Difficult times call for innovative measures and solidarity. In these times when the health hazard of Covid-19 Novel Corona Virus has resulted in a lockdown and physical distancing we have made sure that the school is shut down but the learning continues. We have relied heavily on technology and the commitment of our teachers to help sail us through this situation.
Teaching and conducting exams was our number one priority as we did not want the students to lose out on learning and also it would mean that the academic year continues as planned.
Luckily our students of Std. VIII to X had completed their Final Assessments before the lockdown. For our students of Std. I to VII we had to ensure that revision and exams continue as planned. Since our school is June based, we had our final exams scheduled from the 1st of April. We managed to help our students of Std. VI and VII appear for their first ever online exams which were specially designed by our teachers based on Multiple Choice Questions. There was a good and positive response from the parents and 98% of the students attempted the online exams. Our reports were always online so letting students know their performance was not an issue and the results were declared towards the end of April as per the original schedule
Another challenge we had was to resume classes for our students of Std. IX and X. Considering these two are very crucial years which require extra inputs, we made sure that the application we chose was one which was easily accessible to our students, so we decided on Google Classrooms and started with class on 30th March 2020, barely 15 days into the lockdown. A timetable was made to ensure that students are not over burdened with study material and teachers also get enough time to prepare and post material and assignments. Technology proved to be a boon, helping teachers to explore the option of using an online whiteboard, jamboards, onscreen recording etc. to record their classes and upload them so students could view and understand the topics taught. With the variety of links of videos and study material available online teachers could give specific links to students to refer as well. With assignments and grading options also available on Google Classroom things became easier. Having said that teachers did choose topics where students had some background knowledge so it became easier for them to understand as well. The students were also lucky to be introduced to FlashCardz another online learning tool for Math, Science and Social Studies.
The students of Std. IX and X were soon joined by the students of Std.VI to VII who also started attending online classes on Google Classroom on the 27th of April ensuring that they had had a short break after their final assessments. Thereafter, online classes for the students of Std. I to V commenced on the 11th of May 2020.
In the meanwhile, the teachers made sure they updated their skills and knowledge by attending a series of webinars and online workshops based on tools and techniques for online teaching.
Through all this we made sure we were keeping channels open for communication for students and parents to reach out to us. This was done keeping in mind that in these difficult times teachers and the institution of school needs to stand up and become a support system for our students.
Soon we realized that end of the lockdown was nowhere in sight and we would have to shift to another platform of teaching-learning which would enable the students to understand and learn better and the Management wasted no time in tying up with Microsoft Teams to conduct our daily online classes. The new academic session for Jr.KG to Class X was scheduled to commence on the 15th of June 2020 so we began with Live Online Classes using Microsoft Teams from that day onwards. Orientation Sessions were conducted for the parents through the same platform to sensitize the parents and students alike about the virtual platforms being used. Rules for attending online classes were also listed.
Classes are conducted from Monday to Friday. The little ones from the Pre-Primary Section have 2 classes a day of 25 minutes each; Std I and II also have 2 classes per day of 30 minutes each with a break of 30 minutes in between each class. Std. III to V have 3 classes of half an hour each per day while the secondary school has 3 classes, each of 40 minutes per day. Classes of different sections have been staggered through the day to ensure that siblings are able to attend as most homes may have limited devices for the children to use.
Co-curricular activities are also a part of online learning and we have been conducting classes in Yoga, Music, Dance, Aerobics and Art. The Health and Wellness Counsellor has been conducting special session on topics such as Time Management, Emotional Well-Being, Goal Setting, Activities and Skills to utilize time wisely, Loving and Respecting Oneself, etc.
Some of the tools and apps being made use of across different sections are as follows: The XSEED and Ratnasagar Online Portal, Whiteboards, Jam Boards, Google Quizzes, Kahoot, Self-Made Videos and Presentations, FlashCardz, Worksheets, and the list goes on.
We also celebrated International Yoga Day for our staff, students and parents by conducting online yoga sessions. World Environment Day was celebrated through a poster making competition. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day too were celebrated by sending our Pre-Primary mommies and daddies a video of pics depicting various activities that the little ones had carried out with their moms and dads. On Guru Purnima, the students of Class I to V sent in beautiful cards thanking their Gurus, their Teachers and showering them with love.
The students of the secondary section have also participated in online competitions such e-MUN, All India Global Jigyasa Online Inter-School Quiz Contest conducted by SkillSphere Education, and a few others.
Parents and Students alike are thrilled with the Personal Interaction Sessions being held across the Pre-Primary and Primary Classes where the Class Teachers interact with small groups of students on a weekly basis for half an hour each. This is an informal interaction where the child gets to know the teacher and meet his classmates. The groups are shuffled each time. These are interesting and fun-filled sessions where a variety of activities, games, quizzes etc are conducted. Children get to interact with their peers, tell stories, sing songs, recite poetries, have discussions on different topics of interest and basically socialize.
Thus, the school is trying its best to cater to the all-round development of its students even through the virtual mode.
All this was only possible because of the commitment of our teachers and their willingness to work in challenging circumstances. The teachers rose up to the challenge wholeheartedly and the teamwork they showed ensured that the idea was implemented smoothly. The dedicated members of the Admin Team were around to assist every step of the way and the IT Department was there at our beck and call to help us navigate through these difficult times.
All of our achievements and successes would not have been possible without the tremendous guidance and support of the members of our Management.