Alliance Gertz-Ressler/
Richard Merkin 6-12 Complex

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About Us » Principal's Message

Principal's Message

(Download attached PDF below for full document to view charts, graphs, and flyers)

Our Values


Consistency: In these uncertain times, it is important for teachers and scholars to have a learning routine each day that is flexible and accessible.

Connection: Our model prioritizes relationships and the ability for teachers to provide scholars with individualized feedback and support.

Compassion: This is a challenging, unprecedented time for teachers, school staff, scholars, and families. We must operate with an open heart, knowing that everyone is doing their best under very difficult circumstances.

Readiness: We need scholars to be prepared for their next academic year. This means we must focus on re-teaching high priority academic content already covered during the school year and any new prioritized, unfinished learning that remains.



Greetings Trailblazers and Families,


I am so excited to announce that we will be launching Distance Learning on Wednesday April 1, 2020. Your courses will now count for academic credit and you will be graded. We have worked for the past few weeks to ensure that 1) we are able to connect with you throughout this time, 2) we are creating a plan that is sensitive to the emergency that is facing the whole world, and 3) learning is still occurring. This guide is intended to answer as many of your questions as possible, and make the transition to Distance Learning as smooth as possible.

There will be a lot of information below, and there are some items we would like you to complete in preparation for Distance Learning:

Check your Alliance Student Email DAILY (Need to help? See video here)
Review this document
Charge your device
Check-in with your peers to make sure they have this information
Check your Alliance Student Email DAILY (YES - It’s here twice. Check your email!)

Review Distance Learning Virtual Expectations


Review this document

Check-in with other parents you know to make sure they have this information

Ensure that your student is checking their Alliance Student Email DAILY
Sign up for Parent Square for updates
Check Merkin website for latest updates

Enroll in Powerschool Account for grade update
Answer calls coming from the school and/or your child’s teacher

Next Steps

Review updated student schedule and office hours (Arriving on Wednesday April 1, 2020) Complete your Advisory survey
Continue to check your Alliance Student Email DAILY
Respond to emails sent to you

If you are unclear of anything, reach out to a teacher


    • ❏  Ensure that your child has signed up for Google Classroom by Tuesday, March 31

    • ❏  If you are unclear of anything, reach out to a school staff member (teacher, admin, office staff)

    • ❏  Make sure you check in (discuss) with your child and remind them that they are to submit the

      survey by 10am daily to count as their attendance to class.




Sincerely, Shanayna Harnage




Merkin will be engaged in asynchronous learning. Asynchronous Learningis the idea that students learn the same material at different times and locations. Asynchronous learning is also called Independent Learning, and is oppositeto synchronous learning where students learn at the same time by activities such as attending a lecture or lab.Please view the chart below that shows how this will work at Merkin.



Asynchronous (Student participates any time within the week)

Synchronous (Specific time and place students needto participate)

(Survey due before 10AM daily)


(Log and watch them)


Assignments (Working on them)


Office Hours (See Merkin Schedule)


Enrichment (Additional activities)


(Set times given by teachers)


Due Dates
(Set times given by teachers)



All Grades 6-8 will take and be graded on the following courses:




Advisory ( NO grades, ONLY Attendance)


What happened to History, Middle School Success, Art, Drama, Lab, and ELD? These classes have been frozen.

Frozen Course for Grades 6-8:

Middle School Success

History 6


History 7


History 8




What happens to grades in frozen courses?
The grade that you had on March 13, 2020 will be locked in Powerschool. That is the grade that will appear on your transcript. Meaning:

  • ●  You will NOT have any new assignments in these courses.

  • ●  You will NOT have any new grades for these courses.

  • ●  You will NOT be enrolled in these google classrooms anymore.

●  Your grade will remain the grade you earned by March 13, 2020.


What if I had an NP/C in a frozen course?
Students with NPs in a frozen course can reach out to the teacher of that course. For example, if you have an NP in 8th grade History, then directly reach out to Mr. Lara via email. The teacher will enroll you in the Grade Recovery Google Classroom and will then assign this student work via Google Classroom and the student will submit the assignment(s) according to the teacher’s due date. Your completion of assignments in the Recovery Google Classroom is mandatory in order to pass your course. In other words, if you want to pass the class-DO THE WORK assigned!

I’m an 8th grader, and I need to pass all classes to promote. What will happen now that it is frozen?
If you are passing the class at the time of school closure, you will receive the credit for that class. However, if you are not passing, you will work with the teacher(s), whose course(s) you were not passing, to get you caught up before the end of the school year.

