Starting the School Year Right with Seamless Learning
The last months of the 2019-20 school year were not easy. Students and mentors had to switch on very short notice to distance learning. We were all required to quickly develop new skills for motivating ourselves, staying focused, connecting via video, and managing our self-care in this new context. As caregivers, you likely had to juggle your own work while having your children learning from home.
I am proud that the entire Quest Forward Academy community made the change as smoothly as we did. Our work continued on schedule and we finished the year strong. We did not lose a single planned day. We learned a lot about working under unusual circumstances, and we’re ready for the coming school year.
Public and private schools in Sonoma County are articulating their plans for this fall, with the awareness that any plan is aspirational, and contingent on how the coronavirus behaves in the coming months.
Quest Forward Academy is proudly implementing “Seamless Learning.” Seamless Learning ensures that every student is fully engaged and supported by mentors and counselors from the first day of school to the last, no matter the circumstances.
Seamless Learning will consist of several elements:
Flexible Use of Our Building: We plan to work in our building as much as possible, but all classes will run in the classroom and on Zoom simultaneously, so every student will be able to connect to their regular class regardless of where they are. We will follow health officials’ guidelines for safe in-person gathering, including increased sanitation of surfaces, required wearing of masks by all, social distancing in the building, and more.
Schedule Rotations: To ensure social distancing is possible and comfortable in every space, the building will be at reduced capacity. Students will get equal time in-person, and set groups of students will rotate in and out of the building each week. For example, if we run at half capacity, half of the students will be in the building one week, and will work from home (or a workspace) the next week. But since everyone will participate in the same sessions, their progress and work will flow seamlessly, regardless of their location.
Seamless Technology: To make this possible, we are equipping each classroom with the necessary TV and cameras to enable simultaneous, seamless class activity between the classroom and the remote participants. We will also ensure every student has the equipment and network connections they need at home to fully participate.
Full Support, Full Engagement: Regardless of a student’s location, our support and our expectations for them will be the same. Mentors will work with the whole student group as they normally would.
An additional benefit of Seamless Learning is that students will be able to continue learning when they might not be able to come in for health reasons, or should natural disasters or other interruptions occur.
This approach will set everyone up to continue learning, regardless of their physical location. I hope I am leaving you optimistic, curious, and energized about our year ahead!
Read more about Seamless Learning from Opportunity Education’s Manuel Mattke.
Karen Kenkel, PhD, is the founding Director of Quest Forward Academy Santa Rosa. With over 30 years of experience in education administration and teaching in public and private schools, she wore many hats at Quest Forward Academy to ensure that students and mentors experience joyful learning in a nurturing environment.