When teachers and staff at Brookes Westshore learned that B.C.’s in-classroom schooling would be suspended after spring break, they leapt into overdrive.
The school is known for its high-calibre education, and teachers were determined to continue offering engaging academics, athletics, arts and community activities despite the challenges of the global pandemic.
“We adapted remarkably quickly,” says Linda Bayes, Vice Principal of Academics at Brookes Westshore.
Not only did the school re-structure the curriculum for remote learning, but they started the process before spring break so students and teachers could learn the new systems together, in person.
“Teachers worked alongside students to practice the online systems and troubleshoot with our tech specialists. That meant we were able to move seamlessly to remote learning after spring break,” Bayes explains.
Leaning on the knowledge of staff with specific expertise in remote learning, faculty established best practices to keep students engaged. They adapted lesson plans to the remote environment with shorter, more focused instructions, interactive discussions, video supports, live lectures and other innovations.
“It’s been a very successful first term, and we’ve learned a lot to keep improving,” Bayes says.
Academic success, community too
Brookes Westshore is happy the learning can continue, but they know high school is about more than just hitting the books. Learning how to communicate with peers, work effectively in groups and build lasting friendships is equally important.
“We’re all missing out on socializing, and that’s especially hard for high school students,” Bayes says. “So, we’ve made sure to incorporate daily afternoon activities that are online and interactive.”
Cooking, art, physical exercise and other programs are community-oriented and led by staff to help feed social needs while students are physically distant.
For local students, Brookes Westshore programming follows a regular school schedule and the routine helps normalize an abnormal situation. For the school’s international students connecting from different time zones, there’s a mix of asynchronous lessons, independent assignments, and live online tutorials. Local staff connect early in the morning and late in the evening so they can match international schedules.
Ready for whatever September brings
The team at Brookes Westshore will continue to follow ministry guidelines as they prepare for the fall term. Whether it’s continued online learning, physical distancing within the classroom or a hybrid model, the school is poised to adapt and thrive.
Visit westshore.brookes.org to learn more about enrolling for September 2020.