Virtual Q & A with Mr. Hood

May 15, 2020

Comprehensive communications will be coming this week and next week to include drop off/pick-up, graduation activities, yearbook, senior dues, refunds, debt collections and more.

Seniors

When will the seniors officially be done?… considering that the apprenticeship program was going to start, and after that was Senior week, which they basically don’t do a lot… they would have been done with classes this week.  Are they really expected to be fully engaged in classes through 5/29?

  • May 27th is the last official day for seniors.  Last class will be May 26th.  Our hope is that all seniors fully engage until the last day of virtual learning.

Since there is no apprenticeship (WINGS) which waived seniors from finals etc.. what is the expectation and has that expectation been communicated to teachers? What about the mixed grade classes which will continue for juniors and below?

  •  All teachers have been made aware that there is to be no graded final exam. Mixed grade classes will continue as scheduled.

When will the graduates get their actual diploma?

  • We are still determining the best date for providing diplomas. 

With hopes dimming for any sort of summer ceremony for our 2020s, I am hoping to find out if there are any other plans specific to JMHS to celebrate our seniors (aside from ideas posed in the FCPS superintendent survey). Can we work with the Town of Vienna to do a parade, much like Homecoming? There must be something we can do to make this time special.

  • For Seniors at this time:
    • June 2nd: Messages from Faculty, Convocation, Senior Slideshow, banner
    • Later in June: Senior video Recognition
    • In-person School Photo Opportunity

A school in Tennessee recognized their seniors the following way:  They had four categories in addition to a senior picture.. The categories are: favorite memory, Shout out to (teachers), Future plans, Favorite quote. Can we do something like this for our seniors at JMHS? I am sure parents will help. We are all desperate to help them and recognize them for their hard work and marking the beginning for their next journey.  This way we celebrate the teachers as well as the students.

  • The senior recognition video will have speeches, highlights from this year, senior photo with captions, and individual student video messages.

When will seniors drop-off/pick up items?

  • Information for Seniors to return school property and pick up graduation items will be released this week. 

Renovation

What is the status regarding building renovations for Madison High School?  Please provide an update to the building construction schedule.

  • Trailers are at Madison.  Addition planning is still on schedule.  Most likely, a March 1 start date.  Will substantially impact parking.

There is a rumor that the church parking lot has been successfully secured for student parking during JMHS construction. (Hooray!) Please provide logistical info for HOW to get spaces in the church parking lot. How many spaces are there (and therefore how "short" of spaces will we still be for student parking)? Instructions are never publicized for how to get space in the lodge lot -- it's just word of mouth because it is privately owned. Please make the process for the church lot parking more transparent.

  • For the start of the school year, we will most likely move staff to back of school and students to front.  A number of spots were lost due to trailers installed.  Likewise, we will lose even more sometime around March next year.

Return to School

Would you please address plans for when and how Madison will reopen?

  • FCPS is reviewing each scenario closely but there is no specific plan for school opening at this point.

Will there be a limit on class size for distancing and any thoughts on students and staff wearing masks?

  • It’s possible, we will have to wait for guidance from the Health Department as we get closer to the start of school.

If online school happens again in the fall will it be the same format as this spring?

  • Sorry, I do not have an answer to this question at this time.

Will there be a marching band season next year  (2020 - 2021)?

  • It has not been canceled at this time.

Grading and Reporting

How will final grades be determined?

  • A student’s final grade will be the highest of the following:
    • Avg of Qtrs 1, 2, & 3
    • Avg of Qtrs 1, 2, & 3 w/1 grade distribution increase (if applicable) 
    • 1st Semester Grade
    • 1st Semester Grade w/1 distribution increase (if applicable)
    • Quality Points as per FCPS Grading and Reporting

Could you please confirm if there are no final exams and no special calendar for finals week?

  • No graded final exams this year and no final exam schedule.

I was wondering if Mr. Hood could address the topic of group assignments right now during 4th quarter. I know some group projects have been assigned, but it is a bit tricky.  For students who need their grade raised, they're really dependent on the other members of their group to complete the project so that their grade can potentially be bumped up.  And for kids who have a solid A and don't need to do the project, they feel obligated to do good work because they want to help their group/friends earn the highest grade possible.  But, of course, the kids with the solid A are the ones who usually do all the work on the group projects, and this quarter is no different in that respect.  I'm wondering if group projects are the best approach right now?

