As students return in tiers to learn in our building, we are pausing to reflect on how welcoming the first group of students back into our new building during the pandemic raised spirits in January at Conservatory Lab Charter School. On the first day, students came in from their buses a few at a time, struck a pose for a celebratory photo to share with their family, and learned how to get to their classrooms accompanied by learning specialists, teachers, and staff.
The first school bus pulls up, bringing a spark of yellow back to campus
Speaking to Assistant Principal Alvin Cooper as he waited for the food service to bring the meals, he reflected, “There are a lot of moving parts that had to happen at the same time, so we are excited. Once the food gets here, we’ll bring breakfast to students in their classrooms.”
Principal Nicole Mack pitches in by delivering breakfast to every classroom on the first day of Hybrid learning.
Teaching Assistant Sean Sullivan moved tables around in the Art Room, where middle school students will be participating in their class zooms while he supports them. Mr. Sullivan has been at Conservatory Lab for a few years, so he already has relationships with all of them.
He set expectations for each student as they arrived, “I’m happy to have you back in the classroom, and I want you to have your computers set up by 9:25 so you can join Crew on time this morning.” Being in a classroom with their peers and a dedicated TA like Mr. Sullivan, students will be able to socialize during breaks and get support throughout the day, making online engagement even better.
A group of students walks up the Learning Stairs from lunch to class.
While the routine remained the same for the first group of students who logged into their remote classes, Conservatory Lab has offered synchronous learning all day, except for independent reading and math work from the beginning. Many schools have a substantial asynchronous complement, but school leaders and staff decided to make as much classroom time interactive as possible when we transitioned from Hybrid Orientation to Full Remote in October.
Some students will also hop out of the classroom to work with specialists in person, as they would throughout a regular school day. This will make many services like occupational therapy or counseling easier for students to take advantage of. They will have more privacy and access to tools, manipulatives, and extra space as needed.