Why did we move from 6 courses to only 3 plus Advisory?
Given our new reality and our desire for you to be successful in your classes, 3 classes plus Advisory is the

most manageable. We believe that every course we offer at Merkin is important to not just your learning, but to your development as a scholar. This was not an easy decision, but we want to make sure that we are able to give you the highest level of academic and emotional support during this global emergency.

What happened to all my History, Elective, RSP, and ELD teachers?
They still will be teaching you! They are co teachers in ELA, Math, and Science that will be in your office hours, reviewing your work, answering questions you have, and checking in on you.





Co Teacher




Math 6



Science 6






Math 7



Science 7






Math 8



Science 8







E. Chavez





ELD 6-8







What will I be graded on?
ELA, Math, and Science classes will continue to receive grades for the duration of distance learning.

You will be graded on assignments and assessments, so you MUST watch your lessons TWO times a week for every class to know what to do.

Your grade will increase or decrease depending on your ability to get your work turned in on time and demonstrate mastery on the assessments assigned by your teachers.
How many grades will I get a week?
You will get one graded assignment every weekand one graded assessment every two weeksfor each class based on the Lesson Launches/ Videos you see each week. These assessments will assess the standards taught during distance learning, as well as standards taught previously.

Be sure to log in to your teachers’ Google Classroom and make sure you can access it. If you need the Google Classroom code, you can find it on the table at the end of this guide.


Progress reports will be available to view in Powerschool April 27, 2020 by 4PM



What if I am passing my classes, but want to get a higher grade (e.g. C to B)?
You will be given the opportunity to reassess on some assignments, this will be done by your teacher. Please reach out to the teacher(s) to ask what you need to complete to raise your grade.

You can redo certain assignments only once​ ​(exceptions for scholars with accommodations)and if they show a higher level of mastery, a grade can increase accordingly.

When will work and tests be due?
Teachers will list in their Google Classroom a window of time in which assignments are due.

Please note that a listed deadline might fall outside of traditional school hours and may fall on a Saturday. This is designed to give you more flexibility.

You will still be expected to meet deadlines, but reach out to your teacher if you need support or extensions.

What if I was on an academic contract?
We also recognize that any students on contractsprior to March 13, 2020 may need to have those contracts modified to better reflect the current reality. Please reach out to your teacher to get more information, we will do our best to accommodate academic contracts.




What are Learning Launches?
Learning Launches are 20-30 minute mini lessons posted in each of your Google classrooms for you to view. Your teachers will post (2) lessons a week for each subject for a total of (6) lessons a week for you to watch.

How will I view these lessons?
Your lessons will be posted in your google classroom as a pre recorded video that includes directions from the teacher. Some will be your teacher, others will be other educators from around the globe.

They will explain what to do, provide some modeling and guidance, and then students will have independent work time.

**If you can not log on when your teacher posts their lessons, there are live sessions (Google Hangouts), that will also be recorded and then posted online in Google Classroom for those unable to attend during the designated times.

What are Office Hours?
Office hours are scheduled times found in the Distance Learning Master Schedule for you to join a live virtual meeting with your teachers to ask questions and get help on assignments or material.

**Note: If you have a NP in ELA, Math, or Science you MUST attend weekly office hours.



How do I get to Office Hours?
Your teacher will post a Google Hangouts (via a virtual meeting through the computer that is a live) link. This link can be emailed and/or posted on Google Classroom. If by Week 3, you have not received any information about a Google Hangouts link, please reach out to your teacher as soon as possible.

You just need to click on the link and make sure your camera is on for your device.

If you can’t make those office hours, it will be recorded so you can view when you can or reach out to your teacher and we’ll do our best to accommodate.



Why do we have a NEW Advisory?
Advisory will now be the FIRST course of the day and is mandatory. Since we are on Distance Learning, we need to ensure that Attendance (or your check in is daily) since everyone can not log in at the same time everyday.

Advisory Attendance is NOT an option, it is MANDATORY every day. Your Attendance is still counted by the Merkin and the state of California.

  • ●  At 8AM Monday - Friday, you will receive an Advisory Survey to complete before 10AM

  • ●  A weekly message from Admin will be posted in your Advisory Google classroom every Monday,

    Wednesday, and Friday.

  • ●  Your Advisory teachers will also be posting Enrichment Lessons for you once a week. These will not

    be graded but a great way to maintain a healthy mind, body, and soul.

