Lakeside faculty will start the school year after spending significant time this summer preparing for remote and blended learning.
In early June — at a time when teachers are usually grading final exams and packing up their classrooms — Lakeside faculty and administrators shifted roles and became students for a week as they participated in a five-day training “bootcamp” led by experts at the Global Online Academy (GOA). The bootcamp was designed to support and empower educators to thrive in a changing educational landscape catalyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
GOA is recognized as a global leader in online education for middle and high school students. They define high-quality online learning as an intentional, learner-centered blend of synchronous and asynchronous instruction that offers students the chance to connect with teachers and peers and be active participants in the learning process while delving deeply into meaningful and sophisticated content. The bootcamp was tailored to help Lakeside faculty develop competencies in four core areas:
- Use online tools to know, support, and empower students.
- Design online learning experiences that students can easily navigate on their own.
- Develop powerful online lessons and units that allow students to master complex topics and skills.
- Construct meaningful assessments that measure student progress and highlight strengths and areas for growth.
At the close of the training in June, faculty recorded videos on Loom sharing some of their takeaways from the week. Here’s one from Upper School history teacher James Nau, who began to prepare for the history elective, Genocide in the Modern World.
Following the training, each teacher was assigned a GOA coach, who advised them throughout July as they designed courses for a remote or blended learning experience.
In addition to the GOA training, more than 70 faculty members participated in summer curriculum grants, an annual program that gives faculty the opportunity to develop their curriculum and teaching skills. This year, the grants enabled faculty to adapt assignments to take advantage of the strengths of remote learning tools; departments to implement a focus on re-envisioning’s competencies and mindsets; and interdisciplinary teams to collaborate on units that will help create more cohesive learning experiences for students.
Finally, in mid-August, faculty worked with Lakeside’s educational technology specialists on preparations for the start of school. Faculty registered for half-day sessions on topics ranging from putting the final tweaks on their PowerSchool Learning class pages, to getting up to date with features in Microsoft Teams and Zoom, to practicing with new hardware designed for remote and blended classrooms. One popular session built on the GOA bootcamp’s instruction on how to design learning opportunities that build relationships between students and teachers, and students and their peers.
“I know there will be challenges this fall — for students and adults — but I also know that Lakeside’s faculty are world-class educators,” says Hans de Grys, Lakeside’s academic dean. “They are some of the most thoughtful, creative, and innovative teachers out there. And they are ready to meet this challenge head-on, and provide a rigorous and nurturing experience for Lakeside students in whatever learning format we find ourselves in.”