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    New Platform for Digital Learning
    Posted on 05/02/2020
    Dr. Casey

    Greetings,

    Thank you staff, students and families for your continual engagement in the online classroom learning experiences. I wanted to make a Robocall this evening to share the new changes on the learning platform and online registration, however, I was unable to access the Messenger system so I am sending this out as an email and letter for posting.  

    The Center School teachers and staff have worked diligently to provide a continuum of classroom learning experiences for students. On Thursday, 4/30, the platform for teachers using the Zoom platform will change next week to the Microsoft Teams learning platform. I am including the email sent from District regarding the mandated change and the security reasons for that change.

    Essential Information for April 30, 2020 from the Department of Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction 

    Title: Additional Information on Zoom
    Audience: All Educators

    Questions continue to arise about the use of Zoom in Seattle Public Schools. As was provided in a communication on Wednesday, April 29, Zoom is not approved for use with students due to privacy and security concerns. Additionally, Google phones/accounts are also not appropriate for student conversations. SPS employees are allowed to join Zoom meetings that are hosted by other organizations such as OSPI and other school districts. The only exception for an approved use of Zoom for students is for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students, as Zoom is currently the only platform that allows the ASL interpreters to be viewed by the participants. 

    Microsoft TEAMS is the district’s web conferencing software. Microsoft has also indicated that they will soon be adding a feature that allows for multiple participants to be viewed at the same. Once the integration of TEAMS and Schoology was completed several weeks ago, existing Schoology processes, Office 365, and other resources created by content managers, specialists, and professional learning were greatly enhanced. 

    TEAMS was deployed to all schools and is to be used for all staff and student web conferencing. TEAMS can be used for virtual instruction, class meetings, and individual 1:1 support. Families can monitor a student’s discussion, teacher posts, assignments, and engagement within Schoology to ensure a secure and transparent learning environment. No personal email invitations are needed by the teacher because Schoology has automatic class rostering. Training has taken place and is available to help educators create live, remote sessions within their courses. Finally, because TEAMS is aligned to SPS resources, TechLine is able to provide support when needed.  TEAMS is available on all platforms, both personal and district, including phones, tablets, and laptops.


    I understand that there will be limitations in the platform transition from Zoom to Microsoft Teams for staff, students and families. Teachers will have to align their instructional delivery and classroom presentations in a new platform that doesn’t support breakout rooms or the current all student visibility in the classroom. However, the Microsoft Team platform has increased its user functionality features in the last two weeks in providing greater online classroom support for staff and students. The Center School community has a training opportunity with the District’s digital support team on Monday, 5/4 to ask questions and receive answers on creating a viable, highly functioning Microsoft Team’s classroom that promotes active student engagement. Thank you for supporting your students in making this transition to Microsoft Teams.

    Information on Online Registration

    Ms. Lott, Ms. Brookman and Mr. Rho have been working for the past few weeks on the online registration upload for the school website. I am pleased to announce that it’s live for student registration. Directions are provided on the website. Only students who have attended SPS and have an account can use the system to complete online registration. Students who are new to TCS will have to download the form and email it to Ms. Tracey at tlott@seattleschools.org. All other questions can be directed to Ms. Tracey at the provided email.

    Be safe and stay well.


    Dr. Casey
    Principal TCS