As we continue with teaching and learning during the coronavirus pandemic, we have reimagined ways to create communities of learning that align with our commitment to innovation, creativity, deeper learning, and collaboration. Holy Child's Continuous Learning Plan outlines three learning models that will provide an engaging and challenging academic program for our students.
As we plan for the 2020 - 2021 school year, we are guided by the below questions and priorities.
- How do we support our students' well-being and their academic growth during a pandemic while staying true to our mission?
- How can we meet CDC guidelines for community health and safety while also providing a quality and engaging learning experience?
- Reducing class size and # of students on campus to meet CDC guidelines
- Keeping households together to support transportation and creating a consistent learning environment for siblings
- Providing a consistent student schedule that can be implemented through all 3 models
- Providing live access for all students through camera and microphone technology
- Maintain a full academic week
With each model, our students will continue to benefit from the hallmarks of a Holy Child education:
- 1:1 individualized instruction and relationships with teachers who know them
- A small class setting with innovative instructional techniques
- A challenging and engaging academic environment
- Collaboration with classmates and teachers through interactive lessons and project-based learning
- Access to The Coakley Center for Innovative Learning, Math Lab, and Writing Center
- Connectedness to the Holy Child family with fun, lively community events
- A wide array of extracurricular programs including athletics, the arts, clubs, and service projects
- A spiritual community committed to helping students develop into women of faith and action
Holy Child’s Continuous Learning Plan defines and guides our instructional practices, community engagement, and communication regarding how we respond to the phases of reopening. In each model (Typical, Hybrid, & E-Learning), we will identify how our school will continue to provide a high quality program that fulfils the Holy Child mission.
If we cannot be on campus at full capacity, Holy Child will implement Hybrid Model A: alternating two weeks on campus/two weeks in e-learning. There will be two cohort groups for grades 6-12 based on last name. The groups will be as follows:
- Cohort A: Last Name A-K
- Cohort B: Last Name L-Z
Cohort A will be on campus for two weeks learning in the classroom while Cohort B will be learning online (more details below about campus technology enhancements) and then those groups will switch so Cohort B will then be on campus for two weeks while Cohort A will be online for two weeks.
Holy Child's administration and scheduling committees have put considerable thought into this approach. Hybrid A will allow students to safely be on campus while also supporting our academic schedule and educational needs. We have many students that are not in classes based on their grade level, but rather ability. This schedule allows for those opportunities to continue.
Holy Child is working on an e-learning program that will continue our rigorous and challenging academic program in a remote setting. Our new 10-day schedule will be utilized in e-learning as well as the other models for the 20-21 school year. This will allow for consistency if we need to move between the models. There will be a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning, but students should expect to have increased workload and learning activities compared to last spring. Student life and community activities will be adjusted slightly to accommodate participation from home while continuing to engage with the Holy Child community.
When Maryland public health officials and local jurisdictions, the CDC, and OSHA deem it safe to return to school at a full capacity, Holy Child will implement our typical learning model with no changes to operations and events with health and safety precautions in place. This includes learning in the classroom, experiential learning with field trips and in-person community service, athletics, visual and performing arts, etc.
Holy Child has created a 10-day rotation schedule for our Continuous Learning Plan allowing us to better accommodate the two-week cohort rotation. At the end of each 10-day rotation, classes will end at 12:40pm in order to give teachers extra time to plan as well as transition the cohorts. This will also allow our facilities team an additional block of time to deeply clean and sanitize the building, above and beyond the daily cleaning. Class times and daily layout remain exactly as was proposed in February.
Campus Updates and Health & Safety Protocols
We are making improvements throughout campus to not only facilitate a safe and healthy environment for students, faculty, and staff, but also ensure that teachers are able to successfully engage with students who are learning remotely.
- Installing cameras and microphones in all classrooms to support the hybrid model. An example of what the classroom will look like will be shared at a later time.
- Displaying COVID signage throughout campus.
- Stationing additional hand sanitizer dispensers in classrooms and common areas.
- Modifying our health room to include an isolation room so that students can be separated based on their symptoms.
We will also be implementing safety protocols for every student, faculty, and staff member on campus.
