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RMA Digital Learning FAQs

Dr. Cathy Moore
 
Dear Parents,
 
On Monday, we will launch Digital Learning at RMA. The teachers are ready to begin instruction and, more importantly, they are excited to have the cadets back in their classrooms. Our goal is to facilitate a smooth transition to our digital classrooms for your sons.
 
To that end, we are encouraging the cadets to explore Google Classroom and to download Zoom prior to class time on Monday. We have a step-by-step video that will walk cadets through the set-up process: https://youtu.be/CUZ2bLQc7MY
 
We have developed a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) to address the questions that you may have about the process. We will continue to add to the FAQs as we receive questions.
 
Thank you for your patience as we continue moving through these uncharted waters.
 
As always, please email digitallearning@riversidemilitary.com for any questions you may have that have not been addressed in the FAQs below. 
 
Respectfully,
 
Cathy D. Moore, Ph.D.
Dean of Academics
 

Digital Learning 2020 FAQs 

When does digital learning begin?
 
Monday, March 23, 2020, is the first day of digital learning for cadets at home and at RMA.
 
What computer platform will support the learning?
 
We have chosen Zoom as the platform to support our digital learning. We decided on Zoom over Google Meet after testing it live with the faculty. Zoom allows teachers to see all students in class simultaneously. If you use Zoom professionally, you know that typically there is a new login for each meeting, but the link to join each Zoom class will always be the same for each class. It will not change from week to week. We will keep it as simple as we can.
 
The materials for Digital Learning will be housed in Google Classroom. Your son will have a separate Google Classroom for each of his courses. We have developed a video that cadets can view for preparing to use the Google Classroom and Zoom.
 
When can my son expect to have access to the Google Classrooms?
 
Teachers are working steadily to prepare the Google Classrooms for your sons. They each have five or six classrooms to set up. Please be patient with them! Teachers will be emailing their classes with guidance about accessing the Google Classrooms. Each teacher’s link to the Zoom room will be housed within the Google classroom.
 
How do you plan to manage computer issues?
 
We will have technical support available to us for any problems. We are going to send out info to your sons this week so they can have technology lined up. The Technology staff can be reached at Technology@riversidemilitary.com.
 
How do I access the RMA portal?

Visit the RMA website (riversidemilitary.com) and in the upper right-hand corner click on the “MyRMA” button. It will take you through the login process. Logging in to MyRMA allows you to track academic progress (grades) and attendance for your cadet. Your access to viewing your son’s progress has not changed. 
 
Is there a class schedule? What time does their day begin?

See below for the class schedule. Classes begin each day, Monday through Friday at 9:30 a.m. EDT. Opportunity Time (O.T.) will occur on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:20 a.m. to 9:20 a.m. EDT. We are doing our best to simulate the daily routine to which our cadets are accustomed.
 
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
 
OT
0820-0920
 
OT
0820-0920
 
1st  Period 
930 – 1100
4th  Period
0930 – 1100
7th Period 0930-1100
2nd Period
0930 - 1100
5th Period  930-1100
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

I see the classes will be 90 minutes long. Wouldn’t shorter classes be better?
 
After much discussion, we chose a 90 minute class period so that students would have the opportunity to consult with their teachers on assignments while still in the class period. The 90-minute class will include direct instruction, time to work on assignments, working in small groups, and taking quizzes/tests. With Zoom, the digital room will be open and the students can access the teacher any time during the 90 minutes. 
 
Is the 90-minute period the only time cadets can ask teachers questions?
 
The teacher will be accessible by email and can also schedule an individual Zoom session with cadets.
 
What about international students?
 
Cadets who are not able to view the live class will be able to access any digital learning after the live teaching is complete. Every single class will have a Google classroom and there will be a variety of resource items -- recorded lectures, activities, discussion questions -- that can be accessed at any time. International cadets will be able to message back and forth with teachers.
 
How are the cadets who remain on campus going to learn?
 
The cadets living on campus are participating in the same digital learning as their classmates who are at home. There will be teachers who will be here to monitor and assist them as needed.
 
If my son has an elective course, how will that class take place? 
 
For band, we are using uTheory to do theory, ear training, working with rhythm and tempo. In addition, khanacademy.org has videos on instrumental lessons and a variety of educational materials for music history with several masterclass videos on music throughout time. Cadets will need sticks and a pad. Instruments at home are not necessary.
 
