Last month Bexley City Schools launched distance-learning strategies. We are now several weeks into distance learning and are implementing phase 2 of the transition.
In phase 1, we focused on launching districtwide distance learning, safely providing food service for specific student groups and deploying our available technology to homes without devices available for students. Throughout phase 2, our focus has been on delivering high-quality instruction to our students at home.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine's announcement that schools will continue distance learning for the remainder of the academic year will begin phase III of our journey May 4.
Bexley schools are known for excellence. We have a long history of offering excellent educational opportunities to students in the classroom.
Our staff and teachers are working diligently to translate their expertise on classroom instruction to distance learning but it's not as simple as it may seem.
Many of our teachers, like you, are balancing working from home and caring for children or elderly parents or grandparents.
We recognize that parents of our students may be essential workers, or facing sickness at home, or dealing with uncertainty because of unemployment.
In all of this, we want our parents and students to remain mentally, emotionally and socially healthy.
One of our driving goals in providing high-quality instruction at home is to continue building upon a student-centered learning culture.
When students and teachers are working together in the classroom, it is much easier to be student-centered and to respond when our students are struggling or need help.That remains our goal even in this new environment.
We have always known that in order to be student-centered, we constantly have to evolve.
We have to evolve our approach for students with different needs or abilities, we evolve our approach as student interests change and we evolve our approach as new research reveals more effective teaching strategies.
We are used to evolving and now we are figuring out how to evolve in a new way, but this change doesn't happen overnight.
In the midst of rapid change, our teachers and staff are focused on the learner profile now more than ever.
The Bexley Learner Profile describes the qualities we intend all of our students to develop throughout their educational journey and it guides our instruction at all levels.
We are committed to our mission. What we want for students hasn't changed, only our environment has changed.
Our current environment, while temporary, has the power to effect lasting change.
Some of the things that work well in this time of distance learning will enhance post-COVID-19 classroom education.
Some of the things that do not work well will help us to appreciate what we have and plan our investments for the future when our school buildings reopen.
We already know that Bexley City Schools must turn to our technology plan with a sense of urgency.
This time of distance learning will come to an end and while we don't know the exact timeline, students and teachers will return to the classroom. Together we have an opportunity to shape what that future will be for our schools when the time is right. I look forward to sharing that opportunity with you, hopefully, soon.
Kimberly Pietsch Miller is the superintendent of Bexley City Schools.