Minnehaha Academy

Admission Office: 612-728-7722

Minnehaha Preparedness: COVID-19

Last Updated: May 26

 

Providing Education during a School Closure

The first day of school for the 2020-2021 school year is Wednesday, August 26. We are planning to offer on-campus learning that adheres to public health guidelines. We will keep you updated as our plans are solidified.

We commit to providing your child an exceptional learning experience with all of the components of a great education: relationship, engagement, fun, and cultivation of curiosity. Rest assured that our ongoing commitment is to keep you informed and connected, and to find creative ways to strengthen our sense of community even more.

 

End-of-Year Events:


Upper School

Lower and Middle School

 

Need a refresher on how the Materials Exchange will work? Learn about our collection process.
Need help navigating all these new digital tools?
Visit our support and access page.

Lower School

Click Here for Family Resources for Enrichment/Reinforcement

Click Here for 5th to 6th Grade Transition Information

Lower School Schedule
The official start time for the school day is 8:30 AM. Teachers will provide opportunities that will allow for flexibility based on family needs and demands. We will have a weekly Lower School Chapel on Fridays.

Online Learning
Each day teachers will share their Daily Online Learning plan. The plan will be available to parents below as well as on Seesaw or Schoology (links coming soon):

Additional notes:

  • The daily focus will be reading, writing, and math. Teachers will continue providing intermittent instruction in Bible, Science, and Social Studies.
  • Teachers will use a combination of strategies to connect with students and to deliver instruction based on the content and needs of the students. This will include pre-recorded instruction, live instruction, small group meetings, individual conferencing, and a variety of digital educational resources. As always, teachers will also be available for questions from students (or parents) via Schoology or email.
  • Specialists will continue providing instruction each week.

Attendance
Daily attendance will be taken by 4:00 PM daily. (PreK is the only exception to this policy).

Lower School classroom teachers will determine an attendance activity once each day to be sure that students are engaged. Although attendance will not be tracked throughout the day teachers will monitor student participation. If we discover that a student is not engaging we will reach out to the family and develop a plan to be sure all students are engaged and continue learning.

Technology
We are blessed to have a strong technology tools and infrastructure in place to support teaching and learning. Instruction will be delivered primarily through our standard learning management systems and environments, Seesaw and Schoology.

  • School-wide Information: Parent Square
  • Learning Management System for PreK–2: Seesaw
  • Learning Management System for Grades 3-5: Schoology
  • Live Conferencing: Google Meet
  • Devices: Students in grades 3-5 already use school-issued iPads regularly and are knowledgeable using them for instruction and schoolwork.
  • Support: Support is available for students and families via a dedicated email address (techhelp@minnehahaacademy.net) and Schoology (just message the user “Tech Help”). For help using the tools above please visit our support page.

Teachers will leverage additional tools specific to their grade or content area.

Acceptable Use of School Tools & Technology
Minnehaha Academy strongly values our community and it is important for teachers and students to be able to connect during this time of distance learning. Our technology tools provide wonderful opportunities to facilitate connections and foster relationships.

We need to be clear that school devices, platforms, and programs are to be used for school purposes only. We provide these tools as a means to enhance the educational experience; they are not personal devices.

  • Schoology messages may be used to communicate with teachers and for student-to- student communication about school work.
  • Google Meet may be used for classes, small group collaboration about school work, or to talk with a teacher. Teachers will record sessions where only one or two students are present. Google Meet may be used to connect for social purposes only if a parent/teacher is present in the room and able to hear the conversation. If you are setting up a social session the name of the adult needs to be in the title. All conferencing must abide by our standards outlined in the Student Handbook (LS/MS/US) and Acceptable Use Policy. Students should review our best practices.

Feedback
It is important for us to hear from you about your experience at home while we continue to grow and strengthen our plans and practices. You will receive an invitation to provide feedback on Thursday, April 2nd.

Click here for Lower and Middle School FAQ


Middle School

Middle School Schedule
The official start time for the school day is 8:45 AM. Students will begin in their advisories and then engage with four classes each day, Monday–Thursday. We’ll have a weekly Chapel at 1:00 PM on Fridays. See below for additional details about Friday plans.

