Virtual Learning During COVID-19

The Winston School is providing a virtual learning world for students and teachers during these unprecedented times. The students are holding a positive attitude as we guide them through this new learning environment.

Our teachers are taking their multi-discipline teaching skills to the next level by personally calling families to implement virtual learning, doing family check-ins, and sharing interactive art projects on social media. Dr. Dena Harris, Head of School, reminds us that “This is the time to remember how to connect with people on a human level–calling people, checking in and mixing old-school style communications from picking up the phone and reaching out as well as with today’s social media platforms. We can be separated but not isolated. Staff and students are writing songs, creating artwork, as well as posting photos on our social sites to lift everyone’s spirits.”

“It is a time to practice resilience and lift others while being a leader,” she continues. The technology was deployed, and teachers are using innovative ways to connect. “I have been at The Winston School for over 30 years, where we started with notebooks, paper, and chalkboards,” shares Mary Sterling-Torretti, Assistant Head of School. Today we are well-prepared with this unexpected situation since every student has been using Chromebooks and online learning tools. Although our physical campus is closed, those tools are being well connected via the cloud and the internet to provide individual instruction and group learning. Just as importantly, it is also helping us to maintain our personal connections with our students, families, and colleagues.”

“The Winston School began making a major investment in technology almost four years ago, long before the school had Chromebooks, online tools, and classroom tutorials,” says Director of Technology, Ken Harris. “We increased the bandwidth on campus to increase learning across the school with access to cloud-based resources like Google, Microsoft, PowerSchool, and other online services. This forward-thinking and planning prepared our school, its staff, and students, with the ability to quickly adapt to a distance learning and flipped classroom concept. I feel fortunate to have such great staff and families and students to work with to continue to make learning possible when faced with the uncertainty of the unprecedented situations facing our world today.”

Even our students have embraced our new reality. Tenth grader, Miles A., said it best during a Microsoft Teams’ virtual office hour with three of our educators. “For one thing, I think all of you guys are awesome. And it’s because of all these great people that we have been able to build a great community of a school and have proper academic learning and I am very proud of that.”

“In some ways, I realize we began preparing for this event almost four years ago with our shift to a high-technology environment to provide a more customized learning experience for our students,” shared Dr. Harris. “I have to admit; I did not think we would have to deploy it remotely to so many remote locations simultaneously. Schools such as The Winston School are dependent on the generosity of our donors. Fortunately, we have a member of our Board and one of our families who have generously stepped up to provide funding for a secure and remote environment.” “Our goal is to keep everyone gainfully employed and our students educated and engaged,” continued Harris.

The Winston School is being true to its motto…Never, never, never give up.

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