Remote Learning for Parents
How Parents/Guardians Can Support Remote Learning
Remote learning is a new concept for most of our Harley students, and it will be crucial for parents and guardians to partner with teachers and administrators to insure meaningful experiences and student success. During remote learning, Harley teachers have three key objectives:
- Content delivery
- Interaction with students
- Assessment and accountability for students
As parents and guardians, you will be essential to teaching and learning. While it will look different from Nursery to Grade 12, parents and guardians will most likely be more involved in teaching and learning if students are learning from home.
We have attempted to answer as many of your potential questions as we can. Please keep checking back as we will update this site frequently.
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What Is Remote Learning?
Remote learning pairs teaching and learning with digital tools and personal interaction. Students and teachers do not need to be in the same physical location at the same time, and individual student learning oftentimes happens asynchronously – not at the same time – from others.
At a minimum, remote learning includes a learning hub and people-to-people videoconferencing to achieve the key objectives. Additionally, most teachers make use of online digital learning tools for students to do research, complete projects, practice previously presented material, etc.
The Learning Hub is a course management system that can do all the sorts of management things that regularly occur in a classroom: posting of assignments; quizzes, tests and other assessments; calendaring; a gradebook function; and the sharing of resources (PDFs, online texts, internet learning tools, etc.). Harley uses Schoology as its learning hub.
In Harley’s case, we will use a video conferencing platform to allow for in-person interactions. This software allows teachers to provide live instruction, hold virtual class sessions, and meet individually with students, parents, other faculty, and school administration. Harley will use Google Meet for video conferencing since we already use G Suite Enterprise for Education tools.
Digital tools are online resources that can be used for students to learn asynchronously. Not everyone is going to be comfortable using them at first, so time will be provided to start slowly. They include things such as pre-recorded teacher videos, blog posts, online texts, software for practicing skills, formative assessments, etc.. Digital tools will vary from class to class. In our experience, students are often much more adept at learning and using the tools than untrained adults.
How Quickly Will You Transition to Remote Learning?
We have developed a plan that phases in remote learning over a three week period. Harley began the transition to remote learning after County Executive Adam Bello’s school closure announcement on March 14.
During Phase 1 (March 16-20), students will have two “snow days” where the only expectation is to complete any outstanding assignments. Teachers will then post additional learning activities for students to complete by themselves or under the direction of parents/guardians for the remaining three days of the first phase. This “holding” phase will allow teachers to undertake lesson planning, meet remotely, and make sure their technology is functioning properly.
In Phase 2 (March 23-27), we will begin rolling out the daily schedule, making sure students are connected with their teachers, and undertaking teaching and learning activities. There may some “bumps in the road” as this occurs. If so, please reassure your child that everything is okay and that teachers will be understanding.
After completing phase two, we will move into a third phase on March 30 where school is held remotely. We do not know the length of Phase 3, but during this phase, remote learning will become our new normal. This phase will continue until we are able to open school again.
Is Attendance Mandatory?
New York State requires all schools to track and report attendance. Your child will be expected to “attend” classes virtually. We are still working out the mechanics of what attendance procedures will be, but you should expect students in grades K-12 to have a daily check-in of some sort via video conference or teacher interaction with parents and guardians. Parents may “stand-in” for students in the earliest grades; older students should expect attendance to be taken in each class session (group or individual) that they are scheduled to attend in the course of the day.
When lessons are scheduled to be delivered through virtual means (in the cloud), attendance is still required. Teachers track virtual attendance in a variety of ways, and technology tools facilitate the confirmation of a student’s participation in virtual learning. It is possible for teachers to identify who is in attendance during a live video session, whether a student has signed into Schoology and completed assignments, who has sent or received an email, which students participated in an online chat, or who has uploaded an image or video documenting a student’s learning activity. Remote learning means that parents and guardians are ultimately responsible for student attendance and participation in learning activities.
What Things Should I Consider to Support My Child?
Remote learning requires that parents and guardians consider many factors. Specifically, parents and guardians have the responsibility to support their student’s meaningful engagement in learning through virtual means. The tips and tools offered here identify specific actions that can be taken in support of the endeavor to promote continuous learning outside the four walls of a classroom.
Should I Create a Learning Schedule and Space?
Students are used to a routine to follow and a space in which to work and learn. This will be just as important at home as it is at school. As you consider how to support your child’s online learning, be clear about the time of day any online video sessions will be held (through Schoology posts) as well as the assignments your student will be asked to complete. If you’re not sure, log onto Schoology with your student or ask your child’s teacher(s) via Schoology or email.
Once you have an idea about daily time commitments, plan a schedule for your child to follow. They may have less “class” time, but have additional learning activities to complete. Stick to as predictable a daily routine as possible. Don’t forget to include times for breaks, recess, and lunch – we will schedule those in to the day so they are predictable.
In addition to developing a daily learning schedule, it is important to identify an at-home learning space. Ideally, this space should have:
- A computer, iPad, Chromebook or other device with audio and video capabilities and a good internet connection
- Good lighting
- Ready access to learning materials and tools such as textbooks, paper, pens and pencils
A dedicated learning space for virtual learning should ideally be located in a shared area of your home such as at the kitchen table, a large kitchen counter, or a desk in a living room or family room. A simple background such as a wall helps make sure that other household members do not inadvertently enter a video conference.
Keeping your student’s learning space separate from their bedroom and distanced from the television clearly establishes the expectation that the space is for learning. Additionally, an online learning space in a shared area helps with accountability and appropriate online behavior.
What Will the Daily Schedule Look Like?
