Woodward Academy is committed to providing an effective education for students during a school closure in both the short- and long-term. Our Remote Learning Plan describes our approach to distance learning, the channels we use for communication, the technology systems employed by each school, and resources for parents.
Our Primary School students are required to complete a reading, math, and writing assignment daily. Weekly recorded enrichment activities from P.E, Spanish, Science, S.T.E.A.M, visual art, and performing arts, along with live Zoom instruction for 2nd and 3rd graders in the areas of dance, music, and art, are included for students who feel passionately about those subjects. All of the teachers, administrators, and families are connected. Making digital communication a personalized experience is now the norm for our school.
Seesaw and Zoom are the main technology resources we are using to foster community and collaboration for students and families. These platforms provide the connection that young students and their families need to be successful during this difficult time. However, technology can only take you so far. The deep passion teachers have for their students’ learning and their commitment to our community is making all the difference. For example, teachers host afternoon office hours to answer questions from students and parents. The sense of community that is created by our Zoom-connected morning meetings has enriched this experience beyond our expectations. Homeroom teachers also lead daily live class instruction on Zoom and provide daily assignments in reading, writing, and math shared on Seesaw.
The most important factors to success for our school are community and collaboration. Being a Responsive Classroom school, we have deep relationships and connections to our students and families. That collaboration and connectedness makes us feel as if we are face-to-face with our students in our classrooms and is priceless at a time when we cannot physically be together. Our young primary students are not only learning from their individual teachers, but also from each other and our community as a whole. We collaborate, share, and work together to make remote learning a successful experience for everyone.
The Lower School has developed a Remote Learning Plan that is meeting the unique demands of our students and families during this time. We are using a mixture of methods to allow students to push forward in their academics while also being flexible and working in ways that do not put too much stress on them or their families.
We are continuing to use PowerSchool Learning as our primary place for instruction. This is where teacher lessons, student assignments, and daily announcements are being posted. Homeroom teachers are meeting with their homerooms daily, and teachers are conducting daily live teaching sessions through Zoom. Our teachers and students are using the many components of our Google Suite for creating assignments and turning work in. For assessments our teachers are taking advantage of many resources such as Formative, Gimkit, Kahoot, and PowerSchool. The Lower School teachers are also holding regular "office hours" through Zoom which allow students to check in, ask questions, and continue to build relationships while we are having to remain distant from each other.
The Middle School is putting the health and instruction of students first. We developed a schedule that allows students to work at a steady pace and without overload. Following this schedule, teachers meet with half of their classes daily via Zoom for live instruction, check-ins, followups, and Q&A.
For synchronous instruction, teachers are using Zoom on a daily basis. For asynchronous communication, teachers are using PowerSchool Learning, email, Google Drive, and Flipgrid. For assessment, teachers are leveraging platforms like Formative, Edpuzzle, Gimkit, Kahoot, Explain Everything, and PowerSchool Learning.
The Upper School is running a synchronous remote learning model to allow teachers and students to most closely resemble the school day from home. We are on an A and B block schedule rotation, and students and teachers are live on Zoom at the start of their class times for instruction to begin, just as it would be if we were in school. Teachers are also available during the block time once their instruction is over for students to ask questions or receive personalized help, if needed. Advisors are meeting weekly with their student groups as well to check in, and our counselors are available throughout the day for individual Zoom or phone meetings.
PowerSchool Learning has been our primary tool to communicate our plans and assignments to students. Some teachers are also leveraging Google Classroom to create meaningful assignments and assessments. This provides a seamless integration with a student's Google Drive for easy submission of assignments and organization. Screencastify is being widely used across the Upper School to screencast and record lectures, discussions, and more. Go Formative, Padlet, and Flipgrid are three other popular tools that are being used to foster student collaboration and formative assessments with meaningful teacher feedback. Prior to remote learning, each department had a variety of technology tools they used to create innovative and meaningful learning experiences for students, and our students are continuing to use these tools throughout our remote learning experience.
Students at Woodward North are using a variety of tools to access lessons and interact with their teachers. Currently, all core-subject teachers are instructing synchronous/live classes via Zoom and posting assignments on PowerSchool courses and Seesaw.
In addition to synchronous classes, core-subject and special area teachers are recording instructional videos and making screencast tutorials. All teachers also hold office hours for students and parents to address any questions. Zoom is also helping students connect to one another as Morning Meetings are being held every morning.
Remote learning for our Transition students is varied, engaging, and layered with multiple types of support for the students. The Transition Program uses a multi-sensory approach to instruction and learning, in addition to the methods and resources used at each school. Teachers’ presence and instruction is a source of affirmation and comfort for the students, and teachers find ways to personalize their written documents and communication. Our goal is for students to learn something each day, not just get through the remote school schedule. Transition teachers reach out to students and remind them of ways to “talk” to teachers individually in the remote school environment.
