With two and a half weeks of virtual learning in the books, Out-of-Door is pleased that the feedback from students and families has been overwhelmingly positive. Upper and Middle School students moved directly to online learning, while Lower School students are transitioning more slowly in phases, by grade level. Parents in all divisions report that students are well prepared with the skills needed to utilize virtual platforms and the move to learning at home has been successful.
ODA’s parents have been great barometers in measuring the success of the rapid online learning rollout. From comments on social media, “Beyond THANKFUL that my children's school started online classes weeks ago. We're still on track, not at all behind. Way to go teachers and staff! They hit the ground running while everyone's brain was still on point for learning and haven't looked back! GRATEFUL to be a part of the BEST in education in the US. We're truly number one and it shows!” from Laylah Loiczly, mother of Julian ‘32 and Viola ‘31, to emails and phone calls to faculty and staff members, Out-of-Door parents have been wonderful about communicating their families’ experiences.
“[We] appreciate the ODA faculty and staff for their innovative vision in a platform that provides direct instruction and engagement of students,” shared sixth grader Colt Chalmers’ mother, Alicia. “The caring teachers, quality education, and positive relationships Colt still maintains is a bright spot everyday, grateful to be part of the ODA family!”
“Colin was technologically prepared and confident to handle the virtual learning and had no problems,” said Nancy Castro, mother of senior Colin Castro. “One of the positive side effects has been that [he] makes an effort to get some physical exercise everyday. That is due to the encouragement by his advisor/instructors to schedule that as part of his day. We appreciate that he is getting that motivation from school.”
Early in the process, parents realized that they would be integral to the success of their students' adaptation into the new world of remote learning, and they have been wonderful partners. Jon Schomburg, father of Olivia Schomburg ‘31, has been working side-by-side with his daughter on Dr. Vasilaki’s music assignments. The father-daughter duo has recorded several songs together and shared them through the app which Lower School students had already been using prior to our move to digital learning.
“Olive is loving “homeschool”. She is working incredibly hard and staying focused throughout the day,” said Jon. “Olive has a positive attitude everyday and is always up for learning something new. She loves checking off assignments as they are completed and has pride in the work she is doing. We take time each day to do activities like virtual Tae Kwon Do, meditation, virtual dance class, yoga and swimming. We are really enjoying having this extra time with Olive and learning how to navigate this situation one day at a time.”
Middle School sixth grader William Bergerat has been receiving support from not only his parents, but also his grandfather. His mother, Valerie Mélignon, said “my son is enjoying his virtual learning experience in the office of his Grandpa! He has organized all of his courses and has a big desk to work at. My father is still very active in his community and William loves the synergy of them both working together in the same room.”
Although this virtual learning arena is new to all of us, our students and faculty have fared very well, having confidence in their tools gained by early preparation. We are proud of the commitment that our students and faculty have demonstrated to continuing the high level of education for which Out-of-Door is known, and grateful for the partnership and support from our students’ families.