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When the COVID-19 pandemic closed schools this past spring, Blanchet’s teachers quickly adapted their teaching methods to help students continue their learning online. It took a lot of planning, communication and creativity to finish out the school year.
Luckily, Mary Heintzman, Blanchet’s visual arts teacher, is the embodiment of creativity. She thought outside the box and helped students learn art concepts in a whole new way. How do you teach pottery when students don’t have an art studio at home? You use the resources they do have and challenge students to learn shape building and form with paper, plastic, and anything else they can get their hands on. Mary worked with students to find new and clever ways to excel in drawing, painting, pottery, and photography.
Armed with her knowledge and experiences from last school year, Mary used the summer break to prepare her art classes for her current students. She created take home art supply packets that students can use for at home learning as well as in-person classes. She thought out every lesson she planned to teach for the year and found the items students would need to be successful. If you stopped by her classroom this summer, you would have seen all the items she carefully curated and individually packed for each student.
Mary also set up a special recording studio to allow students to follow her step-by-step instructions while learning online. Her preparation for each lesson takes countless hours of set up and forethought. She is dedicated to offering Blanchet students the opportunity to participate in the elective classes they love through online learning.
And, if that wasn’t enough, she also spent part of her summer break working on a new art addition for Blanchet’s press box overlooking the courtyard of Mountain West Stadium. Next time you are on campus, we highly recommend you check out the Blanchet shield and motto Mary painted for all the Cavaliers to enjoy.
With school closures extended through April 28 across the state, Blanchet students will be relying on our digital learning platform longer than many may have expected. In addition to our students’ safety, their ability to continue learning is our top priority. At Blanchet, we’re doing everything we can to keep our community’s educational experience top-notch, and allow our seniors to graduate on time.
Our students and staff have benefited from already having a Digital Learning Day protocol in place, which uses RenWeb as a central portal for learning and communication. We will continue to build out our online curriculum around these guidelines. With that in mind, here’s the lowdown on learning digitally.
How are teachers communicating with their students?
Our teachers did an admirable job quickly transitioning their curriculums to a digital format, and were able to communicate expectations with their students the Friday before closures went into effect. Students will continue to receive regular communications from their teachers containing updates, links, and assignments, either via email or directly through RenWeb.
Faculty have been asked to be available via email from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. each digital school day for questions regarding assignments or instructions.
How are staff and students being held accountable for at-home teaching and learning?
Each teacher has posted a brief weekly plan or calendar on RenWeb, which will be updated every Monday morning. All assignments and instructions will be posted on RenWeb no later than 9:30 a.m. the day they are needed.
All classes will require at least one digital deliverable per week, although some teachers may require more at their discretion and depending on the nature of the course. These assignments must be submitted by the deadline established by the teacher, or they will be considered late work.
What kind of workload should students expect?
The duration of assignments will depend on the class; students may have a series of smaller assignments or a longer assignment intended to take place over the course of the week. Potential home-based assessments may include online quizzes, papers, projects, videos, and online discussion posts.
Students should expect to spend up to 45 minutes per class per digital school day, or about 4 hours for each class per week. Students in AP, honors, and dual-credit classes should expect to spend up to 60 minutes per day per class, or about 5 hours per class each week.
What happens if students are ill or lose access to the Internet?
If a student is unable to engage in digital work due to illness or Internet disruption, parents/guardians should call (503) 391-2639 or email email@example.com. Faculty will provide extensions or exemptions as needed per their usual practice regarding absences.
If a student does not have regular access to the Internet at home, parents/guardians should contact the school as soon as possible to make the necessary arrangements.
Will the school be in regular contact with families?
Yes! Continued communication between administrators and parents is vital. We want to ensure that the current digital learning process is working as smoothly as possible for all our students. “Announcements” will continue to be posted on RenWeb, as needed. Our parents will also continue to receive weekly e-newsletters with updates, as well as other directly emailed communications from Mr. Weber as needed.
What other steps will Blanchet be taking to provide a positive educational experience?
We are committed to maintaining a sense of community throughout this unprecedented time. Our administration is currently looking for ways to continue featuring our student clubs and organizations, and is working diligently with coaches and club advisors to create potential at-home workouts and activities. Stay tuned for more information as we begin to make these programs available.
As always, follow our social media accounts for updates, information, and helpful tips and activity ideas. Our school community is full of bright problem solvers, and we look forward to being able to showcase their resiliency and creativity in the weeks to come.
If you encounter any questions or difficulty utilizing our digital learning platform, please feel free to give the school office a call or email firstname.lastname@example.org.