parents and students have about what this learning model will look like. While the full plan is not quite ready for distribution, it has been in development since the Governor’s announcement a week ago and will be approved by the Spectrum School Board this Thursday, March 26. Once approved, it will be posted on the school website on Friday, the 27th, and a link to the details will be sent to all families and staff at that time. Those details will include how instruction will be delivered, work and attendance expectations of students, how to access supports, and much more.

Also happening early this week, the Spectrum website will be updated with important information pertaining to COVID-19 and where to find ongoing accurate information as well as answers to many of the frequently asked questions we are receiving.

There are two things parents and students can do to plan ahead for March 30th. First, is to ensure students have their supplies and materials at home. This includes textbooks, notebooks, musical instruments, and Chromebooks (including the charging cord). Most of you took care of this last week, which we greatly appreciate. If you still need to pick up these items, the buildings will be open for pick up at specified times this week, which will be posted on the website. The second thing we are asking is that all families complete the internet access survey that will be sent by email early this week. Our technology staff is working hard to ensure internet access for all students in order for them to view and complete their course work.

Please know that you are each important to us and we look forward to working with you to make this transition as smooth as possible. We encourage you to make the most of the quality time you have together as a family during this challenging time. We miss our students and families and are looking forward to connecting with you soon. Please stay safe and be on the lookout for the next communication.

All buildings remain closed through Thursday, April 30th. Spectrum will begin online distance learning on Monday, March 30th and continue through Thursday, April 30th. 

All buildings remain closed through Friday, March 27. Specified times for pick up of student supplies and materials later this week will be posted by the end of Monday, March 23rd.

Will the district be providing transportation for childcare?

Spectrum will offer and provide care to, at a minimum, to enrolled students aged 12 and under who are
children of emergency workers critical to the State’s response to COVID-19 and grocery workers.

Spectrum may require verification of students, which may include securing a letter from the employer or
showing an employment badge. Spectrum will also provide before and after care for these students, if
needed. This care would be provided at no cost to families. Transportation to and from the care program
may also be provided, in collaboration with Northstar Transportation, as needed.

Spectrum has reached out on multiple occasions to determine need and will continue to do so. Parents in
any of these categories of workers have been asked to contact Janice Dammeier, Spectrum’s Volunteer
Coordinator.

Childcare would be provided at whichever school site was best suited for the care at any given time -
considering requirements of the Minnesota Department of Health related to cleaning, social distancing,
etc.

Athletic Update:

As directed by the MSHSL, all athletic activities are cancelled for the remainder of the school year. More information will be coming out soon from Mr. Peterson, our Athletic Director, regarding fees and summer programs.

Concerts/Award Ceremonies/In-person Event: 

In addition, all in-person school activities are being cancelled - such as concerts and awards ceremonies. The staff are continuing to work on creative ways to still celebrate our students’ accomplishments.

Graduation Plans:

This is especially true for graduation. We look forward each year for the opportunity to celebrate our seniors and their accomplishments - sending them off to new adventures. We’re considering many options and have appreciated the feedback we’ve gotten. We’ll be communicating more with senior families over the next couple of weeks.

 

DETAILS OF SPECTRUM'S DISTANCE LEARNING PLAN 

UPDATED: Click here for a PDF of Spectrum's Distance Learning Plan 4-16-2020

Background: This plan provides guidance to Spectrum staff in implementing equitable and continuous quality education, utilizing a distance learning model, for all Spectrum students during the timeframe established by the Minnesota Department of Education. Specifically, this plan will be implemented in light of the current pandemic beginning March 30th and continuing (at least) through April 30th, 2020.

School Board approved: April 23, 2020

Plan Modifications

Modifications to the Distance Learning Plan may be made as needed, as determined by administration, and approved by the Executive Director. Updates may be made weekly and clearly marked in the plan on the school website. The School Board will approve a revised plan, as needed - however, necessary changes may be implemented prior to School Board approval (due to the rapidly changing environment).