In art, cadets will be breaking into small groups to explore types of artwork and then will develop a plan for doing an art project in that medium. We will use the materials that the cadets have at home (or here on campus for those who remain here). Cadets will be working on 3d designs, painting, logo designs and collages using online design programs.
 
During chorus and piano, in addition to the strategies mentioned for band, cadets will be using a program called Smartmusic and doing music-based projects. They will engage in table top practicing. They will also be working on the creation of a virtual choir.
 
In the foreign language classes, activities range from traditional written work done through Google classroom to speaking and listening comprehension activities done through Zoom and Youtube. At times, students will work with the whole class, work in groups or in pairs for speaking practice. Students will also take advantage of a variety of online learning tools and review games such as Quizlet, Kahoot, Gimkit, Quia and the language news service Newsela. 
 
In physical education, cadets will have the opportunity to learn more about the “why” cadets are asked to do the physical tasks that are required. Cadets will be doing daily and weekly conditioning along with plyometric assignments. Fitness gram testing will occur three times each week. Similarly, in weight training, cadets will have daily and weekly lifting and core assignments will be issued each week. 
 
What about military science?
 
Military science has a prescribed curriculum from JROTC, and they will continue following that curriculum in their digital classrooms. In the upcoming weeks, they will be discussing and writing about the models of leadership and leadership from the inside out.
 
If cadets have questions, how should they reach out?
 
Teachers will email their students with the codes for the Google classrooms prior to the close of business on Friday. Next week when classes begin, they will have that 90-minute period twice a week to ask questions of their teachers. Additionally, cadets can request time in O.T. or schedule a zoom session by emailing their teachers. 
 
How will teachers account for cadets in class?
 
We are serious about accountability in this new digital world. That’s part of the reason we are using the “live version” of learning. When you enter a Zoom classroom, cadets’ faces appear on the screen as in the TV show Hollywood Squares. The great thing is our teachers can see them and see what they are doing. Checking in at the beginning of every class is important for the cadet. Screens will be required to be “live.” It’s the best way to simulate the environment we have on campus. In digital learning, we cannot come to your house or town to find your cadet, but we can let you know if your cadet is not participating in class.
 
What if a cadet is disruptive in class?
 
If a cadet acts inappropriately in class, it will be handled. With Zoom we have the option to mute a cadet, or if I need to set up a Zoom session for the dean’s office, I will.
 
Will demerits be given?
 
Probably to your son’s surprise, demerits still exist. If they do not show up on time or if their conduct is inappropriate, demerits can be issued. 
 
Will parents be able to see grades?
 
We will still use the Gradebook in MyRMA, and you can check grades (Progress) as usual. We are not going to report grades the first week, which is in keeping with our procedure for the first two weeks each quarter. We want to give everyone time to get used to the new learning environment. However, we will be tracking accountability the first week.
 
Will there be changes to the course syllabi?
 
Teachers will be adjusting course syllabi to account for the fact that we were not in school during the week of March 16-20. Additionally, it is likely that adjustments will be made as we shift to digital learning. Teachers will post amended course syllabi in their Google Classrooms. Please know that we will continue to have class participation, assignments, quizzes and tests. We will continue to use MyRMA to chart their academic progress. 
 
What will assessment look like?  
 
Our teachers have been collecting digital resources and assessment tools. These tools will facilitate engagement in authentic assessment. Given the digital environment, we are aware that assessments involving application of knowledge and skills will be more valuable than assessments that only require simple recall of facts. Examples of authentic assessments include short essays, research papers, discussion threads, tasks with rubrics, and case studies. When appropriate, we will continue to use quizzes and tests; just expect that these forms of assessments might include more subjective test items than objective test items (i.,e, multiple-choice, true/false, matching).
 
Will academic restrictions be in place?
 
If a cadet is not passing a course, then my suggestion is to restrict behavior at home. You know best what will work for your son. If they are not passing, they will need to do additional work. I do recommend communication between you, your son, and the teacher.
 
Also, the TACS have not gone home! They are working, and I encourage you to reach out to your son’s TAC for additional help. You can also expect to hear from TACS. They will be a vital part of this communication process.
 
What about final exams?
 
