Apr 08 A Quick Pivot to Distance Learning
Because of our unique and personalized approach, Mysa was able to quickly pivot to distance learning during the pandemic. Thanks to our menus (a personalized list of work that each child receives on Monday), students at Mysa already know how to manage their time and work independently. Our proprietary MyMysa app helps teachers create unique weekly plans for each child and tracks online assignments for both class and individual work. These existing elements in the Mysa approach allowed the staff to adjust quickly to a changing landscape. Most importantly, parents have not needed to do any teaching and no packets were sent home.
Now, students are engaged in online face-to-face classes for four to five hours a day. When a student is not in class, they can pop into a google hangout where at least two teachers are available all day ready to answer questions and help students with their work. Our virtual makerspace is open every afternoon and students are gathering there to hang out with each other and make things. Students are currently making sock puppets, learning to crochet, building furniture, writing scripts, making movies and just hanging out together – talking and doodling.
We wanted to be sure that students were not just glued to screens all day, so we quickly created a series of classes that have the kids moving and outside. Some of those classes include a birding class, gardening, backyard explorations, cell phone photography, the philosophy of Calvin and Hobbs and music classes.
Because it is important to have classes that are relevant and meaningful to today’s world, we switched up our very lab-based science classes and delivered inexpensive folding microscopes to each household. Students are discovering the microscopic world within their homes. We also decided to completely change our interdisciplinary Connect class and all students are working on biology and civics standards as we look at the Covid-19 pandemic. Students are using current events and information about the pandemic to learn how the states and the federal government make decisions.
Most importantly, Mysa has quickly adjusted to meet kids’ social-emotional needs. The teachers created a new schedule to maintain our sense of community and keep our relationships with each other strong and meaningful. To that end, they are very consciously spending a lot of time checking in with students at homeroom meeting first thing in the morning and again after lunch. We have created virtual spaces just to hang out and be together.
Distance learning shouldn’t just be sitting at a screen. Mysa is leading the way in a new approach that is child-centered, flexible and relevant