MVA embarked on a new journey in the wake of COVID-19 preventative measures by launching virtual learning at every division. We benefitted from the fact that research and preparation for delivering academics virtually was already underway, but rolling it out under these circumstances was unforeseen.
When the possibility of closures arose, MVA administration and the Board of Trustees acted swiftly, providing the most lead time possible to prepare for the switch to virtual. Teachers took it in stride and began preparing. Some teachers already had experience in online teaching and they shared their experience, resources and tips with everyone to help.
“Even though everyone would much prefer being in class on campus, we have quickly responded with resilience, flexibility and adaptability to the change,” said Dr. Kasey C. Kesselring, Headmaster. “I am grateful and proud of the way our entire community has reacted in this rapidly-changing situation. We will emerge stronger from this, and in the meantime, will work together to ensure our students and families are engaged and supported to the best of our ability.”
“We are so grateful to Lower School families for their partnership on this virtual education journey,” said Ms. Meristell Shackelford, Dean of the Lower School. “This process has been a learning curve for all of us. While we are enjoying the virtual learning opportunities, we are hopeful to see and hear smiles and laughter filling the Lower School soon.”
“At the Middle School, we brought FAR – Flexibility, Adaptability and Resilience – to the forefront,” said Mr. Paul Quick, Dean of the Middle School. “We’ve seen the Eagles take flight. At the Middle School, we’ve seen the eagles soar!”
“The Upper School is committed to connecting, maintaining our tremendous educational value, and engaging our students at the highest level,” said Mr. David Bernatavitz, Dean of the Upper School. “Thus far, parents and students have shared excellent feedback after full days of virtual/remote learning, expressing that teachers have shown dedication, adaptability and flexibility. We appreciate the support and patience that has been shown as we have had adjusted our delivery of instruction. Please continue reaching out with any questions you have.”
Teachers in every division have been an amazing asset, taking the challenge in stride and creating plans to keep moving our students’ academic pursuits forward.
“We are working hard for sure! It’s been a transition but my students are doing AMAZINGLY well,” said Mrs. Andrea Tannenhill, third grade teacher. “We have been moving through our lessons as if we are in our classroom. I start every morning with a zoom call, essentially a live chat with students. I review assignments, where to find them and answer any questions. We then do our daily read aloud. Today’s read aloud involved following recipes. We looked at a recipe in the students’ work books and they all brought a recipe to share. One of their reading assignments for today is to follow that recipe and share a picture with the class and writing about what went well, any challenges, and what sort of things they found in their recipe that we discussed in class! We then do a gonoodle (movement break) of working out, breathing and/or stretching, before diving in to math. I model one or two problems with the whole class and then allow the students to either stay on zoom if they need help working through the problems, or leave zoom to work on their own. To complete the day today, I challenged my students to go outside and work through the problems using sidewalk chalk to draw their timelines. I’m anxiously awaiting pictures!”
“The switch from brick and mortar to virtual school has been amazing,” said Ms. Loula Parks, Middle School English teacher.” I feel like we’ve entered our students’ world—you know, digital. It’s really great. I am finding that they are so comfortable with this new format and the tools. They are just comfortable where they are right there at home and really engaging in the learning.”
“I was very pleasantly surprised by the fantastic level of engagement in the first few days,” said Mr. Lance Walsworth, Upper School economics teacher. “I had almost every student log into Microsoft Teams to participate in live lesson presentation on Monday and Tuesday. The work that they are submitting to me shows that they have achieved a very high level of understanding of the material. Additionally, we are all learning new ways to communicate and learn in this ever-changing environment.”
Thank you – we miss everyone! Wash your hands, practice social distancing, stay well, and keep up the great work!