From July 20-24, all faculty took part in the Global Online Academy’s Design Bootcamp.
Designing high-quality online learning experiences will be a feature of our academic program next year, whether we are in a hybrid schedule or a remote one. Even when we return to in-person learning, we believe the skills and practices that teachers learned in this training will be valuable.During the training, faculty learned about and practiced designin gonline learning experiences that promote student agency, build community in online spaces, assess students with an emphasis on evidence of student work, and are built for easy and intuitive navigation. As part of our yearlong partnership with Global Online Academy, additional faculty and staff members are taking part in another course from July 27-31, focused solely on building relationships with students online.
Semester Modular Schedule
We began with bedrock design parameters and principles deeply rooted in our mission and values. Then we considered the needs, emotions, concerns, thoughts, and feedback from last spring from teachers, students and parents. Our aim was to design a flexible and dynamic academic program for 2020-21 that sustains Burke’s excellent academics, responds to the historic moment, and prioritizes safety.
In consulation with Independent School Management
, we reviewed multiple schedule models and landed on a semester modular schedule, in which students take about half their typical courses in the fall and half in the spring – much like college students. This schedule allows for twice as much class time for each course during a typical week than if students took all their courses all year long. Moreover, this schedule responds to one of the most significant findings from last spring: the need for simplicity and consistency.
Model 1: Hybrid Schedule
From Tuesday to Thursday, students in grades 8-12
would attend school in person and engage in independent distance learning on alternate days. Students in grades 6-7
would attend school Tuesday through Friday. The entire school would be at home each Monday for synchronous virtual programming.
On Mondays, we would have a mixture of virtual activities, including assembly, clubs, affinity groups, faculty and staff meetings, and office hours. From Tuesday to Thursday, the day would feature three long class periods, community time, time for lunch, and a shorter class period at the end of the day. When allowed, in-person, after-school activities may take place. On the distance learning days, we would provide students with structure, consistency, support, and in-person interactions, such as daily check-ins with support specialists and advisors.
If families elect not to attend in-person classes, we would make appropriate accommodations for the student to have a comparable learning experience or work with families to create and adjust individualized learning support plans that best meet the student’s needs and course enrollments.
Model 2: Fully Remote Schedule
In a remote schedule, students would have four days of synchronous classes each week and have a virtual community day each Monday.
On Mondays, we would have a mixture of virtual activities including assembly, clubs, affinity groups, faculty and staff meetings, and office hours. From Tuesday to Friday, the day would consist of four 50-minute synchronous class periods, community time, time for lunch, and several breaks for students to get up and move, meditate, spend time with their families, go outside, put their devices down, socialize, meet with teachers or advisors, and/or get an early start on their homework.