Updated March 30, 2020
We have just concluded the first week of our distance learning program, and while we are most definitely building the plane and flying it at the same time, we are pleased with the Week One effort. We are so happy to be reconnected to our students!
While we are in Distance Learning mode, we need your help. Please:
- Make sure your students are checking into all of their classes at the scheduled class check-in times. See the CGHS Distance Learning Schedule here.
- Make sure your students are checking email–a primary mode of communication while we are working remotely–multiple times a day.
- Reach out to other school families to make sure they are connecting! It takes a village!
We have many people lined up to support you and your student while we are engaged in Distance Learning:
- If your student needs additional academic support, you can email a teacher directly. You can also ask the teacher to schedule a Zoom conference with you.
- You can request specific academic support for your student using our Academic Support Scheduler.
- If you have student support concerns, you can reach out directly to our student support staff using the contact info to the right.
- Technology concerns should be referred to Ana Rosa using a Help Desk ticket.
Classes have been cancelled officially for all schools in Connecticut through April 30, but both the Governor and the Commissioner of Education have indicated that we are likely to be experiencing a longer closure; as such, we will be working hard to strengthen our Distance Learning program and will communicate updates regularly.
- We will be adhering to our April vacation schedule, which means that school will not be in session April 10-17. We will have academic support available over the April break and will be making some fun interactive virtual opportunities available for our students. Stay tuned for more information.
- State mastery testing has been waived for the 2019-2020 school year, which means that our juniors will not be taking the School Day SAT and the NGSS test. We know that many students use the no-cost Connecticut SAT for college placement. The CSDE is working closely with the College Board to offer interested grade 11 students the opportunity to take the SAT on a weekend administration at no cost. More details will be shared with schools as soon as they are available, and we will share those details with you
- While we are engaged in Distance Learning, we will continue to provide instruction and make resources available for our students with disabilities. Special Education staff will be calling this week regarding updates in service plans.
We know that this is an especially hard time for our seniors given the uncertainty surrounding the end of the school year. We can definitely say that the graduation ceremony and prom will take place, although they may not happen on the dates on which they are currently scheduled. Details on how senior defenses and senior projects are being adjusted for distance learning will be shared shortly.
All of our students are feeling the potential loss of cherished year-end traditions and rites of passage. We are evaluating how we can make some of those activities available virtually and which activities can be moved to the fall.
Not one of us expected to be in this place at this moment–this is a very difficult time for our entire school community. We encourage you to read through this CDC guidance on managing stress and anxiety during the COVID-19 crisis, which contains much helpful advice and information about additional resources. We are also recommending an app called CALM, which has been researched and found to be effective in decreasing stress among college students. The app has different sections such as sleep, anxiety, self-care etc. In each section there are free activities and some that can be purchased.
Finally, we know that many people currently do not have all the resources that they need for an extended stay at home or may be struggling with other COVID-related non-medical emergencies. The United Way of Greater New Haven has compiled a list of Community Resources that could help families in addressing some of those needs. Please also reach out to our student support staff (contact information to the right) to communicate those needs, and see additional resources below.
Please take good care of yourselves and each other.
Liz Cox, School Director
If you are in need of emergency food while school is not in session, please contact the school office. Common Ground is delivering food to Common Ground families who need it on a weekly basis, in partnership with CT Core, Haven’s Harvest, and community volunteers.
New Haven Public Schools has reinstated its Summer Meals program, which allows any students living in New Haven to go to a neighborhood school and pick up meals to go. Click here for a list of sites and times.
Hamden is also providing meals for students residing in Hamden. Information aboud getting meals at a Hamden school can be found here.
Health & Mental Health Supports
Many members of our school community–staff, students and families–are experiencing COVID-19-related stress and anxiety. I shared information about several supports in my last update. Other helpful resources:
- The NAMI Information and Resource Guide, and Mental Health Coping Strategies, published by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, utilizes a Q&A format to share information and advice about many COVID-related concerns
- A Guide for Parents and Caregivers recently released by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) contains guidance to help family members cope with COVID-related stress.
