Passaic Valley Transitions to Remote Learning to Keep Students and Staff Safe
Lulu Mubarak '20
8 May 2020
With various visual components and online assessments, schools across the country are managing to make online learning work. Passaic Valley administration and teaching staff has been working hard to continue to offer students the same opportunities they were granted when coming to school.
Switching to an online format as opposed to traditional classroom learning requires significant adjustment. However, taking ownership of their learning and recognizing the seriousness of the situation is vital for students who may encounter similar situations once they leave high school. “Teachers and staff have been working diligently to provide a productive and supportive learning environment for students. Overall, students are engaged in their lessons and adjusting well to using technology for class discussions and collaboration," said Supervisor of Career and Technical Education Mrs. Patricia Palmiere. "Experience with remote learning will benefit students if they are expected to learn or collaborate in a similar way for college or the workplace."
Over the past eight weeks of the model, Hornets have embraced the new model and risen to the challenges it poses. Students continue to adapt to assignments and learn new modalities. “Students are responding and adjusting well to remote learning. Students are focused on their courses and assignments, participating in class discussions, and learning how to use new applications and resources for learning,” Mrs. Paliere observed.
Teachers throughout Passaic Valley have had to modify their instruction in innovative ways to meet the new challenges of online learning. Staff made sure as little as possible was lost in the transition. Even the Writing Lab is now accessible by computer. Students can electronically reach out to tutors to receive assistance for their digital courses and assignments.
In addition to their preparedness, Passaic Valley has also made sure the adequate support is in place for those experiencing obstacles to teaching and learning. “I think the biggest hurdle is that Google Classroom has not been able to handle the onslaught of schools teaching online all at the same time, which has been frustrating. I have had some technology issues, but Mr. Clementi from our IT support has been excellent,” Photography Teacher Ms. Melanie Vasa said.
While Passaic Valley has worked diligently to provide as authentic an experience as possible, there simply is no replacement for the face-to-face interaction between student and teacher that occurs on a daily basis in the traditional classroom. However, for those missing the old ways, it's important to keep the bigger picture in mind: that these adjustments were put in place for our safety and the safety of our loved ones. “I would rather stay home and miss my students than rush back foolishly and risk their safety and the safety of those they live with,” Ms. Vasa said. "It is very important that during these difficult times, we prioritize our health and safety while still keeping in mind our education."