On-Campus and Virtual School Options are Helping Students Thrive at IRCS
Extraordinary Efforts by Faculty and Staff
The success that our virtual and on-campus students are having so far this year is because of the collaboration, creative thinking, and plain hard work of so many in our school.
We would like to first acknowledge the unique and above-and-beyond effort of our teachers. They spent two intensive weeks getting up to speed on classroom training before the school year started. Then, they each had to take what they learned and create custom modifications for our virtual school students. In addition to cameras, new software, and technology to implement, they’ve also had to come up with creative ways for virtual students to participate in things like science labs. We could not be more proud of or thankful for every one of our teachers at Indian Rocks Christian School.
Our cafeteria staff, IT department, front office, and crew of folks volunteering to take temperatures at the front door have all had to navigate many moving pieces, but they have done it in such a positive way. They are working hard each day to make students feel as normal as possible so they can focus on learning.
The IRCS administration team spent many hours discussing and refining our reopening plan to maximize opportunities for every one of our students and families.
Our curriculum and instruction directors, Stephanie Vogel and Melissa Williams, have worked very closely with our superintendent to design our virtual school option for elementary, middle, and high school students.
The IRCS parents have been flexible, supportive, communicative, and doing a wonderful job of not only caring for one another but also working together to follow our safety guidelines and protocols.
If you’re a current parent or student, would you take a moment to send our teachers or staff a note of encouragement in the comments? That would mean so much to them as we all work together to make this year a success.
What We’re Offering with Our Virtual School Option
So far, for fall of 2020, around 70 students and families at IRCS have elected to participate in our virtual school option, and the early results are very positive and encouraging. There were many factors to consider as our faculty and tech experts designed this opportunity for students, but one of the most important considerations was keeping students connected in a meaningful way to their peers and teachers.
The students in our virtual school track are expected to be logged on at home and ready to learn on our regular schedule because they participate in real-time with our on-campus classes. Cameras have been installed so everyone in the classrooms and at home can see and hear everyone else. Students can still be a part of their class, even from home. They have the same assignments, immediate feedback, overall level of education, and personalized attention that our families have come to expect from IRCS.
If a student is sick or unable to attend classes on campus for a temporary period of time, the virtual option framework and technology is helping them keep up and avoid absences. In some cases, when a teacher can’t come to campus, they have been able to still provide instruction from home with assistance and monitoring from a sub in the classroom. Some elements of face-to-face learning simply can’t be recreated in a digital connection. However, our virtual school is a remarkable equivalent that’s bridging the distance learning gap for many of our students.
From a parent:
“I just wanted to reach out and tell you how incredibly happy I am with IRCS’s back-to-school plan this year. The staff is clear with expectations and rules, kids have been met with compassion and guidance, education is still a priority, and did I mention how much Brody LOVES the new STEM building?! Top to bottom, your team, staff and co-workers are the best of the best!”
Keeping our On-Campus Classrooms Safe
In addition to integrating virtual learning into our curriculum plans, our IRCS teacher and staff have worked extra hard to ensure our on-campus classes are as safe as possible. That effort starts at home. Each morning, parents must report any potential COVID-19 symptoms. If they are sick or showing symptoms, they are asked to stay home and use our virtual school technology to participate.
As students arrive at school, each one is greeted by our faculty and staff outside and has their temperature taken with a touch-free thermometer. If anyone has a temperature of over 100.4 degrees, we will send them home for the day. Amazingly, even with over 900 students to greet and screen, because of community-wide effort and cooperation, we’ve started classes on time as usual!
The outstanding facilities at IRCS have been another blessing in the midst of sorting out the logistics for our on-campus plan. Since we have large facilities, we’ve had ample room to spread out and give everyone the space they need to meet social distancing recommendations.
A Biblical World View in Action
“There has already been so much good that has come out in our school community as we’ve worked together to face a very difficult situation. For many folks, these are scary times, and we don’t know what is coming next. But at IRCS, we do know Who our faith is in and that God is in control. This has been a remarkable time to remind our students of these things. What we’ve seen is another way that we really are the body of Christ through all this and together, we’re learning how to meet the needs of our students — which has always been the whole reason we’re here.
Are you looking for a new school option for your child? Get in touch with the admissions team at Indian Rocks Christian School to learn more about our virtual school and on-campus options today. Our team will be happy to answer your questions, schedule a tour, or tell you more about our remarkable community. Call 727-593-8731, visit our admissions page or send us an email.