To fulfill our mission in a virtual environment, we must consider the ages of our students, as well as their academic, social and emotional needs. We must also balance the school’s desire to extend learning to the home with students’ varying abilities to attend to schoolwork in a self-directed or family-supported environment. This careful balance influences our virtual learning program objectives, plans and definition of success as we work in fulfillment of our mission.
Continue the learning. This looks different for each grade, and each of our divisions (Lower School and Middle School) created a virtual learning framework to guide our expectations of faculty, students and families. Our faculty devised units and lessons that teach and enable practice of key skills using remote technologies and non-technology-based tools. Our objective is not to take physical school and move every aspect of it to a virtual environment; instead, we deem continuity of learning and participation by students as fundamental to our virtual learning philosophy, and those outcomes guide our virtual learning processes.
Leverage existing technology tools. St. John’s virtual learning leverages technology tools that we already use, including Office 365 and RenWeb. Lower School students share work via Seesaw. Middle School students continue using RenWeb to track assignments and Microsoft Teams to receive and submit work. Faculty draw on other familiar resources as well, such as IXL, Membean, Khan Academy, Reading A to Z (RAZ) and Reflex Math, among others.
Maintain community. Through virtual morning announcements, regular homeroom and advisory check-ins, and "Chapel Unplugged," we help students maintain a sense of connection to our St. John’s community.
Support creation of family routines. Throughout the virtual learning process, it is important for families to establish learning routines, as this constant helps children adapt to their changed learning environment. We created weekday school schedules to help with this process. See the Parent Partnership section below for resources related to establishing home-based learning routines.
Transferring to a virtual learning environment requires a paradigm shift, which in turn requires us to evaluate our measures of success. Throughout this process, we emphasize participation and progress toward skills acquisition. As students, faculty and families acclimate to virtual learning, we will adjust expectations accordingly.