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Building a Virtual Community

We know it is super hard for students to build social connections with each other virtually. In addition to strengthening our on-line pedagogy, we have worked hard to provide students with opportunities. Here are some of the strategies we are using:

1) Classroom instruction – As a project-based learning school, we have successfully transitioned to virtual PBL classes! Our teachers consistently plan together then co-facilitated classes that have students collaboratively work on meaningful projects.
2) We use Advisories, Grade Level Meetings and Friday’s Whole School Meeting to teach social-emotional learning skills, play games, debrief current events, and process this crazy year we are living in.
3) We have over 2 dozen election options that are singularly focused on helping students to connect over a shared passion
4) Special Events – Our student council has taken student emotional health seriously and have planned multiple events specifically designed to be fun. So far we have had a Halloween Party, a Winter Dance, and two Virtual Field Days (one focused on Marine Biology and the other focused on Astronomy/Space Exploration).

My absolute favorite parent comments this year has been that they have heard their child laughing as they peered into their Zoom classrooms. We are trying. If you have ideas on ways we can continue to help students build friendships/stay connected, please share!

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