This year presented us with a challenge unbeknownst to most of us—a global pandemic. The effects of the pandemic have been felt in nearly every aspect of our lives, and schools have not been spared from the effects of COVID-19. Schools across the nation had to shift the way they instruct their students, and the same applies to us at Somerset Academy Skyway Campus. At first, we believed that the COVID-19 pandemic was an impediment to educating our students—as most other people believed. But we took this as an opportunity to revolutionize teaching and learning as we know it.
At Somerset Academy Skyway campus, we are providing our students with the same high-quality education they were receiving before the COVID-19 pandemic. In the weeks before the school closure, we surveyed families to ensure all had access to devices and internet service.
We provided online classrooms for all teachers. Our online platform connects every child with their classroom teacher—live. They learn together with their classmates live on the same video feed as they would in a physical classroom. Students are in uniform, teachers call on students and hands are raised to ask questions as they would in person—these are just some of the ways all of our students interact with their teachers and classmates in real time. Although the venues have changed, student learning continues without disruption.
The goal is to make this school year as least disruptive as possible for all. Through our Classroom of the Future (COTF) and Remote-Live Instruction (RLI), students receive the same level of engaging rigorous instruction they received before the pandemic.
We are very excited for the upcoming launch of our Classrooms of the Future, which will use state-of-the-art technology to provide safety and synchronous learning. We know our students can learn from home if provided the proper tools. Concepts like Remote-Live Instruction and the upcoming COTF create a sense of normalcy for our students, as they maintain their typical school-day schedule and they see their friends—live. The live interaction between students and teachers aids in building the community and neighborhood experience we strive for.
All things considered, pivoting to online instruction during COVID-19 has been a challenge, but it has become a chance to change the way students learn. Using COTF and RLI, we will continue educating our students regardless of the external circumstances. Since we are equipped with the proper tools and regulatory flexibilities to prioritize student learning, our expectations are unwavering. It is not necessary to lower our expectations when we can still deliver the same quality instruction. After all, it would be a disservice to our students and families if we lowered our expectations.
We must show our students that we deeply believe in their abilities to succeed and that we are dedicated to helping them succeed—online, in person or a combo of both. We are leading by example and demonstrating that, despite the pandemic, we are committed to delivering a world-class education to our students.