- The COVID-19 MUTUAL AID & ADVOCACY RESOURCES: a resource for people looking out for themselves and their communities through personal preparation, collective care, mutual aid and advocacy.
- Coronavirus quarantine resources for parents and caregivers: Info for parents/caregivers, ideas for keeping children busy at home
Our school Social Worker, Rachel Haymann, is available by email to respond to questions and concerns. Rachel’s’ email: email@example.com
Also, the Yale COVID-19 call center at 203-688-1700 is a great resource for COVID-related health questions.
Need Health Insurance? Access Health CT has opened a special enrollment period between March 19 and April 2. Get more information here.
One thing students can be doing while away from Common Ground: applying for summer jobs. See this page for more information.
- Buzz. While we are in distance learning mode, students will complete all assignments, see their grades, and access course materials in Buzz. Parents and guardians can log into Buzz to check their students progress. Families, if you need help accessing Buzz, contact Ana at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Schedule of Classes. All classes will meet twice per week by Zoom video conference while we are in distance learning mode.
- Zoom – link for teacher/class meeting rooms. Each teacher has their own Zoom meeting room set up. Students can access these meeting rooms by clicking on the links in their courses in Buzz, or by finding their teacher on this list. Parents can request a time to chat via Zoom.
- Teacher & Staff Emails. Students and families should feel free to reach out to teachers and support staff by email with any questions or concerns. All high school staff will be checking and responding to emails at least twice each day.
- For Families: Request Academic Support for Your Student. We’re mobilizing a big team to make sure students get the support they need. Use this form to request academic support in of your child’s classes.
- Technology Help Desk. All students need to have working Chromebooks and chargers to work in this Distance Learning Program. Students who need Chromebooks/ chargers or who need help with a tech issue should be using our Student Help Desk Ticket system. If you need help with connecting to an Internet provider, please contact Ana Rosa at email@example.com or 203 389-0823 ext. 1202.
- Free/Low Cost Internet Access at Home from Comcast and AT&T. Qualifying families can access free or low-cost internet access during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Free use of Xfinity WiFi Hotspots for Everyone. Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free – including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit www.xfinity.com/wifi. Once at a hotspot, consumers should select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots, and then launch a browser.
At this time, we will have at least one member of our office staff in the school office from 9:00-2:00 Monday through Friday. School Office Staff Contact Information:
203 389-0823 ext. 1203
Ana Rosa—Office Manager
203 389-0823 ext. 1202
Iris Jimenez—Administrative Assistant
203 389-0823 ext. 1200
Student Support Staff Contact information
Monique Frasier—Assistant Director
203 389—0823 ext. 1218
Victor Rios—Student Support Coordinator
203 389—0823 ext. 1218
Miriam Sheffield—Student Support Assistant
203 389-0823 ext. 1207
Main Phone: 203 389-4333
Complete Staff List
- Liz Cox, School Director, x1203 Email
- Monique Frasier, Assistant Director x1218, Email
- Ana Rosa, x1202, Office Manager,Email
- Iris Jimenez, Educational Aide, x1200, Email
- Sharyn Lopez, Student Opportunities Manager, x1206, Email
- Brian Kelahan, Post High School Planning & Recruitment Manager, x1281, Email
- Miriam Sheffield, Student Affairs Assistant. x1207, Email
In each of the last 5 years, between 97% and 100% of our graduates were accepted to college. Our 4-year graduation rates significantly exceeded the state average in 4 of the 5 last school years. Recent Common Ground 9th and 10th graders have made greater gains in reading, writing, and math than 90 or more percent of their peers across the country, according to results of the NWEA MAP. Common Ground was the state’s first U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School and a recipient of many awards and grants in recognition of our work.
Common Ground’s curriculum combines rigorous high academic standards for all, responsive relationships with adults and peers who really care, relevant, real-world learning that’s rooted in the community and environment, and real roles and rights for students. Imagine studying …
- Math while you … decide what should be planted on Common Ground’s farm to maximize production, nutrition, taste, and cultural relevance.
- Science while you … turn what you are learning about climate change into beautiful paintings, spoken word, and graffiti art
- English while you … work with professional actors to write and perform plays about social justice issues that matter to you.