Best Practices For Zoom


We are now officially one month into school and one month into distance learning. With the ever changing roles and rules of school in the state of California, I can safely say that we have a minimum of five weeks from next Tuesday before we could possibly start back at school and that is only if San Bernardino County qualifies as "red" starting on Tuesday. Since this is where we stand, I wanted to update parents and students on best practices for Zoom so we can all get through this together.


There have been several parents and students that are still having issues logging in to Zoom or having issues with attendance during Zoom. In order to help everyone and to help us improve processes, please send us a contact form from the footer of the encorehighschool.com website so we can work on improving these issues as we learn. When you fill out the contact form, please give us a specific description of what is not working properly so we can address it appropriately. I think that the team has done a pretty good job of drilling down the issues and working through the bulk of them. Now we need to fine tune the extraneous ones. Thank you for helping us with this process.


The Rules For Proper Classroom Etiquette for Real Time Zoom Sessions

In the age of Zoom classrooms, there are quite a few kids that have forgotten the rules of being in a classroom. Although the classroom is different this year, the following are best practices to make sure that your son/daughter can get the best experience possible from their distance learning classes. Parents, we need your help to be able to solidify the most effective learning environment for your children. Thank you for your help.


1. Students need to login on time - When a student logs into a classroom, it will place them in a waiting room. They need to use their encorestudent email address to be admitted. If they need a reminder to when to log in, they should use the information on the website under bell schedule to set daily reminders for classes. The online portion of the class is at the beginning of the period so it is important to log in on time.

a. If, for any reason, you have trouble logging in: you will need to go to the attendance verification form on the website and fill it out in the bottom footer.

b. If, for any reason, you have trouble seeing the entire class or the class experiences technical difficulties, refer to the teacher's Google classroom to watch the recording of the lesson. Technical difficulties will happen, so do not panic if you cannot log in sometimes. (I even had my computer choose to update in the middle of my Zoom meeting this morning.)


2. Students need to be out of bed, dressed, preferably at a desk or a table - With the screens on this week, our teachers are reporting kids in bed with blankets covering their heads and faces. The students need to be approaching their school time as formal class time, even though they are at home. If they do not approach the class day as school, it could reflect on their ability to focus and/or complete assignments.


3. Screens need to be turned on - This is a new rule this week. We tried to be more lax with this rule when we started the school year, but it has proved to be ineffective. Unfortunately, we had many teachers complaining that their students were logging in to Zoom on their computers and then walking away from the class completely. When the student was called on to answer questions in class, teachers found that students were not actually in class. For this reason, we have implemented the screens on rule. I apologize for the inconvenience, we tried.

a. Tips on Backgrounds - If you want to hide your residence from the Zoom Class, you can either use a Zoom backdrop or set up your class in a corner of your house (like many of the teachers have done).

b. Internet Connectivity - If internet connectivity or privacy is an issue, you can sign up to use Encore's Internet Cafe during the school day to complete your work. If you have a need, please email helpdesk@encorehighschool.com. This would allow you to come on campus to the internet cafe to complete work. This space is very limited and requires approval.

c. Personal Issues - If there is another reason why you do not want to turn on your camera, please contact our Campus Dean/COO, Mr. John Griffin jgriffin@officerteam.com to work through your request.

d. Arts Lab Classes - If you are in any arts lab class and are unable to turn on your screen (music, acting, dance, cirque) we suggest contacting your counselor to drop the class until you can attend in person or have access to a screen.


4. Students need to be actively engaged, ready to take notes and ask questions - While microphones can be turned off until a question is asked of students, students need to be prepared for class. This means that they should have notebooks out to take notes and be ready to turn the microphone on in the event that they are asked a question. Even though we are doing school differently this year, students need to approach every class like they are sitting in person in class. This will help them succeed. Parents, also note that their workload does not end when the Zoom session ends. Teachers are giving assignments for the students to continue to work on asynchronously through the end of the class and as "homework."


5. Students need to logged in to school platforms - This seems like an easy one, but as our attendance clerk is checking attendance, parents are finding out that even though their student is online, they may not be working on schoolwork or in school platforms. To help combat this, make sure to ask your kids what they are working on in their classes, check Aeries for grade updates, and peak in on their classes when you can. Parents, you can also get access to Google classroom for each of their teachers to find out what they are working on. Since we do not have the students on campus every day, we need parents to help us make sure the students are on task.

Asynchronous Learning (Not in Real Time, Recorded, or Memorex for those of us that are old enough.)


- It is OK to have login issues during the day when everyone in the house is sharing bandwidth.

- It is OK to have other things to do during the real time school day that may lead you away from learning in real time.

- It is OK to work on schoolwork outside of schoolwork hours.


In these crazy times, we anticipate that there will be times when you have to learn outside of the regular school day. Here is how that works.

  1. Go to your teacher's Google Classroom for the classes that you missed during real time instruction. Get the assignment from Google Classroom and watch the recorded lecture of the course missed. The lectures will be saved for 10 days only so make sure you stay on top of your classes.

  2. Complete the coursework for the day. When you have completed the coursework, turn it in to your teacher via Google Classroom, or email to make sure they know you have completed the work.

  3. Verify your attendance. Once you have completed work for the day, go the encorehighschool.com and fill out the "Attendance Verified" form in the bottom margin so we know that you have completed work and attended school that day.

TUTORING - Now that progress reports will be coming out on Monday, tutoring is going to become more important for students. Academic tutoring is available for all academic teachers from Tuesday through Friday 7:45 - 8:15 am. Students should use the teacher Zoom codes to access tutoring. If no student has logged in to teacher tutoring time within ten minutes of the start of tutoring, the teacher will log off.

Remember, that we are improving the program as we are all working through that. To the people that have filled out the contact form on the website, your input has been critical in us being able to make improvements. Please, I encourage everyone, to help us make the program better by keeping us informed of things that come up. We can't fix something if we don't know the issue exists.


Finally, I sent out a survey today that I would love you to spend a couple minutes completing. We want to know how we are doing and what improvements we can do as move forward into the second half of quarter one of Distance Learning.


Thank you for your ongoing support of youth arts and thank you for your ongoing support of Encore High School.

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Denise Griffin, CEO is the author of this blog for Encore Education Corporation. Part of Encore Education Corporation is Encore High School, a free public performing arts regional high school in Southern California grades 7 - 12. Encore's program is currently taking applications for the fall 2020 enrollment. Encore offers full time, hybrid time, and independent study programs. Encore offers transporation from the Inland Empire and the high desert. www.encorehighschool.com. Where arts and academics grow together. WASC Accredited. Copyright 2020.



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