Hosack: Mac to launch online classes April 6

Principal stresses that academic concerns take a back seat to social, emotional needs of students, teachers

The+Maculty+met+in+two+sessions+this+morning+because+Zoom+conferences+only+enable+100+visitors+at+a+time.++After+the+whole-faculty+meetings%2C+teachers+met+online+to+department+to+get+on+the+same+page+about+how+online+classes+will+operate+starting+April+6.+In+all+the+meetings%2C+teachers+stresses+how+much+they+miss+students+and+need+to+support+them+socially+and+emotionally%2C+not+just+academically.+

Screenshot of 9 a.m. Zoom faculty meeting.

The Maculty met in two sessions this morning because Zoom conferences only enable 100 visitors at a time. After the whole-faculty meetings, teachers met online to department to get on the same page about how online classes will operate starting April 6. In all the meetings, teachers stresses how much they miss students and need to support them socially and emotionally, not just academically.

Stella Shenkman and Julia Kay Smith

In the 13th edition of The S-Word, senior co-hosts Stella Shenkman and Jk Smith reconnect with principal Brandi Hosack regarding the resumption of classes online in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is at play here is a lack of equity and access. We cannot expect for students to be able to generate the same amount of work at the same pace given the current situation that we are facing.”

— principal Brandi Hosack

Following up after her initial description of what the timeline on online learning would be, Principal Hosack confirmed today that classes will resume on April 6 and that those classes will be online through distance learning on Blend.  The faculty met in similar fashion today using a teleconferencing app called Zoom that students will be using to meet with their teachers. Some students have already connected with their teachers using Zoom.

“We are preparing for online learning on April 6 and that is the latest information: that we launch that day,” Hosack said.

In addition to confirming the start date, Hosack emphasized what students and parents can expect from the digital classroom.

“Online learning is not going to be anything reminiscent of what you do in the traditional classroom,” Hosack said. “What is at play here is a lack of equity and access. We cannot expect for students to be able to generate the same amount of work at the same pace given the current situation that we are facing.”

Hosack said that AISD Superintendent Paul Cruz has said that he expects the time away from the classroom to be extended but that he has not made the final decision whether or not traditional classes will resume this semester.  Other nearby districts, Hosack said have already closed their doors for the rest of the semester.

“Austin has not made that decision yet. [interim Austin health authority] Dr. [Mark] Escott yesterday, during the [press conference] for the stay at home order, did suggest that we [cancel traditional classes for the semester], but that of course is Dr. Cruz’s call. … He is working at this every single day.”

Hosack said she had a virtual conference with Cruz this afternoon and would update us if new information comes out of the meeting.

I never thought I would say this, as someone who has attendance issues, but I really do miss school.”

— podcast co-host Stella Shenkman

Both the hosts and Principal Hosack reflected on the whirlwind of events that have taken place over the past couple of weeks, and reflected on what they miss most about McCallum.

“I never thought I would say this, as someone who has attendance issues, but I really do miss school,” Shenkman said. “I miss the students I don’t even know the names of, but get to walk past everyday in the same passing periods.”

Despite being at McCallum for less than a year, Hosack said she feels very connected to each and every student.

“I hurt, not because I’m scared, but because I miss y’all,” Hosack said. “School is such a social place, and since we’re all missing out on that interaction, it’s hard.”