As COVID-19 entered the United States and then was diagnosed in Kentucky, schools knew that we would likely need to close for a period of time. The two primary goals for us at St. Francis were keeping the learning process on track and continuing to foster community, because we prioritize those as a school every day. We thought that you, as prospective parents, might like to see how we decided to address the challenge of remote learning during this time!
Our schedule was designed to create as much structure and support as possible for the students:
- On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, we have class from 8:50 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Students connect with their classmates and teacher using Google Hangouts (part of the G Suite for Education). Teachers are able to explain concepts and students can ask questions; there’s even class discussion. As much as possible, it’s actual class, just through computers. Even our art and music classes are meeting!
- On Tuesdays and Thursdays, each teacher has a designated two-hour period of “office hours” during the school day, during which students can log into a Google Hangout with a teacher to ask specific questions. This allows for students to get individual or small-group help and have access to their teachers that is structured and already set up for them. We explained it to them as just a virtual substitute for the way they would otherwise stop in to see a teacher for help during a free period or at lunch.
Other ways in which we are caring for students and building community during this time:
- Students’ mental health is key, so in addition to creating a structure through which students have school days that are as normal as possible, our Counselor sets up one-on-one sessions or small group meetings through Google Hangouts whenever needed.
- Our College Counselor continues to work with our students in one-on-one Google Hangouts sessions and also provides advice on how to explore colleges remotely. Our COVID-19 page has a list of resources to help you “tour” from the comfort of your home.
- Our Athletic Department has sent out workouts that can be done at home, encouraging students to exercise and stay healthy.
- The Learning Center uses virtual sessions to continue providing tutoring and academic support to students on its regular schedule.
- We normally start the day with an all-school Morning Meeting that closes with a poem being read. So during this time, we are sending out Morning Meeting emails that include videos of one of our English teachers, Juan Ramirez, reading a poem. Wednesday’s poem was “Indian Boarding School: The Runaways” by Louise Erdrich.
- On Friday mornings we have Advisee Groups instead of Morning Meeting, and one Advisee Group tradition is sharing breakfast, so each group is still meeting for virtual breakfasts on Fridays.
All of this is helping us to maintain the extraordinary academics and strong community that are hallmarks of a St. Francis education. Want to learn more? Contact Toni Robinson to schedule your remote visit!
Our communications regarding COVID-19 are posted on our COVID-19 page along with helpful links for parents.