Distance Learning at Mark Day
Earlier this year, schools across the world were challenged to figure out how to teach students remotely. In many ways, the success of Mark Day's distance learning program is the result of years--if not decades--of work. To prepare students for the 21st century world they are living in, using technology as a tool for learning has for many years been integrated across the grades. Below, learn more about the unique features of the distance learning program at Mark Day School. For more information about Mark Day School's process for developing a distance learning program, read our blog.
LIVE, SYNCHRONOUS LESSONS EVERY DAY
Since day one of distance learning, students across grades have been participating in live, synchronous classes and moments of connection to preserve vital touchpoints for learning. Faculty use a combination of class and small group configurations during live lessons, and offer "office hours" so students can ask questions and receive additional help via live interaction. Students in grades K-1 have at least 120 minutes per day of live lessons, grades 2-3 have at least 180 minutes, grades 4-5 have 3 hours of live instruction plus additional asynchronous activities, and grades 6-8 have 4 hours of live instruction plus additional asynchronous activities.
SUSTAINING A SENSE OF COMMUNITY
Maintaining a sense of community continues to be a top priority as we work and learn remotely. We also still have whole-school assemblies twice per week. This connection to community is in many ways what makes Mark Day's distance learning program unique. It's not about checking boxes or filling the day with various activities to keep students busy--it's about maintaining the feel of a school community while continuing to learn.
1:1 DEVICES FOR STUDENTS
Prior to our transition to distance learning, the school already had devices in a 1:1 ratio for students in grades 3-8 due to the structure of our Media, Technology, and Innovation program. When we transitioned to distance learning, it was important for students to have necessary materials. Currently, students in grades K-2 use home devices with loaners of school-owned devices as needed; grade 3-4 have individual iPads from our carts at school; grade 5 also has individual laptops from our carts at school; and students in grades 6-8 have individual laptops as part of our 1:1 laptop program.
SUPPORTING PARENTS & GUARDIANS
Mark Day has always valued the close partnership between parents/guardians and the school. As families transitioned to distance learning and working from home, we knew that what families would experience and need would be vastly different from household to household. Easing families into this new learning model and supporting them along the way is an important part of this ongoing partnership. The school has surveyed parents and guardians several times since distance learning began to identify strengths and areas for support and improvement, and will continue to do so. Additionally, Head of School Joe Harvey and Division Heads host virtual parent coffees to check in with parents and provide updates to the program. We also put together a parenting hub to offer additional resources like online educational activities and parenting during a pandemic.