One of the greatest outcomes of a learner-driven education is the ability to navigate uncertainty. Just today, I watched in awe as our learners led morning mindfulness, launched and executed the morning discussion, settled in to the morning work time to accomplish their own goals, and engaged in a tough conversation with a fellow learner who had shown a lapse in integrity. And this was just in the first 90 minutes of the school day. The rest of the day includes diving into individual or collaborative passion projects of their choosing, leading a civilization lesson and Socratic discussion and working towards mastery in either visual or musical arts.
They are leaders of their own learning and thus, are well-equipped to navigate their learning outside the walls of The Village School. This has always been the goal. Resiliency and independence are direct outcomes of a learner-driven education.
Beginning Monday, March 16 and lasting through next Friday, March 20, 2020, we are moving all learning and programming—including check-ins, Socratic launches, Quests, e-learning, and more—remotely. For our Spark learners, our team will spend Monday creating individual work plans and activities for learners that mimic the regular school day as much as possible. We will send more details over the weekend. Next week we will make a decision about school plans for post March 20.
We are making this change for three main reasons:
- By not convening in person we can help slow the spread of COVID-19.
- Currently, none of our Village School learners are sick but given that members of the school community travel fairly frequently, we feel it’s best to pause in-person gatherings to mitigate spread among our own community.
- The reality of COVID-19 is already affecting our Studios. We’ve been down several heroes everyday this week, and those absences are impacting goal setting, launches, group work, Quest, Studio maintenance, and more. Working remotely will allow us to all be on the same page and working within the same parameters.
Our team is not living in fear, and we don’t want the heroes to live in fear. We see this as a way that we can help one another and our larger community. And how amazing is it that we live in a time of technology where life and learning can go on digitally!
We recognize this change will be harder for some families than for others, due to work and childcare needs. If you need help, you can reach out directly and we will crowd source help among our parent community, or you can post specific needs on our TVS Community Forum.
As we finalize our plans for remote learning, we do so with these goals/expectations in mind:
- Work— Learners are expected to make progress on their badge plan daily, to attend virtual Socratic launches led by our Guides, to check in with their Running Partners, and to check in weekly with Guides.
- Communication—Learners should check their email 3x daily to look for instructions from Guides. Heroes should check their emails by 9 am each day to receive instructions and a schedule for the day.
- Schedule—It’s important that learners keep scheduled work times daily so they can meet for group launches, Running Partner check-ins, and Guide check-ins.
- Technology—ES Learners will need use of their Chromebooks daily (including a charger).
Parents can provide the best support during this time by checking in with learners at the beginning and end of each week to discuss goals and progress. In addition—and to the extent you’re able —we encourage parents to take on a “Guide” role to encourage and inspire heroes to direct their own learning. Here are some (optional!) ideas you can pull from.
Our hope is that throughout this our community stays healthy, continues to learn deeply, and grows closer together.
Please let us know if you have questions, concerns, ideas, or suggestions.
– Lauren on Behalf of The Village School Team