Learning moves forward at Albuquerque Academy.
On April 2, students and teachers began following new online class schedules to continue their classes through synchronous and asynchronous learning.
Our goals this quarter are to keep students engaged, making progress, and occupied with meaningful work while reducing anxiety by maintaining a sense of school community and school continuity. They will also learn important life skills — resilience, generosity, patience, and self-discipline.
As a community, we will need to be patient and flexible as we all adjust to our new online world, and we will all get better at both the teaching and the learning as the weeks go by. The Academy will survey students, parents, and faculty regularly so we can assess and adjust our routines and practices to improve the online experience as we become more practiced and adept.
Classes will meet every other day so students will not be tied to their screens for extended periods, and times for meetings with advisory groups and clubs are built into the schedules. Classes will NOT meet online for the full period; they will begin class on a Zoom call for some portion of the class period, and the rest of the time will be used for student work. Students may use breaks between classes to eat and attend to other needs.
Virtual Classroom Spotlights
Our 6th Grade Tech Apps class is using the Scratch Programming app to tell fun stories. In this example, the student uses a narrator to tell the story while the characters act it out.
Gorillas have a hard time transitioning to online learning as well. Luckily, Ms. Knouse is here to help Bobo learn the proper etiquette for our online classrooms.
“Students had to create something artistically beautiful and edible while thinking about the same principles we use in our more traditional ceramics classes,” says Mr. Glidden. See the full lesson here.
Shadow of a Doubt
Mr. Lipkowitz dissects the final scene of the classic Hitchcock film for his junior English class.
“Kids went above and beyond,” says math teacher Jean Mariner of her first week of teaching Algebra II/Trigonometry online. “I love how we, as humans, simply become stronger and more creative when faced with adversity or change.” See the full lesson here.
College of the Week
In this installment, College Guidance Dean Ralph Figueroa provides his insights about Occidental College in Southern California. “The purpose of the College of the Week presentation,” says Mr. Figueroa, “is to give students a framework of how to think about different colleges, a way of comparing similar characteristics at very different institutions.” Watch the other videos here.
One Project, Many “Studios”
AP Art: 2-D Design teacher Louis Schalk posted the first image, and then each student took a photo that responded to the previous one.
Also, the Video Art class was asked to share a quiet reflective moment of their day. See the full gallery and video here.
More About the Plan
Class Attendance: Each class will involve some live/video contact using Zoom during your class meeting time; students will access Zoom classes with passwords from their teachers. Teachers will take attendance at those times. Students must use both audio and video for virtual meetings as studies have shown that audio-only attendance hurts engagement.
Attendance at Other Scheduled Activities: Students also are expected to attend other events on the daily schedule, including adviser meetings and common times. Such required events will be noted in the daily announcements.
Assignments: Students should be checking Canvas every day, and they should be submitting their work through Canvas.
Flexibility and communication are critical to the success of online learning. We understand that any number of issues may prevent a student from completing daily work in a timely manner. Please communicate clearly with faculty when you know your work will not be submitted on time; your teachers will work with you to establish reasonable deadlines for late assignments.
Technology Help: Students should email their teachers if they have trouble making it to class due to a connection issue or other questions about technology related to an assignment. Our Technology Department is also available to troubleshoot software issues and assist with hardware needs; students and parents should contact them by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 828-3249.
If You Are Sick: Your parent or guardian must contact the division assistant if you are not able to attend online classes due to illness or other extenuating circumstances.
- 6-7 Division: Call 828-3167 or email Ms. Jones.
- 8-9 Division: Call 828-3189 or email Ms. Crawford.
- 10-12 Division: Call 828-3112, submit an attendance form, or email Ms. Eckhardt.
Online Etiquette: Please see below for a complete description.
Boundaries: We are all a part of this online learning experiment, but it will help students and teachers to establish healthy boundaries related to school and schoolwork.
- Please do not hover when students are attending an online class.
- Do not provide additional help beyond what is normally expected with assignments.
- If possible, help your student set up a workspace and provide them with headphones that have a microphone.
If Your Student is Sick: Teachers will still be taking attendance, so we need to know if your student is unable to attend online classes due to illness or other extenuating circumstances. Please contact the appropriate division assistant.
Course Work: All work, assignments, scheduled activities, student work submission, grading, and communication with students will be through Canvas.
Teachers have been directed to only assign work on the day that their course meets; this will mean that students should have work for three classes on an A day and 3 classes on a B day. No papers, tests, or assignments should be due on a non instructional day for that particular course.
Work Time Limits: We will set some initial limits on estimated student work time (“in-class” work plus homework) for each class.
