Connected Learning FAQ
Is there “drop-in” Connected Learning?
Connected Learning is available in four situations:
- for families who have opted into Connected Learning through Thanksgiving.
- for all families if school is required to close for more than two days in a row.
- for families if a class needs to quarantine.
- for students who need to quarantine because of a family member’s exposure.
To run a thoughtful and robust program in any setting, teachers need to build rapport with their students and assess student growth. Connected Learning and on-campus teachers are collaborating to ensure that there are shared learning outcomes. However, to do this successfully in either environment, the curriculum and experience cannot be identical. In the event an on-campus class must quarantine, the classroom teacher will oversee the move to Connected Learning. In the event that a student needs to quarantine because of family exposure, a dedicated Connected Learning teacher will spend the first day of the student’s quarantine coordinating with the child’s classroom teacher and designing a quarantine plan so that the child has meaningful learning and connection while at home.
In the event that an on-campus class must quarantine, the classroom teacher will oversee the move to Connected Learning. Should an individual student need to quarantine because of family exposure, a Connected Learning teacher will spend the first day of the student’s quarantine coordinating with the child’s classroom teacher and designing a quarantine plan so that the child has meaningful learning and connection while at home.
We recognize that a drop-in service would be appreciated, but we cannot thoughtfully accommodate day-of or short-term requests.
School is closed for everyone. Is there Connected Learning for all grades?
We love being with your kids and want their days with us to be purposeful, planned and fun! Planning for Connected Learning is different than planning for in-person learning. Activities and lessons that work well for Connected may need adjustments and adaptations to provide a good learning experience for on-campus students, and vice versa. Our Family Handbook explains that we will only switch to all-school Connected Learning if we expect to be out for two days or more due to an unexpected closure. During the first day, our teachers will prepare for the possibility that the closure may extend. This way, they can jump right into Connected Learning with thoughtful and intentional plans for all students.
Why can’t students already using Connected Learning have class if all on-campus students are moving to Connected Learning?
The State requires we offer learning for all students in our community on a school day. This promotes equity and respect, two values that TLS strives to embody in all its actions.
We don’t have the right tech at our home. Can TLS support us?
Yes! We want to support everyone in having a successful Connected Learning experience. Please contact Connected Learning Technology Support at CLtechsupport@thelittleschool.org for help.
School is open, but we can't make it in-person. Can we do Connected Learning for the day?
Connected Learning cohorts have been designed and staffed purposefully. Out of respect for families that have opted into Connected Learning, our goal is to keep those cohorts consistent. Allowing students to drop in or out of the Connected Learning programs would disrupt the social and learning experiences of all students. This is not an optimal approach for elementary-aged learners.
In the event your family is under quarantine, we will arrange for Connected Learning experiences from home. A Connected Learning teacher will coordinate with on-campus teachers and guide students through Connected Learning while they are in quarantine.
School is open or closed, but someone can't make it and does not have power. What should they do? Can the teachers send homework ahead of time so they can have something to do?
This would be a frustrating scenario, and, in this case, we imagine that it could take a few days to orchestrate this kind of coordination. Families who need support printing materials at home should reach out to for assistance:
- for short-term, pick up at school, contact Tammy in Student Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-827-4609 ext. 108.
- for larger printing issues, contact Michael in Tech Support at email@example.com or 425-827-4609 ext. 134.
Why does it take 1-2 days to shift to Connected Learning each time if the class already has a parallel program adapted to online for the same pod? Why can't they just join the online kids or use their modules?
Though there is parity between online and in-person learning, the planning and materials required are different. Classroom teachers on campus are differentiating and pacing with their students, and, so too, are faculty overseeing Connected Learning. Part of what we found makes a day on Connected Learning work is careful planning for each student and class. We’ll take the day to make sure we have that in place.
How visible are the students in the larger Zoom calls? We only have nine spaces on our iPad screen, and Zoom doesn’t show the others. What if our student had their hand up but wasn’t called upon?
The number of students and meeting participants displayed on the screen depends on the size of the screen and whether you are using Active Speaker or Gallery View. While in a meeting, you can click View in the top-right corner of the screen, and then select Speaker or Gallery.
Teachers keep their screens in Gallery View to see as much of the group as possible. On most screens, this includes the entire class. Each teacher has their own class norms for contributing to conversations and having one’s voice heard. Please ask your child if they know the protocol for this. If not, please check in with your classroom teacher.
How do we prepare for a Connected Learning day?
Faculty will share information with you about schedules and supplies. If you are looking for more information about Connected Learning, please visit the Connected Learning link on the MyTLS webpage.
Our child was in her class's Zoom Waiting Room for over 10 minutes without any communication from the teacher or associate teacher. This left her feeling alone and left out. How can we handle this sort of situation?
We never want kids to feel left out or alone. Please assure your child, there is never an intention to exclude but there may be a technology issue. Just as Zoom may occasionally drop you from a call, this can also happen to teachers. We try to have two teachers co-hosting each meeting to account for this possibility. Much of the time, this backup works.
You’ll also notice we are using more small group time this year to make space for personalized teaching and to increase student voice. For this to happen, teachers are moving to breakout rooms. If your child or your child’s teacher gets dropped from a breakout room, they cannot get back in without the other teacher leaving their group. The easiest solution for this is to offer separate Zoom meetings but this can lead to Zoom link confusion.
Each teacher has their own class norms for what students need to do when they are unable to rejoin their group and cannot access a teacher. Please ask your child if they know what to do when they are unable to rejoin their group and cannot access a teacher. If any clarification is needed, check in with your classroom teacher.
Is there any way to open Zoom chat between students and their teachers so that the students don't have to bother the entire class with their questions? Sometimes, it is personal and embarrassing for the students to share with all their classmates.
For extended Connected Learning periods, faculty will arrange one-on-one check ins with students to allow for personal sharing, clarification and connection. There is a “host only” chat feature that some teachers may elect to use. However, for many students, the chat feature is quite distracting and prohibits students from hearing information or directions that may be most helpful.
Will the smoke ever end?
We hope so! We are excited to return to our One TLS plan and get students back on campus. Wherever they are learning, we are enjoying every minute with them. Thank you for submitting your questions!
But what about ... we know. If there are questions you would like to see in a future update of this FAQ, submit it through our online form.