Before the campus closed, students had completed 75 percent of the year and had learned a great deal. Our challenge now is to engage them in new and dynamic ways to keep them connected to their coursework and to our community.
We have three primary instructional goals:
- to ensure that those students who are in sequential courses are prepared for the next level of the course (e.g., Algebra II students are ready for Pre Calc; Spanish II students are ready for Spanish III)
- to support students so that they can continue the habits of reading and thinking and questioning that we all value so much and
- to create opportunities for students to interact with peers and faculty to maintain community and to minimize social isolation.
We have benefited from the experience of colleagues at schools on the west coast who were confronted with this challenge before us. Among their chief observations:
- Students and teachers are new to distance learning and can experience fatigue because they are using “muscles” that haven’t really been used before. Everyone is developing new skills.
- Content is important, but connection may be more important. Kids need to connect with one another—many feel socially isolated and miss the personal connections so integral to the Burroughs experience.
- Daily schedules will be variable. It is impossible for all kids to meet with all teachers for a traditional class. There are technical issues, family issues, attention issues and more that affect the environment both for students and teachers.