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The "new normal" for Schools has always been our "norm"!

As an online school, we start with the technology and then bring the humanity to our world. Our students do work online, they communicate online, they submit work and find their grades online. But they also interact with us online, meet in virtual houses and clubs, and even sing together. It might be a virtual format, but it is very real and very "in-person" just not tangibly so.

I have discovered that the majority of new students this year are coming from families who have chosen to pick a school that "always is online" rather than one that may be jumping in and out at a moment's notice with teachers who long to be in the physical building and may or may not have enough tech savvy to truly serve the kids.

The other thing that makes us different, is that when schools are trying to be "synchronous" (where the teacher delivers instruction via a virtual meeting platform) they require that students do work at the speed of the class, rather than at their own speed. This keeps the class at the lowest common denominator for movement forward in a class. We meet in virtual groups for all of the non-credit related activities that students need for a well-rounded education (soft-skills, life-skills, money matters, social/emotional learning, etc.) and let the kids work at their own pace for the curriculum. They can access their teachers for live, individualized instruction during office hours, or with a tutor online. Only if students lag is there an issue, but we have an adult mentor for every student who checks weekly and helps support the best practices for academic learning.

Our "norm" has always been to view each student as a whole person and support every aspect of their lives that we can because we know it takes a village, and that village can be virtual. Technology is the mechanism, but we (the humans) are the school, and that is our everyday "norm".

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