- Parents should expect the same structure, multi-sensory methodologies, instruction that acknowledges various learning profiles, supplemental materials, visual supports, on-going group and individual assessments, and teacher support.
- Students video chat with teachers as a whole class, in a small group, and individually for academic instruction. Assistance is provided in reviewing concepts and assignment completion/correction in small group and individual sessions on the Zoom platform.
- Written directions are multi-layered, sequenced, and much more detailed taking into consideration the number of questions students may ask on any given assignment.
- Instruction, discussion, peer collaboration, hands-on activities, and written assignments are implemented for incremental successes for each student.
- Extra care will be taken to ensure remote learners are participating in class and gaining skills and concepts--during class, during end-of-day study hall and tutorial, and in separate small group or 1:1 Zoom sessions as needed.
- Teachers supply recorded directions, Zoom instructions, checklists, written schedules, and individual sessions to support a student scheduling and organizing his or her day, assignments, and materials. Students are provided questions and suggestions to help determine the time to allot for different assignments.
- In the elementary grades, instructional assistants hold organization sessions, correct and return work in a timely manner, and assist individual students when needed. The middle grades Strategies teachers are modifying their curriculum to provide remote learning strategies and supporting students academically in personal meeting rooms during class and individual Zoom sessions.
- Adjustments have been made to textbooks, interactive workbooks, online reading materials, supplemental materials, etc., in order to meet the needs of our students in the remote learning environment.
- Teachers provide considerations for “extended time” when planning assignments and determining due dates. The Transition Program understands that students do not need to have a “new” assignment for every day or every block of time in a day.
- Accommodations are analyzed, modified, and provided in a way most suited to remote learning.
- Learning skills are taught in conjunction with content; organization and planning are taught in conjunction with assignments.
- Use of assistive technology is encouraged.
- All Transition students have a Learning Ally subscription.
- Conferences will still be held; individual progress monitoring will continue.
- All Transition Program support systems remain in place for you to contact at your school, including administrators, counselors, nurses, etc.
The Teachers will:
- Consider the type of questions that students with various types of learning profiles will ask and plan accordingly by providing more visual information, side bar, and digital sticky notes and encouraging students to ask/email individual questions, attend tutorial or office hours, or schedule individual Zoom appointments.
- Provide supplemental topic videos, activities, voice recordings, and links to help students better comprehend the information being covered.
- Consider the level of written text and the depth of cognitive load when assigning reading, while also being aware of the need for active reading strategies, discussion, and visual supports to assist students in understanding and learning from text.
- Map out instruction, review, assignments, and formative assessments before giving a summative assessment and grade.
- Provide daily, written reminders of materials and resources available to assist with learning and work completion.
- Digitize “paper and pencil” tasks and include audio and visual recordings for added support and explanation.
- Return assignments to “redo” or correct as a learning experience before grading is recorded. If reteaching is needed, teachers will offer more help one on one via Zoom.
- Encourage and support students taking notes—or provide the notes—from an online chat session.
- Provide visual support when using instructional videos so each student can review and summarize the information.
- Encourage use of strategies. For example, keep a notecard nearby to write down your questions for when you have time with a teacher.
We have been receiving a number of questions regarding the security of using Zoom as our video conferencing program. The safety of our children during this unprecedented time of Remote Learning is of utmost importance to all of us at Woodward.
With our purchased Pro accounts, we are able to configure our Zoom security settings in ways to better manage our Zoom sessions. Many of the concerns raised in the media do not incorporate the safety features that are available within the paid versions.
The default for all teachers is to use the waiting room feature to ensure all participants are students within the class. Additionally, all 4th-12th grade classes now require users to authenticate using their woodward.edu credentials. We are also recommending teachers prevent screen sharing, lock meetings after the start, not post Zoom room ID’s publicly, and require passwords for some classrooms.
Most of the Zoombombing occurred during public Zoom meetings where the host posted the meeting ID on the internet. As administrators of all Woodward Zoom accounts, we also have the ability to jump in and assist in any Zoom meeting if needed.
If you have questions or concerns, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we all adjust to a different routine, it is important to provide support for your children as they adapt to our remote school plan. It also is important to recognize the ways in which your children may be struggling as they miss personal, face-to-face interactions with their teachers and friends. Our team of Woodward counselors are here to help provide resources and help along the way.
Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:
● Establish routines and expectations
● Define the physical space for your child’s study
● Monitor and help students to connect to communications from your children’s teachers
● Begin and end each day with a check-in
● Take an active role in helping your children process their learning
● Establish times for quiet and reflection
● Encourage physical activity and/or exercise
● Remain mindful of your child’s stress or worry
● Monitor how much time your child is spending online
● Allow time for children to socialize virtually, but set rules around their social media interactions
|For Questions about...||Contact|
|A piece of work, resource, learning activity, or class||The teacher of the class|
|A technology-related question or email@example.com|
|A personal or social concern||Your school counselor|
|Any other issues related to remote learning||Your school principal|