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News

RMA Digital Learning 2020

From the Dean of Academics
Digital Learning updates:
April 13, 2020
March 18, 2020
March 17, 2020
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Dear Parents,
 
This is a joint communication from the Commandant and the Dean of Academics. We would like to share an update as we head into Phase Two of Digital Learning: Life after Spring Furlough. As we all have recently experienced, life can be unpredictable. The challenges we face today are unlike any other that most of us have faced and certainly are different from any experienced in Commandant Carter’s two decades of service to the Academy. We do not face these challenges alone. 
 
While most of the Nation viewed this issue as a temporary inconvenience and planned for a short term solution, COL Preczewski and the Board of Trustees had the foresight to realize that the COVID-19 virus would most likely impact the remainder of the school year. Thus, Academics was quickly charged with developing a seamless process to transition the Corps to a digital/remote platform for cadets on and off campus. With less than two weeks to plan, train teachers and effectively communicate our intent to cadets and parents, we launched the digital learning initiative on March 23. Seamless, no, impressive, yes! As we expected, we encountered a few hiccups along the way, but everything exceeded our expectations. Ninety percent of the cadets are sitting in a chair, behind a desk or a table, wearing appropriate attire, and positively contributing to the lessons being delivered by their teachers. A few cadets and some individuals not associated with the Academy have made a handful of attempts to be a disruptive force to the classroom environment. We were able to quickly shut down these disruptions, and we will continue to develop our knowledge of the new tools at our disposal and develop protocols that will minimize/eliminate these distractions.
 
TAC officers are working vigilantly in the background, checking on their cadets when they don’t show up to the Zoom classrooms, and assisting teachers in tracking down missing assignments. When class is in session, TAC officers are at their work stations assisting the Teaching Staff and cadets in any way they can. TAC officers are also charged with investigations relative to intentional classroom disruptions. Please remember, they remain at your service for assistance as well.
 
We hope that this past week has been an opportunity for your son to relax and enjoy some free time. We understand that for most, the typical spring break activities of traveling and vacationing were not part of the equation. Nevertheless, we anticipateca that cadets and teachers alike are ready to return to the digital classroom, refreshed and prepared to finish the academic year in the strong manner that is characteristic of RMA.
 
As we return to the Digital Classroom on April 14th, we are clearly articulating our expectations of cadets, in order to provide a more consistent environment and experience for all cadets. These expectations are as follow for all cadets:         
  1. Cadets will be seated at a table or desk if possible to create the most conducive learning environment.
  2. Cadets will wear shirts that are not offensive or promote things that are in conflict with the Academy’s ethos.
  3. Cadets will remove anything in their Zoom background that is in conflict with the Academy’s ethos.
  4. Cadets will face their monitor/camera while in class.
  5. Cadets will not wear hats or hoodies while in class.
Cadets who violate these practices/expectations may be removed from the real-time digital classroom and forced to complete their assignments in the remote learning environment. Cadets will also be subject to a reduction in the classroom participation portion of their grade when they are disruptive in the digital learning environment. Cadets who intentionally continue to disrupt the classroom environment will be subject to suspension or dismissal, depending on the nature of their offense.
 
Based on feedback that we have heard from many of you, we are making some modifications to our daily schedule. The biggest change is that effective next week, we will not have classes on Wednesdays so that our cadets can have the opportunity to get caught up on assignments and work individually with their teachers as needed. We are transitioning to the new schedule this week. For this week only, our “day off” is today rather than on Wednesday. See below for both schedules.
 
Schedule for the Week of April 13-17:
 
Schedule for April 20—end of the quarter:
 
 
You will note that Mondays and Fridays will begin slightly earlier than our original schedule while Tuesdays and Thursdays will begin slightly later. Our daily ending time remains the same. We believe that another benefit for the cadets is that there will be a more regular feel to the schedule with class periods 1, 2, 3, and 4 occurring on Monday and Thursday with class periods 5, 6, and 7 occurring on Tuesday and Friday. The time that a class period (e.g., 1st period) begins on Monday will be the same time that the same class period begins on Thursday. This will reduce the confusion that cadets had expressed regarding the previous schedule.
 
Finally, we have a few suggestions that are wise for all of us (cadets, teachers, and parents!) 
  • 20-20-20 rule: For every 20 minutes that you are looking at the computer screen, pause and focus on something that is 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
  • There is a 10 minute break between each class. Get up, move away from the computer, and stretch! Our cadets on campus have been practicing this since digital learning began.
  • Be careful to remain hydrated. It is easy to become distracted while engaged in digital learning and to miss the opportunity to have water.
  • If your cadet is going to have to miss a class session, please let the teacher know, just as you would have if your son had an appointment away from campus. This does not apply to families that are approved for remote learning.
  • This one is for you, parents: we are very sensitive to the fact that many of you are trying to balance the many stresses of this pandemic while managing your cadet being at home, which was not part of the plan. We do not expect you to have to manage your son while he is doing digital learning. If we notice that your cadet is not engaging in his classes, we will first reach out to him. To that end, please complete this quick form so that we will have his cell phone number.
Thank you all for your overwhelming show of support, and we encourage you to speak with your cadet/son about the adjusted schedule as well as the classroom expectations. 
 
