In the midst of Watkinson’s March break, we realized that our campus was going to have to close and when school resumed, it would be via remote learning. This meant that, like many of our sister private schools, we needed to communicate that fact to our teachers AND set up our post-March break solutions while our employees were not here.* Having completed a strategic planning process four years prior, our faculty is practiced at collaboratively planning and or problem solving collaboratively when an educational goal or dilemma is placed squarely in the center of the room.
In a crisis, it is natural to move immediately to the “how”. How will it work? How will I be able to have class discussions in English? How will I be able to teach geometry to a broad range of students? How can we possibly have art class?
Watkinson’s school leadership didn’t start here. Our school has a decades-long history of starting with Essential Questions. In this case, the questions were:
- What do we believe to be true about distance learning?
- What are the values we most want to see evidenced in our program?
- What are the ideas and principles that we believe will support the integrity of our program?
- What will be our non-negotiables?
- What will a successful program look like? How will we know we’re succeeding?
After robust conversation over the course of two days, we agreed upon these Remote Learning Expectations. The other agreement was that we knew the development of the program would be iterative and we put structures in place to share our learning. This blog will be devoted to those stories.
*Anticipating this, prior to March break Watkinson’s IT department ensured all students had appropriate technology and loaner devices were issued as needed.