Distance Learning at Franklin MS

Dear Franklin Students and Families,

I hope this letter finds you well.  All of you have been in my thoughts daily and I wish we could be together in person. The entire FMS staff is looking forward to resuming instruction through distance learning the after Spring Break. We have lots of learning planned and we can’t wait for you to see our faces and for us to see you! 


Distance Learning Meeting for Parents

I will be offering an All About Distance Learning video-conference for parents on Monday, April 13 at 1 PM. The link for the video-conference can be found here and we will send out a reminder email on the morning of the event. The session will be recorded and posted for future review.  Please share your questions regarding Distance Learning here.  This form is designed for general questions to be answered during the meeting. If you have a question specific to your student or family please email me directly: dpwright@fcps.edu


Communication With Students

I shared a message with all students on Google Classroom this afternoon encouraging them to look out for contact from each of their teachers this week as we prepare for Distance Learning to begin the week of April 13. Teachers will be testing a variety of platforms (Blackboard 24-7, Google Classroom, email, SIS) to reach students and families.  Please encourage students to check this week AND respond.  Thank you! 

Hello Falcons!

Our Franklin MS staff misses you all so much. We are busy getting ready to kickoff Distance Learning after Spring Break and can't wait to see you. Your teachers will be contacting you this week. Please look for emails, posts in class Google Classroom, messages through SIS or Blackboard. What do you need to do? Respond back and let your teachers know you received the message! I will be letting your parents know to check for messages too. Feel free to email me with any questions. I love hearing from you and I can be reached at dpwright@fcps.edu.


What is Distance Learning?

During the remainder of the school year, each of us will be engaged in distance learning. Distance learning is a learning experience in which teachers and students are separated by place. They communicate synchronously (through live face-to-face classes using virtual meeting technology), as well as asynchronously (through print or electronic media). 

Face-to-face virtual meetings will be held primarily on a tool called Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. Classes will be recorded and posted to your teacher’s Blackboard site for your reference. All class materials will be posted in FCPS 24/7 Learning(Blackboard) for distance learning. This may be a bit different than the regular school year. Teachers can still use Google Docs/Google Classroom to communicate with students and collect work, but it will not be the primary communication tool for parents. 


Learning Packets

Each week students will be mailed a distance learning packet (the first packet should be at your house later this week),will have access to materials in FCPS 24/7 Learning (Blackboard) and will be expected to participate in synchronous online classes on Wednesday and Friday to review concepts, review the packet, and learn and practice new concepts as instructed by your classroom teachers. Your classroom teachers will be in contact with you with their schedule and expectations this week. 


FMS Schedule for Distance Learning

Below is the Distance Learning schedule that Franklin MS will implement. It includes a schedule for Wednesdays and Fridays when each class period will meet in an online synchronous session. Currently at the middle school level, synchronous sessions will occur once a week in student’s Math, English, Science, History, ESOL, Academic Support electives, and HS credit World Language classes. Electives and PE classes will provide activities for students to complete in the asynchronous (non face-to-face) environment. Our elective and PE teachers will be reaching out to their students with additional details. Students are expected to attend the live class times on Wednesday and Friday and  are expected to complete teacher-directed learning activities on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. 

In addition, your teachers will have office hours on Tuesday and Thursday. These office hours will be communicated with you by each teacher soon. Office hours are a time when you can sign on to Blackboard Collaborate or email with your teachers to consult with them regarding your assignments, questions, and concerns.


FMS School Schedule (begins April 13, 2020). 

Classes begin April 15, 2020.

Monday: Students complete independent or collaborative work and learning packets.

Tuesday: Students complete independent or collaborative work and learning packets.

Wednesday: Bell Schedule by Period

1st Period


3rd Period


Lunch Break


5th Period


7th Period



Thursday: Students complete independent or collaborative work and learning packets.

Friday: Bell Schedule by Period

2nd Period


4th Period


Lunch Break


6th Period



Expectations for Distance Learning

Your student’s Math, English, Science, History, ESOL, Academic Support electives, and HS credit World Language class will have 45-minute synchronous, face-to-face online sessions every Wednesday or Friday. Outside of the scheduled class times for 45 minutes/week, students will be expected to work independently on assignments, activities, and coursework. The work assigned may be independent or collaborative and it may include watching pre-recorded video lessons, reading for a purpose, participating in an online discussion, and completing assignments posted on Blackboard or Google Classroom. 


Distance Learning Attendance

All students are expected to participate in the virtual face to face classes. Teachers and our counselors will follow up with families of those students who do not attend class each week. Attendance is important for students to maintain a continuity of learning, to acquire new content from the 4th quarter, to develop ongoing connections between teachers and peers, and to establish a sense of normalcy and routine during a stressful time. Please feel free to reach out to a member of the FMS staff at any time if you have any questions or concerns about your student’s ability to engage with this distance learning model. 



The third quarter has been extended to April 24.  New assignments for the 3rd Quarter closed on March 13.  No student work that was due after March 13 will be graded and work assigned prior to March 13 will still be accepted up until April 24 in order to be applied in the calculation of students’ third quarter grades. Students will have the opportunity to turn in missing work and for reassessment to demonstrate mastery.  Additionally, it is the intention of FCPS to use maximum flexibility in assessing and evaluating student learning for the remainder of the school year. To that end, middle school students will be assigned a “no mark” for the fourth quarter, with assignments submitted being allowed to positively influence the student’s overall grade for the year based on mastery of learning concepts, in accordance with FCPS grading policy. Only final grades will be shown on transcripts; a “no mark” will not show on a student’s final transcript.  I will continue to communicate grading updates to students and families as we receive them.


Student Supports for ESOL and Special Education

The FMS staff is working hard to prepare distance learning materials to ensure that all students have access to educational materials and activities, including our English learners and students with Individualized Education Programs and 504 Plans. Numerous supports, modifications, and services may be effectively provided online and our team will be contacting students and families with additional details and resources. 


Counselors and Student Services

As we transition to this Distance Learning model of instruction, we are also focused on supporting the social and emotional needs of our students. Our Student Services team will be collaborating with our teachers during this transition.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to your student’s counselor if you need any assistance. 


What To Do Between Now and April 13

Before we get started the week of April 13th, there are a few things you will need:

  • Your computer
  • Access to the internet
  • A place where you can listen and learn
  • If you have a headset or earphones, that would be helpful

If you need help with your computer or internet access, please contact Mr. Gibbs (ragibbs@fcps.edu) as soon as possible.

This is also a good time to familiarize yourself with Blackboard and to have your student show you the Google Classrooms that they have been working with this year.  Before the end of this week, all of your student’s teachers should be sending a message or doing a class activity to which each student needs to respond. If your student hasn’t heard from their teachers, please feel free to contact them. 

We are all excited to begin this new learning experience together with you and to “get back to school.”  I look forward to hearing about your first week back. If you have any questions, concerns, or just want to say hello, please email me at dpwright@fcps.edu.

Student, family and staff health and well-being are our priority.  Please take care!


Dustin Wright