Junior/Senior Back to School Communication

August 17, 2020


At Santiam Jr/Sr High School we have been working hard through the summer to prepare for the return of our students. The State of Oregon and The Department of Education has released guidance throughout the summer that we must follow. To that end, we will be beginning the year in Comprehensive Distance Learning, meaning students will be accessing their education virtually.

Last week our School Board made a slight change in the start date for our school year. The first date of school will be September 10th.

We have made several changes throughout the summer so that virtual learning will be and look different from the spring. We all did our best under the circumstances we were in—but we know that we can do better!

Each student will be given a log-in to a new virtual online learning system, Canvas.  If you think of Google as the “Honda” of learning management systems, Canvas would be the “Ferrari”.  Most districts are moving this fall to Canvas. Canvas will allow parents to be able to monitor student grades, attendance, and time engaging in class.

Along with the purchase of Canvas—we have been able to have several conversations with Oregon Charter Academy (ORCA) about virtual education and curriculum. We feel so lucky to be able to team and brainstorm with a charter school who has done virtual education for years. They have led us to explore some different online curriculum where teachers will be able to choose units, activities and assessments out of to incorporate into their classes that are made for virtual education. Finally, fitting a square peg into a square hole!

Because we need to be prepared to move to in-person instruction at some point in during the year, we are building the master schedule with the idea that students would not be in contact with more than 100 individuals per week, as required by the ODE guidance. This school year we will be running a 4 by 4 schedule. Students will take four classes at a time, each of them 18 weeks long for 1.0 credit.

Students will still follow a daily period schedule. Remember, since students are only taking four classes at a time and each class is now only half of a year— students will spend more time and have more work in each of the four classes. The schedule that our staff selected as the best schedule for our students is one that allows for our staff to see each class twice during the day. This schedule allows teachers to have dedicated class time after students complete their independent (asynchronous) time to be able to see how far students got, answer questions, fill in gaps, or give a quick assessment. This is a nice schedule for teachers to formally assess how their students are doing in order to make adjustments to the following days plans.

Split Period Instruction Schedule
Synchronous Learning:  Live Hangouts for instruction and facilitated class breakout groups. This is the instructional portion of class. Period 1 8:00-8:35
Period 2 8:40-9:15
Period 3 9:20-9:55
Period 4 10:00-10:35
Asynchronous Learning:  Each period will give about 25 minutes worth of independent learning time. Practice problems, reading, writing, project work. Independent Work/Lunch 10:35-1:00
Synchronous Learning:  Live Hangouts for final wrap up. Possible “exit ticket” for formative assessment. Period 1 1:00-1:20
Period 2 1:25-1:45
Period 3 1:50-2:10
Period 4 2:15-2:35


Attendance will be taken and required. If this is problematic for your situation, please send me an email so that I can help problem solve. My e-mail is angela.rasmussen@santiam.k12.or.us

Lastly, in the next couple of weeks, please be on the watch for updates on Chromebook/supply pickup dates.

Please reach out as you have questions. I, too, am a parent who has a thousand questions in regards to my children’s education. I am happy to answer any questions that you may have.

Angela Rasmussen