Key ingredients that made our Infant & Primary team go above and beyond in this extraordinary situation…
Involving everyone and building on the team experience and skills
At Haut-Lac, we started preparing for Distance Learning about three weeks before the school had to close. We listened to, and were advised by staff who had already gone through a similar pandemic in Africa. This obviously spurred us on to make sure all teachers were trained in the various platforms we were going to use.
The IT Department organised tutorials, Tamara (SeeSaw Ambassador and P4A teacher) made sure all staff could use the different SeeSaw applications, and Paul (P5A) introduced the other P5 teachers to Google Classroom.
The teachers in turn made sure the children knew how Distance Learning was going to work. They tried virtual lessons in the classroom and made sure the students knew where to look for information, lessons and how to send work back to their teachers.
Being open to adapt and pivot to address changing needs
We had not really planned on using Zoom, but it became evident very quickly that teachers needed to do more than just post lessons. They needed to be able to interact with their students.
Haut-Lac teachers did "whatever it takes" to ensure they reached every child. Not all students learn at the same pace, and our teachers catered for this from the start with differentiated learning plans. However, some of our students found learning at home a challenge either because they are second language students or because they learn differently.
We therefore made sure that the students who needed to be reassured about either English or French had Zoom lessons with EAL/FLE/FLA (English as an additional language / French as a foreign language) teachers to provide the much needed support that would enable them to access the curriculum.
Class teachers also realised that not all second language learners could access everything from home by themselves, so they too initiated extra Zoom time with the children they felt needed one on one time with them.
Listening, sharing and communicating constantly
The children who were finding at-home organisation difficult continued to have extra support with Individual Needs teachers, Zooming first thing in the morning to set them up for the day and again in the afternoon to help them understand or finish work that had been started during the day.
The whole teaching team pulled together and Zoomed with each other about which student needed what. Not only did our teachers teach online but the learning was totally personalised depending on the group of children involved.
We are very proud of how we have managed our first four weeks of distance learning.
We now have 9 days of holiday left before we have to brace ourselves for what comes next, hopefully a return to school very soon. However if we have to continue with Distance Learning for another week or two, we are still going to go above and beyond to make sure no child is left behind.
Managing Director Primary School