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Message from Principal- Carlos Alvarado

  • August 6, 2020 

     

    Dear Parents, Guardians, and all Desert Wind Tigers,

    On behalf of the DWMS Faculty and Staff, I would like to welcome you and your student to the 2020 – 2021 school year! My name is Carlos Alvarado and I will be serving as your principal. I have been a resident of Arizona for my entire life, and I have resided in Maricopa for the last 10 years. I have been privileged to be an educator for the last 34 years. I have served as an administrator for Tempe Union and Mesa Public Schools. This is my second year at DWMS and I look forward to serving you with excellent communication, dedicated support for your student’s well-being and education, and outstanding customer service. Thank you for making Desert Wind your school of choice!  

    The First Day of School and Instructional Models

    As you know, the first day of school was July 30th!  Even though we started online, we experienced a great first day! We opened the school year via the online distance learning platform. Our faculty and staff performed with tireless dedication as they prepared to teach online and to distribute the technology to support online instruction. 

    At this point, our district has decided that we will continue this current period of distance learning through September 8th. At some point, the intent of the district is to have all sites reopen to on-site learning. For now, we are targeting September 8th as a possible start date for on-site learning at DWMS. We have started the planning process that will allow us to safely reopen the building to our students. While our planning is underway, we are also monitoring all announcements coming from the Governor’s Office as it relates in-person learning. We are very aware of the real possibility of an extension of our current distance learning period. Stay tuned for details regarding any changes for the duration of the distance learning period.   

    With all that being said, our district office and DWMS has attempted to survey all parents in our community with the goal to understand your instructional model preference for your student. This data will be needed to help finalize staffing and scheduling plans for each school site.  To date, the both surveys fell short of understanding every parent’s instructional model selection. It will be necessary to have every parent declare their instructional model selection.  Parents will be asked to select one of the two instructional models (Online Distance Learning and the Brick & Mortar Model).  

    Before the school year started, two other instructional models were presented as options for parents. They were titled, the AM/PM Hybrid Model and the A/B Cohort Model. 

    • AM / PM Hybrid Model (All students attend each day for half the day.) 

     

    • A / B Hybrid Model (All students split into the A or B Cohort. Each cohort attends school two days a week for live instruction – all classes. The rest of their instruction is delivered in the distance format. One day per week, all students will not be in school to allow teachers to train and to prepare lessons in the distance format.)

    Our district office recently sent out notice announcing that both Hybrid Models are no longer being considered as instructional model options.  All sites will offer an online and “brick and mortar” option.  Again, we will soon be asking all parents to finalize an instructional model preference (Online or Brick & Mortar) within the coming weeks. 

    The DWMS 2020 – 2021 Block Schedule

    In preparation for a return to in person learning, we have opted to change our normal “brick and mortar” bell schedule, (six classes periods per day), to a block schedule model (three classes per day, less class transitions, less contact with all students and staff, and longer class periods).  As a staff, we elected to move to a block schedule for the safety of all students and staff members (substantially less contact and exposure with all students and staff per day). 

    During the first distance learning period, we will be using the block schedule format to deliver daily instruction. We will do this so that our students will experience minimal change and disruption to their daily schedule and routine at the point where we are able to return to in person learning in the building (“Brick & Mortar”).  

    You can find our Distance Learning Schedule in the menu. 

    The DWMS Faculty & Staff

    Our teaching faculty is a very experienced group (this includes all of our new teachers). I have confidence in their ability to engage and provide quality daily instruction for your student online and in person. They all gained valuable experience as an online instructor last spring. Prior to the first day of school, our teachers received the following training to improve the quality of their online instruction:  

    • New Teacher Orientation – Teachers new to MUSD
    • Safe Schools Health & Safety Training
    • Curriculum Training (Study Sync – ELA Curriculum, Math Envision Program, and the Edgenuity Online Curriculum Program) 
    • Google Classroom Training
    • Distance Learning Best Practices
    • Pear Deck for Google Slides
    • Blocksi Training (To Monitor Student Online Activity)
    • Online Safety and Device Basics
    • Safe Schools Technology Training
    • Google Meets Training
    • Safe Schools Counseling Training (Social-emotional Well Being for Students)
    • Synergy Updates (Grades & Attendance) 
    • Livestream Training

    Regarding students and parent preparation, it is important to remember that the distance learning that we are preparing to deliver will look much different than what your student experienced last spring. Students will need to understand that they will be engaged in six classes (ELA, Math, Science, Social Studies, and two elective courses). 

