In the midst of mandatory school closings to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Radcliffe Creek School has launched a Distance Learning initiative that keeps all kindergarten through eighth-grade students engaged in their 2019-2020 school year curriculum and maintains student-teacher connections through facetime, email chats, and video calls.
At the heart of Radcliffe’s mission is individualizing each student’s education. This mission continues as Radcliffe teachers customize an individualized Distance Learning plan for each student. Each student’s plan takes into account the student’s strengths while also providing essential accommodations unique to the student that will prepare them for success.
The decision to close Radcliffe Creek School, and begin planning for Distance Learning, was made soon after Governor Hogan announced public school closures on March 12, 2020. On Monday, March 16th, all Radcliffe Creek School teachers spent the day organizing and preparing for Phase One of Radcliffe’s Distance Learning Initiative. Phase One of Distance Learning for students began on March 17th, and focused on three main components: practicing skills in each class using tools students are already familiar with, maintaining socialization of students and teachers during this time in hopes of decreasing anxiety, and connecting with each family to ensure understanding of the Distance Learning guidelines. Radcliffe is very aware of the strain that the pandemic can cause for families, so the priority of Distance Learning is to help families in any way possible. In order to give parents plenty of tools to help their students during this time, Radcliffe launched a Distance Learning newsletter in conjunction with the tools supplied by teachers. The Distance Learning Newsletter highlights optional activities, suggested by Radcliffe teachers, in a variety of subject areas, a plethora of great online websites and tools that are helpful and enriching for students, and “shout-outs” featuring pictures and captions highlighting students’ successes from home.
As the Governor announced the extended closure from March 30-April 24, Radcliffe followed suit and finalized plans for Phase Two of Distance Learning. This will build on the components in Phase One which were critical, while also engaging students in a more intensive class structure. Priorities for Phase Two encompass furthering skills in every class through online lessons, meaningful class time via Google Hangouts, and consistent check-ins to monitor progress. Meg Bamford, Radcliffe Creek Head of School, is prepared to embark on Phase Two of Radcliffe’s Distance Learning. Bamford stated, “Radcliffe Creek School students are each talented in their own way and teachers and staff are excited to work closely with them to see how they adapt to this new process of learning. Having the flexibility to complete work from home, and continue to explore in their own way, will give Radcliffe students the opportunity to discover, create, and thrive in ways not possible before.”
While this unprecedented closure brings many obstacles for schools, Radcliffe is fortunate to have such a strong connection with families and access to tools that allow Distance Learning to be a reality for each family. One parent posted a picture of his son, with the message, “ You guys have done a tremendous job of transitioning to a web-based platform in such a short time. The students are able to continue learning and stay engaged. The daily webchats between students and teachers have also been helpful to ensure they have a firm understanding of their assignments. My son has been motivated to do extra work!”
Radcliffe Creek School is an independent day school with the mission of empowering children in a dynamic environment that celebrates unique learning. At the heart of The Radcliffe Way is the belief that personalized learning, in a caring community that sets high expectations, can provide the necessary support for all students to excel. For more information about Radcliffe Creek, or questions regarding the school’s Distance Learning program, please call 410-778-8150 or visit www.radcliffecreekschool.org.
Don’t miss the latest! You can subscribe to The Chestertown Spy‘s free Daily Intelligence Report here