“Until the day when we finally go back to school, seeing each other face to face, we will do our best to make learning from home a fun and meaningful experience, bringing the finest of CSSM to you”
The New Normal
As the nation continues to heal as one amid the pandemic, we must also find ways to move on, and reintegrate our families into the new world we will live in. Many aspects of our lives have been upended, and education is one of them. While our children's school attendance has been disrupted, we believe this must not impede their learning. We share your concern for the safety and well-being of your children. We know each one of them and have built a caring community with our students. This drives us, as one CSSM, to be there for your children too in these challenging conditions, and continue the learning journey together.
We have studied the various options available, and after careful consideration of safety and learning continuity, we have come up with an educational delivery strategy that we believe will be best for our children. For this school year, learning will occur more robustly in a virtual platform and will be implemented within a planned transition.
Over the past several weeks, our teachers have been tireless in making preparations for the "new normal" that lies ahead. They are being immersed almost daily in working in an online environment just to make the adjustments necessary for this transition to online learning. They have been busy attending webinars, teaching demonstrations, and researching various online teaching strategies. So far, we are proud to say that we are almost there as we continuously strive to make your child's online experience as effective and efficient as possible.
The school, aside from formulating safety and health protocols, is also investing in equipment and technologies to implement an effective digital learning system as well as in school improvement to ensure the safety of the physical plant when we eventually reopen. We also maintained the number of teachers and staff to support school operations and facilitate the eventual transition to face-to-face interaction. School fees, which have remained the same for more than five years, will also be maintained. We will continue the discounts and privileges we have extended over the years, even as the school like many institutions has been hard hit by this pandemic.
We understand that distance education may be unfamiliar to many of us who had been schooled in a traditional method. It will be something that will challenge convention, but it is certainly worth trying and doing. The schooling experience, aside from cognitive development, offers many emotional and social benefits for the children that are so important particularly in such a physically-distanced world. What may be critical would be the collaboration between home and school, united in the aspiration to provide the most meaningful education for our children. With your support and cooperation, we will be able to implement this effectively.
To sum everything up, we are in a situation not due to our making. But we are here so we just have to be able to adjust. Be resilient and always willing to move forward. Our lives should go on, our children should move forward.
Let us just pray that all will end well. Stay safe and see you online soon
Learning continuity: a right of every child
The United Nations Convention advocates that all children have the right to learn, develop and “flourish with dignity”, and when schooling is disrupted - the opportunity to expand their knowledge and abilities is curtailed (Unicef, n.d.). Science supports the presence of “windows of opportunity” in our child’s development, during the early years and adolescence, which are the prime or proximal periods for cognitive capability and individual development. Lake (2017) describes the importance of unhampered development in a child’s life:
“Adolescence is a critical developmental phase of life, a time during which children acquire the social skills they need to thrive as adults. Just as critically, it is also the time in which their brains develop – or fail to develop – in a way that enables them to reach their full potential in life. We already know that in the earliest years of childhood, children’s brains form neural connections at a rate never to be repeated. This is the first window of opportunity to influence the development of children’s brains … a growing body of scientific knowledge shows that experience and environment also combine with genetics to shape the brains of adolescents. This presents a second, crucially important window of opportunity to influence the development of children’s brains – and thus, their futures” (p. 6).
Lupien (2017) likewise advocates that the school is “the ideal setting” to reach out to teenagers to help them develop resilience in the face of stress through social connections and interventions or programs.
While the pandemic has disrupted the routine of going to the school physical setting, it should not stop the continuity of learning. Keeping children at school, enabling them to form and maintain the crucial interactions which are important for their development, enables them to develop resilience, grit and optimism in these unprecedented conditions.
Definition of Terms
Described as a formal education program in which a student at least in part through online learning, with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace; at least in part in a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home; and the modalities along each student’s learning path within a course or subject are connected to provide an integrated learning experience.
(Christensen Institute, n.d.)