Attendance and Engagement

The following guidelines regarding attendance and engagement are intended to replace parts of Spectrum’s current on-campus policy in an effort to accommodate our distance learning plan.

Student Attendance and Engagement Guidelines and Expectations for Distance Learning

For the purpose of these guidelines, attendance is defined as logging in to each course weekly.  Engagement is defined as being active in the learning process and making continuous adequate progress in each course in which a student is enrolled.

Attendance: Each student is required to log in to the Spectrum Schoology page for each of their courses each week where they will watch and/or listen to a communication from their teacher laying out the expectations for the week.


1. Each student is required to login in to the Spectrum Schoology page every Monday and minimally twice a week either Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday or in some combination of those days, beginning on Monday, March 30, 2020, through the duration of distance learning (as determined by the Commissioner of Education and the Governor).

2. Each student is expected to make regular and continuous progress in every course. Continuous progress means that a student is progressing in a course at a rate that keeps a student on track for passing the course. For a student to make continuous progress, each student must:

  • Plan to spend well-focused learning, processing, and responding time each week in each course and to consistently submit assignments that demonstrate understanding and effort of the student’s own creation.
  • Engage in required learning and processing and submitting assignments.
  • Revise work from feedback recommended or required by the instructor

3. Each student is expected to maintain regular and responsive communication with the assigned Advisor and possibly teachers, counselors, and district staff. This includes:

  • Responding to emails, Schoology feedback, Zoom meetings, calendar invitations, and possibly phone calls from Spectrum faculty and staff
  • Updating Spectrum office staff if personal contact information needs revising
  • When students are unable to login due to illness or other personal emergencies, or an excusable absence, a parent or guardian must send an email to the school Attendance Clerk:

 

  • 6th grade - jemmel@spectrumhighschool.org
  • 7th or 8th grades - sburfeind@spectrumhighschool.org
  • 9th - 12th grades - mnewberger@spectrumhighschool.org

The definition of excused absence remains the same as provided in the 2019-2020 Student/Family handbook. Students over 18 may provide a signed explanation from a practitioner to verify the absence.

Attendance Clerks will monitor attendance, and communicate with teachers (including special education teachers and the 504 Coordinator, if necessary) to determine whether any extenuating circumstances need to be considered. Communications will be sent to families accordingly to the current absence policy in consultation with school administration.

 

INSTRUCTION

Required work for the week will be posted on each course Schoology page by 7:30 a.m. each Monday morning. All required work is due by 3:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon unless a different due date is specified by the teacher.

Students are expected to check in each day to all of their courses’ Schoology page. At the beginning of each week, each teacher will provide some direct instruction through a recorded video explaining the lessons, expectations, and required work for the week. This will be in the form of an assessment that will indicate to the teacher that the student has viewed the video and is ready to begin school work for the week. Students will not be able to begin working on assignments until they have completed this assessment.

Students will notice that teachers are using the words LEARN, PROCESS, ASSESS, and sometimes
EXAMPLE or ACTION STEP.

With“remote/distance” teaching and learning, students are not able to see their teachers on a daily basis
to ask questions and teachers are not able to explain things as they could if they were in the classroom.
We hope that by attaching a label to the work students are doing, it will help them understand and follow
the learning plan teachers have laid out for them.

Here are some definitions that may provide some clarity:

LEARN: This is the course materials or information that is provided to help students learn the course content.
PROCESS: This identifies an activity or more hands-on type of learning or practice activities to help students further understand the course content.
ASSESS: This identifies the course material or standards that are used to assess what students have learned and are able to do.
EXAMPLE: This material is provided as an example for students to view, which may help with understanding.
ACTION-STEP: This identifies a follow-up step required after completion of a learning activity.

 

STUDENT WORK

Handouts and relevant information will be shared on Schoology.

You will submit your assignments digitally. No printing will be required. If you wish to print out materials as resources, you will need to use your home computer as your Chromebook print settings are limited for security reasons.

It is your responsibility to check all of your courses in Schoology each day, for work assigned and due dates.

 

ASSESSMENTS

Assessments will be completed in Schoology.

Students are expected to close all browser tabs except for the Schoology assessment when taking an online test.

We trust that students will adhere to our district policies regarding academic honesty during this time of remote learning. If students would like to refer to this information, it can be found on page 19 of the Spectrum Student and Family Handbook.

 

ATTENDANCE

Included in students’ required work, there are three elements that will be used to calculate attendance for the week.

They are:

1. Monday’s Introductory Video
This will be in the form of an assessment that will indicate to teachers that students have viewed the video and are ready to begin school work for the week. Students will not be able to begin working until you have completed this assessment.
2. Assignment submissions throughout the week
Teachers will know that students are “attending” class based upon whether or not they are successfully submitting the weekly required assignments in each class.
3. Weekly Check-in Form
This form will be an assignment for the student to complete. It is a way for your teacher to know how well they are doing in the distance learning learning environment.

In Schoology, teacher contact information can be found in each course on the welcome page or folder.
Students should email their teachers when they have questions or concerns about courses and required
work.


Teachers are available for student communications via email. While they may not respond immediately,
they will be working regular school hours from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Phone
messages will be sent to teachers in an email during the time Spectrum is implementing distance
learning.


Teachers are available for face-to-face video chats via Zoom, Google Meet, or Google Hangouts. Office
hours will be posted on each teacher’s welcome page or folder in Schoology.

You can now schedule a meeting with one of Spectrum's school counselors. Click here for more details

School Counseling and Mental Health for Distance Learning

1. All outside Service Providers - VANDA Counseling and Rivers of Hope. Providers have been notified students will not be in attendance for the foreseeable future.
Providers will contact parents to facilitate in-person or virtual counseling appointments.

2. School Counselors will be available through Zoom

3. Tips for Parents - Resource shared with principals for Principal’s Blog posts.

4. Data Privacy - Utilizing pre-approved technology platforms for student datafiles and Zoom for
student meetings

5. School Counselors have set up Schoology pages to support students

a. MS Schoology Course
- Link to Counselor Zoom Meeting room
- Mental Health Reminders
- Polls/Quizzes
- Registration reminders
- Self-Care tips
b. HS Schoology Course
- Links to Counselor Zoom Meeting rooms
- Mental Health Minute
- Other Mental Health Reminders
- Time Management Recommendations
- Grade Level Updates
- C@SH Participation Steps - college applications, Accuplacer prep

Spectrum will continue to meet its legal responsibility to provide a free appropriate public education to all students, including the needs of students with 504 accommodation plans.

A template checklist of all accommodations included on 504 plans has been created and provided to all teachers. This document lays out how teachers can go about meeting the needs of students with these accommodations in a distance learning setting.

No new 504 evaluations will be considered for the 2019-2020 school year due to the distance learning model and limited time to both assess and implement 504 plans. Teachers will be monitoring needs of students and these will be considered in the fall of the 2020-2021 school year.

Spectrum has purchased Kajeet SmartSpot hotspot devices with a CIPA-compliant web filtering for student use. The devices run on a Verizon network with a limit of 2GB of data per month. For more information, visit the Kajeet website.  Unfortunately, due to the extremely high demand for hotspots across the country during this COVID-19 pandemic, Spectrum's hotspots are on back-ordered.  In light of this delay, we are letting families know that many internet/mobile service companies are offering free or expanded internet access to support distance learning for K-12 students. We are recommending that families check with their local providers to see if there is such an offering available to them. We have also provided a list of companies below with special offerings for K-12 students, along with links to find out more information. In addition, many phone providers are increasing tethering/mobile hotspot data limits for an extended period allowing students to tether their Chromebook to a mobile phone for internet access.

1. Comcast/Xfinity: https://www.internetessentials.com/

2. Spectrum Charter: https://www.spectrum.net/support/internet/covid-19-internet-offer-students/

3. Arvig/FiberNet: https://www.arvig.net/fibernet-education-assistance-program

4. T-Mobile: https://www.androidcentral.com/t-mobile-giving-unlimited-data-customers-help-covid-19

5. Altice Optimum: https://www.alticeusa.com/news/articles/feature/corporate/altice-usa-brings-free-broadband-k-12-and-college-students-during-coronavirus-pandemic

We are aware that students do not all have the same internet connection speeds.  Our plan for distance learning is designed to accommodate those students with slower/spotty internet connections.

  • Teacher instructional videos are recorded for viewing at any time.
  • Student submissions are a Monday check-in and remaining submissions are due anytime during the week until Friday at 3pm. 
  • Students will complete a weekly check-in assignment to monitor distance learning progress.  Students can provide feedback and share any concerns.

For Chromebook and other technical issues, please contact helpdesk@spectrumhighschool.org.  Support requests will be responded to during school hours 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Please mark NoReply@spectrumhighschool.org as a “safe sender” to ensure you receive Spectrum High School email messages.

Communications
1. Communications from the school will happen regularly on an as needed basis. They will be sent
through the Messenger system on Infinite Campus to all families and staff.
2. All communications will be available on the school website
3. Spectrum remains in ongoing communication with the Minnesota Department of Education, the
Minnesota Department of Health, and others regarding COVID-19. Spectrum takes its direction
from these statewide organizations and communicates information as changes happen as needed.
All communications are posted.

Each school day there will be Daily Announcements added to the school website and posted to Schoology. 

 

Spectrum will offer and provide care to, at a minimum, to enrolled students aged 12 and under who are children of emergency workers critical to the State’s response to COVID-19 and grocery workers. Spectrum may require verification of students, which may include securing a letter from the employer or showing an employment badge. Spectrum will also provide before and after care for these students, if needed. This care would be provided at no cost to families. Transportation to and from the care program may also be provided, in collaboration with Northstar Transportation, as needed.

Spectrum has reached out on multiple occasions to determine need and will continue to do so. Parents in any of these categories of workers have been asked to contact Janice Dammeier, Spectrum’s Volunteer Coordinator.

Childcare would be provided at whichever school site was best suited for the care at any given time - considering requirements of the Minnesota Department of Health related to cleaning, social distancing, etc.

Spectrum will ensure lunches are available to all students who need them in the way that works best. This may include delivery to the home or a pick up site depending upon need, staffing, and Minnesota Department of Health guidance. All federal/state food prep requirements will be met. Food will be kept according to proper food handling procedures. For example, if handing out food in a parking lot, must keep milk cold, food hot (if applicable), and use disposable paper/plastic products.

Special Education Services - Distance Learning Plan

Spectrum will ensure students with disabilities (IEP and 504) continue to receive specialized instruction and related services through the distance learning model, including access to specialized instruction and access to general education standards and continue to demonstrate progress toward the general education standards and IEP goals. Spectrum will ensure free appropriate public education (FAPE) for our students eligible for special education services who have an individualized education program (IEP) or 504 plan.

Special Education Coordinator’s Responsibilities

Review each students’ IEP with the Case Managers to determine if modifications are necessary in an online/distance learning environment. Keep all proposed changes on a master spreadsheet for tracking purposes. Include all students on IEPs and mark those with no required changes as “None needed”.

Review all possible changes to IEPs with the Special Education Director to confirm they are needed and determine the best way to approach. Note: This may vary depending upon the length of time distance learning is necessary.

 

2. Case Managers’ Responsibilities

Review each students’ IEP on their caseload and work with the Special Education Coordinator to determine if modifications are necessary in a distance learning environment.

Be available during school hours for assistance to students/parents/teachers, re-teaching, planning, accommodating, modifying, and implementing IEP’s.

Set up a new “planner” for each student every week with support contact information, dates, and times.

