Academics

Distance Learning

Distance Learning Program

Episcopal High School’s distance learning program aims to continue the teaching and learning excellence that is the hallmark of an Episcopal education. Even when students and faculty cannot gather physically in the classroom, our faculty take advantage of technology and various online platforms to create innovative and meaningful ways to keep us fully engaged in the School’s mission and fully connected as a community. 

We recognize that distance learning cannot replicate the classroom experience, as content and skills will be delivered in different ways. Yet faculty and staff focus on what is key to the Episcopal experience: building the powerful relationships with students to both support and challenge them as they learn and grow. 

Even when classes are in person, our teachers and students already use many of the technologies and resources that are the foundation of our work during any time we are apart. The work itself will be familiar to students — they will continue to read a variety of texts, write thoughtful essays, solve complex problem sets, do multi-step labs, and create inspiring art — yet they will also find new and powerful ways of learning.

The strengths of our distance-learning program in the fall of 2020 will include:

List of 6 items.

  • Faculty who are trained and prepared to teach online.

    Building on their experience during the Covid-19 crisis and previous experiences teaching hybrid classes during high incidences of flu and Pertussis, every teaching faculty member took professional development during the summer of 2020 focused on designing and teaching hybrid courses that will engage students and maintain academic rigor.
  • New technology and learning platforms that enhance the distance learning experience.

    Our instruction will be housed in Canvas, a common course template for clear and easy student use, but teachers will also utilize a broad range of platforms like Flipgrid, Pear Deck, Studio, and Edpuzzle to teach discipline-specific skills and content.
  • Students learning in multiple modes.

    Teachers employ a variety of methods to engage and challenge students — live instruction, asynchronous discussions and assignments, digital labs, collaborative group work, and project-based learning. During a synchronous learning event, a group of students engages in learning simultaneously. With asynchronous learning, students work on assigned tasks and lessons on their own time.
  • Extensive office hours and meeting times will maintain the important individual connections between students and faculty

    that are a critical part of the Episcopal experience. These protected times for one-on-one meetings can be used for support of all kinds: content, skills, organization, social-emotional, etc.
  • Support and modified schedules for students who live in different time zones.

    Our academic classes will be concentrated in the morning hours so that all of our students — no matter their timezone — can attend the majority of their synchronous class meetings. There will also be structured times in the afternoons and the evenings when students will be able to meet with teachers, who will help them stay organized and current in their coursework.
  • Learning drawing on the Washington, D.C., region.

    Though off-campus learning experiences will be limited early in the year, faculty have found that our Webex video-conferencing technology makes it easy to take full advantage of the School’s relationships and partnerships in the region and bring to their classrooms scientists, authors, and other experts who might never have been able to come to campus to visit. Read about such experiences from last spring. Also, see the McCain-Ravenel Center page of our reopening plan for 2020-21.

Guidelines for Students and Parents

List of 8 items.

  • Set up a productive learning space

    If possible, we recommend that students find a quiet space that is relatively free from distractions. It should be a place where they have access to all school materials and can maintain strong internet access. Students’ time in front of a screen will certainly increase while learning at home, but they will also need space to take notes and work on problem sets, etc.
  • Establish a consistent daily routine

    Our students will be learning in time zones around the world, but no matter where they are, they should set up a consistent daily approach to their studies during the week. Consistency will be important as they manage their synchronous class schedule as well as their asynchronous assigned work. Establishing regular and consistent wake-up times, study hours, and bedtimes will help students manage the independence of distance learning.
  • Track daily progress

    Parents can and should start the day with a check-in to ensure that their students can articulate their daily schedule and plan for completing assigned work. It will also be useful for parents to finish the learning day with a final check-in to hear about progress that students made and to discuss challenges they encountered.
     
  • Include regular breaks and physical activity during the learning day

    Because students will be using their computers to access much of the classroom content and instruction, it will be important for them to regularly unplug and be as active as possible. In between class meetings, students should step away from their computers and reset for the next subject. Finding ways to get outside and stay active will help students stay energized, focused, and positive.
  • Communicate with teachers and advisors

    There will inevitably be challenges, questions, and technical issues that arise as students adapt to learning remotely. Knowing that the transition for students will require assistance, we want students to communicate directly with their teachers and advisors. Email, virtual meetings, and phone calls are all good options. The schedule creates several “office hour” periods scheduled into the week when students will be able to access their teachers and advisors, and they should take full advantage of those times.
  • Stay connected to EHS supports

    Students can and should reach out to the adults on campus who normally offer them support. For academic support, students shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to teachers, advisors, the Academic Support Center, tutors, or even fellow classmates. Students who are enrolled in DASH will be contacted by the learning specialists about setting up regular appointment times. Our counselors and chaplains are also ready and willing to connect and work virtually with students who might be in need of support. As always, the adults on campus are ready and willing to partner with parents to make sure that students are getting the resources that they need.
     
  • Work through challenges positively and proactively

    One of the most valuable aspects of distance learning is that it forces students to approach tasks in new and different ways. We encourage students to embrace the new challenges of learning and problem solving, knowing that developing resilience will be one of the most important skills they can take away from this experience. Students will, no doubt, encounter some difficulties and frustrations as they adapt to the new technology and schedule; we encourage them to stay positive and communicative as they work through the challenges that they will face.
  • Stay in touch with friends and classmates

    Students will see each other in virtual classes, and they will collaborate on projects from a distance, but we also want them to make an effort to stay socially connected and involved. The deep sense of community at Episcopal is something that makes life here so meaningful and rewarding, and we encourage students to support each other during this time of physical distance.