2020-2021 Somersworth Middle School
Remote Learning Academy
A New Approach to Distance Learning
In the spring of 2020, teachers and students were asked to leave the traditional classroom and embark on a learning journey through previously uncharted waters. While struggling with the logistics, and technological challenges, teachers and students learned to navigate these challenges. While there were some highs and successes, there were also many challenges, and the Somersworth Middle School teachers and staff spent the professional development days at the end of the 2019-2020 year in critical reflection. The summer team has taken this information, and through collaboration have created a model that best addresses many of these concerns, and creates a more quality approach and expectation of learning than we had time to create in the spring.
We have created a more cohesive universal approach to remote instruction that couples synchronous live lessons, along with small breakout groups tailored to students’ needs and supports. Together this will closely mirror our middle level best practices. Students will be receiving direct instruction, formatively practicing their skills, and then receiving feedback on their submitted evidence. In this way, teachers will be focusing heavily on those critical standards directly linked to student’s core academic competencies. Intervention services and supports will be provided during those breakout groups to best meet students needs and to best utilize students’ on-screen time.
Our schedule has students starting and ending their day in their Advisories, not only building that necessary connection, and relationship, but also furthering our middle school community of caring through our daily advisory activities and our new daily Guidance Social Emotional Learning activities. The schedule also has built-in breaks for students with available Mindfulness & Wellness activities, but also a Universal Student Support time that allows students to check in with staff and guidance counselors. The schedule allows for an extended lunchtime to accommodate for community food service, as to not have students deciding between class time and getting daily food.
While nothing can replace face to face instruction, this new approach to remote learning is much more in-line with our needs and values. While it is our hope for it to eventually be safe enough to fully return to in-class instruction, in this ever-changing pandemic, the uncertainty will inevitably place us back into a remote environment. It is our hope that by starting in this new universal remote model, we will be establishing a much stronger learning platform, with stronger learning expectations for our students. Should we be able to transition or phase-out of a full remote model, these strong values will be transferable to a hybrid or in-school model, but they will also allow for a more seamless reintegration.
Providing a safe, respectful, responsible and cooperative learning environment for our students is paramount, and a foundation of our pedagogical beliefs. In a pandemic, we understand that the setting may change and the obstacles that our middle schoolers face may evolve, but we will endure to put forth our best efforts to ensure that our students continue on the path to success.
Here is what our Fall Schedule will look like for students:
As we continue to develop our plans, we will continue to update families with information!
Stay Safe & Healthy!