Principal Steve Passinault answers FHC’s latest questions

Name: Steve Passinault

Role: FHC Principal

1. What decisions have you personally been in charge of regarding the switch to online school and grading?

“The three high school principals, along with the district’s instructional department, have worked together on almost everything related to online learning and grading. I have worked on communicating [with] and supporting our FHC teachers in this transition.”

2. How did you come to these decisions?

“We had to follow the Executive Order from the state in order to maintain funding for our school district as a starting point. Then we looked at ways that we could best meet the learning needs of our Forest Hills students. The challenge was making it engaging for all students in a virtual setting and also being cognizant of the varying situations that our families are dealing with during this health crisis.”

3. How has FHC prepared for the switch to online courses?

“Teachers have been working hard since March 12th, when the schools were first closed, on being able to deliver remote learning to students that is engaging and relevant for all students. Some teachers needed to learn online platforms such as Google Classroom, and many had to learn how to use programs that would allow them to send video lessons to their classes such as Zoom, Loom, Screencastify, Youtube Video, etc…”

4. What encouraged the option of taking credit for courses instead of the grade?

“Every family has been impacted differently as they deal with the Coronavirus. We wanted to make sure that no student was penalized academically if they were unable to participate fully in the lessons being taught by teachers. Now students have a choice of what they want to be reported on their transcripts.”

5. What happens if a student does not have internet access or computer access daily?

“Chromebooks are being offered to any student who does not have a device at home. If a student does not have internet access, arrangements are being made to mail packets of information home to students so that they can have the same opportunities to learn as everyone else [does].”

6. Where can students go if they depended on the school for a meal?

“Both the Central and Northern campuses are pick-up sites for meals. Families can pick up food and milk for breakfast and lunch on Tuesdays and Fridays from 11-1 on those days. The food picked up is for 3-4 days of meals per person.”

7. How has your job as principal changed now that education has been moved online? Are staff meetings virtual now?

“Trying to do everything from home has been a challenge. All meetings are held remotel… mostly through Zoom. All other communications have been through emails and phone calls. I have also been sending out weekly communications to all families and students to keep them updated on the latest news and information from Forest Hills. I have been helping with the distribution of food on Tuesdays and Fridays from Central High.”

8. How have you been communicating with families, students, and staff?

“Weekly communications through email and school messenger, and staff [communication] has been through Zoom meetings, email, and phone calls.”

9. Do you expect there to be any changes in the school’s routine when we return for the 2021 school year?

“I would expect that there will be but unknown at this time.”

10. This is no doubt an unprecedented crisis that’s affecting families, students, and staff across the district, so do you have any words of wisdom or advice for them?

“[My] advice is to follow the Stay Home directives so that we can do our part to end this pandemic as soon as possible. Try to stay positive and remember that we will get through this together.”

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