We will use the assessment format I mentioned earlier. The exam schedule may look different from what is already planned, or it might be just the same.
 
What will Opportunity Time (OT) look like?
 
OT will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays and will maintain the same structure as it has up until this time. A teacher can request a student be in OT, or a cadet can voluntarily seek OT time in a teacher’s Zoom classroom. 
 
My son uses the MAC learning center. Will that continue to be available?
 
Yes. Dr. Adams and Mr. Sedwick will have a Zoom room set up for students who use the MAC. They will still have their MAC Center study hall as they have in the past.
 
Will the final exams for Advanced Placement (AP) be offered?
 
As per the AP College Board website, updated on 3.20.20, for the 2019-2020 exam administration, AP is developing secure 45-minute free-response exams for each course. Students will be able to take exams on any device or can hand-write their responses and submit a photo. Free resources will be available to help students get ready.
 
Will we have weekly assemblies online?
 
Our focus right now is on providing a robust digital learning experience as a means for all cadets to complete the academic semester regardless of their physical location. Unless ENN can make something happen virtually, we have not planned to include assemblies in the weekly schedule. 
 
My son's webcam on his chromebook isn't working. What do I do?
 
On the Riverside Military Academy issued chromebooks, if the webcam appears to be on (white light next to the camera is illuminated) but the video of him is not displaying in the meeting then he should leave the meeting, close Zoom, reopen Zoom, and join the meeting again. Once he has rejoined the session, he may need to click the button to enable video again in the bottom left corner of his Zoom window.
 
Will we still track the President's Club?
 
Yes, we will continue the President’s Club. 
 
What advice do you have for me as a parent?
 
Your son will benefit from an established routine. We understand that your son may be enjoying the opportunities that being at home bring such as sleeping later and not having as much structure to the day. When class begins next week, please make sure you set a schedule where your son gets up at the same time every day, has breakfast, personal hygiene, and prepares to go to class. This is a familiar, normal routine for him. Create the consistent pattern at home that he is accustomed to, including time outdoors and study hours at night, if needed. By the way, he knows how to make his bed.
 
Is there a dress code for class?
 
We have not made any rules about cadet attire when they check into class. However, part of maintaining a daily routine means they should dress for the day before going to school. Please guide your son to dress appropriately. This relaxed attire will be a bit of a break for cadets at home.
 
Can cadets study together?
 
Cadets are encouraged to study together. They can text if parents approve of that option or use Google Meet, which is an App in their Google Suite, to connect with one another. 
 
What if my son wants to ‘blow-off’ this last quarter of school?
 
Stress to your son that we have a full quarter left in the academic year. The grades for fourth quarter are averaged with those from the third quarter. In order to pass for the semester, the semester grade must be a 70 or higher. Choosing to skip the work that is required for fourth semester could result in your son failing a grade level for the school year. Please reinforce the fact that this quarter does matter, even as we live through this very unusual time.
 
How do parents contact teachers?

Parents can reach out to teachers via email. A parent can request a private Zoom session with the teacher just as one would request a phone call or face-to-face visit.
 
Will my son have access to the counselors?
 
Yes, all counselors will be available via Zoom and email. Ed Benson will continue to make sure everything is tracking for seniors and their college plans. In several weeks we will begin planning schedules for fall classes.
 
Does this schedule of digital learning meet accreditation standards?
 
Yes. We will have more than enough days and contact hours for accreditation.
 
What if my son misses a class for a doctor’s appointment?
 
There should be communication between the parent and teacher so that the teacher is aware of the appointment. We will hold to the expectation that cadets must be in class, so you must let us know when he will not be online for the live class.
 
Haircuts?
 
Commercial barbershops may find it difficult to carry on business as usual in the present situation. We won’t require regulation haircuts for cadets who have departed campus for the year.
 
Is there a way for ENN to continue?
 
Video production will be using a combination of iPhone recording and using the iMovie for iOS app for editing. We will also be writing scripts, analyzing film and doing reflection works. Broadcasting will work together to remotely produce a few episodes of ENN.
 
Can my cadet get a job while he is home?
 
Every effort should be made to maintain the daily schedule for your son so that he is clear that school comes first. You know best if your son can handle a job in addition to school. 

Please submit additional questions or your comments to: DigitalLearning@riversidemilitary.com


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