By Patricia Delaney South Lake Tablet
It was Thursday, March 12th and Pinecrest Lakes Academy was in the midst of its Olympic Field Day, (grades preK-8) when word came that there was a possibility of school closures due to the Coronavirus.
Administration jumped into action and it was all hands on deck to send schoolwork home on the off chance the students could not return after the break. Unfortunately, school closures became a reality and the teachers and staff of Pinecrest Lakes Academy began learning how to navigate Google classroom and Zoom meetings instead of taking their much needed and deserved Spring Break.
Students who needed a computer were given one. The tech-savvy staff was helping those who didn’t understand this new way of teaching. Everyone joined forces to make the new norm a reality. Early Monday morning, March 23, schoolday was ready to start and, administration was ready with schedules and logistics of everything involved in running a school online.
The weekend before transitioning to virtual school, teachers were holding breakfast Zoom meetings and bedtime stories with their students, all in the effort to have everyone ready for Monday.
Students were so happy to see their friends and teachers during these live, online meetings. They shared their pets and younger siblings and all of this seemed to give everyone comfort in a time where everything was changing.
When Monday morning arrived, and it was time to get logged in for the first day of virtual school, everything came together. Of course, there were hiccups, but WOW! what a great feeling to know this can be done and done well. On the first day of class, 97% of all students were in attendance and that rose to 98% on day two with a school of 750 students this is an amazing accomplishment.
Each day the students log on to their computers at 9 am and go till about noon. Students are getting all their core curriculum and all of their special classes such as Art, Music, PE, Spanish, Project Lead the Way and Robotics. To see all the students smiling and paying attention in this uncharted water is awe-inspiring!
This is not your typical homeschool or virtual school, these students are sitting in their homes but are being taught by their regular classroom teachers. They raise their hands, ask questions, and, yes, there is the occasional one who complains he/she forgot to eat breakfast before logging on.
These students are engaged and ready. It is the parents that are struggling. Children are so technologically advanced that this is almost seamless for them. Now and then the teachers can hear their students tell their parents to leave the room that they are at school.
Middle school students get 20 minutes with each of their teachers and then they have office hours from 1 to 3 pm. The school is still offering its interventions to those in need, as well as tutoring for all grade levels if someone is struggling after the class is over.
Way to go Pinecrest Lakes Academy for providing innovative education, structure, and normalcy to students during a time of uncertainty.
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