Areas of Impact
Sample Distance Learning Schedule: Middle School
The Middle School version walks students through each day’s mandatory and optional activities. The school day “begins” with optional but highly encouraged morning meetings, which are opportunities for students to connect with each other and with staff, ask questions about the day’s work, and stay informed about announcements that impact the extended school community. Students are also encouraged to visit the virtual “Student Services Office” each afternoon for live support if they need help with issues not directly related to specific class content. The organizer also provides extension opportunities for students looking for stretch goals, and reiterates “schoolwide” norms -- slightly updated and adapted for the new learning context.
There are about as many ways of doing distance learning as there are schools, and all are evolving week by week as educators learn more about what engages students and what is reasonable to ask of children and families sheltering in place. At Gateway, we remain firmly committed to keeping all mandatory instruction asynchronous while providing as many optional opportunities for students to connect “live” with peers and staff as possible. We believe this is the best possible balance between the most equitable instruction we can provide, given that most students are sharing limited technology and internet access with their families, and the social interaction adolescents really do need to thrive.
All of which isn’t to say that the asynchronous model isn’t without its challenges. It requires students to be largely responsible for their own learning during the day, which in turn entails an incredible amount of planning on the part of teachers. Students need a lot of support not just in mastering content, but in recreating some of the structures of the school day that are crucial for many students to thrive.
This middle school distance learning schedule is a snapshot of what asynchronous distance learning can look like.
These are very much living documents that are constantly being refined -- some students, for example, find the week-at-a-glance format overwhelming, in which case staff are differentiating by breaking the week down into daily schedules they review each morning with the student. Adapt as needed.