Defined as a method of study where teachers and students do not meet in a classroom but use the Internet, e-mail, mail, etc., to have classes; it is a learning system specifically designed to be carried out remotely by using electronic communication.
Online Learning. Described as a type of distance learning that takes place using technology that operates on or requires internet connectivity.
Synchronous Learning. In-person, online interaction that happens in real-time with teachers and students.
Asynchronous Learning. This approach allows the instructor and students to interact on their own schedules; students learn and accomplish class activities and requirements independently and at their own pace.
What will CSSM adopt?
This school year, CSSM adopts distance learning as its primary educational delivery, in view of the uncertainties surrounding the pandemic. Students will not be required to attend class in-premises or in the physical school facility. Unless there are strong indications of health and safety assurances and acceptance for students, the school will continue to adopt this delivery strategy.
Balanced online learning routines
Markian learners are provided learning schedules that allocate synchronous and asynchronous activities in a coordinated manner, keeping in mind what experts in education have recommended as optimal online learning engagement time (UP CED, 2020). Learning playlists, self-study or independent learning materials, as well as teacher consultation time enables students to proceed in learning pathways attuned to their learning context, pace and preference. Face-to-face interactions with teachers are also kept within engagement time principles and are deployed to focus on critical aspects of instruction such as the elucidation of concepts, critical thinking, and deeper class interactions.
Building essential 21st century skills
CSSM’s learning program aligns with the critical skills that students will need to develop now, in preparation for future careers in the world of work. While the current crisis has an unprecedented impact across the globe, this time presents a significant opportunity to help children develop resilient dispositions while building the skills to rapidly learn. These critical skills, drawing from Trilling & Fadel (2009) are among the most essential skills for 21st century work.
Learning playlists or pathways, by design, encourage initiative, responsibility and inspired learning. While there are activities which are must-do requirements, learners are given the chance to make use of different inclinations or modalities in order to show or present their learning accomplishments. In empowering students to drive their own learning, along with the enabling support parents provide at home, students develop a sense of agency in reaching their goals.
Group Work evolves to team-based learning following a cooperative approach, where key 21st-century skills of collaboration, creativity, teamwork, and communication are engendered in digital platforms that likewise prepare students for the future of knowledge-based workplaces and environments. This approach also provides learners with social connections with peers that are valuable to their ongoing development.
Prioritizing wellness and digital citizenship
While the school remains committed to academic excellence, the well-being and safety of students, particularly in a high-tech platform is among our primary concerns. CSSM’s co-curricular programs include integrated sessions designed by our Guidance and Counseling Department to care for their emotional and mental well-being while building each learner as a responsible member of the learning community by embodying digital citizenship.
Grading and Assessment
CSSM will still adhere to the Department of Education guidelines for assessments:
Written Assessments or Tests. The school follows a developmentally- anchored evaluation approach which scaffolds competency acquisition throughout the learner’s progress. Formative assessments (or formatives) guide each student in the formation of component knowledge and skills needed to build core learning competencies. Formatives help students know when they are ready to be assessed for a unit or program based on their learning pace and readiness.
Summative assessments on the other hand determine a learner’s proficiency attainment on targeted competency requirements. These assessments signify that a learner has reached the proficiency level to progress to succeeding learning segments or units in the program. Quarterly examinations are a form of summative assessment. Quarterly examinations will be designed in consideration of the students’ learning from the home context and will utilize more practical and authentic outcome measures, based on the targeted competencies for the period.
Performance Tasks. Learning outcomes will be evaluated using performance tasks that synthesize the critical interdisciplinary knowledge and skills across the curriculum. This approach allows learners to focus their time and efforts on integrative projects or outputs that optimize application and understanding of concepts and target capabilities for the grade or year level.
Attendance/Participation. Remote learning is a new delivery approach where the presence of or access to digital resources is a critical condition. In some cases, the school anticipates that connectivity challenges are to be encountered and in this situation, CSSM adopts universal standards in attendance and participation policies. In a digital delivery approach, physical attendance translates to the form of “meaningful interaction or engagement” where the substantive involvement, participation, presence, or contribution of the learner is tracked or monitored under learning guidelines.
