Ready for this Moment
COVID-19 presented challenges and raised questions for schools and families across the world. How, in this time of crisis, would students continue their education and how would teachers effectively deliver content?
After 144 years of being a leader in education, Mount de Sales Academy is no stranger to adapting to change, meeting the demands of the time in order to keep pace with academic needs. The Academy’s mission has remained uncompromised. Students and faculty engage in a challenging, college-prep environment that thrives in the classroom or online. The Academy is flexible and prepared to respond to an ever-evolving situation.
Mount de Sales Academy’s decidedly different approach has created an unmatched educational experience, and this continues even in these uncertain times.
Mount de Sales has a longstanding tradition of bringing emerging technologies into the classroom. Systems already in place prior to the pandemic allowed for a seamless transition to a fully implemented online, distance learning model. During the pandemic, enhancements to these systems plus new technologies for the 2020-2021 school year have only boosted an already well-connected campus.
Learning Management System (LMS)
Students, faculty, and staff have access to the Google Apps domain for e-mail and cloud storage services as well as to PowerSchool, the online collaboration and learning management system (LMS) that has been in place for several years. Faculty use the LMS to share with students course-related content, homework requirements, teaching videos, interactive assignments, grade reporting, and more.
1:1 iPad Program
The Academy was the first school in Middle Georgia to establish a 1:1 iPad program—that means every student in grades 6th through 12th is assigned an iPad for use during the school year, every year. The program began in 2012 and was fully expanded to all grades by 2015. iPads are preloaded with a variety of educational apps, useful resources, and digital versions of printed textbooks. One such app that has proved to be a particularly useful tool in recent years is Notability. Students take notes, prepare presentations, share content, in addition to a host of other capabilities within the app.
ALEKS for Math
Computer-assisted learning is particularly effective for mastery of math concepts. In 2014, Mount de Sales introduced ALEKS, a math application that allows students to work at their own pace to complete benchmarks or advance to higher math levels.
Sadlier and No Red Ink for English
English teachers made the move to use Sadlier, an online vocabulary program, to assign quizzes and tasks to assess and build vocabulary skills. No Red Ink has been used since 2017 and is an online writing and grammar program for grades 8-12.
Other Online Tools
Science teachers (physics, astronomy, chemistry) and math teachers online based assessment programs as part of their curriculum. Online budgeting simulation in math is an example. Some teachers used YouTube to record lessons.
Over the summer, teachers took the opportunity to train for the use of new technology, research ways to optimize online learning methodologies, and collaborate with each other to perfect instruction delivery.
Google Meet and Zoom
Real-time classroom sessions and meetings during the initial stage of online learning were conducted via Google Meet and Zoom. These two platforms will be available to teachers and students in the event of another full-time online learning situation.
Other Delivery Options
While LMS serves as “command central” for instruction and learning resources, teachers use Quizlet, Ed Puzzle, and many other third-party lessons online to engage students and assess their mastery of content.