Oct. 16 Update From Principal Fairly: Quarter 2 Schedule FAQ

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Hello Oakland Tech community,

Oakland Tech opened our Quarter 2 of Distance Learning this week with a number of successes. Our student engagement over the first four days of the quarter is 97.7%, which is a significant increase over the start of Quarter 1. Teachers have been welcoming students into their Period 2, Period 6, and Period 8 classes, and students are continuing to meet each morning in their Advisory classes. Dual Enrollment classes are continuing under the Peralta Colleges calendar.

Advisory class has developed into a solid virtual community for students. In these classes, students are sharing their experience and expertise with each other about how to master the online tools for class and how to stay organized. Advisory is the time when announcements about the week and upcoming events are presented for students, and they are on slides so that students can refer to them at any time. These announcements are also shared on Instagram to help students stay in touch.

About the Tutorial Period

Quarter 2 presented a bit of a challenge as the school implemented our schedule that includes a Tutorial period. Some parts of the plan could not be tested until the first day of classes, so Tuesday and Thursday this week included a learning cycle for all of us with a lot of practice and adjustments. On Thursday, students practiced finding their teachers’ Zoom links for Tutorial and checking in at each of their teachers’ meetings. We practiced our attendance procedure for Tutorial, and we discovered a few technical glitches. Some of them we could fix on the spot, and others will require a bit more research. We expect to have these resolved by Monday for our first official day of Tutorial.

We have prepared a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the new schedule below.

FAQ About Oakland Tech’s Quarter 2

Q: Why is Oakland Tech offering three classes for students in Quarter 2 instead of four?

A: This answer requires a bit of history. Following two years of preparation, Oakland Tech teachers and leadership planned to shift from a 6-period day to a modified block schedule with 7 classes this year. The school developed a new bell schedule that would have students in four classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and three classes plus a study hall on Wednesdays and Fridays, with all seven classes meeting on Mondays. The study hall was an intentional part of the plan in order to provide many of the supports for students that Advisory provides now.

When the school district finalized the distance learning program for high schools, it designed a split-quarter system in which half of the classes would meet during the first half of the semester and the other half of the classes meet during the second half. Oakland Tech had already built our schedule with seven classes. We saw that the natural way to adapt this to the district’s split-quarter system would be to use the 4-period days in Quarter 1, and the 3-period-plus-study-hall days in Quarter 2. The district also encouraged us to provide a specific Advisory period that would run through both quarters, so we built that into the schedule as well.

With that background in mind, Oakland Tech is offering three classes in Quarter 2 because we adapted our 7-period modified block schedule to the split quarter system.

Q: Why was a Tutorial period chosen?

A: Rather than leave one of the periods as a study hall (like we had planned for the 7-period modified block schedule), we developed a Tutorial model in which students would have the opportunity to meet with the teachers where they needed the most help. This was quite an effort of designing a record-keeping system that would help us keep track of which teachers the students are meeting with, but we were able to use the resources of Aeries, Google, and Zoom to make this possible.

Q: What activities are students intended to do during Tutorial?

A: Most students will be meeting with teachers to receive extra help in order to be successful in their Quarter 2 classes. Teachers are also aware of the students who struggled during Quarter 1, and they are reaching out to those students to invite them to attend Tutorial for extra help, too. Other teachers are making time to help students with the College Board’s AP Classroom and AP Daily videos so they can continue to prepare for AP exams. Also, the school has worked with our after-school program and Community Schools Office to provide Tutorial groups on special topics such as College & Career Information, Anxiety Support Circle, Financial Literacy, and other special interest groups and clubs. This list will be publicized soon, and students will learn about these opportunities through the Advisory Announcements.

Q: Is Tutorial voluntary?

A: Our goal is to provide quality educational experiences and social-emotional supports to every student during Tutorial. We have built a supplemental attendance system in Aeries so that we record the attendance of each student in their Tutorials. We expect every student to participate. However, different students will have different experiences according to their needs. Seniors might want to visit the College & Career tutorial where they can work quietly on college applications and check in with questions that might come up. We are working to develop ways that recordings of Road to College presentations and other useful information can be provided during Tutorial. As we find available time and resources, teachers have expressed interest in providing space for special interest clubs and learning experiences. There may be guest speakers who are available to give special presentations during Tutorial. Tutorial is the time when Student Council and Leadership students meet. We are trying to make the best use of this opportunity so that students can find interesting ways to further their education and development.

Q: How do students find out what opportunities are available during Tutorial?

A: There are three primary ways that students receive information about Tutorials. Teachers use Google Calendar and Google Classroom to provide their Zoom links for students who want to meet with them. That way, the student can find the teacher’s link right in the student’s calendar. Students receive a menu of Tutorial offerings that they can sign up for during Advisory, and the information is provided on the Advisory Announcement slides that they can refer to at any time.

Q: How does a student sign up for a Tutorial?

A: In Advisory each Friday, students will be encouraged to review the menu of offerings. The school provides a Google form that the student uses to sign-up for a teacher’s Tutorial or one of the other offerings.

Q: Why does it feel like there is less instruction this quarter?

A: During this first week of the quarter, as the school implements the new schedule, some students might feel like they are receiving less instruction. However, students need to keep in mind that they are responsible for remembering the concepts they learned during Quarter 1, in addition to the new concepts they are learning in their new Quarter 2 classes. This will require attention and organization in a way that is not necessary in a typical year. Language and math classes especially require daily use in order to keep their skills strong. The Tutorial period is a built-in opportunity to develop that discipline and review work completed in Quarter 1. Then, if the student has time and doesn’t need extra support for Quarter 2 classes, there are other opportunities to pursue some special interests.

Q: What if I have more questions?

A: The first point of contact will be your student’s Assistant Principal for their Pathway (or grade level if the student is not in a Pathway). We can help you make connections with other resources as necessary.

Pathway Asst. Principal Grade Asst. Principal
Computer Science Mr. Campisi
9th Grade Mr. Price
Engineering Ms. Calzaretta
10th Grade Ms. Ousley
Fashion, Art & Design Ms. Sudduth
11th Grade Ms. Calzaretta
Health & Bioscience Ms. Ousley
12th Grade Mr. Campisi
Race, Policy & Law Ms. Calzaretta

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