Lucy School responded to the state mandated school closure, which began on March 16, with a rapid implementation of a distance learning program. During the weeks prior to the school closure, administration and teachers explored resources to support distance learning. Lessons and activities were offered to students beginning with the first day of the closure.
Lucy School was able to move both thoughtfully and quickly ensuring our students experienced the least amount of disruption to their learning.
Response in Lucy School's Preschool and Elementary Programs
As in our usual school scenario, communication between families, students and teachers happens daily. After the first few weeks of distance learning, the administration and faculty at Lucy School solicited feedback from families about this new experience. Based on this feedback, changes were made to help meet the needs of families. For example, task lists were presented both weekly and daily. An increase in direct instruction was also implemented in some grades. Hands on learning materials were purchased and distributed to increase student engagement and decrease screen time.
The continuity of community and relationships may be the most important aspect of the distance learning model. Teachers have put careful thought into maintaining a strong relationship with their students and families. Classroom meetings are held regularly and whole school Singing Meetings have also taken place. Birthdays are recognized by singing via video meetings. Care packages with additional learning material and supplies have been sent home.
Lucy School preschool and elementary classes have maintained their rich learning experiences. Virtual Field Trips, Art Lessons, Science Experiments, Show and Tell, Music and Movement Lessons, and Read Aloud Story times and more have all continued to be a part of the Lucy School experience. Individual video meetings and phone calls have been held between teachers and students.
Response in Lucy Middle School
In the weeks before school closure was announced the middle school team researched, tested, trained, and taught their students how to use online programs that would allow for distance learning to take place. Students computers were tested to ensure that they could utilize these programs. These new programs were added to the online resources students had already used throughout the school year.
The roll-out of distance learning requires consistent communication between members of the middle school team, students, and families. In the early weeks, this meant detailed communication with families about expectations, schedules, and assignments. It also meant being nimble and flexible so that we could respond quickly to the many unexpected wrinkles that have taken place from week to week. In addition to weekly notes, teachers communicate with students and families when students miss class or assignments aren’t turned in.
During different phases of distance learning we have asked families to share feedback about how things are working and made changes based on that feedback. We also take the opportunity to lift each other up by sharing stories about Lucy School and each other.
Our students have gone through a variety of psychological and behavioral changes during this period. Maintaining a strong community may be the most important aspect of what we are trying to preserve. When we see students beginning to exhibit signs of disengagement, we communicate as a team and with families.Our teachers have maintained personal relationships with students through individual check ins with students. Teachers have sent post cards and care packages to students. The 7th grade has continued the student generated online newspaper and we update our community middle school page with the “question of the day”, videos, quotes, and photos. We are holding community meetings to share poems, jokes, mindfulness activities, and celebrate birthdays.
To promote engagement and provide additional opportunities, the middle school team has used distance learning opportunities in several ways. These additions to core academics have increased engagement and participation. These additional opportunities include: