Distance Learning 2020
Nimble and Responsive | Creative and Supportive
List of 1 items.
Distance Learning Program
If there's one thing that sets Burke apart, it is the vibrancy of our community. We thrive on in-person interactions, energetic conversations, performances at assembly, and hands-on projects in class. We value spontaneous interaction in the Library, the Atrium, and the halls.
Yet we are all confronting a once-in-a-generation pandemic and need to adjust swiftly. Until we can safely return to school, our goals are to provide a clear, consistent remote learning program – and to be creative and responsive in our approach.
As a small independent school, we have the freedom to learn, adapt, and improve as we go; to be responsive to student and family feedback; to design assessments that are not traditional tests; and, of course, to keep in close touch with each individual student.
In Jim G.'s Advanced Drama class, students move through three units: Monologues, Scene Work & Classical Text, and Great Texts & Great Performances. To capture their work on monologues, actors filmed themselves at home and created a "mix tape" on Flipgrid.
As a spring trimester project in Jessie's Spanish classes, students put their language and creative skills (including lighting and costuming) to work by creating music video projects, both solo and in teams, covering Señor Wooly's clever tunes.
In Physical Science with Kelly W., 8th graders built their own Rube Goldberg machines – which demonstrate principals of energy and momentum by performing a simple task in a lengthy, complex way. You can watch ten different students demonstrate their work here!
For seven years now, Burke has implemented a 1:1 Program, wherein each student receives a tablet and each teacher receives a laptop. From Math to World Language to Visual Art, faculty are always exploring new ways to integrate technology and digital media into their classes.
Burke also employs a cloud-based Student Information System (SIS), which centralizes all student schedules, assignments, course requests, and resources and provides a login for students and parents. This infrastructure, and integrated approach to technology, has served us well in recent months.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Burke elected to close campus on Friday, March 13. Students began their planned Spring Break one week early, while our faculty and staff prepared for a swift transition to our Online Learning Program.
Our Academic Technology team crafted an online training course through PowerSchool, which offered guidance to faculty on expectations and resources for remote learning; they also developed an online orientation course for families and students, which was circulated the week before distance learning began. Members of the Burke faculty and the Academic Tech Team completed Global Online Academy's "Designing for Online Learning" training and shared insights with the full faculty.
During distance learning, full couses meet synchronously at least twice each "cycle" during 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 6th period; sample schedules are viewable in the right-hand menu ("Synchronous Class Meetings")
Some foundational courses may meet more often, including 6th Grade Core, which meets five times with two teachers, or Spanish 1, which meets three times
Class meetings can be lessons, discussions, or online check-ins and "office hours"
Teachers check in offline with any student who was absent from a synchronous meeting
When classes are not meeting synchronously, teachers provide assignments designed to cover the same period of time
At Burke, we have the freedom to refine and adjust our program as we move forward and to work closely with families. For example:
After the first week of remote learning, we surveyed students, parents, and faculty about their experience; leadership and department chairs reviewed the results and presented updates to the program via video.
Advisors held one-on-one online "learning check-ins" with advisees and their parents in mid-April, discussing their progress and need for any support.
At the end of April, we offered seven online "Family Town Halls" (one for each grade), hosted by the Head of School, School Psychologist, Head of the Middle School, and Academic Dean for the High School.
Like all of us, teenagers need limits on screentime – and too many hours of online instruction, coupled with homework and digital projects, can become counterproductive.
Therefore, our online program blends synchronous sessions (class meetings in real time) and asynchronous learning (self-scheduled projects and assignments, which may not involve a screen at all). This mixed approach offers ongoing connection online, as well as the chance to work independently offline – including spending much-needed time outdoors.
Advising: faculty advisors at Burke work with just 5-7 student advisees each year, so they get to know each student very well. During this period, advisors have standing individual meetings, and hold Online Learning Check-ins with families in mid-April.
Learning Support: Burke's full-time learning specialists provide one-on-one guidance in meeting the demands of our curriculum, During online learning, they are also available to students who may need support for the first time as they adjust to this new medium.
Counseling: Burke's full-time School Psychologist is also available both to students and families and send regular advice to all parents via email.
Burke offers a tech support ticket system that students, parents, and teachers can use to ask for help. The ticket system is monitored by several tech staff who can manage support in a timely and organized fashion.
For current families, our "Request Tech Support" button can be found on the Online Learning Resource Board in our Student Information System.
Starting on March 30, our College Counseling team is available to juniors and seniors for one-on-one videoconferences between 9 AM and 3 PM to discuss applications, financial aid, testing, and any other needs. The College Counseling team also will have a regular newsletter for upperclassmen and families.
Academic Tech Team | Spring 2020
List of 6 members.
Director of Technology and Innovative Learning / Scheduler / HS History