Although they cannot be together in their classrooms, students and teachers are continuing to work through lessons, manage homework assignments, and get together for virtual office hours through Google Classroom and Google Meet, and other district-approved digital platforms. It’s all a part of the district’s distance learning plan.
“Everyone in the Warwick Valley Central School District understands how important it is to serve our students by maintaining our commitment to delivering excellence in education during this unique and challenging time,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Leach. “From our principals and teachers to our students and parents, I am glad to report that our efforts so far have been smoothly implemented, well-received, and are proving to be very effective.”
Staff Going the Extra Mile
Many teachers have provided email and even personal phone access for their students.
“Teachers are contacting their students at least twice a week,” said Sanfordville Elementary School Principal Johnna Maraia, explaining that, “They’re doing read-aloud sessions, and even group lunchtimes and learning games on Fridays.”
The district approach to education is to target students’ individual needs, and that has been kept front and center in its distance learning efforts.
Improving Online Methods
Following the district’s quick and efficient move to distance learning, the current model was rolled out more strategically, to avoid giving students and families too much to navigate too quickly. Online lessons began using Google Classroom and other resources the students had previously used in the classroom, and new technology has been introduced at a manageable pace.
Teachers in team teaching situations, such as Middle School fifth-grade teacher Diana Piascik who team teaches with Janine Mitchell, divide their classwork by subject. Ms. Piascik is one of many teachers who sends her parents a weekly communication to let them know what to expect for the coming week. Teachers are also having success reviewing Google Sheets in real-time with students and their parents and providing customized video content to help with adopting new technology.
Middle School Principal Georgianna Diopoulos shares that the schedule created for the Middle School looks a bit different from grades five and six to seven and eight. Grades five and six are set up like an elementary model, with only math and science taught on Mondays and Wednesdays, and ELA and Social Studies on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Grades seven and eight operate on a rotating schedule of classroom periods. On Mondays and Wednesdays, students cover what would be periods one, two, three, and four during a typical school day, and periods six, seven, eight, and nine on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Fridays are set aside for catch-up work and to accommodate anyone who wants extra help.
Students Staying on Top of Assignments
As distance learning continues, the district’s Parent Guide to Distance Learning Plan will be updated. The outline and guidelines for understanding and making the most of the district’s ongoing distance-learning efforts will remain the district’s official source for best practices on day-to-day academics, and will also provide valuable information for coping with the emotional and mental strain of the current stay-at-home order.
Third grader Ryliegh Retcho (center) working hard in her home learning space with her sisters Avery (left) & Olivia.