The delivery platform for School Year 2020-2021 is mainly via digital channel. Students are required to have these applications available in their computers or smartphones in order to participate. The medium or channels to be used are the following:
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The roles and responsibilities section identifies the successful behaviors and or cooperative actions from teachers, students and parents to make learning from home a successful educational experience for students:
Role of parents
Parents/Guardians will continue to play a proactive role in the education of their children as they learn from home. A collaborative partnership between school and the home environment, particularly with learning partners in the household, is vital to our success in the formation of your children.
Parents will need to provide the online class technical requirements, particularly data, connectivity and tools that support online learning effectively, whether for live or face-to-face learning or asynchronous activities which require internet resources.
Parents will need to set-up a student's learning space that is free from any distractions. Parents and other household members are requested to observe the class period, just like in a school setting, and refrain from talking to the student during class, engaging in background conversation and other activities that could draw attention away from the lesson. For some ideas or references on creating the learning space at home, please visit: https://medium.com/inspired-ideas-prek-12/five-considerations-for-creating-learning-spaces-at-home-94b6f03f2668
Parents are expected to check and monitor students daily schedule and activities to accomplish in the day, as well as guide the students in the accomplishment of the assigned tasks, keeping updated with school’s activities and announcements as well as student’s progress. Parents are enjoined to reach out to your child’s teachers for concerns about the online classes.
As partners in your child’s education, parents are expected to uphold the responsible use of technology policies of the school in support of digital citizenship.
Role of students
Students are expected to observe proper learning posture. All learners will adhere to guidelines on proper appearance, attire and decorum during classes.
Students are expected to develop the capability for self-regulation, and be punctual in attending online classes and timely submission of all requirements.
Students must practice virtuous conduct and behavior, both online and offline learning environments. Integrity in test taking, assignment completion, research work and other activities are expected ethical behaviors from any Markian.
Students are expected to actively participate during discussion and cooperative learning activities. This includes being prepared with all necessary materials needed for the class.
Students are expected to take charge of learning activities and schedules. Students must always check their classroom for postings, reminders and other communication from the teacher.
Role of the teacher
Plan and prepare balanced lessons for students in alignment with competency standards or requirements while attending to different learning preferences that encourage learning transfer; ensures seamless integration of online and face-to-face activities by creating learning activities, self-study workbooks, activity sheets or materials that facilitate independent learning of our students.
Prepares all necessary tools that will be used in conducting classes. This includes planning for the total learning experience: before, during and after learning units or segments.
Makes use of learning activities and resources that are of professional and scholarly quality, in developing academic or learning materials for students. All teachers are expected to carefully evaluate curated resources to ensure that these are safe and appropriate for our learners.
Assesses and monitors student’s progress using clear performance standards, grading requirements and/or rubrics which are clearly linked to competency standards. Evaluation and assessment focuses on the authentic performance or demonstration of target knowledge and skills in an integrated environment.
Regularly communicates with parents or guardians on the progress and other concerns of their child/ children in a professional manner using official school channels.
Conducts regular class lessons and activities and makes oneself available for individual student consultation. Conducts 1:1 discussions and coaching as needed to support student learning and development.
Ensure active participation and full attention during class activities, while adhering to engagement time standards as applicable across different learners. Teachers must also consciously safeguard online security and safety of students, and provide emotional support for students.
Online Practical Music Course
Due to this pandemic, our music program partner ZPMI has agreed to make the music program optional for this school year. They also recognise the difficulty everyone is currently facing but those who wish to continue to enrol in the program may do so by simply letting us know of your intent upon enrolment. We do know how important music can be in the development of our children and ZPMI promises that the transition to online instruction will also have the same impact.
Please stand by for a future webinar that may address any concerns.