Incorporating a Spiritual Aspect into Distance Learning
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.
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.
“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.”
Curriculum and Grading
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.