FAQs – Distance Learning

Social Groups

Where can I find the family meet-up spreadsheet? The purpose of this spreadsheet is to provide a mechanism to meet other families and set up social / school pods for those that are interested.

Meet-up spreadsheet has been created and circulated to all kinder families as a tool to assist in meeting families, making friends, and/or set-up pods if interested. This spreadsheet can be found here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1dYT_Uh5Q3hIgD0JMDOgB1zkUux5vOJNScwfyVBu7728/edit?usp=sharing
(Please note that this spreadsheet is for incoming kindergarten families only.)

Is there guidance about being in a pod or being with friends in the same class to make pods easier?

There has been a lot of discussion on pods and the equity of pods. It is understandable that families want to place kids in pods with other kids that are familiar to them. Please be mindful of equity and inclusion and reach out to families that may have not made connections with other families yet.

Volunteer

Mrs. Sanders is encouraging parents to get a volunteer badge even though though volunteers will not start in-person. You will need this badge if you wish to participate in Zoom breakout sessions. Information can be found here: https://www.beamentor.org/linkpages/mentorasp/specialprojects/wccusd/Default.asp

What groups can we join if we want to participate at Kensington Elementary?

Kensington Elementary is always in need of parent group volunteers including new Board members for the Kensington Education Foundation, members and volunteers in PTA, SSC, and Dads’ Club. If interested, you can contact the following:

  1. KEF (Kerry Sylvester): president@kensingtoneducationfoundation.org
  2. PTA (Sharyl Rabinovichi): sjmr12@yahoo.com
  3. Dad’s Club (Matt Russell) matthew_russell@outlook.com
  4. SSC (Jessica Marantz): Jessica.i.marantz@gmail.com

You can be a member of the KEF-PTA-Dad’s Club by paying a yearly membership of $30 per person: https://www.kensingtonhilltop.org/parent-groups/pta/membership/

Can anyone join the Dad’s Club?

Despite the name, the Dads’ Club is not only for Dads. It’s open to all parents/guardians.

How can I volunteer to be a room parent?

We still need room parent volunteers! You can sign up here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/8050A45A8AE2AAB9-class. If anyone has questions about the role of room parents, please feel free to email khsroomparent@gmail.com. The signup genius for room parents also includes slots for tech parents.

What is the link to sign up for school cleanup?
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1yF-G7FRqwGA0Q2BjNXFjVZ9KR3SpwYs6hVgmKKUjdqs/edit#gid=0

What would be most helpful from parents? Donations, sign-up for room/tech parent, PTA, Dads club, what else is needed?

All of the above. Keep in mind that whatever KEF offers is based on what parents gave in the past, so you are also deciding now in your donation what will be available for future years!

Fundraising

Is there an ideal pledge amount per student for KEF?

Yes, there is a suggested amount on the Jumpstart link: https://www.kensingtonhilltop.org/db/#/login.
There are also payment plans as well to accommodate families.

For KEF and Dads’ Club leaders: Could we consider fundraising for professional development for the teachers, given the budget shortfalls?

There is already a lot of professional development built into the current schedule. Decisions about how KEF funds are spent are decided collaboratively by the faculty and the KEF board. If you want to volunteer for the enrichment or fundraising action group, you can contact any of the three presidents:

  1. KEF (Kerry Sylvester): president@kensingtoneducationfoundation.org
  2. PTA (Sharyl Rabinovichi): khsptaprez@gmail.com
  3. Dads’ Club (Matt Russell) matthew_russell@outlook.com

If we are donating to KEF, we should know what we are paying for. Is there plans to communicate this to families prior to fall pledge?

Yes. KEF will communicate programming plans when finalized. A lot of what can be funded is through the generous donations of families through the various fundraising efforts starting with fall pledge.

School Resources

What are the 6 key things parents should do to have a successful school year?

  1. Bookmark School Website: https://www.kensingtonhilltop.org/
  2. Update Annual School forms in PowerSchool: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1e4g-DbXMNh1AqX2dPW5iV-t-YUdTQq5O9RqQ0wGUaN0/edit
  3. Jump Start: https://www.kensingtonhilltop.org/db/#/login
  4. Sync KHS calendar: https://www.kensingtonhilltop.org/
  5. Sign up on social media sites: Facebook, Twitter
  6. Regularly review the announcements page on the KHS website (top left-hand corner of homepage)

Class Lists

When will class lists be pubished and how?

Class lists will be sent out via mass email on Friday, August 7. If you don’t receive it by Saturday AM, please send Eliza (editoreliza@gmail.com) or Mrs. Sanders (JSanders@ wccusd.net) a note.

