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Staff email: Office 365

Benton Update--August 17

Good morning and Happy Monday!


Thank you for your patience as we work out all the hiccups with starting school this year in a digital format.  Last spring, we already had the "plane" in the air and we knew all the passengers.  When we migrated to Distance Learning, we just had to land the "plane".  Trying to take off has been an entirely different experience and we appreciate everyone's flexibility in this venture.


For those of you who are new to Benton, I apologize in advance for the lengthy emails.  We really try to only send information out in email one time per week (usually on Mondays) with the most important information. These will be longer at the start of the year as we try to get school off the ground.  We will also post these on our website if you would rather go there for information.


  • I realize that we are throwing out a bunch of terms that may or may not be familiar to most families (these are affectionately known as "Educational-ese").  Here are a few terms you need to know:


  • Synchronous Learning--This means "live" instruction.  In other words, this is a time when kids should be working in a zoom call at the same times as the teacher is instructing.  This should be about 20-30 minutes each period.


  • Asynchronous Learning--This is a fancy term for "working on your own."  These are assignments that a student will need to complete outside of the live instruction.  It might include watching a video, completing a project, etc.  Most of us might simply call this "homework"…but that term is so 2019.


  • Schoology--This is the platform we use for posting assignments and turning in assignments. 


  • PowerSchool--This is the system we use to track enrollment, attendance, grades, etc.  PowerSchool and Schoology talk to one another (for the most part).  PowerSchool is usually the most accurate when it comes to grades and attendance.


  • School starts for "realsies" today.  Students need to check in with all their teachers at the times below and they need to check Schoology for any assignments.
    • Period 1/5--9:00-10:00
    • Period 2/6--10:05-11:05
    • Nutrition--11:05-11:25
    • Period 3/7--11:25-12:25
    • Lunch--12:25-1:00
    • Period 4/8--1:00-2:00


  • Core classes will focus on establishing routines and procedures for Distance Learning.  You will see very little ELA, Math, Science, and Social Science.  Just giving you a heads up.


  • Join Ms. Ridgeway and Mr. Webster for Coffee with the Admin on Tuesdays from 8:00-8:30.  This is just a time for us to chat.  This will be an open meeting, so multiple parents can attend at once.  If you have a specific question regarding your student, please just email us. Check email for link.


  • Students may request a Schedule Improvement by the end of the week.  We will send out link for requests.  Currently, classes are very full and we will only be able to honor requests that will not negatively impact class sizes.  The link will be sent out through Schoology.


  • Back-To-School Night is scheduled for Tuesday, August 25.  Our plan is to have a short video of me talking about the start of school.  Then, parents will be able to join teacher's Zoom Rooms to get class information.  Because we will no longer be posting Zoom links on our website, we will attempt to email everyone the Zoom links in a personal email.  This may be a bigger task than I anticipate, but these days, we are in the business of doing more than we thought possible.  More to come.


  • Benton Business Days will take place August 31, September 1 and September 3.  These days will be for students to come to school (with an adult) take pictures, obtain ID, drop off last year's books, pick up this year's books, obtain PE clothes, art supplies and instruments.   We will be posting times for families to arrive to make sure we maintain social distancing and safety.  Currently, the plan is…
    • Monday, August 31--8th Graders
    • Tuesday, September 1--7th Graders
    • Thursday, September 3--6th Graders.


We are here to help.  If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the school.  We want to respond as soon as possible to your needs.  We know that for over 100 years the agreement has been for schools to care of kids during the day while families have them the rest of the time.  This year has drastically disrupted that agreement and I know it is tough (the Webster is struggling to find our rhythm with a high schooler, middle schooler, and 5th grader at home).  Hang in there.


Have a great day.

Mr. Webster