  • This appears to be a specific issue that should first be addressed with the teacher. We do not want to limit the opportunities for student collaboration and collective thinking. If you have additional concerns after speaking to the teacher,  please reach out to the department administrator. 

On 04/24/2020 you sent out a communication which detailed: Calculating Final Grades; stating that a student's final grade will be the highest of the following:  1) Average of Qtrs. 1, 2 and 3; 2) Average of Qtrs. 1,2 and 3 w/1 grade distribution increase; 3) 1st Semester Grade.  One of my students has a Grade of 'B+' in a course for the first Semester, yet his Final Grade (SIS clearly shows this is the final course grade) is showing in FCPS SIS as a 'B'. How should we get this corrected?  Do not want to upset the teacher who has been more than kind and fair this school year.

  • At the moment, SIS (grading software) will default to calculate the final mark based on the average of quarters 1, 2, and 3. The other options (semester grade, grade bump, etc.) need to be done on an individual basis and will be done manually by the teacher at the end of the year. Students will continue to see the default final mark calculation until they’ve completed 4th quarter and have been individually considered for the grade bump based.

Distance Learning

Is there any plan to increase the number of online instructional days per week for the remainder of this school year?  It seems that 3 days of learning and 2 days of planning/meeting/office time for teachers would be time better spent.

  • There is no plan to change the schedule FCPS created for this school year.  FCPS is looking into providing additional learning opportunities for students this summer.

Can a schedule of important school-specific dates through the end of this academic year be posted?  For example: Last day of online classes for seniors? Last day of online classes for underclassmen? Dates to pick-up items left at school?

  • Yes, several decisions were made at the county level this week and we are now able to provide actual dates for Madison.  Here are some dates we can provide now:
    • May 27 - last day for seniors
    • June 2 - multiple events for seniors
    • June 12 - last day for underclassmen
    • June TBD - virtual senior recognition ceremony
  • See schedule in next question for planned collection/distribution of items schedule.

Dates to return FCPS issued laptops, books, materials, etc.?

  • Underclassman:
    • Locker belongings distribution will occur May 18-20 – 5-9pm by alpha
    • Email will be sent to families with belongings in lockers and/or PE uniforms.
    • Included in email will be google form to donate pe uniforms.
    • Textbooks (not needed for synchronous learning) and library books will be accepted during this time regardless if they have belongings to pick up.
    • Students will write their name / student ID on paper and hold up in car window.
    • Items will be brought to their car.
    • Students / Parents / Guardians must enter via James Madison drive and exit via Flint Hill rd.
    • Security will be in parking lot to assist with traffic flow.

How will you ensure that student’s belongings get to their rightful owner if they aren’t labeled?

  • All items being removed from lockers will be labeled with each student’s name.

When will students receive their purchased yearbooks?

  • We do not have a date as of yet.  Yearbook printing plant shut down in April and printing was delayed.

Will there be any recognition for those students who were accepted into the Governor’s School?

  • We are still looking at what is possible for recognizing our underclassmen this year.  All awards will still be printed provided to students. Governor’s School acceptees are recognized at the Fall Academic Awards ceremony.

Will there be learning opportunities over the summer?  I would like to see online summer school as an option for all students considering the failure to launch the online learning this spring and the minimal amount of actual instruction that is currently being offered.

  • Yes, FCPS is working on opportunities for summer learning.  This will be somewhat limited but more will come on this.
    • Credit Recovery
    • FCPS Online Courses - $375
    • Potential Other Option

There are several online classes that students can take during the summer (geometry, PE, econ/personal finance).  They've always been too expensive for my kids to take, but I was wondering if the county might be willing to waive or significantly reduce the class fee in an effort to keep kids busy and productive during the summer since many kids can't work or go to the pool?

  • Summer opportunities are still in the planning phase.  We don’t have an answer just yet but more is to come. Madison has offered a summer academy for the past three years but will not be able to this summer due to social distancing restrictions.