NWPHS Updates | Northwest Passage High School

4/8/20 Daily Update

I have had the pleasure of joining three advisory check-ins this week and was so impressed by how students were staying connected and checking in with each other.  I am looking forward to joining all of the advisories over the next couple weeks and seeing student groups again. As a school we believe strongly in building and maintaining connections between students and staff.  We want to continue to do as our mission states and build our community, even in these unprecedented times.

As we progress through distance learning it is important to reexamine and reinforce the norms of group meetings.  Despite having a number of filters and protocols in place, a small group of students have significantly disrupted a couple of meetings recently.  It is important for students to recognize that building community during distance learning, similar to in person learning, only works if everyone is willing to agree to and uphold a respectable level of group norms.

The following agreements will be in place for online meetings moving forward:

  • Students will only be allowed into meetings when they use their school approved email address or name.  Students will not be allowed to change names once they join a meeting.

  • Students should use appropriate language during meetings.  It is important to remember that in a distance learning environment other people including younger siblings, or staff children might be within ear shot.

  • Students should plan to participate appropriately throughout their meetings including verbally, in group chats or polls.  It is important that we stay connected with each other throughout distance learning.

  • If a student is found to “hack” or “Zoombomb” a meeting with pornographic, racist, sexist, or hate speech content it has been recommended by the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools to report perpetrators to the FBI.  NWPHS Administration and the school board will consider this option if necessary.

If students are not able to follow these basic norms the following changes will be made for the individual:

  • Students being inappropriate during a meeting will be immediately removed from the group.

  • Students will be provided with one on one meeting times with their advisor, case manager or a paraprofessional.

  • If a student can not abide by the distance learning norms in a one on one meeting they will work with the appropriate staff to complete their school work either with a parent present or through Google Classroom, Headrush or another staff approved digital platform.

We recognize that this is not how any of us envisioned our school year going, but if we all – students, staff and parents, work together for the common good of student wellbeing and academic success we will come through this with a greater appreciation of our time together.

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need anything from us.  Stay healthy. Stay safe. Stay home.


4/6/20 Daily Update

Hoping everyone had a good weekend.  Just one announcement for today. Next Thursday April 16th we are scheduled for Conferences.  Your student’s advisor will be contacting you shortly to schedule a 30 minute student/parent/advisor conference.  Since we won’t be able to do in person conferences we can do a phone call, Zoom meeting, or Google Hangouts.  Conferences are always important to keep everyone on the same page and support students, but in the new reality of distance learning it is especially important that connections are made.  If you don’t connect with your student’s advisor by the end of the week feel free to contact them to schedule a time.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you are in need of anything.  Stay safe. Stay healthy.


4/3/20 Daily Update

I want to thank everyone for their patience and commitment as we adjust to the new normal of distance learning.  Students continue to stay connected with their advisors and other staff through a number of methods.
Today I want to share some tips about teleconferencing etiquette.  Please talk to your students about these best practices.
*Be on time to meetings, both group and individual.
*Wear school appropriate clothing.  The new normal is pajamas and sweats, but also remember that others can see you.
*Be present in meetings.  No side conversations, or walking in and out of meetings.
*Name Changing in Zoom/Google Hangout. Students will not be permitted into Zoom/Google Hangout meetings under aliases or screen names. There is a waiting room feature on Zoom that allows the host to remove people before they join. Students should display only their name as we have it on file.
*Not recording Zoom/Google Hangout meetings.  It is illegal to record and share conference video without all participants consent.
Have a wonderful weekend and don’t hesitate to connect with us if you need anything.
Stay healthy.  Stay safe.  Stay home.

4/2/20 Daily Update

Day 4 of distance learning.  The end of the first week of distance learning is fast approaching, but we still have Friday school this week.  Grade cohort leaders will be sharing a cohort assignment for tomorrow through their Google Classroom.  Students should plan to stay on top of their cohort work so that they earn that elective credit for the year.

Thank you for your continued support as we navigate through these uncertain times.  There are a number of ways you can help your students be most successful at distance learning.
* Help maintain a regular schedule
* Provide a safe place for students to do school work
* Encourage them to check in regularly with their advisor and/or case manager for group check-in, individual appointments and other meetings such as book clubs.
* Hold them accountable, but remember this is very different and potentially anxiety provoking, so also be supportive.
As always we are in this together.  Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need anything.

Stay healthy. Stay safe. Stay home.


4/1/20 Daily Update

I have been meeting with staff everyday and I am continually excited to hear how many students are logging in to morning advisory Zoom meetings, book clubs, individual meetings and generally adapting to the new normal.  I recognize that none of us ever imagined school and life in general would look like this, but we will get through this together, our Northwest Passage family is strong and we won’t give up hope. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you need anything, as always we are here for you.  

  • The school website’s Covid-19 page has been updated with new links in the areas of: Education/Technology, Resources for Parents (including Health Care and Unemployment), Meal Programs, Internet Service Provider Resources and Mental Health.
  • We have been asked about rumors that school calendars will be extended into the summer months. The Minnesota Department of Education has not made any plans to extend the regular school year, rather we will continue with distance learning until we hear otherwise from the Governor.  
  • At this time, in accordance with Executive Order 2019, no scheduled school events or activities will take place in person until after April 30. We are working on alternative online viewing opportunities for some events including the school board meeting on April 21st and the Enrollment Info Night on April 28th. We will communicate about in-person events scheduled after April 30 as we know more in the future. We will adhere to guidelines issued by the Minnesota Departments of Health and Education when deciding to resume in-person events.
  • The annual Explore Your World Fundraiser is currently scheduled for May 2. We are investigating changing it to an online event.  We will keep you posted on our decision. 
  • If it is the case that large in-person events are still not recommended at the time of our graduation scheduled on May 28, we would reschedule the ceremony as soon as it becomes possible to predict when the event could be held safely.
  • At this point we will be cancelling all expeditions for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.  Summer expeditions will remain on the calendar until further notice. 

Stay healthy.  Stay safe.


3/26/2020 Update

Northwest Passage High School Distance Learning Plan

Please see the link for the NWPHS Distance Learning Plan and continue to monitor email and social media for updates from NWPHS advisors and staff.

3/19/2020 Update

The Northwest Passage High School distance learning plan will start March 30th. We will be in contact with students and families during the week of March 23rd to share the details of the plan.