Contact each student weekly for a face-to-face meeting to check in, discuss assignments/grades, offer emotional support, and offer academic assistance.

Have a set hour of available time (M-F) when they will be immediately responsive to email. Students can email their case manager during this time to set up individual time to meet face-to-face on GoogleMeet, ask questions about assignments, plan and prioritize tasks, seek social-emotional support, etc. The case manager will also be available during all school hours, but response times may be longer (responses will be given the same day).

Reach out via email, GoogleMeet, and phone to students who have not contacted the case manager each week or students who are struggling/falling behind in classes.

Contact para-professionals that are assigned to students on their caseload for daily updates, to help with accommodating students, to learn daily plans the para has made with students, etc.

All face-to-face meetings will be recorded and kept by the case manager.

 

3. Special Education Core Class Teachers (small group, pull-out classes) Responsibilities

Provide specialized instruction in subject matter via Schoology and Google.

Check in with each student in the class on Mondays and as needed throughout the week.

Post “office hours” daily for students to be able to access the teacher for class-related assistance and instruction.

Post daily instruction, practice, and assessment for each week the same as all classroom teachers.

 

4. Special Education Paraprofessionals (will have up to 8 students assigned to them)

Responsibilities

Responsible for knowing the happenings of each class each student is enrolled in on a weekly basis. This will be done on Mondays.

Will watch necessary videos, take needed notes, break down assignments/projects, etc. This will occur for each core subject students have: Literature, Writing, Math, Science, History, College/Career Readiness, and Health

Have a scheduled face-to-face (GoogleMeet) check in with each student each day Tuesday-Friday. This check-in will be to make a plan/schedule for the day, update the daily planner, go over progress made from the previous day, answer any questions on classes/assignments, etc.

Send an individual email to each student each afternoon as a follow-up to the morning meeting. This email will ask about the progress on the daily plan/schedule, ask specifically about each class, and offer a 2nd face-to-face meeting on Google to answer any questions or give any support. This email will be to the student with the case manager and parent CC’d.

Communicate with SpEd teachers/case managers daily regarding student progress and any concerns.

Any parent questions/ communication will be forwarded directly to the case manager to respond to the parent.

All online face-to-face meetings will be recorded and kept by the paraprofessional.

 

5. Related Service Providers (Speech/Language, Social Work, Occupational Therapy, DAPE) Responsibilities

Related services will be provided virtually through Google Meet or Zoom. 

The service provider will contact parents and students to set up a regular time to meet online according to the direct service minutes provided in the IEP.

The service provider will record all services provided and offered (if student does not attend a scheduled session).

 

6. Due Process (IEP/Evaluation Meetings)

Spectrum has 6 ongoing re-evaluations happening between March 18 and March 27. These evaluations are being continued and will be completed within the legal 30-school day timeline. Once complete, the evaluations will be emailed to parents by the case manager and mailed to the parents from our Resource Manager from school. 

Spectrum has 11 IEP meetings that need to happen before the end of the school year. These meetings will happen virtually while distance learning is in place. 

The Special Education Coordinator will arrange the meetings with parents and the case manager.

These meetings will occur on Zoom with the presence of the Special Education Coordinator, Special Education Teacher/Case manager, a general education teacher (or two), any service providers, at least one parent/guardian of the student, and the student when appropriate.

After the meeting, the case manager will write the IEP, submit it to the coordinator for review, and send it to parents within 2 weeks of the meeting (this is not a change, as it is our current practice)

The IEP, Prior Written Notice, and Procedural Safeguards will be emailed to parents by the case manager. These documents will also be mailed to the home by the resource manager.

The Resource Manager will be reporting to school once a week (as long as it is allowed and safe to do so) to gather paperwork and mail home due process papers.

Concern or question?

Student and staff safety is our top priority. If you have a question, concern or comment about any health or safety issue, please let us know.

Ask here

Provide Feedback on Distance Learning

Additional resources

Provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention