COVID-19 Updates

May 14, 2020

Dear Signature School Senior and Parent/Guardian,

Although the unexpected turns of the last few months have altered the path of our traditional school year, we remain committed to celebrating the members of our Class of 2020.  After weighing survey results from parents, students, and faculty, and following much discussion and deliberation, I am pleased to announce that Signature School will host a live graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020 at 6:30 PM on Friday, July 17, 2020 in the Victory Theatre.  Commencement rehearsal will take place on July 16. Those who prefer not to take part in person will be honored through a slide representation projected on the stage at that time.  The ceremony will be made available through livestreaming and will be recorded. This timetable and format are in keeping with the Governor’s Back on Track Indiana plan of reopening the state, and we will follow all guidelines noted in Stage 5 of this action plan.  Plans may change should the current guidelines be updated.

Families of seniors are welcome to attend this July 17 ceremony.  We respectfully request that families help keep the number of attendees as low as possible, and we ask that those attending practice the social distancing guidelines recommended by the Governor’s office.  We anticipate every other row in the theater to be blocked in order to ensure proper seating, and family groups will need to leave sufficient space between other groups to that end.  We will measure the stage to see whether it will safely accommodate our seniors and make format decisions based on best health practices.  While our ceremony has been delayed and will take a slightly different form this year, we want to ensure that the traditional elements of this milestone are represented.  Signature department and school-based recognitions will take place that evening during the ceremony.

Commencement may be arriving later than originally planned, but we want our seniors to know how much we miss and are thinking of them now, particularly as we look ahead to next week.  Please take a glance below at some of the ways we will be honoring the Class of 2020 Monday through Thursday of next week, and please note that social distancing guidelines should be followed at applicable events:

  • Sharing Signature congrats and shout outs using GIPHY stickers at Sig2020 and Snapchatting with a new Sig filter available in front of the school. Both stickers and filter available Monday morning.
  • Some Zoom-ing fun, informal visits Monday evening and Tuesday with different faculty and staff; details to follow.
  • Arranging a memorable photo op in person in front of the Ford Center.  We have been working with Downtown Evansville, the Ford Center, the City of Evansville, and Wilde Horticulture as they arrange to have a giant heart and a “Congratulations, Graduates” sign, perfect for a picture pose, in front of the Ford Center and angled so that students can get a picture of themselves with Signature School in the background.  This should be available Tuesday at dusk and should be there through June 1.
  • Enjoying the final edition of our newspaper, The Signal, available on our website on Wednesday.
  • Attending our special senior book drop-off day (with hoopla!) on Thursday; check out the windows at our Koch Center while there.  Keep an eye out for an email with more details!

We anticipate yearbooks being available after June 1 and will be back in touch with information as we have it. Thank you for all you are doing to make this challenging situation as easy and meaningful as possible.  Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.

 

Best wishes,

Jean Hitchcock

Executive Director, Signature School                                                                                                        


May 8, 2020

Dear Signature School Parent/Guardian and Student,

I know how difficult these weeks have been for all of our Signature School community, and I could not be prouder of how our students, faculty, staff, and parents have risen to the occasion of meeting this challenge.  During the next two weeks, May 11-15 and May 18-22, the College Board will administer at-home Advanced Placement (AP) exams. Our teachers continue to be laser-focused on helping ensure Signature students are well prepared for these assessments, and I am confident our students will continue to rise to the occasion and give each exam their best. 

I would like to share information released by the College Board to help as you prepare for these exams that will be taken in your homes.  Please take a few minutes to review, and please contact our AP Coordinator, Theresa Doyle, with any questions. 

AP Students/AP Teachers:

 

 

As always, thank you for your support and consideration.  Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jean Hitchcock
Executive Director

 


April 17, 2020
 

Dear Signature School Parent/Guardian and Student,
 

I hope this note finds everyone doing well. Per my previous letter, the College Board provided a webinar last Thursday night for parents to help their children prepare for the upcoming AP exams that will be taken at home using phones and computers.  If you missed this webinar, the link below will take you to the recorded session.  I am writing today with information and a checklist to make sure all of our Signature School students are ready to take these tests.  Please read and take necessary action on the items below. If you have any further questions, please contact our AP Coordinator, Theresa Doyle at theresa.doyle@signature.edu as soon as possible:

(1) Sign into your College Board (CB) account as soon as possible and make sure your AP profile is updated.