Parent Clubs

What are the different parent clubs I can participate in at Kensington Hilltop?

PTA, Kensington Education Foundation (KEF), Dads’ Club and School Site Council (SSC). PTA is the Parent-Teacher Association that provides services to the classroom, parent education nights, and supports and appreciates our teachers. Kensington Education Foundation (KEF) supports the supplemental enrichment courses that is no longer funded by the district. This is supported through fundraising and parent support. The Dad’s Club supports our school by volunteering to beautify the school and assists in various fundraisers. The School Site Council is a ten-member teacher, parent council to support the school’s achievement plan. This involves monthly meeting, reviewing small budget, and sponsor or co-sponsor some events. SSC is in need of parent volunteers – feel free to contact Jessica Marantz (jessica.l.marantz@gmail.com). More information about these groups can be found here: https://www.kensingtonhilltop.org/parent-groups/

I.T.

Chromebooks: Can every child at Kensington Hilltop receive a chromebook?

Yes. Contra Costa County School district will provide a Chromebook to each child. Details on pick-up of Chromebooks is still to be determined, but Mrs. Sanders is expecting to receive the chromebooks next week and send them home with families by Friday, August 14.

Chromebooks: How do kindergarten students get Chromebooks?

Please contact Mrs. Sanders JSanders@wccusd.net if you are in need of a Chromebook or hotspot. Chromebooks will be handed out on Friday, August 14 in the MPR. There will be a line going one way in from the flag pole and exiting out by the piano. Make sure you are on the list to receive one.

Chromebooks: Do we keep the Chromebooks from last year for the next grade?

Yes. If you received a Chromebook last year, keep it for this year. Make sure you turn it on, log-on, accept updates, and have it fully charged before the first day of school.

Chromebooks: Are there apps and other links pre-set on the Chromebooks or is any kind of laptop okay to use?

Any application that is used for school can be logged in through any device that can connect to the internet.

Wi-fi: Will wi-fi hotspots be available along with the chromebooks?

Yes. If you need a wi-fi hotspot, please let Mrs. Sanders know by emailing her at jsanders@wccusd.net.

Recordings: Can Live Zoom sessions be recorded for learning at a future time and also be counted torward attendance?

Morning zooms will not be recorded unless the teachers choose to. There will be two attenance taken daily: (1) Zoom Check-In; (2) 45 minute Learning Blocks.

Recordings: Will some of the lessons be recorded?

Pieces of learning blocks are going to be recorded, such as Teachers College Units of Study Reading, Writing, and Phonics Workshop modules. Others will be live teaching with follow-up activities.

Can you email or post the recording of this meeting (the All-School Welcome meeting)?

Contact Milli Gurung (milligrg@gmail.com) for a copy of the recording.

I just discovered that my child’s google password was changed. Was that the district? And how do I find out the new one?

Google passwords change in 3rd grade to their student ID number. Your kiddo’s teacher will let you know the new password or you can find student ID on your child’s report card. Additional Note: Subject to your teacher’s instruction, but families will want to make sure your child can log into the Clever platform as this will be the base for getting into other Learning Management Systems. You can take a screenshot of the Clever Badge on your iphone and use it to enter into your chromebook.

What’s “Clever”?

Clever Is an online hub/app where all the distance learning apps can be accessed. You can find more information here: https://www.wccusd.net/domain/3484

Support Hubs

Can you provide an update on where the district is with respect to rolling out student support hubs and whether Kensington plans to do that on the same timeline as other schools?

Hubs will be decided centrally within the district and not by individual schools or principals. When the Superintendent spoke about support hubs, it was intended for kids being brought back to school in phases with the most vulnerable kids back first. Subsequently at the board meeting, it was voiced that the most vulnerable should not return first so the thought of support hubs has been tabled for the time being until kids can return to school safely.

Attendance

What are the attendance requirements for kindergarten students via zoom?

Kindergarten is not mandatory. However, as if attending Kindergarten in-person, daily attendance will be taken. There will be meetings and activities with their teacher. Every child is encouraged to attend daily in order to build a connection with their classmates.

What happens if my kindergartener does not want to participate or only participates for 10 minutes?

Anxiety about starting a new school is quite normal (in-person or online). Please work with your kid’s teachers on how to make this transition easier. There will be small group meetings offered throughout the week to help kids become more comfortable in the transition.

If a child is not able to participate in daily zoom meetings, does it make sense for kids to stay enrolled?

If they can’t make the entire day schedule, please reach out to Mrs. Sanders for individual discussions. Transitions will be hard but we’ll try to work with you and your child for a smooth transition.

