SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- These days, the school day may look a bit different to the students of St. Bartholomew Academy in Scotch Plains, but the spirit of the school and the warmth of the teachers is felt strongly over the internet.
St. Bartholomew Academy transitioned to online learning a few weeks ago when the New Jersey schools were closed to help “Flatten the Curve” of the COVID-19 virus. Students, teachers, and parents worked together the first week to ensure all students had access to the various online learning platforms. Recognizing that this new style of learning and not being able to physically get together with friends or teachers was stressful, the teachers have sought ways to help the students feel connected to the school, each other, and the greater community.
A fun way the teachers engage the students is through a weekly video that the teachers post to their Google Classroom and Academy social media pages. Teachers from Prek-3 to 3rd grade, along with the instructional aides, the Academy Chaplin, and Principal, have created three installments: ‘The Friday Song’, ‘On Top of Spaghetti’ and ‘I’m Going on A Bear Hunt’. The videos have uplifted the community and provided a bit of stress relief for all.
Using Zoom meetings and Google Meet, the students have been able to continue advancing their learning in all major subjects. Teachers have been flexible in their approach through a blend of live classes, taped lessons (so students can refer back to the material) and holding extra help sessions with students. Parents have been happy with the results.
Staci Gialanella, a 6th grade parent emailed to say, “I think you all did a fantastic job getting this (distance learning) up and running in such a SMALL amount of time. It really seemed very easy for Maria to follow.”
Students are also finding ways to stay connected with each other. The whole school participated in a school-wide Bear Hunt, with the middle school students placing bears in their home windows for the younger students to find. Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 6th, 7th, and 8th graders are becoming pen pals. The third through fifth grade have a Kindness Message Project scheduled after Easter break.
The students are also leaning on their faith at this time. Fifth grade created Google Slides with messages of hope and inspiration for each other. Eighth grade prayed the Rosary together on a Zoom meeting, Mrs. D’Apuzzo read ‘The First Easter’ to her PreK-3 students, and PreK-4 talked about what they could do to celebrate Lent.
The students, faculty, and staff may not be together in the classroom, but learning, fun, and fellowship are happening together apart at St. Bartholomew Academy. If you are interested in learning more about St. Bartholomew Academy contact us for a virtual tour! Just email email@example.com.