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Since March 2020, the Manchester Essex Regional School District (MERSD) has focused on learning the technology necessary to implement a hybrid and remote learning model. In anticipation that the school year may need to begin in a hybrid and remote format, the district has adopted a Hyflex Model for hybrid and remote instruction.
The Hyflex Model is a blended instructional model that functions as a “bridge” between traditional classroom structures in order to support fully-online student learning (Beatty, 2007a). In addition, the Hyflex Model incorporates and leverages online teaching technologies and pedagogies to support best practices for in-person teaching and learning. MERSD has incorporated instructional supports and methodologies from the following texts:
- Beatty, B. J. (2019). Beginnings: Where Does Hybrid-Flexible Come From? In B. J.
- Beatty (Ed.), Hybrid-Flexible Course Design. EdTech Books. Retrieved from https://edtechbooks.org/hyflex/book_intro
- Darby, F. and Lang, J. (2019). Small teaching online: Applying learning science to online classrooms. Jossey-Bass. San Francisco, CA.
- Levy, D. (2020). Teaching effectively with zoom. Retrieved from Zoom Video Communications and Publications. Cambridge, MA.
In addition to these materials, the district read and analyzed peer-reviewed research articles on distance learning, online learning, and best practices in instructional technologies. Across the district and from each school, teacher teams were trained to deliver a professional development series focusing on information learned during a summer MSSAA institute entitled, “Designing Distance Learning: Seven Best Virtual Learning Practices to Maximize Student Engagement.” The skills and strategies learned through these and other online trainings will function as the basis for MERSD’s hybrid/remote instructional strategy in MERSD’s Hyflex Model.
The goal of the MERSD Hyflex Model is to support teachers, students, and families through best practices in instructional online pedagogies in order to support students’ needs and to engage students in a robust delivery of MERSD district-based curriculum and content. In order to do so, the district is focusing on developing teacher and family supports through the creation of the following technology infrastructures and pedagogical practices. The Hyflex Model will allow for MERSD to meet the following goals:
- Create impactful units and lessons
- Communicate with students and families
- Build classroom community, collaboration, and feedback opportunities for students
- Support all students
The following information highlights different aspects and technologies to be used to address the key goals for the MERSD Hyflex Model.
Learning Management Systems
MERSD has adopted the following Learning Management Systems (LMS):
-Seesaw for students in grades K-2
-Google Classroom for students in grades 3-12
The district has coordinated teacher teams to coordinate and identify best practice guidance for all staff to facilitate how each teacher, student, and family will function within the LMS.
Online Communication Tools
As Kindergarten-Grade 2 students do not have experience within the LMS, the district and grade-level teachers will coordinate the information necessary to engage with students and families within Seesaw. Guidelines and parent trainings will be shared with parents at the start of the school year.
Students in Grades 3-12 will work within Google Classroom as they have in the past.
Teachers will work from MERSD guidelines within Google Classroom in order to facilitate a coordinated approach to content delivery with the Google Classroom platform. Google Classroom guidelines and parent trainings will be shared with families at the start of the school year.
Teachers will use Zoom and Google Hangouts to communicate with students. Teachers will work from MERSD guidelines within Zoom in order to facilitate a coordinated approach to communication within the Zoom platform. Best practices and guidelines for these communication technologies will be shared with families at the start of the school year.
From March 2020 to the start of the school year, teachers will have learned best practices for hybrid and remote learning on specific technologies designed to engage students in collaborative learning and communication practices. Guidelines and parent trainings on these grade-level specific instructional technologies will be shared with families at the start of the school year.
Social-Emotional Learning, Anti-Bias, and Trauma-Informed Schools
MERSD has leveraged its ongoing work with Yale’s Center for Emotional Intelligence and Yale’s RULER Community to continue to build SEL strategies for teachers and administrators in order to support and engage with students throughout the school year. Additionally, teachers and support staff are attending workshops and trainings to build strategies and school-based supports for students through trainings on RULER, trauma informed schools, diversity, and anti-bias students and family supports.
MERSD has developed a teacher training website to support teachers’ summer learning and to identify upcoming fall trainings for all staff. These sites are designed to coordinate resources for all teachers K-12 on instructional practices and strategies to support the delivery of the MERSD Hyflex Model. A website for families is under construction and will be available to all parents and families for the start of the school year.