Is there a minimum of time that is expected for kindergarteners to be online?

My expectations will be that the teacher will customize the class and be flexible with the schedule.

Class Schedule

Will there be outdoor classes offered?

Not at this time. There will be no classes offered on campus.

Are all the schedules the same or will all classes have different schedules?

School schedules will be consistent throughout WCCUSD. When the MOU contract is ratified (expected August 7), Mrs. Sanders will work with ILT (Instructional Leadership Team for each grade) to work out a schedule. Monday through Thursday will stay consistent with synchronous learning and Friday will have a check-in in the AM but it will largely be Wellness Days with enrichment classes such as science, art, music and the opportunity to catch up with any work that was missed during the week.

What will the daily schedule look like?

The ILT will need to vote on the schedule but it will depend on the lessons being taught and how it will be supported. The kindergartner classes will look largely the same as there will be a lot of collaboration.

Are there any ways to prepare our kids with distance learning?

Get kids excited about the first day of school and try not to let the pandemic put a damper on their experience. Make a daisy chain to count down the days until school starts. Get them excited about each day of school. Set-up a work station for them along with markers and pencils. Take a picture, get them a new shirt, talk about digital literacy as a learning tool. Routines will be your child’s friend so get them a good night sleep (12 hours recommended). Start working on good habits and routines.

What expectation there is about the amount of time that parents may
need to sit alongside the kindergarteners (besides things around setting
up the zoom meeting)?

This will probably depend upon the maturity of each child, their experience with technology, etc. Initially, parents need to plan to spend most of the school time being available for their kids. As routines and comfort levels increase they can move farther away. Each teacher will speak to that at Back to School Night.

What does the school day schedule look like?

School will begin each day with a live meeting with their teacher from 10-10:30AM. This is where attendance will be taken. During the day, there will be three 45-minute academic blocks, teacher office hours, ELD (English Language Development) or WIN (What I Need) block to work with students on additional support needed. A second attendance will be taken on how engaged kids are in learning and turning in assignments.

What is the schedule for kindergarten? Will it be the same as the rest of the school?

It will be similar as the rest of the school with the same types of blocks but organized differently. The kindergarten teachers will reach out to parents and discuss separately.

Are there plans in place when the county is ready to return to in-person learning? Do you expect school to return in-person this year?

At this time, it would all be speculation. Any return to school would be a district decision based on information from the Governor and the County Health Department.

Why didn’t the district consider an earlier start time for elementary kids?

There have been lots of surveys done and the feedback the district received from the school community was that a later start time is ideal to allow children to get the rest they need before the school day. This block of time prior to 10AM will allow teachers to have a common prep time to work collaboratively with fellow team members and conduct office hours if needed.

Will there be a link on the school site to the schedule?

Each teacher will post information about the weekly class schedule every Monday, and will post a daily class schedule by 10:00 every morning.

Do parents have any options for earlier start times if needed? If we want to start at 9AM, will any of the blocks be asynchronous so that we can do the after-lunch block in the morning?

Yes. Some of the lessons will be “on your own time” so you could do that at any time. The schedule is a loose guideline.

Are kindergartner parents expected to sit with their kids on zoom calls?

There will be a transitional period for kinder kids but over time, most kids should be able to sit independently after being set up on their zoom call. Always best to be nearby in case your child runs into any issues.

Classroom

Can you provide insight on what instruction looks like for a split class over remote learning?

Teachers will provide more detail on how class will operate during Back-to-School night which will be on Tuesday, August 18. The schedule is as follows: K-3 at 7PM; 4-6 at 7:45PM. Teachers will send out zoom information to their individual classrooms.

What does instructional time mean? Will kids be on a Zoom line the entire time or just go off and do assignments?

Kids will not be expected to be on zoom during the entire instructional day but the amount of time will look different for various classrooms. An example might be all kids participate during check-in time at 10AM, during the instructional block an assignment is given with some discussion and then kids go off and work independently. Depending on the assignment, kids may be online or offline to complete. Teachers may be working during this time with small groups or individual students.

Will the students receive grades or will the pass/no pass system from the spring trimester continue?

We are going to school with the assumption that students will be receiving grades. There is currently a school district taskforce working on a grading plan.

Are teachers reaching out via students’ emails or parents?

Teachers will reach out to families via parents’ email or phone starting Wednesday afternoon. Information about the first day of school, work packets, back to school night – all pertinent information will be provided at that time.

How much Zoom time will be required on a given school day? Are there other non-zoom options?