Middle School Distance Learning Schedule

Online Learning

  • Class periods are 55-minutes long — the same as our standard schedule. Teachers will determine how to best use this time based on the content and needs of students.
  • The schedule is designed to ensure that students are not in front of a screen for long periods of time. We’ve built in a mid-day break and will coach students to use that time to move, get fresh air, eat lunch with a family member, read a book, work on school work away from a screen, etc.
  • Fridays are designated for students to complete homework, set up time with teachers for help or questions, or work on a group project using Google Meet. Teachers may also periodically choose to use time on Friday to continue instruction with small groups, provide a practice session, review session, or provide other opportunities.
  • As always, teachers will also be available for questions from students (or parents) via Schoology or email
  • Students should follow our recommended best practices

Attendance
Although we are not physically at Minnehaha Academy, we expect all students to engage in the teaching and learning. Daily attendance will be taken. Middle School advisors will take attendance at their live meeting at 8:45 AM each morning. If for some reason a student misses advisory, s/he needs to reach out to the advisor to let them know that s/he is up and engaged so that can be reflected in our attendance records.

Although attendance will not be tracked throughout the day teachers will monitor student participation. If we discover that a student is not engaging we will reach out to the family and develop a plan to be sure all students are engaged and continue learning.

Technology
We are blessed to have a strong technology tools and infrastructure in place to support teaching and learning. Instruction will be delivered primarily through our standard learning management systems and environments, Seesaw and Schoology.

  • School-wide Information: Parent Square
  • Learning Management System for Grades 6-8: Schoology
  • Live Conferencing: Google Meet (follow etiquette)
  • Devices: Students in grades 6-8 already use school-issued iPads regularly and are knowledgeable using them for instruction and schoolwork.
  • Support: Help is available for students and families via a dedicated email address (techhelp@minnehahaacademy.net) and Schoology (just message the user “Tech Help”). For help using the tools above please visit our support page.

Teachers will leverage additional tools specific to their grade or content area.

Acceptable Use of School Tools & Technology
Minnehaha Academy strongly values our community and it is important for teachers and students to be able to connect during this time of distance learning. Our technology tools provide wonderful opportunities to facilitate connections and foster relationships.

We need to be clear that school devices, platforms, and programs are to be used for school purposes only. We provide these tools as a means to enhance the educational experience; they are not personal devices.

  • Schoology messages may be used to communicate with teachers and for student-to- student communication about school work.
  • Google Meet may be used for classes, small group collaboration about school work, or to talk with a teacher. Teachers will record sessions where only one or two students are present. Google Meet may be used to connect for social purposes only if a parent/teacher is present in the room and able to hear the conversation. If you are setting up a social session the name of the adult needs to be in the title. All conferencing must abide by our standards outlined in the Student Handbook. Students should review our best practices.
  • Note: YouTube will now be accessible on middle school iPads during the hours of 8 AM – 4 PM, Monday–Friday. Many professional organizations and educational groups have opted to use YouTube to host content that our teachers have discerned is valuable and necessary during this time of distance learning. Teachers using YouTube will instruct students to do work requiring YouTube during those hours, direct them that they may access only videos designated by teachers, and remind them that their use can be monitored by the school.

Feedback
It is important for us to hear from you about your experience at home while we continue to grow and strengthen our plans and practices. You will receive an invitation to provide feedback on Thursday, April 2nd.

Click here for Lower and Middle School FAQ


Upper School

Upper School Distance Learning ScheduleUpper School Schedule
The school day starts at 9:15 AM and ends at 2:45 PM. Teachers will post their content and instructions for each class, each day, by 9 AM. We are essentially following the same format we have all year (reversing the first and last periods of the day on Wednesdays and Thursdays). We will have Chapel on Fridays at 10:30 AM. Stay tuned for more information! Advisors are encouraged to meet virtually with their advisories once per week, most likely on Friday mornings, and some might meet multiple times.

Online Learning
Students will go to their classes via Schoology each day, according to the designated schedule, and take the given time each period to work on the coursework assigned for those days. Each teacher will provide folders for each day and specific instructions for the work students must complete.

