Creating a Virtual Program: Considerations and Consternations

May 22, 2020 Sarah Williamson By Sarah Williamson
Student sitting on the floor and working at his computer

In the rush to keep students learning amidst school closures, education leaders utilized whatever resources were available. This often translated to working with different programs for every subject, requiring students and educator to quickly adjust to new platforms.

While schools and districts plan for the upcoming school year, there is an opportunity to consider how to streamline resources and reduce confusion. In our latest podcast, we talk with two district leaders about their strategies for creating virtual learning programs and their advice and guidance for districts who are navigating the challenges of an ongoing transition to virtual learning. To listen to the full podcast, visit: https://opportunitythrives.com/creating-a-virtual-program-considerations-and-consternations/.

These leaders share how their districts are establishing a continuity of resources so that teachers can focus on connecting with their students and students can focus on learning. We learn more about how administrators believe educators, students and families are adjusting to the new normal and whether or not they are feeling a sense of acceptance in acclimating to the changes. 

As some of the first districts to get remote learning programs up and running in an extraordinarily short amount of time, they share some of the hurdles they faced and lessons they learned when they worked to accommodate the needs of all students.

We also gain an understanding of what they consider to be the key components that are essential to a successful long-term virtual program and what’s important to get right, particularly if remote learning becomes a long-term solution.

Amy Hollstein, the Deputy Superintendent for Charles County Public Schools in La Plata, Maryland, is a guest on today’s episode. She is a 29-year veteran of Charles County Public School. She began her career in 1987 as a teacher and was quickly promoted to vice principal of the elementary school where she was working. She went on to become a principal of the school in 2000 and later moved to a different elementary school in the district where she was credited with a drastic increase in student achievement. She received the Washington Post's Distinguished Educational Leadership Award and was the Charles County Public Schools 2011 Principal of the Year.

Dr. Kimberly McClain, the Blended Learning Coordinator for Cincinnati Public Schools, also joined us for this episode. Kimberly has over 20 years of experience in public education as a classroom teacher, online/virtual instructor, administrator, and instructional designer emphasizing curriculum development in the virtual setting. Kimberly has spent the last 15 years working in online and hybrid learning environments with a focus on middle school, primarily with at-risk and specially circumstanced student populations. She has also studied leadership in K-12 online and virtual school environments.

To listen to the full episode, visit: www.opportunitythrives.com.

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