Distance Learning Plan
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, our distance learning plan provides continuity in learning and community, the hallmarks of an FSH education. Through an intentional approach informed by best practices, our faculty continue to build 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. Our distance learning plan 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 learning that took 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
- Original, FSH-teacher-created video lessons accessible at any time
- Synchronous and asynchronous coordinate classes in Art, Music, PE, Spanish, & 1-4 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
- 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 and families in our Heritage House early childhood program, our focus is developmentally-appropriate, student-centered teaching. Teachers provide direct instruction through brief 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. 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, Heritage House students also participate in a live Zoom coordinate class each day on a rotating basis: Art, Music, PE, & Spanish.
Heritage House teachers use Seesaw as a platform for releasing daily 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.
In the 2020-2021 school year, Heritage House students will receive both a materials list and 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.
Early Childhood Zoom Schedule
Early Childhood Recorded Lesson Schedule
Friends School Haverford is pleased to offer Heritage House families a Flexible Tuition Plan during periods of distance learning in recognition of students’ age, the challenges families face in engaging with distance learning with our youngest learners, and the various half- and full-day program options in our early childhood program. Please contact Lisa Buscaglia in the Admissions Office for details.
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 two live Zoom sessions, teachers share multiple video lessons each day to provide students and families with added flexibility in scheduling. Videos 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 and then offer direct instruction in one of the core content areas. Students meet in small groups later in the afternoon to ask questions, go over particular assignments, and to have conversations.
In 2020-2021, K-4 students will receive a materials list for items and tools to have at home during any period of distance learning. Also, we plan to incorporate more small group work to echo classroom reading groups in guided literacy.
Kindergarten Zoom Schedule
* Currently, Kindergarten students participate in the N-K singalong on Fridays as their second music class.
Kindergarten Recorded Lesson Schedule
Grade 1/2 Zoom Schedule
Grade 1/2 Recorded Lesson Schedule
Grade 3/4 Zoom Schedule
Grade 3/4 Recorded Lesson Schedule
For students in K and grades 1/2, teachers use Seesaw as a platform for releasing daily asynchronous videos and for collecting and responding to student work. Students access and submit teacher-designed activities, worksheets, and problem sets in Seesaw as well as share photographs and videos of specific activities and projects. Students in 3/4 use Google Classroom as the online platform to manage coursework during both on-campus learning and periods of distance learning. In periods of distance learning, students use Classroom to access videos and assignments, to submit their daily work, and to communicate with their classroom teacher throughout the school day.In addition to these platforms, K-4 teachers use well-respected, standards-driven online programs, including Raz-Kids (for guided literacy), IXL (for math), and Lalilo (for phonics) to reinforce student learning in core content areas.
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 access asynchronous videos in core content areas each day. Throughout the week, middle school students have the opportunity to check in with individual teachers as well as their advisory groups to provide individualized academic and social-emotional support.
Currently, middle school students participate in two live Zoom classes each day--one core subject area class (English, Humanities, Math, Science) and one coordinate class (Art, Music, PE, Spanish). In the core subject area classes, students receive direct instruction in addition to time to practice developing skills alongside their teacher and peers.
Middle School Zoom Schedule
Middle School Recorded Lesson Schedule
In 2020-2021, core subject classes (English, Humanities, Math, Science) will meet via Zoom multiple times a week on a rotating basis.
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 videos, 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.
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-8th-grade; Narrative Reports will be shared in January and June for all students Nursery-8th-grade.
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.
The Role of the Core Administrative Team
Throughout this spring and summer, the Core Administrative Team continues to work to design and implement a distance learning plan that meets the needs of our students and families. Their work includes making research-based decisions about our distance programming, identifying professional development experiences for our teachers, responding to feedback from families and faculty, and developing distance learning scenarios for the 2020-2021 school year. Liza Ewen, Acting Head of School, works closely with Tippi Aronson, Mwazhuwa Kuretu, and Lisa Buscaglia, our Director of Admissions, to ensure that our distance learning plan reflects the best of what Friends School Haverford has to offer.