- 6-7 Division: 60 minutes (no more than 30 minutes “in class” and 30 minutes outside of class). No homework will be assigned on non-instruction days, and homework will not be due on non-instruction days. In other words, a class held on an A schedule day will not have homework assigned or due on a B schedule day.
- Grades 8-12: 95 minutes (no more than 75 minutes “in class” and 20 minutes outside of class). No homework, including major papers, tests, and quizzes, should be assigned or due on a non-instruction day. In other words, a class held on an A schedule day will not have homework assigned or due on a B schedule day.
Attendance: All teachers will be in video/live/synchronous contact with students for some portion, usually at the beginning of the class period, of their section’s scheduled instruction time. Teachers will take attendance at those times.
Parental Communication: In grades 6-7, a weekly bulletin will go to parents. In grades 8-12, teachers will contact parents once per week about what is on the docket for their student’s class.
Although we are moving temporarily to online classes, we will continue to create meaningful academic experiences and support the vibrant, caring community for which the Academy is known. Accordingly, the policies, procedures, and expectations of the Academy’s Student and Parent Handbook are still very much in effect and will continue to serve as a guide for behavior.
Please be aware of these additional considerations related to online classes.
When communicating online, you should always:
- Treat your teachers and fellow classmates with respect, whether in emails, texts, video chats, or any other online communication.
- Be careful sharing personal information online (either yours or anyone else’s).
- Be cautious when using humor or sarcasm, which can be misinterpreted, particularly in any written communication.
- Use appropriate language.
When participating in an online discussion, you should always:
- Make posts that are on topic after thoroughly reading the prompts or instructions.
- Take your posts seriously, reviewing and editing them before sending.
- Be as brief as possible while still making a thorough comment.
- Give proper credit when referencing or quoting another source (and remember that copying and pasting another student’s post and claiming it as original is plagiarism).
- Be sure to read all messages in a thread before replying.
- Avoid repeating someone else’s post (or simply stating “I agree”) without adding something of your own as well.
- Avoid personal or insulting remarks.
- Be open-minded and remember that engaging with other perspectives is one of the major advantages of participating in an online classroom discussion.
When participating in online meetings (i.e., Zoom), you should:
- Log in with the password provided by your teacher.
- Mute yourself when not speaking.
- Be on time and check to see that your technology is working beforehand.
- Wear headphones or earbuds with a mic for clearer communication.
- Wear school-appropriate clothing.
- Choose an appropriate, well-lit space in your house (but avoid heavily backlit spaces).
- Be mindful of who/what is happening in the background.
- Alert others in the house that you will be video conferencing so they can avoid the camera.
- Look into the camera as much as possible.
- Pay attention to the discussion and stay on task.
- Use your actual name to log into the conference and at all times during the conference.
- Avoid playing with the conferencing features unless invited to do so by your teacher.
- Avoid eating (drinking occasionally is fine).
Frequently Asked Questions
Updated 6/16: What news is there about ACT and SAT testing?
Here is your update for mid-June. Can you believe it’s already mid-June? First some news on testing registration. As always, we can’t ensure that these test dates will actually happen, but registration info is as follows:
The SAT: Registration opened on June 8 for SAT test dates during the 2020-21 school year. Those SAT dates in 2020 are August 29, September 26, October 3, November 7, and December 5. Those SAT dates in 2021 are March 13, May 8, and June 5.
The ACT: Registration will open in late July for ACT dates during the 2020-21 school year. Those ACT dates in 2020 are September 12, October 24, and December 12. Those ACT dates in 2021 are February 6, April 17, and June 12. Please note: The registration deadline for the July 18, 2020 ACT is June 26, 2020.
We have been busy planning our end-of-summer and fall programs. Whether we are online or in person, we will have a large array of programs and workshops to help you through the college application process. For those of you who still have not had your first meeting with your college adviser, please reach out to them via email. Appointments are available this summer on a case-by-case basis. We will take time off, but we all have available times this summer.
The College Guidance Office will officially reopen on August 1. We will host several optional workshops in early August, including a Common Application Workshop, a Scholarship/Financial Aid Workshop, and specific workshops for the Apply Texas Application and the ASU Application. Stay tuned for exact dates and times, as well as the format.
Right before school begins, we will again host our Application Boot Camp, which will consist of individual check-in meetings with your college adviser and a half-day workshop on Tuesday, August 18. Please save that date for either a morning or afternoon mandatory workshop.
Our official kickoff program for parents will be the Final Countdown for Senior Parents, which will take place on August 27. Other events for the fall include a Financial Aid Workshop for Parents, the Tri-School Symposium, and more. Again, details will be sent later.
The bottom line is that no matter what happens with the school year itself, we have your backs. We have a long list of programs, workshops, and strategies to help you manage your college application process. We will get you through this.
