LEADINGtheJOURNEY

An E-newsletter on EXCELLENCE in Leadership

Incorporating a Spiritual Aspect into Distance Learning

Clayton Koh & JO Cordero | Chaplains, Loma Linda Academy

 

 

 

As all of our Seventh-day Adventist schools are scrambling to learn how to deliver quality Adventist education via distance learning platforms, the Southeastern California Conference Office of Education sensed the need to provide a platform for its schools to connect and share resources about the part of our educational system that is the most essential—Spiritual Life. It solicited the help of John Oscar Cordero and Clayton Koh, Loma Linda Academy's chaplains, to create SECC Spiritual Life Connect, a website dedicated to connecting its schools and homes to resources to help navigate this new learning environment in the context of Spiritual and Social-Emotional Learning.

The website has sections for Pre-K through High School and combines resources created by schools within the Southeastern California Conference with resources created all across the country by Seventh-day Adventist and Christian ministries. There are sermons, chapels, online Sabbath Schools, spiritual and character-focused media, live chats/live streams, and even links that explain COVID-19 in kid-friendly terms.

SECC Spiritual Life Connect is an online resource that is continuously expanding; if any organization would like to share more resources, email them to Clayton Koh.

  ckoh@lla.org   johnoscarcordero@gmail.com

How Can Principals
Support Teachers Right Now?

Guidelines & Expectations for Teachers During Remote Learning

Victoria Karsten | Elementary Vice-Principal and Instructional Coach, La Sierra Academy

 

 How can school administrators best assist their teachers in this time of transition to remote instruction? The Southeastern California Conference Superintendents, along with their team of Instructional Coaches, collaborated after hearing feedback from principals and teachers in finding ways to help their teachers during this time of transition from the traditional classroom to remote learning.

Immediately, the coaches organized grade level Zoom meetings for all teachers within the conference. During these initial coach meetings and conversations with our teachers, it became clear that the teachers needed guidelines and expectations. Questions such as, “Am I giving my students too much or too little work?” or, “Am I doing enough for parents to feel like their tuition payments during this time are worth it?” were being asked of principals, instructional coaches, and education superintendents. Teachers, just like all of us and our students, need guidelines and expectations. Most teachers will take what is given to them and run with it, but they need a starting place. It would be great if we could have a list of expectations that fit all schools, all teachers, and all families. Unfortunately, that isn’t possible. The following is a list of general guidelines and expectations that our coaches and superintendents collaboratively put together to provide school administrators and teachers a starting point.

Assignments

  • Online learning requires a lot more time for planning and communicating with students. Consider reducing the length of your assignments to something more manageable for you and the students.
  • You are not expected to cover everything you would normally cover in the classroom.
  • Avoid busywork. It’s just overwhelming for you and the student.
  • Prioritize fundamental standards, and skills students need for the next grade level.
  • Attach a standard that is being covered by the assignment to give it credibility.
  • Have a designated time that all assignments will be posted for that day, which allows students and parents to have a clear plan for the day.
  • Establish a designated place for all assignments to be posted. Make sure your students and parents know where to find them.
  • Once an assignment is posted, don't change the assignment. Changing the assignment confuses if the students don't see the changes.
  • Instructional videos can be used on days; there is no synchronous instruction. A mixture of teacher-created videos or links from other sites can be used but limit the length of videos.
  • Students (and teachers) thrive on a routine. Pick a specific time each day to post assignments and to update your grades.

Student Contact

  • Establish and communicate how students can contact you, the teacher, with questions.
  • Try to make contact (via email, text, chat, phone call, or the class Zoom meeting) with each student or parent at least twice a week.
  • If you have not heard from students yet, contact them to make sure they are okay and have all the resources they need to be successful during this time.
  • Use office hours to communicate with students/parents individually.
  • Keep in mind, if a home has multiple students, they may all be trying to use the same computer.
  • Students should not be expected to be in a Zoom meeting (or other forms of video conferencing) from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • If a student is unable to attend a Zoom meeting, have a plan in place for the student to still have access to the teaching material. Do not penalize students for not attending Zoom meetings.
  • We strongly encourage you to set boundaries with your parents and students (office hours/days available, guidelines for Zoom meetings, etc.).

“But those who wait

on the Lord shall

renew their strength;

They shall mount up

with wings like eagles,

They shall run

and not be weary,

They shall walk

and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:31

Curriculum and Grading

  • Students are feeling anxious and isolated. Remote learning is new to both teachers and students. Adjust grades as needed in favor of the student.
  • Focus on what is most important. Perhaps focus on just Language Arts, Math, and Bible for elementary at 70-80% and SS and Science at 20-30%.
  • Identify standards being met by assignment; grade to standard, not the homework.
  • To preserve teacher and student sanity, give students a minimum of 24 hours to complete assignments. Allow resubmissions, and don't penalize for late work.
  • Separate the grades received “before” remote instruction from the grades received “after” remote instruction by creating a separate category in your grade book.
  • Consider different weighting of grades or a percent for “distance learning.”
  • Provide authentic feedback on assignments realizing that students do not have the same academic support at home as they do in school.
  • Understand that students and parents are going through a time of crisis and trauma. Be flexible and full of grace.

When this all started, our teachers probably felt they were in crisis mode and were experiencing a gamut of emotions. They didn’t sign up to teach students via Zoom. They are used to seeing their students face to face and helping them on the spot. Teachers may be feeling guilt, fear, and exhaustion because they have to learn new and innovative ways to reach their students. As school administrators, we need to reassure the teachers that we get it. We need to let them know that we are there to assist and support them in any way possible. Setting guidelines and expectations is a great way to do that. We need to encourage them to set those boundaries and take care of themselves. I’m sure they would love to be told they are doing a good job! Administrators, you also need to take care of yourselves and set those boundaries. There must be an off switch at some point; otherwise, we will all get burned out.

  mailto:vkarsten@lsak12.com

MISSION: STRENGTHENING ADVENTIST EDUCATION ONE LEADER AT A TIME

Guest Coordinator

Datha Tickner

Associate Superintendent,

Southeastern California Conference

Newsletter Editor

Berit von Pohle, Editor

Director of Education,

Pacific Union Conference

Ed Boyatt, Editorial Advisor