Friends School Haverford faculty and staff are committed to offering students and families a full, rich learning experience at times when we cannot be on campus together. Guided by our mission, FSH Online provides continuity in learning and community, the hallmarks of an FSH education. Through an intentional approach informed by best practices, our faculty developed a distance learning plan that will allow students to stay connected to their classmates and teachers, work at an individualized pace, and experience learning both on and off the screen.
As a small Quaker school, we strive to respond to each child’s strengths and needs. FSH Online continues to honor this by providing distinct programs for children in each of our three divisions: early childhood, elementary, and middle school. As our mission states, we will continue to encourage curiosity, creativity, cooperation, and discovery through online platforms and hands-on, off-screen learning.
In providing a new structure for our work with young people, we humbly recognize that distance learning cannot replicate the complex, invaluable ecosystem of learning on our school’s campus. It can, however, continue to bring our students and teachers together each day to maintain the joy of shared discovery, exploration, and learning. Our faculty have and will continue to work hard to transfer the rich learning that takes place within our brick-and-mortar school to a virtual community. In designing an age-appropriate distance learning plan, administrators and teachers want to ensure that each FSH student has a meaningful, individualized experience and maintains their connection to the FSH community.
For every student, FSH Online offers:
- Live core content class sessions via Zoom
- Asynchronous lessons and materials that are accessible at any time
- Synchronous and asynchronous coordinate classes in Art, Music, PE, Spanish, & K-4 Science
- Live morning meetings and advisory check-ins
- Small group Zoom sessions with their classroom teachers
- A curated collection of online resources and enrichment for families
- Weekly Meeting for Worship reflections and queries
- Optional student/family selected Clubs, Social Lunches, and Interactive Read Alouds (N-PK)
- Online and by-phone tech support from 8 am - 8 pm
Understanding the varied needs of our Nursery-8th grade students as well as their families, FSH Online does not seek to recreate the length of the school day in its amount of synchronous class time. Instead, our program aims to foster community, curiosity, and learning through a range of methods that take into account age-appropriate screen time, parental work schedules, family routines, and our students’ and families’ well-being.
For students in our early childhood program, our focus is developmentally appropriate, student-centered teaching. In addition to meeting with students over Zoom, teachers provide asynchronous mini-lessons with the intention of students and families accessing them when it best fits into their daily schedule. Videos may be accessed once or multiple times to allow for self-paced learning and practice.
Live Zoom sessions each morning offer children and families the familiarity of a school schedule and the daily opportunity to spend time with one another in both smaller and larger groups. Daily Morning Meetings provide an anchor at the beginning of the day for our youngest learners. Each Zoom session also focuses on a core content area, echoing an essential element of Circle Time when we are together on campus. In addition to daily time with their classroom teacher, early childhood students also participate in a live Zoom coordinate class each day on a rotating basis: Art, Music, PE, & Spanish. In the afternoons, families have the opportunity to sign up for enrichment activities for their child such as social lunches, interactive read alouds, clubs, and teacher office hours.
Early childhood teachers use Seesaw as a platform for releasing asynchronous videos and for collecting and responding to student work. For our youngest students, this work includes photographs of student projects as well as videos of their engagement in specific activities.
Students will receive a box of curated materials to use at home during any periods of distance learning. These materials will be the basis for hands-on, child-driven exploration away from the screen and provide students and families with guidance for “choice” time at home.
Nursery School/Preschool Zoom Schedule
In elementary grades, our focus is on supporting students through multiple connections each day with their teacher, direct instruction in all core content areas, small group interactions, and frequent feedback. In addition to three-four live Zoom sessions, teachers share multiple lessons each day to provide students and families with added flexibility in scheduling. Asynchronous materials may be accessed once or numerous times to allow for individually-paced learning and practice.
Live Zoom sessions each morning offer students the chance to check in with their teacher and their classmates at the start of each day. After a brief Morning Meeting, teachers review the assignments and activities students will complete for the day. Students work with teachers via Zoom throughout the morning around the core subject areas. At many points of the day, such as during Guided Literacy, students are placed in smaller groups to best meet each child’s learning needs. In addition to daily time with their classroom teacher, elementary students also participate in a live Zoom coordinate class each day on a rotating basis: Art, Music, PE, & Spanish. In the afternoons, students have the opportunity to connect to their teachers and classmates during optional, enrichment opportunities such as social lunches, clubs, and teacher office hours.
K-4 students will receive a box of curated materials to use at home during any period of distance learning.
Kindergarten Zoom Schedule
Grade 1/2 Zoom Schedule
Grade 3/4 Zoom Schedule
In Middle School, our focus is on supporting students while continuing to build academic independence in age appropriate ways. In addition to live Zoom sessions with multiple teachers each day, students also have access to asynchronous materials. Throughout the week, middle school students have the opportunity to check in with individual faculty members during teacher office hours and small group sessions to provide individualized academic and social-emotional support.
Middle school students participate in four to five live Zoom classes each day--two core subject area classes (English, Humanities, Math, Science), one coordinate class (Art, Music, PE, Spanish), advisory, and small group sessions. In the core subject area classes, students receive direct instruction in addition to time to practice developing skills alongside their teacher and peers. In addition to daily time with their classroom teachers, middle school students also participate in a live Zoom coordinate class each day on a rotating basis: Art, Music, PE, & Spanish. In the afternoons, middle schoolers have the opportunity to participate in enrichment activities such as social lunches and clubs
Middle school students teachers use Google Classroom as the online platform to manage coursework during both on-campus learning and periods of distance learning. When we are not able to be on-campus, teachers share daily asynchronous materials, assign activities and homework, and provide feedback on student work in Classroom. Google Classroom also provides a channel for asking and answering questions and checking in with individual students as well as an entire class throughout the school day.
Middle School students will receive a box of curated materials to use at home during any period of distance learning.
Grade 5/6 Zoom Schedule
Collaboration and Communication Around Student Progress
Whether we are on-campus or participating in a period of distance learning, Friends School Haverford faculty and staff work together to deliver an academically rich curriculum in a culture of kindness to all of our students. Regardless of where learning takes place, teachers spend significant time working in collaboration with one another to ensure each child’s growth and learning.
The Learning Resource Team--convened by our Learning Specialist, Tippi Aronson--meets each week with every classroom teacher to discuss their class and to provide insight and support on each child’s academic and social-emotional experience. As needed, Leslie Goehl, our consulting School Psychologist, joins these conversations and offers resources to teachers as well as to individual families.
During distance learning, Parent Conferences and Narrative Reports remain a centerpiece of our program in every division. Together with ongoing collaboration and conversation with your child’s teachers, these formal opportunities for communication provide essential insight and understanding of your child’s individual growth and learning experience. In the 2020-2021 academic year, Parent Conferences will take place in November and March for all students in Nursery to 8th grade; Narrative Reports will be shared in January and June for all students.
We recognize that providing responsive, friendly, personalized tech support is an integral part of a successful distance learning plan. Mwazhuwa Kuretu, Director of Extended Day and Technology Support, is available from 8 am to 8 pm via phone and email to assist families when we are not on campus. In addition to troubleshooting, Mwazhuwa is available to help all FSH families manage the details of our distance learning plan.
Tuition Remission for Early Childhood Program
In acknowledgment of the fact that our youngest students and their families face specific challenges as they engage with distance learning, as well as the various half- and full-day program options in our early childhood program, we are happy to share information about tuition remission for our Early Childhood Program in the 2020-2021 school year.