If you child is struggling with the amount of time on zoom, contact your teacher directly to discuss alternate solutions.

“The District’s vision is that students will be under the care and direction of the teacher for the duration of the scheduled instructional blocks using a combination of learning with their teacher and learning independently.” How can this possibly be true for elementary school kids?

Clearly this will look different for different grade levels, but as much as possible teachers will structure their classes to enable students to access their instruction independently.

Can you speak more about how reclassification and standardized testing will be handled?

ELD has an opportunity to be reclassified “Reclassification Testing” and those assessments will be done when one-on-one meetings can take place. As far as “Standardized Testing”, like the start of any normal school year, teachers will work with students to assess their academic levels.

How will socioemotional needs be met during the 10-10:30AM timeframe and what is meant by that?

We are planning for that and the district will be providing materials to support this effort. A big part of SEL (Social/Emotional Learning) will be building classroom community, and creating relationships and safe, welcoming spaces for students, We have two SEL curricula that we have used for a number of years, “Caring School Community” and “Toolbox”. In addition, the District will provide resources to teachers.

Administration

As a parent of a Kindergartner, how do we get our passcode to PowerSchool / Jump Start?

Contact Barbara Wansick in the office by email: BWansick@wccusd.net or phone: (510) 231-1415 (x0) and she will provide you with the information you need to log into PowerSchool / Jump Start.

How do I contact my teacher?

You can email your teacher. To find your child’s teacher’s email. It is either firstname.lastname@wccusd.net or firstinitiallastname@wccusd.net.

What systems will be in place to facilitate teacher feedback for our children so we can more readily address their study areas that need extra attention. The previous year it felt somewhat like we were left to handle the appraisal of our children’s needs without insights on a regular basis about how to best help our kids.

Teachers will be creating communication channels to give feedback to parents. The year will start with some basic assessments. During Back to School Night teachers should give more specific information, and there will be time each Friday for teacher/parent communication when you should be able to reach out to your child’s teacher for more information about your specific child’s needs.

School Support

Are parents supposed to print out hundreds of pages of packets?

No. There will still be some packets this year but they will mostly be printed out centrally and handed out by their teachers.

Enrichment and ELD Classes

How will enrichment classes and English Language Development (ELD) be offered this year?

KEF is still working with the school to determine enrichment classes offered and kids needing support for English Language Development will be contacted by their teacher.

Last Spring, we missed out on science, art, music, and PE. Will those classes be offered collectively/remotely rather than pre-recorded sessions our children could only access independently and with a parent?

It’s difficult for KEF teachers to have individualized lessons for each class, therefore most classes will be pre-recorded. However, more hands-on classes are being considered, such as Science and Music. We’ll do the best we can do to offer more robust classroom offerings.

Will there be Math Olympiad this year?

Math Olympiad will not be offered this year. Math Olympiads is a collaborative learning experience that does not translate well to distance learning. In addition, there are strict copyright restrictions placed on the materials that do not permit the use of their materials electronically. If and when we return to school, we can discuss options for reinstating the program.

How will new 4th grade students be selected for Math Olympiads with no SBAC?

When we return to school and Math Olympiads becomes possible once again the teachers and I will discuss how to select students for the program.

Will Kim continue with library (virtual story time) like in the Spring?

Yes, Kim is very eager to continue with library. She will also work with teachers to figure out books for each grade level, distribute hard copies, and then work to ‘quarantine/sanitize’ them before checking them out again.

Professional Development

What professional development is planned for teachers to help improve the quality of distance teaching and learning?

Fridays will largely be professional development day for teachers where they will spend 1 ½ hours around race, equity and inclusion in the mornings. In the afternoons, teachers will spend professional development time on technology, grade level curriculum and site and district-wide grade level collaboration.

Paper Materials

Will paperbook materials be provided to offer supplemental learning?

Yes. We will figure out ways to check-out books, provide materials to kids as a supplemental to chromebook learning.

Parent Communications

Will all communication be done through email or also through postal mail?

All-school communication will mostly be by email or the school website.

Is anything like a discussion board where questions can be posted/answered planned?

Mrs. Sanders will plan to host an office hour (or two) each week during which she can be available to answer parent questions on a drop-in basis. A link will be emailed out to parents.

Extracurricular

Will we still have a school band?

Yes, there will be band twice a week for grades 4-6 with a new teacher. Not sure of the schedule as of right now and it will vary depending on level.

If a K-3 student really loves music, can he/she join the band as well?

No, the district program is limited to 4-6 graders. KEF traditionally provides vocal music for K-3rd graders and hopes to be able to do that again this year.