Finksburg---------On Wednesday, March 25th, the Gerstell
Academy community celebrated a unique milestone: the first day of virtual school.
The day began with students, parents, faculty, and administrators logging into various digital learning platforms to begin their classes outlined for the day. Attendance was excellent and students were ready to begin their unique journey.
Prior to Spring Break Gerstell faculty had been planning online lessons, and finalizing their online presentations by recording and uploading videos of lessons, as well as mastering a variety of e-learning platforms. Zoom has been the preferred platform for many Gerstell faculty, and has provided a visual connection that enable students to communicate with their classmates and teachers remotely. The classes have been well received and parents are responding positively to the structure that the classes provide for their children during the day. The schedule allows for classes, meeting times, and homework help for all students. The unique advisory program at Gerstell provides students with a daily personal connection to their advisor.
According to senior Aryana Valedon, “the leadership program at Gerstell has helped provide me with the skills to help not only myself, but others to get through the situation. It’s been comforting to be with my classmates and teachers as we miss the social aspect of being together.”
The faculty have utilized a variety of creative methods to reach their students, and are even planning online field trips. As a leadership school, Gerstell faculty have risen to the challenge and are overcoming adversity to continue with the educational mission. It has been a journey in self-discovery, perseverance, and embracing new methods of teaching and learning.
The project has not been without challenges, and teaching remotely is different for a class of Kindergarten students as opposed to an A.P. English class for students in high school. Gerstell parents have been supportive of the online learning, and are appreciative of Gerstell faculty for all they have done to keep the educational process moving forward for their children.
Parent Ms. Denise Burdyck shared,” I am truly impressed with the progress of the ZOOM online learning. I have been able to “pop in” to see how various classes are operating. While these are unprecedented times in our history, the manner in which the students as well as the teachers tackle the adversities thrown at them truly shows why Gerstell was a great option for both of my children.”
Gerstell Academy plans to continue with online learning for as long as it is needed. The technology has allowed students to continue with their education and for faculty to showcase their creativity and excitement for learning.