{COVID-19}

A Guide to FVS Virtual

How can students and teachers who are separated by time and distance connect and collaborate in a way that fosters creativity, inspires meaningful work, and provides the academic, social, and emotional support that are the hallmarks of a Fountain Valley School education?
Stated as a question, this is our guiding principle as we launch Fountain Valley School Virtual, or FVSV for short. When viewed through the lens of design thinking, it provides a clear vision for what we intend to accomplish together while we are apart. Through yet another lens, the foreseeable future provides a tremendous opportunity for experiential learning focused on building the skills and character traits that are leveraged each day in the professional world where hyperconnected teams that are spread out across the globe work together toward a common goal. Empower those skills with Fountain Valley School’s core values—courage, curiosity, compassion, open-mindedness, and self reliance—and what seems like a derailing disruption may in fact be an opportunity for some of the most meaningful learning that our community will experience. 

And while lofty aspirations and boundless optimism may be inspiring, please know that the School's administration and faculty have worked tirelessly to adapt our curriculum to a virtual platform and build out the necessary infrastructure to support this distance learning endeavor for our community. 

A shift of this magnitude prompts many, many questions and thus, we have formatted this guide as a series of questions and answers. If after reading through this guide, you still have questions, please feel free to reach out to advisers or to the Deans’ Office. 
 

FVSV Questions & Answers

List of 14 items.

  • What are the goals of FVSV?

    FVSV is designed to be an environment where students:

    • engage in virtual collaboration to solve authentic problems; 
    • feel safe to take intellectual risks while persevering through challenges;
    • are supported with modeling, differentiation, specific feedback, and opportunities for reflection and revision; 
    • and continue to be creative, passionate, inspired, and intrinsically motivated. 
  • How will we connect?

    Realtime connections will be made through Google Meet, which is a part of the Google Suite. We will use Blackbaud, Google Apps, and email as the primary tools for communication and day-to-day classwork. Individual teachers may use other tools, platforms, or resources as needed to support individual class needs.
  • How and when will FVSV begin?

    Initial class meetings will take place on Friday, April 3 which will follow the modified schedule listed below that will allow all classes to meet in one day. All times listed are Mountain Standard Time. This schedule only applies to Friday, April 3. 

    • 8:35 a.m.- Advisory
    • 9:10 a.m.- A Block
    • 9:50 a.m.- B Block
    • 10:30 a.m.- C Block
    • 11:10 a.m.- D Block
    • 11:45 a.m.- Lunch
    • 12:35 p.m.- E Block
    • 1:15 p.m.- F Block
    • 1:55 p.m.- G Block
    • 2:35 p.m.- Music Block

    Each student’s individual schedule for Friday can be viewed through Blackbaud. Virtual classes will take place using Google Meet. Teachers will send students invitations by email that will include a time to meet and a link to join their virtual class. Teachers will use this time to establish rapport, set expectations, and provide an overview of how their class will work.
  • What will the daily schedule look like?

    On Monday, April 6, classes will resume following the normal school schedule, again using Google meet. Classes may meet synchronously, meaning that students and their teacher will connect in real time through Google Meet, or asynchronously, which does not require participants to be online at the same time. Students in the Continental U.S. are expected to attend the regular synchronous engagements and attendance will be taken. Teachers will determine expectations for a blended learning environment that leverages a combination of these two modes of interaction to best support the needs of their students and their class. Any advance work for synchronous meetings, or work to be completed asynchronously will be posted in Blackbaud no later than 3:30 p.m. on the day before it is due. In addition, teachers will use Blackbaud to post screencasts, recordings of synchronous meetings, or other supporting materials.
  • How can students gain access to class materials they have left on campus?

    Teachers are working to collect online materials for use in their classes in place of books and printed materials and will be communicating with students in the coming days. During the week of March 30-April 3, advisors will work with students to determine what additional materials they need from campus. Advisors will then collect and ship these items to students.
  • How should students participate if they are in a time zone that is significantly different than that of Colorado?

    Students not in the continental US, are expected to follow all asynchronous content as well as assignment deadlines as closely as possible. All synchronous meetings will be recorded and posted in Blackbaud along with any assignments and supporting materials. Students who are unable to join synchronous meetings should use these resources to engage during a time that aligns with their time zone and then schedule 1:1  connections with individual teachers via Google Meet or by phone.
  • What if I do not have enough bandwidth available to support video streaming for Google Meet?

    Each synchronous meeting will have an option to call in by telephone. 
  • How will Advisory and Extra Help work?

    Monday, Wednesday, and Friday schedules will include extra help blocks from 11:15-11:55 a.m. Extra help meetings should be scheduled in advance by email with individual faculty members.   

