By Alex Wong (I)
On Thursday, March 19, Head of Middle School Ms. Laurie Piette sent out an email to Middle Schoolers, detailing the schedule for Remote Learning amid the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States. The schedule detailed days of the week for live check-in sessions, due dates for asynchronous work for classes, and when students would receive feedback on their asynchronous work. The start of remote learning in the Middle School has caused mixed reactions among the faculty and students alike.
Like their Upper School counterparts, Middle School students were instructed to use Google Meet to attend their remote classes. Throughout the week of March 23, students received a variety of communications from Middle School Dean of Academics Mr. Allen Thomas, Middle School Director of Athletics Mr. Gerry Vanasse, Middle School Dean of Students Mr. Michael Coakley, their advisors, and their subject teachers, culminating in an advisory meeting on March 26. Laura Young (I) remarks, “I think remote learning is something we are all not familiar with, and it will be rough in the beginning with mistakes, but I think that remote learning is just as good as learning in school. This is not a step back, this is just a different way of learning.” Tyler Katt (I), mentioned, “It is a lot more relaxed however you have to be responsible with timing out your work and attending your online classes.”
With these hopes in mind, on March 27, Middle Schoolers logged on for their first remote class, English, where they were able to ask questions to teachers, learn new class guidelines such as muting your microphone during class, and start to get a feel of learning remotely.
Remote Learning has certainly brought its own changes to the Middle School, whether it be a massive reduction of classes (1 or 2 classes per day online versus 5 classes normally) and the switch to a pass/fail grading system for all core classes. When asked about how he felt about the changes, Ian Konops (I) remarked, “My feelings on remote learning are mixed. I’m happy to be back at school but I had hoped that the classes and work would be more interactive. I would like more live classes and interaction with teachers and students.”
Outside of academics, Middle School Director of Athletics Mr. Gerry Vanasse stepped up and made daily home workout videos for the Middle School students to watch and do. Mr. Vanasse has featured workouts such as light weight resistance, circuits, and dynamic warmup. When asked about what inspired him to start making the exercise videos, Mr. Vanasse commented, “Just as students will make time for their remote academic learning, they need to schedule time in their day to exercise their bodies. The videos are designed to provide a variety of workout types that are fun, effective, and can be done at home. I hope the videos will continue to help motivate and inspire our Middle School students to stay fit and healthy.”
In conclusion, everyone knows that this is an unfamiliar and uncertain time. Everyone in the Middle School is trying their best to pursue life as normal, and in these next few weeks, we will see if this new remote learning model can work.