Snow day doesn’t stop teaching and learning at Bishop Kelly

No Netflix, skiing or gaming for Bishop Kelly High students on Snow Day.

The building was closed Thursday, but Bishop Kelly staff kept teaching — virtually — with online assignments. Educators took attendance and stuck to calendar and curriculum pace using technology and education apps.

Rather than canceling school for a fifth time, principal Mike Caldwell decided to host an online-learning day. The calendar is sufficiently padded to meet state attendance requirements, but Caldwell didn’t want students to miss another day of learning.

“Every day a student misses is significant, especially on an advanced-placement track,” Caldwell said.

Bishop Kelly is a one-to-one blended learning school, each student has a laptop and every student on campus has access to Internet at home. With the learning management tools in place — Google apps for education and Blackboard Learn — Caldwell knew he could go virtual.

“We were willing to take a risk,” Caldwell said.

Last week, Caldwell created a draft plan and held an emergency staff meeting to review how an online learning day would work. On Monday, teachers informed students of the online process — to get everyone up-to-date before another snowstorm hit.

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“We had a plan and went with it,” Caldwell said.

Teachers had three hours to gather lesson plans online Thursday morning. Parents received an email at 6:23 a.m. about the online learning day and students had to be online at 11 a.m. for virtual attendance through a Google form.

Students are learning through PowerPoint with a voiceover by the teacher, chatting with teachers through Google classroom and working through Khan Academy.

“On a normal snow day I would be watching TV and stressing out about being behind,” said Lysette Villegas, a junior at Bishop Kelly. “I feel more engaged and the online learning is pretty smooth.”

Some students had technical issues during the day, but the high school tech support resolved any problems.

“Teachers are very surprised how well everything went,” Caldwell said.

To keep students engaged and excited about online learning day, Caldwell held a Twitter selfie contest awarding students with free Dutch Bros coffee. Check out the tweets below.

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