When the Warwick Valley Central School District switched to remote instruction, administration and faculty knew solutions needed to be consistent throughout the District, yet flexible enough to be tailored to all grade levels, especially with the high school students.
“We wanted to be fair to the kids and fair to the parents. We thought about what distance learning would look like across all grades, and it looks significantly different for high school students, who have different teachers for multiple subjects,” said Warwick Valley H.S. Principal Marguerite Fusco.
At first, that dynamic led to a heavy workload as multiple teachers posted three lessons and subsequent deadlines each week. Some students were overwhelmed by this change to an entirely new learning model. The District quickly reassessed its model and reset its expectations to provide students with the best possible learning conditions.
“An unexpected benefit of distance learning is the opportunity to try out something like college-style learning. We have classes a couple of times a week, but there’s no in-class oversight, and it is up to students to structure their own time to complete assignments,” said sophomore Arden Hallett.
District-approved apps like Screencastify and Flipgrid have also helped expand and enhance Google Suite capabilities, giving teachers multiple ways to present their content in dynamic and visually compelling ways. Live and archived videos, along with quick and simple screen sharing, have been a huge help to many students.
Compared to the 40 minutes of traditional classroom time that a teacher has in a class period, the archived video lessons let students learn at their own pace.
Fusco also shared that peer support among teachers and staff has gone a long way toward helping the faculty expand its skillset overall. She has seen it regularly during staff meetings.
“I’m so proud of how the teachers have come together to support one another, and that, of course, helps the students,” said Ms. Fusco. “They’ve been phenomenal.”
Warwick Valley H.S. Principal Marguerite Fusco