Let us know if you have any questions, and look out for another update in early July!
A Message from the CGO, June 1, 2020
Albuquerque Academy will serve as a test center on every date possible this summer and this fall as long as we can comply with the state public health orders regarding coronavirus to keep people safe on our campus. We will notify you and your parents as soon as changes occur that are specifically related to Albuquerque Academy as a test center.
The College Guidance Office recommends seniors register for either an ACT or an SAT (the upcoming test dates are ACT: July 18, September 12, October 24, and December 12; SAT: August 29, September 26, October 3, November 7, and December 5). Once you get a spot the testing agencies will view you as one of their customers and should serve you in a professional and timely way. For example, under the guidelines released late yesterday, if you were registered for a cancelled test or test center, you were ahead in line for re-registering.
That said, CGO counselors often do not receive the most up-to-date communiques from the testing agencies until after you do. Thus, we advise you to access the ACT or SAT agencies directly for things like test center changes, test date changes, test payment refunds, etc. Here are the customer service numbers/emails at the testing agencies.
4/23: How will exams and fourth-quarter grades be handled?
- Fourth quarter grades will be based on factors such as incremental progress toward mastery, demonstrated effort and application, engagement in class, and thoroughness of responses, in addition to students demonstrating their understanding.
- The second semester grade will be calculated as ⅔ MP3 grade and ⅓ MP4 grade.
- A student’s MP4 grade can be no lower than his/her MP3 grade, subject to the condition that the student remains in good standing in the class. Good standing means: engaging fully in class, handing in all assignments, and the like.
- Students in a Pass/Fail class must receive a grade of at least 70 to pass.
- The spring semester 2020 grade will be averaged into a student’s overall GPA.
Updated 4/23: Will the school year be extended?
We will not be having students sit for final exams or have large, cumulative end-of-semester projects this year. Instead, teachers will design appropriate, smaller assessments for the end of the year. They will average the grades for these assessments into the students’ grade for MP4. We did not feel that finals are appropriate in this environment (or the best use of time); we prefer that students continue to learn content and practice skills through the normal black-out days and exam days. In a sense, we lengthened the school year from a learning perspective.
Updated 4/23: When will campus reopen?
Updated 4/23: How can I support the community?
To support local nonprofits that work closely with the Academy, see this letter from Director of Community and Global Citizenship Dara Johnson.
Here are some of the ways our community has been making a difference.
- SAGE Dining donated more than 1,400 pounds of fresh food — milk, eggs, yogurt, and produce — to Roadrunner Food Bank.
- The nurse’s office and science department donated 300 masks to UNMH.
- The science department donated 60 goggles to first responders and medical professionals through Googles for Docs.
- The computing departments has manufactured more than 100 mask strap adjusters for Presbyterian, UNMH, and a local nursing home, as well as facilities in New York City, Colorado, and Texas.
- The Desert Oasis Teacher Garden is donating its weekly harvests to Roadrunner Food Bank of New Mexico and partnering with some APS schools to provide curriculum along with lunch pickups.
- The ninth grade community service club is coordinating a letter-writing campaign in support of medical providers. Learn more here.
- Academy families may attend mask-making tutorials on Thursday afternoons.
- Melinda ’21 created the website ABQ Fight COVID-19 to coordinate efforts in the fight against the virus. Read more here.
- Rosa ’21 has sewn more than 100 masks, donating to at-risk community members, the UNM Cancer Center, and the Farmington Regional Medical Center. She has also started making surgical caps. Visit her website, Random Masks of Kindness.
Updated 4/21: Will there be a graduation/prom/senior week?
- Postpone graduation until August 1. Details of the event (who can attend and how we will stream it to a larger audience if not everyone can attend) will be set by July 1. July 1 will also be the date by which we will make a decision about postponing the event even further, should conditions still make an in-person event impossible come August.
- If we have to postpone the August 1 date, we will move graduation until the winter break, between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
The issues are the same for graduation as they are for senior week and prom, so we intend to connect prom and senior week, as best we can, with graduation, whether it takes place in August or December.
Updated 4/3: Are senior projects canceled?
3/31: Will students get the instruction they need to move to the next grade/graduate?
3/31: Will there be a spring sports season?
3/31: How can I get technology help?
3/31: Are counselors available for support?
3/31: What communications can we expect while campus is closed?
Students will also receive morning messages through their division deans.
3/31: How can I get in touch with someone at the school?
Initially, we had been communicating at a rapid pace through email, especially in the first week after the campus closure. Now we are aiming to send emails during the workday — 8 a.m to 5 p.m. — and then understand, if our message is sent late in the day, that we might not receive an answer until the following day. All Academy employees have been directed to reply to questions sent by email on a workday within a 24-hour period.