The General Gist

Welcome to the General Gist, a weekly communication to John Sedgwick Middle School families and community members.  The General Gist for the week beginning, Monday, April 6, 2020:
We have reached the end of Spring Break, and things are about to get a little wilder than they already are.  We are still awaiting further instruction from our governor and OSPI regarding a possible return date to school.  In the meantime, we are going to start remote teaching and learning this week, focusing on new skills. 
Enclosed are a few more details for remote learning.  We are going to start slow and pick up the pace as we get everyone on board.  Thank you for your patience and communication as we prepare for this journey into the unknown.
Connecting with Teachers:
If they have not already, our teachers will be reaching out to connect with their students and communicate important procedural information via email, Google Classroom, or their web page (click on the little globe icon next to their picture).  As mentioned in last week’s General Gist, we are going to start with a couple lessons per core subject (ELA, Social Studies, Math, and Science) the first week which should equate to about an hour worth of time per subject this week. 
Some of our teachers will be doing live learning sessions via Zoom, but not all.  Live learning session windows have been established between the hours of 10 am to 12 pm and 2 pm to 4 pm.  Our teachers will also communicate their office hours so you know when they are available by email or phone to assist students with learning or troubleshooting.  The easiest way to reach our teachers is by email or office phone.  They can access phone messages remotely.
Technology and Hello ID:
We have reserved Chromebooks for all families who indicated a need for one.  If you need a Chromebook, please respond to this email.  We will distribute Chromebooks to those families who have reservations on Monday, April 6 and Wednesday, April 8 from 12-1:30 pm at JSMS.  If you have questions about how to use a Chromebook or access learning materials, please start by asking your child.  Our students are pretty tech savvy, and, in many cases, they will have already accessed platforms such as Google Classroom in their educational careers.  For more information about using technology for remote learning, check out this link on our district website.
Just about every technology application your student will need is accessible on HelloID.  Click on this link to access HelloID.
Paper Packets:
We have made an adjustment to procedures for students who lack internet access and require paper packets.  Previously, we planned on printing off weekly grade level packets; however, we have recently discovered an alternate solution.  We are going to outsource our printing needs in order to protect staff and deliver paper materials directly to students via US Mail.  In other words, any materials you need from your teachers will come directly to your home on a weekly basis.  Because we have this service available, we will not be posting weekly grade level packets to our website.
Our teachers will utilize a variety of means to deliver instruction and communicate with students remotely.  Traditional means such as email and teacher web pages may be used as well as Google Classroom and Zoom.  Our teacher teams have collaborated and will reach out and communicate modes of operation and instructions for their students starting this week.  Grading procedures will also be clarified soon.
In the meantime, we have great news regarding a valuable supplemental resource!  IXL (an online, interactive, personalized learning platform currently used by students in our Tier 2 and Tier 3 Intervention classes) has granted FREE access to ALL of our students and teachers.  This includes access to adaptive K-12 Math, ELA, Science, and Social Studies lessons which include tutorials and align to Common Core Standards. 
You should have received an email from IXL prompting your child to login.  Students will use their school-provided username and password for access.  To learn more about IXL and access it with your child, visit the IXL website or go through HelloID.
ONE IMPORTANT NOTE:  If your student has not used IXL in the past, it will be important to perform a Math and ELA Diagnostic to pinpoint their current levels of understanding in order for your teacher and IXL to recommend lessons specifically for your child.  This would be a great way to prepare for new learning starting on April 6th and stay engaged over spring break.  To begin a diagnostic, visit the Diagnostic Arena and have your child answer diagnostic questions until all of their levels have been pinpointed.  This usually takes about 55-70 questions for math and 40-55 questions for English language arts and can be done over the course of a few sessions.  More information on the Diagnostic Arena can be found here.
Updated Contact Information:
The ability to communicate is critical in any crisis.  In order for us to contact you and provide instruction for your child remotely, it is imperative that we have updated contact information for you.  Please double-check your contact information in Skyward Family Access and notify our registrar, Tara Zantow, of any changes.  Ms. Zantow can be reached at, or leave a message at 360-874-6102 as she can access her voicemail remotely.
A Message from Yearbook Club:
Dear Sedgwick Families,
Even though the schools are closed, we are working hard to complete your yearbook!  What have you been doing to pass the time during this era of "Social Distancing"?  Send pictures of your activities to Ms. Benesh at or upload them directly through Josten's Replay it app, available on all devices from the app store or by following this link:
Create your account, select your school (it still might have us listed as John Sedgwick Junior High) and send us those photos!  Thank you, and stay happy, healthy and sane!
Ms. Benesh, yearbook adviser
20-21 Course Registration:
We are on track to register students for next year's classes.  We plan to start communicating registration information the week of April 13.  This will give all of us a chance to get a week of remote teaching and learning under our belts before we tackle another task.  Be on the lookout for instructions in next week’s General Gist.
Celebrations and Thanks:

  • Thank you to Troy Tumaliuan for preparing our Chromebooks, and thank you to Bridgett DeHoff, Kim Sargent, Ken Durham, and Kevin Plutko for their help distributing devices to families!
  • Congratulations to Kari Freiboth's students...they have answered over 80,000 questions on IXL this year!
  • Thank you to our Food and Nutrition Service staff who continue to provide and distribute meals to our families!
  • Thank you to Tara Zantow for registering all JSMS students and core teachers for IXL!
  • Thank you to Superintendent, Tim Winter, and our entire district admin team for their direction and support during this challenging time!

Quote of the Week:
“Mindless fear is greater than mindful fear.” ― Idowu Koyenikan
Your JSMS Admin Team
John Sedgwick Middle School
8995 SE Sedgwick Rd.
Port Orchard, WA  98366

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