In response to the current situation the world is in regarding COVID-19, and following the direction of our local health professionals and county leaders, OLP closed our campus in mid-March. But this didn’t mean that learning and operations halted. Because of early planning and preparation, the school was able to seamlessly transition all 750 students and 80-plus faculty and staff members to virtual learning and work.
We owe a great deal of the success of the last few months to our teachers' dedication, flexibility, and professionalism.
“Providing stability and continuity of learning for our students are our main priorities during this difficult time,” said Dr. Lauren Lek, Head of School at the Academy of Our Lady of Peace. “Once we made the decision to close campus for the safety of our community, we immediately were ready to launch our online learning platform, which has been a tremendous success. Beyond just the delivery of instruction, we have intentionally woven into each day opportunities for community building with all 850 of us! I never thought it would be possible virtually until we were forced to do it. We are one giant virtual Brady Bunch.”
Using our learning management system, Blackbaud, and video conferencing tools like Google Meet and Zoom Pro, classes have continued and learning has been uninterrupted. We have even been able to host virtual all-school assemblies with more than 900 participants at once. We were able to make this transition easily because of early planning by the Technology Department, which moved our school to fully cloud- and web-based tools years ago.
In addition to maintaining online learning, all-school assemblies, parent-teacher conferences, school events, and counseling services have been hosted virtually.
“Recognizing that this is a stressful and worrisome time for all of us, we wanted to ensure that our students had access to the emotional and academic support resources that are regularly available to them on campus,” said Jessica Hooper, Assistant Head of School at OLP. “Our counselors host virtual meetings with students and parents and teachers have virtual ‘office hours.’ Even on a virtual platform, all of our regular services are continuing.”
Distance Learning Norms and Expectations
- Create a Schedule: Balancing schoolwork, hobbies, and friends/family time can be difficult. Creating a schedule will help you make time for the things you need to do (homework, etc.) and the things you want to do (video calls with family and friends, etc.)
- Take Frequent Breaks: Remember to go for walks, spend time outdoors, and stay connected with friends and family using video chats.
- Remember to ask for help when you need it.
As a reminder, it is mandatory that students follow the guidelines for online classes. Students are expected to be awake, alert, dressed in appropriate attire and sitting up in a setting conducive to learning (at a desk, a table, etc.)
Personal Presentation: Web-based programs define the area in view of the camera as part of the classroom. OLP students must present themselves and their surroundings as though they are in a physical classroom. Students are required to wear an OLP shirt while attending virtual classes, which may differ from how a person usually chooses to dress in her home environment. Seniors are allowed to wear college shirts on Fridays, in lieu of an OLP shirt. College shirts are a celebration for seniors only.
Examples of inappropriate personal presentation include, but are not limited to:
- Inappropriate dress, such as revealing clothing, costumes, pajamas, bathrobes, or swim attire.
- Engaging in a simultaneous activity (e.g., eating, using a telephone, reading a book, watching TV).
- Interacting with persons who are not part of the class.
- Leaving the camera frequently or for an extended period of time.
- Having other persons or pets in view of the camera.
- Behaving in an overtly inattentive manner.
Choice of Location: OLP students are required to attend class in a location that allows for their full participation. Specifically, students must be on camera in an environment that is free of auditory or visual distractions and that allows for open participation in class discussions.
Examples of inappropriate locations include, but are not limited to:
- Commercial establishments with loud background noise or visual distractions.
- Non-quiet home areas, in which the activities of other residents and/or pets are potential distractions.
- Libraries in areas whose rules do not permit students to participate in conversations.
- Parks or other outdoor areas that have a high level of background noise.
- Airports, aboard airplanes, or in other moving vehicles.
Manner of Participation: OLP students are required to observe the same standard of courtesy and interpersonal respect that governs face-to-face classroom behavior, including appropriate tone and language when engaged in all forms of communication with students and instructors, including but not limited to class discussions, wall postings, instant messaging, and email. Students are also expected to refrain from excessive private chatting or private communication during class meetings.
OLP Distance Learning Daily Schedule
8:00 - 8:15 am: Morning Message to Entire Community
8:15 - 9:00 am: Block A/D Synchronous
9:00 - 9:45 am: Break and Independent Work Time
9:45 - 10:30 am: Block B/E Synchronous
10:30 - 11:15 am: Break and Independent Work Time
11:15 am - 12:00 pm: Block C/F Synchronous Learning Online
12:00 - 12:30 pm: Break/Lunch
12:30 - 1:15 pm: Zero Block (Rotation 1 Days) & Block G (Rotation 2 Days) Synchronous
Note: Synchronous classes do not meet on Wednesdays.
Based on feedback from our community, OLP implemented “Wellness Wednesdays” while in a remote learning platform. There will be no morning announcements or synchronous learning on Wednesdays. Instead, students are encouraged to take a day to work on their asynchronous learning, work on class projects, practice self-care, or engage in dialogue with peers. Optional programs are offered on Wednesdays, including Virtual Coffee with Dr. Lek and Mrs. Hooper, faith sharing groups, and other wellness-based activities.
In these challenging times, we encourage students to practice balance as it relates to their time on screens, engagement with family members, and school work.
Feedback from OLP Parents
"OLP has created an amazing online learning environment and fostered faith above the fear."
"Bravo! The school worked like a well-oiled machine! Only praises and words of accolades!"
"Thank you for being so 'on it'! Our daughters are not falling behind during this crazy time."
"OLP’s efficient response in transitioning to online learning has allowed my daughter to not miss a step with her studies and still feel connected. Thank you! "
"This has been a great transition and everyone is working as one! Great Job!"
"We are grateful for the foresight and diligence of the OLP staff and faculty for coordinating all of this!"
"You are amazing! You saw this coming and were prepared. I am impressed and proud of our school!!"
"OLP has been nothing short of amazing. We cannot thank the leadership and faculty enough for keeping the girls engaged and learning throughout this very challenging time."
"We are extremely impressed with OLP’s online platform and continued education of our daughter."
"I am in awe of how the OLP school community has so quickly risen to the challenge of continuing to provide quality learning experiences for my daughter during this unprecedented time in history."
"We love that our girls are still learning and connecting!"
"Thank you for doing such an amazing job at switching so quickly and seamlessly to virtual schooling. Though we will all happily look forward to being back at our beloved OLP, you have made it possible for the girls to keep learning and moving ahead in their education. "
"I am grateful for your innovation and efforts to give high-quality learning opportunities to our students."