6th Grade Advisory Lead Teacher

7th Grade Advisory Lead Teacher

8th Grade Advisory Lead Teacher

Marilyn Chavez

Alexia Lounds

Misty Rivera

Advisory Class

Advisory Lead Teachers

Advisory Co Teachers

6th Grade



7th Grade



8ther Grade






How will attendance work during Distance Learning?

  • ●  A survey will be sent to your Alliance Student Email every morning at 8AM .

  • ●  You must complete the survey, mark yourself present by 10am every morning and submit.

    It does not matter when you actually interact with the online class, complete your assignment, or interact with Google Classroom.

    But you HAVE TOcomplete the survey daily and mark yourself present every morning by 10am.

  • ●  After 10AM, Merkin staff will start contacting home to ensure that you are able to access the internet,

    and are doing okay.

    • ○  If we are unable to reach you or a parent by 4pm, you will be marked “Absent” for that day.

    • ○  If you tell us in your survey you need to check in with someone, A Merkin Teacher/Staff will

      be calling you.

      • These teachers will check-in on you to ask how you’re doing, discuss any challenges

        you might be facing, and ensure that we, as a school, are also addressing the

        socio-emotional needs of our students in this incredibly difficult time.

      • We want to ensure that while we’re still focusing on academics, we are also being

        responsive to the other needs that you may be having.



Below you will find the Merkin Schedulefor students and teachers. This recommended for students on how to schedule their week but not required,

Our goal is to be consistent as a school team with posting lessons, Advisory, and Office Hours so that students can access the material and respond accordingly.

Do I have to follow this schedule exactly?
The simple answer is no. We understand that given your home life realities, it may be difficult to have work on any of these classes at the assigned time every single day due to child care, quality of internet, or other complicating factors. This is just a recommendation to give you some structure to your day if you can meet it. But, if you find yourself having difficulty with any of this, please reach out to any of your teachers.

In order to complete the assignments at a pace that makes sense for you and your family, you can access the lessons at any time of day or night. Office hours are less flexible, so if you cannot make it, those sessions will be recorded and hosted online.




(Download attached PDF below for full document with schedule)

If I’m unable to follow this schedule will I miss instruction?
No. If your teacher is hosting a live session, and you are unavailable, you may miss the opportunity to discuss with your peers and teacher live. So, we suggest that you try your best to attend the live sessions. However, those sessions will be recorded and uploaded onto the Google Classroom. It’s very likely that a question that you had may have been asked by a peer, or modeled by your teacher.

Are office hours mandatory?

Will they be live video sessions or chat? For most students, office hours are NOT mandatory.

However, if you are not passing a class, you may be expected to raise your grade through office hours.

These office hours will be through Google Hangouts, and teachers will also be available via Google Chat (Gchat) and email. Additionally, these office hours may be recorded and shared online for you to review.




What happens to my PBIS points?
All student points are still active and you are able to gain more points during this time. Make sure that you are marking yourself present for attendance everyday, completing assignments, participating in discussions, and you are asking for help when you need it; doing all of these will get you 10, 20, and 30 points each time.

What about PBIS challenges or rewards?
We are currently working on making a game challenge through google hangouts or zoom and maybe even a movie night that you can use your points to purchase.

We are also taking reservations for challenges for when we come back to school, and may take place over Summer school. We will let you all know through email and instagram when these new challenges and events will be available to purchase.

How can I purchase events?
Simple, email Ms. Delgado at, adelgado@laalliance.organd her what you want to purchase and she will email you back with confirmation and next steps.

Will we have any school wide events during this time?
YES! We will have virtual spirit week after spring break. All pictures and videos need to be sent to DL-merkinsunshine@laalliance.orgor to Ms. Delgado directly, Pictures and videos

will be posted on our schools instagram, website, and to our Dean instagram as well.

What are the expectations of me during Distance Learning?


  • ●  All students are required to Sign In via Advisory Survey (here) EVERYDAY before 10AM!

  • ●  Check Student Email in the morning and evening

  • ●  Check the school website for video tutorials for tech and announcements

  • ●  Check Google Classroom for New Announcements

  • ●  Advocate/Ask for help needed:

    • ○  Email/ G-Chat your teachers or co teachers with questions you have about the assignment

    • ○  Attend Office Hours as much as you need to

  • ●  Know class codes and google hangout links for the day


Develop a schedule to balance courses, support, and home responsibilities

Record the assignment deadlines and Office Hour sessions

  • ●  Watch all the lessons (7) a week

    • ○  Write down the assignment/assessment deadlines

    • ○  Begin assignments

  • ●  Work on and submit assignments to Google Classroom by the due date

If cannot make the due date, email teachers and co teachers

Attend weekly Office Hours via Google Hangouts

  • ○  State your name

  • ○  Ask questions related to the class

  • ○  Take notes

  • ○  RSVP. Respond with a yes or no when invited to a Hangout.

