Interview by Laurie Pellichero
Tell us about Stuart’s response this past spring to the COVID-19 pandemic. How did it adapt to distance learning?
I want to start out by expressing immense gratitude to my faculty and staff for their nimble and swift response to distance learning. Since our spring break started just as COVID forced area school to close, our teachers used their break to prepare a new method of instruction that would deliver on our Sacred Heart mission and the promise of academic excellence. And with over 10 years of investments in technology, including the use of Google Education tools in the Middle and Upper School, Stuart was able to pivot to virtual learning with impressive ease.
To maintain a sense of structure and normalcy, we ran a regular daily schedule in all three divisions with teachers providing synchronous instruction for the majority of the day. The Lower School used a combination of SeeSaw and Google Classroom with modifications to the length of time each class was held, and our youngest students — ages 2-4 — met with their teachers every day online. As the weeks turned into months, our teachers adapted their schedules and instruction style to meet students’ needs, and we introduced weekly programming to support the wellness goals of the community. The way our teachers were able to support our girls’ learning and convert major in-person events like a musical and a senior class capstone project into virtual experiences truly demonstrated a dedication to their students and the Stuart community.
How has Stuart kept its community of students, parents, and teachers engaged while at home?
Stuart is a tight-knit community, and we wanted to make sure our girls had social interaction after closing down. Over spring break, the Head of Middle School held virtual gatherings with dance-offs, trivia, Pictionary, and more. The Head of Lower School read books to her students and dropped in virtually for nightly prayer. Since March, we have engaged our families in the reopening process with a focus on regular communications through email, video messages, virtual town hall gatherings, and social media. We invited some families to serve on our Reopening Task Force, which includes nine working groups in areas like health and safety, facilities, and technology. Others participated in town hall and virtual presentations regarding our work to safely reopen school. more