Learning might include instructional videos, discussion board postings and replies, live lectures, small groups, and many more.

Digital classes can cover about 50% of the content in a normal class, and learning at home goes at a much slower pace. We have also emphasized the importance of keeping things simple, clear, and consistent for teachers and students so that we can experience early success and get in a good groove. Therefore, teachers are focusing on very specific learning targets for each session, along with a simple “e-learning task” for students to complete and use to demonstrate their learning. We want all to feel successful, not overwhelmed.

Grading and Homework
We will grade students how we normally would, and with our normal letter grading system. We are monitoring what colleges and other high schools are doing to see if any changes will be made to this plan. Teachers are responsible for the particulars of their grading system.

We are not emphasizing complex assignments and loads of work because students will be taking 6-7 digital classes at the same time. Outside of assigned reading from literature or textbooks, most assignments will be due the next time a particular class meets, so students have our normal two days between class meetings. The expectation is NOT that students are free of any coursework after 2:45 PM, but they should have plenty of time during a class period to complete most work if they are focused.

Attendance
We are going to monitor attendance based on student participation, any class meetings, and completion of assignments or key tasks. Teachers will work closely with counselors and our attendance office to check in on students not participating.

Counselors and Learning Specialists
Our student services team is working on a plan to continue dedicated support that individual students received on a regular basis.

Technology
We are blessed to have a strong technology tools and infrastructure in place to support teaching and learning. Instruction will be delivered primarily through our standard learning management systems and environments, Seesaw and Schoology.

  • School-wide Information: Parent Square
  • Learning Management System for Grades 9-12: Schoology
  • Live Conferencing: Google Meet
  • Devices: Students in grades 9-10 already use school-issued iPads regularly and are knowledgeable using them for instruction and schoolwork. Students in grades 11-12 use their own device or a school-issued device and should be comfortable using them for schoolwork.
  • Support: Help is available for students and families via a dedicated email address (techhelp@minnehahaacademy.net) and Schoology (just message the user “Tech Help”). For help using the tools above please visit our support page.

Teachers will leverage additional tools specific to their grade or content area.

Acceptable Technology Use
The same policies in our student handbook apply to a digital learning environment (inclusive of plagiarism, harassment/bullying, language, etc.). Students need to use their school device, Schoology, school email, and other tools for school use only, and in ways that align with our behavioral guidelines. Any violations of these policies may result in school consequences ranging from warnings to removal from a particular classroom with loss of credit. Repeated violations could result in dismissal from digital learning for the semester, which may result in not earning credits.


————
Technology Availability

Support

  • Support services will remain available for faculty and staff via the usual portal. Help is additionally available for students and families via a dedicated email address (techhelp@minnehahaacademy.net) and Schoology user (Tech Help).
  • Non-functional (broken) iPads will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Internet access is available via the school parking lot, all schools that support EduRoam, as well as a limited supply of hotspots. We invite families to consider MSP WiFi, Comcast, or Charter’s free WiFi offerings.

Tools
We are blessed to have a strong technology tools and infrastructure in place to support teaching and learning. Instruction will be delivered primarily through our standard learning management systems and environments, Seesaw and Schoology. That’s where students will find most of their coursework as well as communication from teachers, lessons, quizzes, discussions, etc. Teachers may choose to leverage live conferencing via Google Meet, available on all devices. Students have experience with these tools already.

  • School-wide Information: Parent Square
  • Learning Management System for PreK–2: Seesaw
  • Learning Management System for Grades 3-12: Schoology
  • Live Conferencing: Google Meet
  • Devices: Students in grades 3-10 already use school-issued iPads regularly and are knowledgeable using them for instruction and schoolwork. Students in grades 11-12 use their own device or a school-issued device and should be comfortable using them for schoolwork.

For additional help using or signing-into the tools above please visit our support pageCheck the status of our online services. Be advised teachers may leverage additional tools specific to their grade or content area.