We trust that beginning tomorrow, the Corps will be ready to put their best foot forward as we march toward the end of the school year.
 
For the Corps,
 
Adam Carter, LTC (RMA)
Interim Commandant
 
and
 
Cathy D. Moore, Ph.D.
Dean of Academics

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Dear Cadets, 
 
As you are aware, we will begin our Digital Learning classes on Monday, March 23. During this week, our teachers have been busy preparing for this new way (for us) of teaching and learning. We have decided to use Zoom, a platform that is accessible via the MyRMA portal and is already being used by some of our teachers to support their face-to-face instructions. Zoom enables us to provide you with documents, recorded teacher presentations, discussion boards, and tests.
 
Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, you will meet digitally in real-time with your teachers. Instructions will be provided shortly on how to set up and access classes. Once received, we recommend that you test the login process this week so that you are prepared to begin classes next Monday morning.
 
We will be tracking accountability during the academic day and you will have direct interaction with teachers and peers for each class during the week. Our new weekly academic schedule is below.
 
 
Please know that we will be using multiple means of tracking engagement, including participating in Zoom, viewing videos of teacher instruction, course activities, and tests. We realize that not all of you live within a radius of time that will facilitate real-time participation in classes. Your parents received a link to complete a form if you are not able to participate live. If your name is not on that list, then we expect you to be online during the class period. 
 
It is our goal to continue to provide you with a high-quality educational experience. We are breaking new ground for RMA with our transition to Digital Learning; please be patient with us during this transition as we implement new ways of learning. As always, we view this as a partnership with you and value your input.
 
I will be doing YouTube Live tonight at 6 pm EDST from our YouTube page. Cadets and Parents are encouraged to view and participate. You can ask questions during the event or please feel free to send questions in advance of the session to this form: Questions Regarding Digital Learning
 
Remember to give your best effort and stay focused.  We still have one academic quarter to go and your performance this quarter will impact your final grades. 
 
Respectfully,
 
Cathy D. Moore, Ph.D.
Dean of Academics

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Dear Parents,
 
As you are aware, we will begin our Digital Learning classes on Monday, March 23. During this week, our teachers are busy preparing for this new way (for us) of teaching and learning. We will be using Google Classroom, a platform that is accessible via the MyRMA portal and is already being used by some of our teachers to support their face-to-face instruction with your students. Google Classroom enables us to provide cadets with documents, recorded teacher presentations, discussion boards, and tests.
 
Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, cadets will meet digitally in real-time with their teachers via Google Meet. We will be providing cadets with click-by-click directions for logging into Google Classroom and Meet. If possible, it would be a great idea for your cadet to test the login process this week so that he will be prepared to begin classes next Monday morning. The Meet app will provide us with one means of tracking accountability of cadet participation in the academic day and will allow cadets to have direct interaction with their teachers and peers for each class during the week. Our new weekly academic schedule is below.
 
 
Monday
 
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
 
OT
0820-0920
 
OT
0820-0920
 
 
1st  Period
0930 – 1100
4th  Period
0930 – 1100
7th Period
0930-1100
2nd Period
0930 - 1100
5th Period
0930-1100
Lunch
1120-1220
Lunch
1120-1220
Lunch
1120-1220
Lunch
1120-1220
Lunch
1120-1220
2nd Period
1220-1350
5th  Period
1220-1350
1st  Period
1220-1350
3rd  Period
1220-1350
6th  Period
1220-1350
3rd Period
1400-1530
6th Period
1400-1530
 
4th  Period
1400-1530
7th Period
1400-1530
 
 
For all cadets, please know that we will be using multiple means of tracking engagement, including participating in Meet, viewing videos of teacher instruction, course activities, and tests. We realize that not all of you live within a radius of time that will facilitate real-time participation in classes. If your cadet is located more than three hours ahead or behind Eastern Daylight Saving Time and you believe that participating in real-time will be problematic, please complete this form: Remote Cadets.
 
It is our goal to continue to provide your cadet with a high-quality educational experience. We are breaking new ground for RMA with our transition to Digital Learning; please be patient with us during this transition as we implement new ways of learning. As always, we view this as a partnership with you and value your input.
 
I will be doing YouTube Live tomorrow night at 6 pm EDST. You can ask questions during the event or please feel free to send questions in advance of the session to this form: Questions Regarding Digital Learning. A link will be sent tomorrow.
 
Thank you for entrusting the education of your cadet to Riverside Military Academy.
 
Respectfully,
 
Cathy D. Moore, Ph.D.
Dean of Academics
 
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