We are still working by school division to create developmentally appropriate schedules. Expect that there will be less group instruction and more one-to-one or small group time scheduled in. Students will have designated class times, but direct instruction may be shorter in nature, with practice time and check-ins occurring during the rest of the scheduled time.
More and more adults are able to work remotely and most have daily schedules or routines they use to help them stay focused and on task. When your child learns remotely, they’re going to need parent or guardian support to think about how to establish a regular routine.You and your child can work together to include as much from their typical school day as possible, including interactions with other students. Consider their ability to stay focused and how long they can reasonably devote their full attention to a task.
We anticipate that the school day for those who are participating via video conferencing will start later than normal in order to accommodate teacher planning and staff meetings. The day might begin with personal interaction with teachers or advisors in order to maintain important relationships. We would like to keep breaks at regularly scheduled times – such as MS/US first short around 10:30am – and lunch/recess times around their normal hours for all divisions. Afternoons may involve more self-directed activities, and, barring any external prohibitions, we will schedule outdoor physical activities students can undertake.
Remote learning can be just as challenging and engaging as a day of learning in the classroom. Teaching and learning just happen in a different place than the schoolhouse. Like at school, your student’s schedule might be a bit different on each day of the week. There will be certain things such as stretch and nutrition breaks as well as lunchtime that should probably be kept consistent. What might change are the times your child hops online for video sessions or online chats. The more time your student spends learning virtually, the more you and your student will know about what works best in terms of keeping focused, on task, and engaged in meaningful academic endeavors.
How Will My Child or I Be Able to Connect to Schoology?
We are working to make sure that all students from Nursery to Grade 12 have a Schoology account in order to access the learning hub. Schoology information for students in grades N-4 will be shared with parents and guardians. Students in grades 5-12 already have Schoology accounts, and we are conducting tests to make sure they are able to access their accounts. We will post help desk information during Phase 1 with specific instructions for requesting support.
How Will Students Share Learning with Teachers?
Students should check their Schoology accounts every day for messages from their teacher(s) about the daily learning expectations for video conferencing, learning activities, etc. Lower School students may need help checking their Schoology page. Educators will also communicate with students about how to share their learning. Students may be asked to:
- Complete an online quiz;
- Submit a document to Schoology;
- Take a picture of their work and upload it into Schoology or email it to their teacher;
- Record a video that shows how they are able to do something;
- Email a message summarizing their learning;
- Engage in a Chat session; or
- Engage in an online video or “Office Hour”.
There are many possibilities for how teachers might invite students to share their learning. Parents and guardians should be sure they know what their children’s teacher(s) expect and then support their student as needed.
How can I get help with online resources?
What Learning Materials and Tools Should We Gather?
Students who are learning virtually should also have the following materials and tools available to them:
- Paper, pencils, and pens
- Calculator, ruler, compass, counters (e.g., dry beans), or other items to support math
- Textbooks, trade books, composition notebooks, and other necessary curriculum resources
- Phone, iPad, or computer with camera for taking pictures of work and/or recording videos of learning demonstrations
The above list is not exhaustive. We will keep it updated, and you can expect more details from your Division Head and child’s teachers.
Will We Be Able to Come to School to Gather Materials?
Some school districts have been able to allow students and faculty to enter their school buildings for a short period of time so that they can gather materials and supplies. This would be dependent, however, on direction from state and local authorities, so it is best to have learning materials at home should we not be able to open our doors.
What About School Email Accounts?
Students in grades 3-12 have school email accounts which may be used for emailing teachers. The best communication method will probably be Schoology, but email may be another form of communication. We are working to make sure that students in grades 3-12 have logged into and used their school accounts. Parents may continue to contact teachers via their school email accounts.
How Might Remote Learning Work for Children in the Nursery Program or Grades K-2?
Our youngest students are less able to function as independently and autonomously as older students and will require direct guidance and coaching from parents, guardians, or older household members. Understanding this, many of the remote learning activities for students in the youngest years will be designed as facilitated activities so that caregivers can help lead and direct the activities. Video conferencing at those grade levels may take the form of teacher-parent interactions to support guided learning or teacher-student interactions, depending on the objective of the activity. We believe it is important for our teachers to maintain a relationship with their students, so we anticipate some video conferencing to occur between teachers and students. All of our teachers will use Schoology to deliver content to students – including parent-guided activities – so parents will receive access to their child’s Schoology account and have support available.
What Else Should I Be Thinking About?
Creating a Support Network for Unique Circumstances
Although students may be restricted from going to school, there is no guarantee that parents and guardians are able to work virtually from home and therefore be able to supervise their children. In the event Harley must close and we must shift our learning from the classroom to remote learning, Harley parents and guardians are encouraged to think about ways they can support one another. Everyone is encouraged to ask themselves:
- Who in the neighborhood might be able to look after several family’s children?
- How can a neighborhood or friendship group use a rotation schedule to provide supervision for students?
- Who in the neighborhood is really “tech savvy” and willing to help teach others how to use the online tools that are available to Harley students?
- How might older siblings and students be able to support the learning of younger children?
- In what ways can neighbors and friendship groups share technology tools and assist my children with items such as Schoology or video conferencing?
Making Sure Students Take Remote Learning Seriously and Act Appropriately
Remote learning, while new and different, still requires seriousness of purpose. It would not be unexpected for students to not take remote learning as seriously as the school setting. After all, for most of them, this is the first time they have had to learn in such a way. Given that, it is important that parents and guardians reinforce that remote learning is a shared expectation for all Harley students. Additionally, parents and guardians should remind their children that inappropriate behavior in an online remote learning setting will be treated the same way as inappropriate behavior at school. Your help in setting these expectations is greatly appreciated.
Do you have additional questions or concerns about our remote learning plan?
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