Acceptable Use of School Tools & Technology
Minnehaha Academy strongly values our community and it is important for teachers and students to be able to connect during this time of distance learning. Our technology tools provide wonderful opportunities to facilitate connections and foster relationships.

The same policies in our student handbook (LS/MS/US) apply to a digital learning environment (inclusive of plagiarism, harassment/bullying, language, etc.). Students need to use their school device, Schoology, school email, and other tools for school use only, and in ways that align with our behavioral guidelines. Any violations of these policies may result in school consequences. School devices, platforms, and programs are to be used for school purposes only. We provide these tools as a means to enhance the educational experience; they are not personal devices.

Note:

  • Schoology messages may be used to communicate with teachers and for student-to- student communication about school work.
  • Google Meet may be used for classes, small group collaboration about school work, or to talk with a teacher.
  • In the lower and middle school: Teachers may record sessions where only one or two students are present. Google Meet may be used to connect for social purposes only if a parent/teacher is present in the room and able to hear the conversation. If you are setting up a social session the name of the adult needs to be in the title. All conferencing must abide by our standards outlined in the Student Handbook (LS/MS/US). Students should review our best practices.
  • In middle school: YouTube will now be accessible on middle school iPads during the hours of 8 AM – 4 PM, Monday–Friday. Many professional organizations and educational groups have opted to use YouTube to host content that our teachers have discerned is valuable and necessary during this time of distance learning. Teachers using YouTube will instruct students to do work requiring YouTube during those hours, direct them that they may access only videos designated by teachers, and remind them that their use can be monitored by the school.

Lower and Middle School Library

MA Curbside Book Service
Minnehaha’s South Campus Library is providing limited curbside pickup service. Learn more about requesting a book, hours, pickup procedures, returns and our safety process.

myON Reader
myON Reader (from Renaissance Learning) offers students access to thousands of digital books – and so much more. It is a collection of high quality leveled texts that allows for the creation of individualized and scaffolded reader libraries. Teachers can use the application to assign reading and writing exercises to students and track student work. Learn more about using myON.

eLibraryMN
eLibraryMN is a collection of thousands of online books and reference resources with special collections for elementary and middle school students. Students learn how to access and use these collections during Minnehaha Information Skills classes.


Counseling Resources

Lower & Middle School
Our counselors have put together a folder of resources for families to use at their convenience.

Upper School
Our student services team is working on a plan to continue dedicated support that individual students received on a regular basis.

Contact
Lower School Counselor:

Middle School Counselor:

Upper School Counselors:

Learning Specialists:


Extracurricular Activities

All extracurricular activities remain suspended until further notice.

05/07 – Summer Day Camp Update


FAQ

Click here for Lower and Middle School FAQ

How can my child be successful at digital learning?

  • Good time management! These are not snow days…these are school days. Every student needs to attend and participate like any other school day.
  • Effective communication! Students need to take responsibility for their learning more than ever in this format. They need to reach out to teachers if they have any questions.
  • Disciplined study habits! Students need to establish good habits right away, using the time given for each class to complete the work.
  • Self-motivation! Digital learning is not for the unmotivated. If students are not motivated in this format it can be very difficult. Please monitor and support them!
  • Organization tools! Students should have a notebook and take time at the beginning of each day to write down the activities they need to complete for each class, when they might be meeting online, etc. Digital learning requires attention to detail!
  • Technology and space! Students need a comfortable, routine space to work in each day, along with an iPad, laptop, or other computer and WiFi to access their course content. If you need help with technology or access, please reach out to me, a counselor, or a teacher and we will get you to the right person.

What can I do as a parent to help my child be successful?
Set up a study space, define your expectations for your child, monitor his/her study habits and participation, help set up a routine schedule, help him/her get some exercise and away from the screen, and be an encourager! Get more tips directly from our faculty and staff!

What digital tools will teachers and students use?
Schoology will be the learning platform that most teachers will use (PreK will use Seesaw). Google Meet will be the most common form of bringing students together synchronously. Teachers may leverage other tools specific to their grade or content area. Learning might include instructional videos, discussion board postings and replies, live lectures, small groups, and many more.