    Tuesdays and Thursdays include adviser check-in times from 11:15-11:55 a.m. Advisory groups may meet synchronously as a whole, in small groups, or 1:1 as determined by each advisor and student need.
     
  • How will arts classes work and specifically those that require specialized materials, specific tools, of instruments?

    Admittedly, visual and performing arts classes will face unique challenges in transitioning to a virtual platform. Our faculty has been hard at work brainstorming ways to teach essential concepts and leverage opportunities to teach creativity by being creative in the materials, techniques, and resources that are used. And while some classes like instrumental and vocal music or theatre may be more easily adapted to a virtual exchange and collaboration, others like ceramics, metalsmithing, hand tool woodworking, and darkroom photography face certain limitations. In these cases, instruction will shift toward conceptual work centered on design-thinking and problem solving, and learning the “why behind the what” so that students are well prepared to work in a given medium once they have access to materials and facilities. In addition, these classes will encourage creative use of alternative or found materials to achieve a given objective.
  • How will teachers monitor progress and assess learning?

    Teachers will use a variety of ungraded and graded assessments to inform instruction, improve learning, and report on student progress with specific attention to empowering student choice and development of how they will demonstrate learning. These may include: discussions, practice work, Google Forms, reflections, electronic portfolios, online quizzes/tests, writing assignments, and performances.
  • How will AP Classes be affected?

    The College Board has created an in-depth plan for adapting AP classes and exams in light of COVID-19 and the prevalent shift to virtual learning. Click here to view AP Updates for Schools Impacted by Coronavirus from the College Board
     
  • Will extra help be available to students?

    As noted above, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday schedules will include extra help blocks from 11:15-11:55 a.m. In addition, individual faculty members and Learning Center staff will be available to connect via Google Meet at mutually convenient times as needed outside of these scheduled times. Faculty will also endeavor to reply to any questions that are communicated by email within 24 hours of receipt. Extra help meetings with individual faculty members should be scheduled in advance by email.
  • What is expected of students and parents/guardians in support of this learning partnership?

    The school has invested significant resources to create a virtual environment that supports students and fosters inspiration, passion, and creativity, and that provides meaningful and relevant opportunities for learning. Because of the time and distance that separates students and faculty, intrinsic motivation on the part of students and the engagement of parents/guardians is critical in this learning partnership. As such, the school has established the following guidelines and expectations.

    Students:

    • Identify a comfortable and quiet space to study/learn and minimize distractions
    • Dedicate appropriate time to learning, comparable to a school day and/or as guided by your teachers.
    • Engage in all learning posted with academic honesty and integrity. The virtual learning  environment provides an ideal opportunity for students to demonstrate their academic and personal integrity. 
    • The same rules that apply on campus apply in our virtual environment. These rules and expectations are detailed in the Student Handbook
    • Students in the Continental U.S. are expected to attend the regular synchronous engagements as determined by each teacher, and to contribute actively and positively in a way that is respectful of others
    • Students not in the continental US, are expected to follow all asynchronous content as well as assignment deadlines as closely as possible. These students should reach out to teachers and advisers by email for additional support and to schedule Google Meets during teacher open blocks or in the afternoon.
    • Submit all assignments in accordance with the provided timeline and/or due dates.
    • Read email thoroughly and respond in a timely manner 
    • Use Google Calendar to manage time and schedule connections with teachers
    • Check into online platforms/tools frequently for information on courses, assignments, resources
    • Ensure your own social and emotional balance by maintaining healthy habits and communicating both what you are feeling and how you are feeling to the adults in your life and your teachers. If needed, the school’s counselors are available for our support.

    Parents/Guardians:

    • Provide a safe and quiet environment conducive to learning and creating that includes access to technology and space for creativity and performance
    • Ensure attendance of the regular synchronous engagements
    • Engage in regular conversations with students on posted materials and assignments
    • Support executive functioning by reviewing schedules with students and planning time and resources in a way that balances their responsibilities with family opportunities/obligations 
    • Monitor time spent engaging in online and offline learning and redirect if students become distracted
    • Monitor and support emotional balance by providing ample room and time for reflection, time away from screens/technology, physical activity, conversation, and play
    • Communicate with teachers and advisers in support of learning and maintaining an emotional balance
  • What technology support will the school provide?

    FVS will provide access to and support for Blackbaud and Google. In addition, the School will help troubleshoot connection issues when possible. Requests for technology support should be sent to the Technology Department by emailing support@fvs.edu.
FVS is a private, college-preparatory, co-ed, day and boarding school for grades 9-12 in Colorado Springs.
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