- Self-assessment for symptoms each day – Holy Child will provide a checklist for families to execute a self-assessment before coming to school each day.
- Masks will be required for all students and faculty inside the buildings; if someone does not have a mask upon entry to our campus, we will provide one.
- Students and teachers will maintain proper social distancing (6 feet) in classrooms, common areas, and outside.
- Hallways and stairwells will have a one-way traffic pattern allowing for safe passage to/from classes.
- Signage will provide reminders for one-way hallway patterns and to stay 6 feet apart as well as visual cues on floors and seats where applicable.
- Contact tracing protocols and communication plans are being developed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Holy Child E-Learning Testimonials
“Our family wants to say thanks for the amazing e-learning we have set up. Holy Child is so progressive and ahead of the curve on the e-learning. We are all blessed to be part of such a great community.” (parent)
"What a wonderful job Holy Child is doing with the online learning! We have children in private middle school, private high school, and college, and Holy Child is the leading all the institutions in their ability to engage the students, keep them on a schedule, make them accountable for their work during this time, giving them the ability to virtual see their teacher and classmates with virtual steaming live lessons, and also keeping the parents well informed." (parent)
"Hearing my daughter laughing and engaging with classmates throughout the whole house [has been my favorite e-learning experience]. It has helped her feel connected during this crazy time and allowed her to feel like life is kind of normal." (parent)
"I felt like I was able to apply myself and work independently better than I expected [during e-learning]. I also had doubts and some anxiety in the beginning of the week about the process of online learning and how it would affect me, but I am proud that I was able to be strong and power through. And it ended up being great!" (student)
"I think the best moment was seeing students willing to show up everyday and still work hard especially with everything going on. I know if I was a kid right now this would be terrifying and it would be hard to find the motivation to take school as seriously, so I am really proud of our girls for showing great resilience." (faculty)
"I have been so proud of the students as they've stepped up and done their best in a tough situation. They are doing even better than I had hoped. I appreciate their persistence and admire their resilience, and can't wait to see them keep it up as we delve further into e-learning." (faculty)
Spring 2020 Virtual Classroom Examples
Middle School Science
Holy Child’s 8th grade science class with Ms. Olivia Hogan utilized Microsoft Teams to interview Katherine Weiss, a wildlife ecologist who specializes in urbanization's impact on mammal communities, species interactions, and human-wildlife conflict. The students asked her about her research on the effects of urbanization on mammal communities (specifically coyotes) in Phoenix and LA; about invasive species and their impact on ecosystems for their projects; and also about women in STEM and getting into the field of science. Katherine said of the 8th grade students, they were “a great group of engaged, respectful, and kind students who ask great questions!”
Upper School Physical Education
Holy Child Athletic Trainer Cara Lewis-Roy, M.Ed., ATC, LAT, CSCS taught her 9th grade physical education class on Microsoft Teams. Students are given their weekly schedules from each teacher on the Sunday prior to the start of the school week. Students are then able to prepare for all their classes ahead of meeting. 9th grade students pictured here are doing circuit training with Ms. Lewis-Roy during their PE class.
Middle School English
In 8th grade English, students are utilizing the theme of “Finding Your Path” to focus on analyzing the purpose of the authors they are reading. They have studied a condensed version of the fictional novel “Bronx Masquerade” by Nikki Grimmes. While reading this selection, the focus was on structure analysis and characterization. Students worked on recognizing character development through both direct and indirect clues. They demonstrated their understanding of the text by highlighting their analysis in an oral response of the selection through the video application of Flipgrid (see more about this platform below). Students then went on to demonstrate their creativity and understanding of poetic form through the writing and recitation of their own identity poem.
What is Flipgrid? Flipgrid is a website that allows teachers to create "grids" to facilitate video discussions. Each grid is like a message board where teachers can pose questions, called "topics," and their students can post video responses that appear in a tiled grid display.
In Ms. Schultz’s Freshman English class, students participated in a close reading exercise of Jane Eyre. Students were assigned to be in groups and asked to select a passage from the novel. The groups worked together to do a close reading of the passage they selected and then present their findings to the whole class. Here is an excerpt from one of the group presentations.