What about screen time? I am concerned.
So are we. Teachers will be varying their activities and including those that do not require your son or daughter to be facing a screen all the time. We built in longer lunch periods and time between classes so students can get away, get some exercise, and take a break.

How often will classes actually meet virtually?
We are encouraging teachers to have both synchronous and asynchronous learning activities, though classes will most often lean towards asynchronous given its predictability, stability, and flexibility. Teachers will notify students if they are meeting as a class, at what time, and on what platform (e.g., “Our class is meeting today at 11:00 on Google Meet. I will send an invite out at that time.”).

How will we support students who start to struggle?
Teachers will reach out to the student, parents, counselors, learning specialists, or whoever would be most appropriate given the situation. Our student services team is working on a plan to monitor and check in with students. You can also reach out to teachers if you have any questions or concerns. We know this will be an adjustment for many so we’ll do our best to monitor and support.

What about Chapel and Advisory?
Delivering on all of our core values is critical during this time. All schools will still participate in Chapel on Friday @1:00 PM for Middle School @10:30 AM for our Upper School.

What about originally scheduled “No School” days?
We will not have school or any digital learning activities on Friday, April 10th, or Monday, April 13th, or for any other days the remainder of the year that were already identified as No School.

How will we communicate other information that would normally happen during parent meetings or special events?
We will continue to find innovative ways to communicate important information, whether through video presentations, small group meetings, or whatever is appropriate.

Other Questions?
Feel free to reach out to Mr. Wenschlag, Ms. Balmer, Dr. DiNardo, a counselor, a teacher, or our technology team. This page will be updated with new information as it becomes available.

 

Letters from School Leadership


May 25, 2020
Distance Learning Parent Survey and Important School Updates

Dear Parents,

I hope your Memorial Day weekend with family was a wonderful capstone to the many celebratory Minnehaha events last week. The virtual graduations and musical performances highlighted well the depth of student talent and our Minnehaha spirit. Kindergarten graduation, with parents presenting diplomas, was tender and sweet and characterized the strength of our partnership with parents. There are several upcoming Upper School celebrations yet to come to conclude the 2019-2020 school year. Stay tuned to Upper School principal, Jason Wenschlag’s announcements and please plan to join us virtually or in the case of commencement, a potential in-person event.

As I mentioned in my last parent communication, Minnehaha will administer a parent survey to help us better understand your perspectives about your children’s distance learning experience, the impact of COVID-19 on your family, and your expectations for the upcoming school year. The survey will open tomorrow, Tuesday, May 26 and close on Friday, June 5. Please set aside time to respond to the survey, as your input will be valuable in shaping our future planning.

Two months ago, Minnehaha announced the following 2020-2021 leadership transitions:

  • Jason Wenschlag, current Upper School principal, is transitioning to the Middle School principal role and the leadership of the Office of Teaching and Learning.
  • Karen Balmer, current Lower and Middle School principal, will transition to the Lower School principal role.
  • Dr. Mike DiNardo, current Upper School Vice Principal, will transition to the Upper School principal role.

The transitions will be effective June 1. This is a talented team and we look forward to their ongoing energy, passion, and strategic leadership in support of students, families, faculty, and staff.

The first day of school for the 2020-2021 school year is Wednesday, August 26. We are planning to offer on-campus learning that adheres to public health guidelines. We will keep you updated as our plans are solidified.

As you begin the summer, I pray that you will be safe and healthy and that you will experience God’s grace, peace, and hope. Once again, thank you for your loyalty and support.

Blessings,

Donna Harris, Ed.D.
President

Letters from the President:
05/25 – Distance Learning Parent Survey
05/17 – Updated Preliminary Plans and End-of-Year Events
05/09 – Updated End-of-Year Activities
05/07 – Summer Day Camp Update
04/28 – Plans & Preparations for the end of the School Year
04/03 – Important Message Regarding Distance Learning
03/23 – Update Regarding School Plans After Spring Break
03/21 – School Plans After Spring Break
03/15 – Preparations for Early Spring Break
03/12 – School Spring Break Plans
03/09 – School Plans for CFE International Trips
03/05 – School Plans for Covid-19
02/27 – Important Message