Dear Thomson-McDuffie Middle School Stakeholders:
This is a very concerning time for everyone. The anxiety and uncertainty we are experiencing brought on by the Covid-19 crisis can feel overwhelming for all of us, but it can be especially disconcerting for our young people. Being home from school may seem like a vacation to some, but for most of us, students included, this doesn’t feel like a vacation. For our students, not knowing what is entirely expected during this time can be an added burden to their psyche.
As of this writing, we know that our schools in McDuffie County will be closed throughout the remainder of the school year. It is not our intention to add undue stress to our students during this time. However, we do feel that it’s important that our students continue being active learners.
Our teachers are providing on-line resources for students that are designed to keep our students up to speed. Although the Georgia Milestones are postponed for this year, it is still important that our students not fall behind. These resources can be accessed through a computer and/or smart-phones. For those students that do not have access to this, we understand their plight. They will not be punished if they are unable to access those on-line materials.
The packets that were put out at the beginning of the closure are primarily review materials. Please don’t see these as a waste of time since they are not being graded. They are far from a waste of time. They are one way your child’s prior learning can be reinforced.
There are numerous ways you can encourage your child to be an active learner during this time. One simple way is keeping your child on some type of schedule. Sure, they may sleep a little later and things
J. Barry Joiner
are very different. However, it’s critical that you set aside time for your child to study during the day.
Provide your child with time to get in the yard and get some air and sun. Although we strongly encourage staying home and practicing social distancing, it won’t hurt for your child to enjoy the sunshine and get some exercise. Studies show that physical activity provides a stimulus to our brains that encourages learning.
Provide your child a list of chores to do each day. This promotes personal responsibility and encourages a strong work ethic. It also discourages inactivity.
Do what you can to be tech savvy. When your child’s teacher provides on-line activities, have them actively engage in those activities. Although concerning that this may not be possible for all of our students as they may not have the technology at home, you should commit to doing this if you can.
Find a quiet space for your child to study. This will certainly help them maintain focus on the task at hand. When they are studying the television should not be on. Do what you can to ensure there are as few distractions as possible. Study time should be just that, study time.
We learn best when we take incremental breaks. Trying to remain on task for an hour or more can be very difficult. In fact good teachers divide their classroom time up into different learning activities. An hour on the same activity can be monotonous and discourages learning rather than promoting it.
Finally, if your child doesn’t understand something, reach out to the teacher. Although they’re not physically in the building right now, they are still committed to your child’s education.
From the administration and faculty at Thomson McDuffie Middle School, we miss and love our students. As always, Go DAWGS!
J. Barry Joiner
Principal Thomson McDuffie Middle School