Principal Jason Parent’s Newsletter

Principal Jason Parent’s Newsletter from April 10:

Dear Lancer Families,

We have just completed the end of our third week of remote learning and the beginning of quarter 4.  Teachers, case managers, and counselors continue to work closely with students, offering additional support and encouragement throughout this new process.  Our students have worked diligently to complete assignments and to stay positive during this challenging time.  Parents and the administration have also served as helpful resources, and all of us in Lancer Nation know that it will continue to require a cooperative effort to see our work through. We are all in this together and that is the reason our transition has been as successful as it can be.  There are still some issues to work through, but we have a tremendous support system in place to help guide us through any hurdles we face.  We have developed executive summaries from the parent, student, and staff surveys that were completed last week.  Thank you for completing them and here are some results that will help drive future decisions we make in this learning environment.

95% of our teaching staff is using Google Classroom.  They have also added administrators and case managers to help assist with students.  In addition, 75% of teachers are using video conferencing for office hours and to connect with students in their classes.  It was encouraging to see that 75% of our students are using a personal laptop or their phone to access their courses, and 85% indicated they are not sharing a device.  Those same percentages were confirmed in our parent survey.  As for the amount of time spent in each class, all of our teachers felt it should fall between 30 – 60 minutes, and 88% of them indicated the length of the school day should be between 3 – 5 hours, with the other 12% responding 5 – 7 hours.  Student and parent polling indicated that 49.5% are spending between 5 – 7 plus hours each day on school work.  So we are now working to bring about more balance in that area.  We are also working to provide more flexibility with due dates and assignments, as 41% of our students and 53% of our parents indicated daily work is assigned, with the majority having less than 2 – 3 days to complete it.  While we want to continue to challenge our students and provide rigor, we also want to strike a balance and not overwhelm them.  Our recent efforts to find that balance include focusing on essential curriculum, being flexible with deadlines, expanding our definition of what grades reflect in a remote environment, and modifying content, delivery method, and assessment standards.  An average of 60% of students and parents prefer grades rather than a Pass/Fail model, so we will continue to maintain our current grading system.

One other data point from the surveys that is notable is that only 34% of our staff have found a work/life balance, 23% have not, and the rest are in-between. We believe the same holds true for our students.  Our suggestions to possibly help mitigate that are to make a schedule and stick to it. Take walks, breaks, and an uninterrupted lunch.  Finally, shut off from electronics after a certain time in the afternoon to limit screen time and an overload of interaction on nights and weekends.  It is important for our students and teachers to take the personal time they both need outside of the school day.

I’ll finish by reminding everyone how proud I am of our students and families, teachers and counselors, support staff and case managers, and our administration.  We are so fortunate to have everyone contributing.  We are still hopeful for a return to school, but have developed contingency plans to participate in and celebrate our end of the school year traditions.  For our seniors, we have back-up dates for the end of June and the end of July to celebrate senior week and the prom.  We have also begun the process of finding creative ways to feature our amazing Lancers.  Our senior class officers have taken the lead in gathering pictures, stories, and videos of our seniors that they will feature on their class Facebook page, our Twitter, the Lancer Spirit Online, and hopefully our local cable station.  We are excited to share their spirit with our entire school community!  Have a wonderful weekend with your families and continue to be well.


Jason Parent


Londonderry High School