Katonah-Lewisboro Schools Tackle Distance Learning
District's commitment to technology
When all Katonah-Lewisboro teachers received laptops with compatible software in January 2019, no one had any idea that in just over a year, the devices would be more necessary for getting to work than their cars.
The district’s yearlong, methodical commitment to equipping teachers and students with technology has come to be seen as a lifeboat in the floodwaters of distance learning.
A platform to build on
Using technology to enhance learning was the main focus of Superintendent Conference Days in September and November 2019—helping teachers choose the right tool at the right time. Over the course of the year, students and teachers became increasingly adept at using Microsoft Teams, OneNote, and OneDrive, as well as SeeSaw, FlipGrid and many other education programs.
“The essential skills and necessary tools for this unforeseen situation are in place,” said Director of Technology Chris Nelson.
Teachers receive tech training in many ways
Importance of school day structure
Supporting Students' Time Management Skills
Even before Governor Cuomo’s mandate to keep schools closed until at least April 29, the district began taking a close look at how to increase the effectiveness of distance learning.
In three listening sessions via Zoom, grade-appropriate administrators and staff developers asked high school students, middle school students and elementary school students questions about their work and routines.
“It has become clear that we need to provide a little more of the school day structure at home to make the situation manageable for students, for parents, and for teachers,” said Superintendent Andrew Selesnick. Educational consultant Diane Cunningham agrees, based on what she is seeing across districts. “Time management and self-regulation are the hardest parts of online learning.”
Creating Best Practices for all age levels of Distance Learning
The district is considering different periods “meeting” on different days, or a different subject focus on different days to spread the traditional school day across days at home, so that teachers can maintain expectations for meaningful engagement with new learning while not overwhelming anyone.
“Together, we’re inventing a new kind of school while school is open,” summed up Superintendent Andrew Selesnick.