Best Practices for Parents Choosing Distance Learning (DL)
Distance learning has a number of challenges, one being how do parents evaluate the quality of education compared to an on campus experience? When assessing any distance learning program, the CDS team recommends parents look for these key elements:
- Course work that is on pace with on campus learning
- Solid digital integration so students can access curriculum and resources regardless of location
- Seamless connection to on campus faculty and classmates
- Additional faculty resources to specifically support the DL learner
- Online enrichments to augment the core courses
At Country Day School, we’ve built our distance learning programs with a focus on each of these elements. To maintain cohesion with on campus learning, our distance learning classes are live, allowing students to connect with their classmates and truly stay on pace. Our new Learning Management System is designed to keep parents, teachers, students and administration seamlessly integrated throughout the year. We also pay attention to enrichments – students in all learning programs participate in various enrichments such as P.E., visual arts, performing arts, animal science, computer programming and engineering through live classes and activities. Distance learning students follow a schedule appropriate for their age, aligned with their on campus peers. Students can thrive with schedules that set the tone for the academic work day, and allow them to maintain independence in their learning. Because CDS is dedicated to supporting our students and families, students have several opportunities to engage with teachers throughout the day.
Best Practices for Students Using Distance Learning
Distance learning also has its challenges for the students, so we recommend keeping a focus on these facets of the experience to ensure success:
- Maintaining relationships with teachers and peers
- Sticking to a schedule and routine
- Staying active and engaged with all classes
- Utilizing all resources available
- Balancing live and independent work
Country Day School K-8th grade distance learning students attend live classes to stay connected and foster both the student-teacher relationship and the relationships they build with their peers. Our World School students meet with an advisor daily to ensure they are receiving the information and attention needed to stay on track and excel academically. For extra support, we’ve added distance learning only office hours for additional opportunities for personalized and one-on-one instruction. Our daily schedules provide structure to the students’ days and help them know what is expected of them. Our live classes encourage engagement through discussion and collaborative group work. Through the teacher course pages on MyCDS, students have access to resources used in the classroom, plus additional content to supplement their independent work. Though live classwork is crucial, flexibility through some independent learning reduces the amount of required screen time and helps families build the schedule that works best for them. Our distance learning student schedules have unstructured time to complete independent lessons and course work built into their day.
What We Can Learn for the Future
The need for distance learning has led to quick innovations and creative thinking that will enhance learning after COVID-19 is behind us. CDS has incorporated virtual tools into the learning environment and we are connected with students and families more than ever. Our extended 1:1 iPad program now includes students in grades 4 and 5, and are integrated with extensive audio and visual technology in the classrooms. Teachers have the tools and resources necessary to make multimedia learning available to students on campus and at home. Once all students are back on campus, we will continue to find creative ways to use these new capabilities to enhance learning.
This “new normal” has also fostered a new level of flexibility in education, a significant change from historical rigidity around what education needed to be. We think this flexibility will offer new opportunities for students and educators. Check out our Flexible Learning blog post to learn more!
At Country Day School, we know distance learning is challenging, but we believe every student can receive a high-quality, valuable education through a great distance learning program. We have limited spots still available, for admissions information please fill out an inquiry form: