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 email@example.com 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
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 4/20: How will standardized tests -- ACTs, SATs, AP exams, SAT subject tests -- be impacted?
- The May and June SAT tests have been canceled.
- AP exam reminders (added April 20):
- Over the coming weeks, email will continue to be the primary way the College Board reaches out to students. Please add firstname.lastname@example.org to your approved sender list. If you are not receiving their emails, verify the email address you have listed in your College Board account. To check your account, log in ASAP and navigate to MyAP Profile to review that the email address on file is one you ACTIVELY check and use.
- College Board will be sending the high-security login credentials that you will need to log in to the Exam Platform to the student email address on the MyAP account. Without that login access that will be sent by The College Board directly, you will NOT be able to take the AP exam.
- Remember, cancellation requests submitted before April 30, 2020 will be eligible for a $94 refund. To cancel your exam, send an email to email@example.com and include your name, student ID number, school you attend, and name of the exam you want to cancel.
- The College Board announced the following information:
- AP exams will be given May 11-22. Makeup test dates will be available for each subject June 1-5. View the full testing schedule.
- Students are encouraged to take their exam(s) on the first exam date (May 11-22). If they are unable to do so, they will be allowed to take them during the makeup exam dates (June 1-5).
- Click here to attend AP review courses.
- Click here for on-demand lessons for Art and Design, Capstone, and Computer Science Principles.
- Students may take exams at home or at schools if they reopen.
- Students may take exams on any device — computer, tablet, or smartphone. They may type and upload responses or write by hand and submit a photo.
- Most exams will have one or two free-response questions, and each question will be timed separately.
- For most subjects, exams will be 45 minutes long, with an additional five minutes for uploading. Students may access the online system 30 minutes prior to get set up.
- Art and Design: 2D, Art and Design: 3D, Computer Science Principles, Drawing, Research, and Seminar courses will not have an online exam. Instead, students will submit portfolios. The portfolio submission deadline has been extended to May 26, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
- Students taking world language and culture exams will complete two spoken tasks. Written responses will not be required.
- As usual, students’ work will be scored by our network of college faculty and AP teachers and will be reported on a 1-5 scale. Scores are expected to be released as close to the usual July timeframe as possible.
- This year’s AP exams will be open book/open note with the format and questions designed specifically for at-home administration.
- Students may not consult with other individuals during the test period. Although confident that the vast majority of AP students will follow the rules, the College Board has put in place protocols to prevent and detect cheating. Anyone attempting to gain an unfair advantage will either be blocked from testing or have their scores canceled, and high schools and colleges will be notified.
- You may cancel your exam registration before April 30 to receive a $94 refund per exam. Late fees will not be refunded. Refunds may take up to 72 hours to process. To cancel, send the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Student name
- Name of school, city, and state
- Title of exam you wish to cancel
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.