    The concept of time management will be important to all students. They will have to demonstrate the ability to schedule, prioritize time, and meet deadlines. They will also be issued grades for all of the work that they complete during this period of distance learning. They must be ready to engage and work hard.  We will do all that we can to help them with some ideas toward best practices for students.  We will need parent support toward this goal for your student’s overall academic success. 

    Please look for our teachers to start the communication process with your students.  Our teachers have been directed to send the google code to all students listed on their roster. You student will receive the codes from every teacher on his/her schedule via their student email account. 

    New Teachers and Staff 

    As is normal with every school year, there are new teachers and staff to introduce to the community.  With that being said, I would like to introduce all of our new Tigers!

    First, I would like to announce that Ms. Aidan Balt will be serving as our Assistant Principal this year.  Ms. Balt comes to us from Maricopa High School with a wealth of knowledge and experience as an ELA teacher.   

    I would also like to welcome the following teachers and paraprofessionals to the Tiger Family! (The Technology Integration Specialist and two paraprofessional positions are new positions assigned to our site.)

    • Jennifer Egelston Tiger Prep Math Teacher / DWMS Math Coach
    • Shannon Hilsinger DWMS Technology Integration Specialist
    • David Hughes 7th & 8th Grade ESS ELA Teacher
    • Jennifer Quinette 7th Grade ELA / 6th –  8th Grade ELL Teacher
    • Michael Russoniello 8th Grade Science / 7th & 8th Grade Robotics 
    • Joe Paskowski 6th & 7th Grade ESS ELA Teacher
    • Jasmine Wright 6th & 7th ESS Math Teacher
    • Rosemary Ybanez ESS EDP Resource Teacher
    • Tara Stephenson ESS Paraprofessional

     

    Technology, Information, and Equipment Distribution

    To date, we have distributed laptops, information and consumable workbooks, to all DWMS students. There are still a number of families that still have not picked up their student’s technology and supplies.  An Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) form must be filled out and signed by the parent prior to the issuing of a student a laptop device. Immunization requirements must also be completed prior to the issuing of a student laptop device.  



    Parent Q & A Meetings

    To date, the DWMS Administrative Team has hosted two parent question and answer meetings. We will be scheduling more of these meetings in an effort to stay in direct communication with parents. The next Parent Q & A Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 11, 2020 (5:00 p.m.). 

    Student Online Etiquette 

     

    During our second Parent Q & A Meeting, I presented the following information as examples of best practices for students as they participate in their online learning Google Classrooms. Student Online Etiquette:

     

    • Wake up well before the start of the school day. 
    • Practice normal hygiene routines.  
    • Wear school appropriate clothing. Do not wear pajamas to school.
    • Eat a good breakfast.
    • Identify and keep a dedicated learning space for your student.  (Adequate seating, light, and away from distractions..) Do not allow your student to work from their bed or a space where they might be easily distracted or fall asleep.

    In all interactions with classmates, teachers, and friends, model respect and kindness.

    • Be on time for all Google Classroom sessions, Be prepared for class (Laptop charged, school materials ready, attempt to login early to ensure connectivity)
    • When in the Google Classroom, participate according to teacher directions, mute yourself unless directed to speak, use the “raise hand” button, participation emoji’s, and the chat box according to teacher directions for communication.  Do not misuse any features of the Google Classroom environment. 
    • Turn the camera on and have it remain on while in the Google environment.  Check the status of your microphone (daily).  
    • Refrain from using your phone during class time.  
    • Work hard and turn in all assignments as directed by each individual teacher.
    • Remember that the MUSD Technology Department will be monitoring all student activity with regard to email use and internet searches.  They will alert our site and report any inappropriate use of a student account.  

     

    Get Involved!

     

    DWMS is fortunate to have the support of our Parent – Teacher Organization. The DWMS PTO is looking for any parents who would like to get involved in supporting DWMS in a variety of different ways (Student Dances, Teacher & Site Support, and Student Recognition opportunities). Currently, there are several leadership positions available within the organization. If you would like more information and/or would like to get involved, please contact the Desert Wind PTO at: vyngarcia83@gmail.com

     

    Lastly, I just want to thank you for choosing DWMS as your school of choice for the 2020 – 2021 school year. Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we walk through current circumstances together as partners all for the success of your student! It will be our endeavor to earn your respect and trust as we progress through the school year.  If any point you need to contact me, you will find my direct line extension or email address below.

     

    Carlos Alvarado

    520 568-7110 Ext. 3108

    calvarado@musd20.org

     

    DWMS Main Line: 520 568-7110 

     

     

     

     

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