The world has shifted dramatically overnight. Restaurants are empty, playgrounds are roped off, and travel has ceased. People around the world are working together and doing their part to slow the spread of COVID-19. While socially distanced, the world has never been closer together in spirit.
Schools too have had to learn to pivot and approach learning differently in a short amount of time. Now that schools are operating virtually, how do we keep students and our school communities engaged?
During these tough times, we are reminded at Atlanta Girls’ School the value and importance of our mission to Inspire Girls to Lead Lives of Purpose. Knowing full well that one day our young women will be the scientists, health care workers, lawyers, journalists, and artists bringing light and wisdom on gray days.
At Atlanta Girls’ School, best practices in teaching, learning, and engagement are centered around girls. So how do we take what we know best and apply it in this virtual space?
A few of our school leaders and faculty members shared the varied ways we are empowering our young women through distance learning. As a result, we are continuing to:
- Inspire confidence and cultivate leadership opportunities.
- Our student-led clubs are adapting and meeting virtually, bonding over common interests.
- Our student school newspaper editors are including more engaging content to keep our community connected.
- Our student government is working closely with school leadership to communicate their experiences and concerns.
- Our Earth and Sky Goddesses are raising spirits and energy with their weekly videos that inspire laughter, movement, and lighthearted competition.
- Encourage health and wellness to help reduce stress and anxiety.
- Live P.E. workouts are motivating students and their families to get active and break a sweat.
- Weekly activities planned by our wellness team encourage families to disconnect, get creative, and move.
- Our school counselor and nurse continue to meet with students virtually as needed.
- Emphasize academics in compelling, relevant, and engaging ways.
- In Math, students are engaged in learning rational functions by planning themed school events. Want to go to PROMmunism?
- In World Studies, students are cultivating research skills by answering modern-day questions like, “What are some similarities between the Black Death, 1918 Influenza, and COVID-19?” with creative podcasts. They are also traveling the globe by designing historical field trips using Google My Maps.
- In English, students are critically evaluating literature of their choice and collaborating in small groups called Lit Circles to construct meaning and reflect.
- Maintain close mentoring relationships between our prominent faculty and students.
- Students and faculty advisors meet regularly in advisory for fun, support, and reflection. They celebrate birthdays and play virtual games. Anyone want to play Bingo?
- English teachers give 1-on-1 mentorship on writing, and students have already produced exceptional work.
- Teachers and students stay connected with shared hobbies and games during lunch, and by sending notes and cards through regular mail.
- Engender real-world readiness through civic engagement.
- 8th-grade students deepened their understanding of civics and government by hearing from community leaders and government officials through virtual discussions.
- 6th-grade students learned about their role in combating climate change by engaging in a virtual discussion with a Meteorologist from the Weather Channel as part of their interdisciplinary unit on the environment.
- In World Studies, students began to identify societal and environmental problems stemmed from the Industrial Revolution. They will develop interventions to these issues with creative inventions in the coming weeks.
Despite the challenging times, our commitment to Inspiring Girls to Lead Lives of Purpose extends beyond our school walls and into the homes of all our students and community members. Having flexibility, agility, and a strong dedication to our mission has helped our community come together and pivot to meet the needs of today. In the process, we are also meeting the needs of the future and our resilient young women.