WHEN THE CHALLENGE CAME, DID YOUR SCHOOL RISE TO MEET IT?
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How Westminster Responded
At Westminster School, striving for excellence is core to our philosophy and our practice. It is taught, expected, and practiced day in and day out, at all grade levels throughout our program. When an unexpected challenge arose, as it did with the COVID-19 pandemic, mandated school closure, and the necessity for distance learning, our staff, faculty, and students were ready to meet it—not because we had faced this particular challenge before but because we were prepared by the daily attitude, structure, standards, and practices of Westminster School.
News headlines and articles have told us how some other schools have responded:
- Weeks of delay before online classes began
- Minimal guidance for teachers
- Watered-down curricula
- Dropping attendance requirements
- Dropping requirements for assignments and assessments
- Class disruptions by bad actors
- Technical melt-downs
- Declaring the remainder of the school year “a wash.”
Westminster Has Met the Challenge in the Following Ways:
- Anticipating a possible school closure and the need for remote learning, we had our students take home textbooks and other study materials.
- Within five days, we selected two online platforms for our remote-learning curriculum delivery, surveyed our families to ensure home technology readiness, and trained teachers, students, and parents in the use of the new technology, including a practice run.
- Designed and published a comprehensive schedule for both live and non-live class meetings and established necessary guidelines.
- We are now delivering our core academic classes (English/language arts, History, Math, Science, French and Latin) with the aim of completing those courses by year’s end;
- We are continuing enrichment classes, including art, music, and P.E.
- We are delivering our preschool program, providing security, routine, and progress in learning;
- We are holding regular staff/faculty meetings to discuss arising issues, whether technical or in guiding the students, and quickly implemented solutions, communicating regularly with parents and students.
- We are hosting community activities, such as story time for young students, curricular celebrations, such as Earth Day and Shakespeare’s Birthday, and plans for class lunches, Bingo nights, community bulletin board, etc.
We can’t claim all the credit. Westminster parents have been unbelievably supportive, flexible, and appreciative, emblematic of our “golden triangle” partnership among parents, teachers, and school administration, with mutual respect and strong communication all-around. Most gratifying of all, during this unprecedented upheaval, our students’ behavior has reflected the daily expectations of Westminster School’s small classes and personal attention: They have been respectful, responsible, courteous, hard-working, and engaged.
The difficulties all schools are facing are enormous, and obstacles and unexpected glitches can strike any institution. However, we can’t help but be proud of the way Westminster School is meeting the challenges of distance learning and delivering to our students and their parents what we promise: a classical education for the 21 st century which both nurtures and challenges
students to become the best possible versions of themselves.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit.”
–attributed to Aristotle