Letter of intro


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Letter of intro

  1. 1. August 29, 2011Dear Parents, Family Members or Guardians,I eagerly look forward to working with your children this semester in helping them explore their career goals, prepare for theirrequired graduation project, and navigate what is probably their first “online” course. I’m confident that by our working as a team(family, student, teacher, administrators and community members,) your children will have a positive experience in the OnlineGraduation Project Seminar.Because many of you don’t know me, I’ll begin with a short introduction. A lifelong resident of western PA, I earned my Bachelor’sDegree at Pitt, where I was class Valedictorian; I later earned my Masters Degree there, summa cum laude. A resident of PetersTownship for the past 25 years (My daughter is a PT graduate), I appreciate the community’s many benefits: a fantastic publiclibrary, great recreational facilities and kind neighbors. I’ve spent my entire career at PTSD, working as a librarian, English teacherand staff technology trainer. I also have experience in small business. Last spring, I proposed teaching this course to assist studentswith completing both their online course and graduation project requirements.In the Online Graduation Project Seminar, students will fulfill most of the requirements for their state-mandated graduation project,including resume writing, interviewing, reflection writing and the completion of a career-related project. Students will assess theirown interests, aptitudes and experiences related to careers. They will be encouraged o network with potential employers orcolleges, and to contact subject area experts and staff mentors. A strength of this new course is that students will get to makechoices about the content and format of the major project they complete. The course will be heavily technology-based and will helpstudents learn to troubleshoot technology when it doesn’t work! It will also include much reading and writing, as well as somereview of vocabulary and geography, two areas that tests show are weaknesses for US students. The nature of this class makes it“student driven” and individualized. A more complete outline of the course content is found in the class information section of theonline course.Students will access their class at the site www.blendedschools.net with a username and password they will receive the openingweek. The majority of the activities that students will complete will be posted on that site. The course management software isBlackBoard, which is used by approximately 85% of the colleges in the US.An online course relies heavily on computer access. Students who don’t have computer and Internet access at home will want tomake arrangements to use our lab during extended hours (I will post these hours in Blended Schools each week). Students may alsouse the library lab before and after school, or use the public library during evenings and weekends. In our online class, you will findsuggestions for ensuring that your home computer is ready for BlendedSchools online learning.One of the early assignments is for students to teach their parents how to login to the BlendedSchools system and to show them thecourse, especially this letter.Besides creating the course material, my role, with your support, is to encourage each student to take responsibility for his/her ownlearning and to take full advantage of his/her coursework. As the teacher, my goal is to help each child feel both supported andchallenged. My job is to let them fly and be their safety net. Most students should thrive in an environment that allows them totailor the activities to their preferences. On the other hand, online learning requires students to be highly responsible for their ownlearning and to be self-disciplined. If your child takes some time to adjust to this greater independence, I ask that you be patient.Encourage your child to take personal ownership of the work. When you say “What are your plans to resolve this…” you will sendthe message that it is the student, not the parent, who needs to take the first steps to work out any problems. I will post “officehours” each week for students who wish to discuss their course progress or seek additional help from me. I usually stay onThursdays from 2:30-3:45 and many Saturdays from 8am-noon. An extensive list of class room procedures and policies is found inthe class information section of the online course itself.While I encourage the students to work directly with me to address any concerns, I welcome your contact when you feel it isnecessary. In addition, I will not hesitate to contact you if we need to work together more directly. Email is generally the easiestand quickest way to reach me.I’m very excited about this new course. We’re going to have an amazing semester.Sincerely,Mrs. Terry Morristonmorristont@pt-sd.org
  2. 2. 724-941-6250 x5336