Rockwood teachers and staff members spent the first part of this week going back to school to prepare for the start of the Alternative Learning Plan (ALP)
The Rockwood School District Cross Team – composed of staff from the Curriculum, Data, Professional Learning and Instructional Technology departments – facilitated and hosted a suite of more than 70 live virtual conferences Tuesday and Wednesday to prepare teachers to reach students remotely through the ALP during school closures due to coronavirus (COVID-19). All of the live sessions were also recorded so that teachers can continue to access playbacks.
"People are eager to do the right things," said Dr. Renee Trotier, Rockwood director of learning development. "Even though teachers were on spring break last week, they were working very hard. The curriculum coordinators were on calls all weekend. The teachers wanted to get going, and they had a lot of support. It shows that the teachers are dedicated, that they want to move forward and connect with their kids right away. And it shows that those in support roles are dedicated and willing to give up their personal time, evenings and weekends, to make sure the teachers have everything they need to get started with kids this week."
Teachers had the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues in their grade levels and subject matter from across the district. They also participated in guided tutorials of how to implement virtual tools that will be instrumental to their delivery of the ALP, including hosting Zoom live video conferences and delivering content to their students through video.
The student experience was paramount in every session.
"We can still make sure kids feel connected to us as their teachers and also to each other," said Eureka High
language arts teacher Sarah Goodman. "There has been a really important emphasis put on understanding that the uncertainty we feel is being felt by our students, so thinking about how we can still progress their learning but also care for them as individuals."
Mandatory sessions Tuesday morning outlined the four priorities of the ALP: maintaining relationships; keeping students connected to school and classmates; continuing instruction; and considering and trying new activities to enhance instruction.
Teachers and staff at individual schools have also been meeting virtually to strategize about how the ALP will look for their students.
"We always say teachers learn best from each other," said Stanton Elementary
kindergarten teacher Amy Menke. "We already are a tight-knit team, but being able to collaborate with other teachers, it's invaluable being able to lean on my team, other kindergarten teachers and then also know I can lean on my principal and my school, too."
Trotier said the district plans to survey teachers and add further learning opportunities based on questions and feedback.
"What the curriculum committee has developed is unified so we're not trying to invent things," said Woerther Elementary
third-grade teacher Tony Marcellino. "I can't imagine us, as a school team, figuring it all out on our own. I love the unification of it all, that we'll all be doing the same thing."