Teachers at The Learning Center Charter School have not let school closure and remote learning stand in the way of teaching effectively, engaging students deeply in core curriculum, and embarking on interesting projects.
For example, Jay Ward teaches sixth grade science at the charter school and implemented an entire science unit studying space exploration and the constellations remotely with her class. She called the unit “Space Exploration” and it involved students researching planets, creating 3D models of the solar system, and writing a paper from the point of view of a scientist hoping to colonize a distant planet.
The assignments were completed either via Google Classroom or hard copy. Physical projects such as the 3D models of the solar system were dropped off at the school during the weekly drop off times on Mondays from 7:30-9:30 am and 3:30-5:30 pm. As the project progressed, students were expected to view a series of “Crash Course Kids” science videos on YouTube. Finally, at the conclusion of the unit, students had to create a Nebula in a jar or comparable space feature depending on supplies students had available to them at home.
“In March when we began remote learning, I had great plans that mimicked what we regularly do face-to-face in the classroom,” said Ward. “However, as I spoke with parents and students through email, Facebook, phone, Google Classroom, Zoom, and Skype, it became clear that what we could accomplish at school in a short time was taking longer at home as families tried to figure it out and deal with all of the distractions.”
Ward added that based on the parent and student feedback, she pivoted and altered her plan quickly in order to meet the needs of her students while making sure that they continue to learn.
With all schools across the state being closed by order of the governor for the remainder of the school year, remote learning has been in place at The Learning Center Charter School since late March.
Head of school, Ryan Bender, worked with teachers and staff to implement a comprehensive remote learning plan that supported families during the transition and continues to lead, support and encourage families as remote learning classes continue.
“It took our entire staff to mobilize the extensive resources that we’ve made available to our students,” said Bender. “We knew that in order to give our students the quality education that they deserve that we had to ensure each and every student had access to technology and materials to enrich the lessons and projects that teachers developed.”
All students in grades Kindergarten through eighth grade are either participating in online meetings with their teachers and classmates or having supplemental educational materials supplied via technology supplied by the school when necessary. This includes laptops loaned to families that need them as well as each week’s online materials that cannot be accessed at home by some being supplied via a jump drive weekly.
“It’s a massive undertaking for our I.T. department to make sure each and every student has what they need each week to get the rich education that our teachers are providing remotely,” said Bender. “But they’ve made it happen successfully and I’m incredibly proud of them and our entire team.”
Each Monday morning and afternoon from 7:30-9:30 and 3:30-5:30, families arrive on campus drive-thru style and drop off and pick up any supplies that they need for the week.
“The remote learning happening for our students is impressive,” said Tammy Fleischer parent of an 8th grade student at the school. “These teachers have poured their hearts into creative lessons that stimulate and engage our students, keeping them on track with their standards. Every staff member has bent over backwards to meet individual student’s needs and I am eternally grateful for the love they have shown my daughter and the work they continue to do daily to keep her class connected.”