Safety First. Being Prepared. Together.
Our Remote Learning Journey During COVID-19
Anticipating that Governor Phil Murphy was going to order schools to close in light of the emerging health crisis, Hudson Montessori School had prepared in advance and was ready to switch to remote learning within a few day’s notice. Friday, March 13, was our last day physically in school. Our remote learning curriculum rolled out on Monday, March 16, and teachers began delivering lessons via Zoom with no lag in learning.
None of this was easy, yet the teachers, the students, and the parents rose to the task. They adjusted to a new way of organizing their work and receiving lessons, utilizing Google Classroom, Zoom, and other supplemental applications that gave us access to online learning tools. Students participate in large group circle, small groups, and individual lessons. Two weeks later, we rolled out our Specials classes, such as PE, Music, Spanish, Art, STEAM, and Dance.
This has been an evolving experience for all of us, and we continue to fine-tune the remote learning process for the remainder of the school year. Our teachers make sure that their lessons remain rich, full of purpose, and are part of a valuable learning experience.
As our students became accustomed to the new way of learning, online classrooms became more productive and more was added to the classrooms which enriched the experience. Children and families began to adjust to the schedule. According to the Montessori philosophy, this period is the normalization period. This was truly a partnership of the parents, teachers, and students working together.
Although, the physical building is closed, our school is not. We had remained optimistically hopeful that our state would rebound from the pandemic and that we could get our children together for a final month of in-school learning. Governor Phil Murphy announced on May 4, 2020, that in-person school learning will not resume for the remainder of the year. Though we wish that we could be back in the classroom, we agree that safety comes first in all matters concerning our children and families. Our last day of school for the 2019-2020 year will be Tuesday, June 16, 2020.
Shining Stories During Stay-at-Home
We want to point out some of the beautiful things happening in our school community while we have been at home. We have learned many inspiring stories from our children, our teachers, and our parents. Take a look at a couple of them:
One story comes from the Comet Upper Elementary class. Our fourth, fifth, and sixth graders wanted to do something to help frontline health care workers during this crisis. The Comet children raised funds earlier in the year and learned that the physician father of one of their friends in third grade, was working 14-hour days at two Manhattan hospitals. As a gesture of kindness, the Comet students sent a cart full of meals prepared by a restaurant to the health care staff at one of those hospitals. The hospital staff thanked the children with photos receiving the food and shared that their meals helped them at that moment “get their minds off the stress of the day.”
Of course, the people of Jersey City are hit tremendously hard by this pandemic, too. One of our parents, Lynn Hazan, founder of ChicpeaJC, immediately rose to the challenge of helping Jersey City and began a GoFundMe Covid-19 fundraiser to purchase thousands of meals, thousands of masks, and other supplies Jersey City. She continues to organize a citywide relief effort benefiting Jersey City hospital workers, homeless shelters, the Police Department, seniors, and more in need here during the pandemic. The JC Relief Squad purchases food from local restaurants and businesses to also help support them during this difficult time.
These stories are wonderful ways to uplift us when things are hard, when the news seems dire, or when there seems to be no end in sight. Through these wonderful examples of our human connection, we gather strength. It is a good reminder to make the best of the situation we have.