     -- Verify your email address and other pertinent information

     -- Make sure the CB news and updates boxes are checked to ensure you are receiving all communications from the College Board

     -- Sign up for your free AP Score Send to the college of your choice (seniors are encouraged to enter college codes as soon as they declare universities)

      -- If you do not remember your College Board username and password, contact the College Board at 888-225-5427.  Representatives are available until 8 PM Monday through Friday.

(2)  Check to see if you received your Personalized AP Exam Schedule sent out on April 13.  If not, then contact the College Board at 888-225-5427.

(3)  Students access the exam and submit their responses using any available device: smartphones, tablets, Chromebooks, or computers. If any students need devices or internet for the tests, the College Board wants to help. Students should contact the College Board directly by April 24 via this form: https://collegeboard.tfaforms.net/74. Students submitting the form should send an email to Ms. Doyle, as well, so the school is aware of the situation.

(4)   If you missed the College Board webinar on Thursday, April 16, 2020 for parents and students, you can still view it at:  https://globalmeet.webcasts.com/viewer/event.jsp?ei=1302024&tp_key=73070ccd21

(5)  Continue to take advantage of live AP lessons on the College Board website. More information on exam administration will come in the live lessons as the CB releases that information.

(6) In late April, the College Board will provide AP students with information on how to access the testing system on test day. This information will include video demonstrations so that students can familiarize themselves with the system.

(7) This year’s AP Exams will be open book/open note. However, students may not consult with any other individuals during the testing period. Please see the following link regard AP exam security: https://apcoronavirusupdates.collegeboard.org/students/taking-ap-exams/security

(8)  All students should be prepared to take their AP exams during the primary exam window of May 11 – 22.  Students need to sign in 30 minutes prior to AP exam time for important information regarding that day’s exam.

Thank you for your support and consideration.  Please do not hesitate to contact me with any concerns.

Best wishes,
 

Jean Hitchcock
Executive Director
Signature School


April 11, 2020

 

Dear Signature School Parent/Guardian and Student,

 

I hope this letter finds all of you doing well.  These difficult times have served to make everyone all the more aware of how fortunate we are to be part of our terrific Signature School community.  I am grateful for the intrepid spirit and the continued commitment to one another that I witness in our students, parents, and faculty.

 

In order meet the new demands of e-instruction and the revamped AP assessments, we are revising our calendar.  Please click here to find information on what the remaining days look like.  April 17th and 24th and May 1st and 8th will be used as waiver days in order to give faculty time to prepare classes and students time to prepare for their AP exams.  Beginning May 4th, only classes with May 2020 AP exams will meet.  We have structured the calendar in a manner similar to what would take place during a normal school year, allowing focus to be on classes with external assessments.  We will not have a formal final exam week for classes without external assessments, and individual teachers will inform students of plans for final course requirements.

 

As you know, students will take their AP exams at home using phones and computers. The College Board has committed itself to ensuring that all AP students have the necessary equipment and internet accessibility. You may register here for a College Board webinar designed specifically for parents to help their children prepare for the exam date: https://globalmeet.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1302024&tp_key=73070ccd21. The webinar will take place this Thursday evening, April 16, starting at 6:00. We will forward any essential information shared in the webinar as well as a link to the recorded proceedings for those who cannot attend. Please let me, Ms. Doyle, or Ms. Cates know if you have any concerns or questions about these online exams.

 

I know there are many questions regarding graduation, and we continue to work toward plans to recognize our exceptional Class of 2020.  Seniors and their parents should look for a survey I am sending out to help us shape these plans. I will get back in touch with everyone as soon as possible.

 

As always, thank you for all you are doing.  I know this is not an easy situation for anyone, and I appreciate everyone’s efforts to get through this in Signature style.  Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.  I welcome the communications.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jean Hitchcock

Executive Director


April 2, 2020

Dear Signature School Parent/Guardian and Student,

Today Governor Holcomb announced that all Indiana schools shall provide instruction via remote learning for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. I am writing to let you know that we are working to determine the impact on our Signature School calendar and that I will be back in touch as soon as possible with details. We are all disappointed by this news, but we will forge ahead to ensure the best learning experience possible as we finish out the year.

Also, Signature students should now be able to access Schoology. All online instruction will take place through this learning management system effective Friday, April 3, 2020. We are very excited about this opportunity. 

Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,

Jean Hitchcock
Executive Director
 

April 1, 2020

Dear Students,

You should receive your Schoology logon credentials (username and password) in an email from Schoology (no-reply@schoology.com) tomorrow afternoon (Thursday, April 2).

If you don’t receive your Schoology logon email, please email Ms. Cates at jami.cates@signature.edu.

Schoology is our new Learning Management System and is intended to be your one-stop shop for eLearning this spring.

You should begin using Schoology for your coursework this Friday morning (9 AM on April 3), but please feel free to sign in as soon as you receive your credentials.

To access Signature’s Schoology site, go to signature.schoology.com.

Sign in with the username and password you receive in your email.

Your current courses will be displayed on your dashboard, including a Knowledge Base course to help you with frequently asked questions.

Click any course to begin.

Two getting started notes:

Please email Ms. Cates if you have questions or need assistance (jami.cates@signature.edu).

Thank you!

Ms. Hitchcock
Executive Director

March 28, 2020

Dear Signature School Parent/Guardian/Student,

I hope everyone has been able to enjoy spring break and to spend some time outside in this great weather.  This week has given the faculty and me the opportunity to examine how we can best approach the weeks of online learning beginning Monday, March 30, 2020 and scheduled to continue through at least May 1, 2020.   I have been reaching out to students for feedback on how we can improve their online learning experience, and the faculty and I have incorporated their suggestions into a plan that I am confident will make Signature distance learning as strong as possible.  I am writing today to share details with you.

First, we are in the process of transitioning to Schoology, a learning management system (LMS) add-on to our existing PowerSchool program.  Schoology will provide faculty and students a single means of primary communication, making it easier to organize and track assignments, happenings, and assessments. Faculty and staff members already have begun training, and all will have completed training by Monday, the 30th.  I will be back in touch with more information about the getting started resources we will be sending to the students, although we believe our students will be able to navigate this system and its app with relative ease. We anticipate putting Schoology formally in place by April 3rd.  Meanwhile, faculty members will continue to communicate with students as they have all year, using email, websites, ManageBac, and Google Classroom. I appreciate your patience and understanding as we make the quick transition to Schoology.

Second, beginning Monday, March 30, 2020, we will operate with a more defined daily schedule.  We will continue to follow our A/B calendar, and classes will operate as follows:

Period

Comment/Explanation

Time

1/5

 

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

2/6                       

6th period is a designated study period for freshmen and seniors only. They do not need to check in with their resource teachers. Sophomores and juniors, on the other hand, will check in with their resource teachers.

10:15 AM- 11:15 AM

3/7

 

noon - 1:00 PM

4/8

 

1:15 AM – 2:15 PM

Flexible meeting time

This is a time set aside for academic help, technological support, or professional development.

2:15 PM – 3:00 PM

 

Faculty members will determine and inform their students of how they will use class periods.  Some may instruct live classes, some may direct students to watch recorded instruction in a flipped classroom arrangement, and some may have other assignments to be done during that time. Faculty members will provide students a weekly plan by Monday morning of each week in which they make clear expectations, due dates, and other course requirements.   Please note that the time designated “Flexible meeting time” may be used in varying ways, and students will have sufficient advance warning if this time pertains to them.  Individual faculty members may conduct office hours during that time, for example, or teams of teachers may need to meet with one another.  Please note that freshmen and seniors do not need to check in with their resource teachers during 6th period. Sophomores and juniors, on the other hand, do need to check in with teachers during that time.

Finally, the officials at AP have advised us that by April 3rd, they will provide possible testing date options.  Once we have the dates, we will look at our calendar to determine any impact.  In the meantime, I remind you that AP’s supplementary lessons currently are available to our students, and I would encourage all to take advantage of this opportunity.

At this point, I know there are many questions regarding if and when we will return to the school classroom, graduation, and other events that normally would take place this time of year.  We are all waiting to see what the coming weeks bring, and I will update you as we know more.  I am very aware of the importance of celebrating milestones and hope that we will be able to honor our seniors in the way they deserve.  We are working towards that end, but I know you recognize that my hands are tied at the moment.

As always, I greatly appreciate your support and consideration.  I wish you and your family good health and safety.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jean Hitchcock
Executive Director
Signature School


March 23, 2020

 

Dear Signature School Parent/Guardian/Student,

 

As many of you have already heard, the IB May exams have been canceled. IB subject scores depend on more than just the exams, however. The IB has decided that this year, scores will depend on submitted work as follows:

  1. IB English scores will be based on the Written Assignment current seniors submitted at the end of their junior year and the IB oral seniors completed just before winter break.
  2. IB language scores will be based on the language oral students took in late February.
  3. IB History, IB Psychology, science, computer science and math scores will all be based on internally assessed investigations, most of which have been submitted.
  4. IB Art scores will be based on the Exhibition (internally assessed by Mr. Darnell), the Process Portfolio, and the Comparative Study.
  5. IB HL Music scores will be based on the Musical Links Investigation and performance and composition pieces; SL scores will be based on the Musical Links Investigation and composition pieces only.
  6. IB Dance scores will be based on the Dance Investigation, performance pieces, and Composition and Analysis.
  7. CAS, TOK, and EE requirements have already been met by most of our students. Ms. Ahmed and Ms. Razor are working with students to finish up their CAS portfolios.

Much of this work has already been done. In cases where work remains to be submitted, your child’s teacher will be in touch with your family to provide more details and support.

Here is a copy of the letter provided by IB to send home to families in which the organization explains its decision. Here is a link to the IB website updating schools on its Covid-19 response: https://www.ibo.org/news/news-about-the-ib/covid-19-coronavirus-updates/. Some scrolling will take you to a helpful list of FAQs that will be updated on March 27.

As always, we appreciate your support and consideration during this challenging time. Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. Wishing you all good health.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jean Hitchcock
Executive Director


March 20, 2020

 

Dear Signature School Parent/Guardian,

Yesterday, March 19, 2020, Governor Holcomb, announced that all Indiana schools will remain closed until at least May 1 as a result of COVID-19 concerns.  I am writing to bring you as up to date as possible on how we are proceeding at Signature School. 

As always, our greatest concern is the safety and well-being of our students and faculty.  Every decision made is based on counsel from health experts.  We appreciate all you are doing to support your child during this time, and we appreciate the manner in which everyone is rising to the occasion to make our way through these uncharted waters.  One of the greatest aspects of Signature School is the faculty/student relationship, and we know we all are tested in new ways to ensure that communication is strong, that meaningful learning continues, and that spirits remain high.  Thank you for your support.

At this point, we plan on Signature continuing online learning following spring break.  Online work will take place from Monday, March 30, 2020 through at least Friday, May 1, 2020.  This morning we received word from College Board that the Advanced Placement (AP) exam format, dates, and means of testing are being changed in light of the circumstances.  This is good news, as AP is reducing the amount of material covered on individual exams, a move that lightens the load for students and faculty.  We are in the process of working through all the information that AP has provided.  Additionally, we have been in close touch with individuals at the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme and have been advised that they are working on how to best assist schools at this time.  We should know more from them in the next week or so. Once we have more information in place, we will examine what this means for our students and how we can best complete the year.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.  I know I speak for all of our dedicated faculty and staff in saying that we want to do all we can to mitigate the stress we know everyone is experiencing, and we realize that regular communication is key.  I wish all of you good health in these stressful times.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jean Hitchcock

Executive Director