NEW LONDON, New Hampshire — Superintendent Winfried Feneberg is pleased to announce that Kearsarge Regional School District has launched an array of engaging remote learning opportunities for students while school facilities remain closed due to COVID-19.
In late March, Gov. Chris Sununu ordered the closure of schools in New Hampshire through the month of April, and today instructed schools to remain closed through the end of the school year and continue remote learning.
Kearsarge began its remote learning programming on Wednesday, March 18. Since then, numerous educators have launched YouTube Channels as a way to share lessons and activities, and have coordinated independent student learning opportunities outside of virtual classroom meetings. Principals at multiple district schools have also begun publishing video “school announcements” that they share through YouTube Channels, where they wish students happy birthday, provide remote learning updates and share positive messages with their school communities.
“Over the last few weeks of remote learning there have been many success stories,” Superintendent Feneberg said. “I am constantly impressed with our teachers’ creativity and by our principals reaching out to their students through morning announcements they are recording on YouTube Channels. Teachers, guidance counselors, specialists and paraeducators are also providing educational opportunities that go far beyond just educational learning and recognize the social emotional needs students have as well.”
Staff are available to provide students support each day, as they would during a normal day at school.
While remote learning is in place, preschool students are being provided with a daily list of activities to participate in through an email sent to parents and guardians. The students were given various materials to support the activities at the start of the remote learning initiative, including crayons and pads of paper.
Elementary, middle and high school students are following similar versions of their normal school schedules during the remote learning process. Students have Google Chromebooks to support various online activities, and are taking part in direct instruction from teachers through virtual meetings, independent learning activities and are connecting with teachers individually on a frequent basis.
Elementary school students also take part in a special course daily, such as art, physical education or music. Students participating in music class, for example, may sing over a video or audio meeting with their instructor, and students have been tasked with art assignments using materials they can access at home.
The district is following a schedule of remote learning on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and each week Wednesday is offered as a less structured day for students to catch up on work, parent teacher conferences and work with special education specialists. To facilitate remote learning, the district has also set up WiFi that can be accessed in school parking lots. This allows students and their parents or guardians to drive to the school and utilize the WiFi while practicing social distancing from others in their motor vehicles.
“I think the students have been great,” said Dave Smith, a sixth grade math teacher at Kearsarge Regional Middle School. “They really stepped up to the plate and accepted the challenges that come with this.”
“I’m so proud and thankful for my students,” said Thom Smith, a fifth grade teacher at Sutton Central Elementary School. “They’ve reacted to our remote learning experience with positive, resilient and adaptive attitudes.”
For the past decade, students at Kearsarge have been able to utilize Blizzard Bags to reduce the number of snow days. Elementary school students are given physical bags with paper packets and supplies to engage in learning at home in the event of a Blizzard Bag day, and older students engage with their instructors online. While the remote learning process has greatly expanded upon the activities students are engaging in while school facilities are closed, the Blizzard Bag program provided a foundation that helped students and educators bridge the gap this spring between in school learning and remote learning.
The following video clips may be used freely by the news media.
- News clip: “Kearsarge Remote Learning,” click here.
- Kearsarge Remote Learning SOT: click here.
- Kearsarge Remote Learning B-Roll: click here.
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