  • ○  Be prepared. Log in 5-10 minutes before the online meeting to make sure you have all the

    “tech issues’ resolved

  • ○  Headphones or AirPods are highly recommended; This prevents feedback from your


  • ○  Be on time. You can log into the Hangout and leave the window open while you wait for others

    to join.

  • ○  Speak clearly and wait your turn. You can use the chat feature to post your comments to the

    group, as well.

  • ○  Mute your microphone when you’re not speaking.

  • ○  If you aren’t “camera-ready,” you can turn off your camera (top right of screen) and your

    profile image will show up.

  • ○  Save your snacking for after the chat.

  • ○  Pay attention to the speaker – as time is limited



Student Digital Expectations



How do I get PBIS points?
During this time you will be able to get PBIS points for following our school wide digital expectations. Whenever you do any of these 7 expectations, you qualify for points through PBIS. Teachers will be giving you points for all assignments turned in, appropriate language use during discussion, participation during office hours and responding to emails.

What are these expectations for?
We want to make sure that you are successful and are still being supportive, helpful, and respectful; especially when working through the internet.

These school wide expectations are to help you during this time and to remind you that your behavior online counts just as much as it does when we are face to face in person.

Also, we AREmonitoring your activity and expect you to conduct yourself appropriately, when talking to others, posting, and during virtual meetings.

If you have any questions on the expectations below, please feel free to email Ms. Delgado at





(Download attached PDF below for full document with Digital Expectations chart)



  1. I still need a laptop or I don’t have internet, what do I do?
    Please email Ms.Delgado ( and Ms. Bass (

  2. Will online classes and reduced classes affect our High School competitiveness?
    This global pandemic is affecting everyone from elementary schools to colleges. Gertz has messaged that they will be understanding about the situation that everyone is facing.

  3. Will there be summer school?
    We don’t know yet. It depends on if they allow us to return to school sites. If not, we can either offer summer school via Distance Learning. We’ll keep you posted.

  4. I’m bored. Is there any possibility for social interaction?
    Absolutely! We recommend reaching out to Ms. Delgado to explore how we can help organize a social event virtually. We will also be hosting “PBIS Events” for different grade levels to socialize and chat. If you haven’t already done so, follow us on IG @deanmsdelgado OR @alliancerichardmerkin

  5. What’s happening to all those previously scheduled events (8th Grade Promotion, Dances, Grad Nite, sports, Celebrations of Learning etc)?

    At this point, those events will continue to be postponed until we receive further instructions from public health officials. There are possibilities of moving some of these events to the summer or next fall, while others may happen virtually.

  6. If school resumes before the school year ends, will we be allowed to have these events?
    It depends on what guidance we’re given and when we return. Deadlines may have passed for certain events, while other events can’t logistically be replanned in the short amount of time left at the end of the year. Others, like graduation, may happen as usual. But it will all depend on if and when we receive further instructions, and what those instructions include.

  7. If LAUSD is going to be returning after May 1, or are we going to wait until the end?
    Similar to Alliance, LAUSD receives the same instructions from public health officials. We have been informed not to resume in-person classes until AFTER May 1, but it is likely that they will advise LAUSD, Alliance, Merkin, and other schools to postpone classes even further.

  8. Will we have to extend the school year or take summer school due to coronavirus?
    The school year will not have to be extended since we are transitioning to online classes. However, if you did not pass some of your classes, then it is possible that you would be assigned summer school (if it is offered).

  9. What is happening with Community Service Hours?
    For our current 8th Graders (Class of 2020), the community service requirement for promotion will be waived. 8th graders who have completed 30 or more hours of community service will be given a
    special certificate in recognition of those contributions and commitments. If you have any questions related to this topic, please reach out to Mr. Sahagun,

For grades 6th and 7th, we will be crediting all students with 10 community service hours.


Websites for Learning:







Khan Academy




Merkin Website

Tec Support

Device Help

Social Events Coming Soon:


(Download attached PDF below for full document with Virtual Spirit Week flyer)