A New Elective Program for the 2020-21 school year
As we prepared for this school year and considered needs and opportunities given the context of COVID, one of our most significant challenges was our staggered dropoff schedule and the need to create programming for students who arrive at school prior to the official start of the school day. The administration explored different programs students could leverage through an independent study option that also would provide opportunities for children to explore areas of interest that may fall beyond the traditional scope of Woodland’s curriculum. After much research, consideration, and feedback we arrived at Outschool. Outschool is a San Francisco-based online market for learning that provides students a wealth of choice and access to an unparalleled catalogue of teachers, artists, and scientists who offer a wide array of programming.
We are excited to share this pilot for Middle School students as an independent study program during Trimester 1. In the first week of school, students will be introduced to the platform, a curated selection of eight to ten classes, and presented the opportunity to choose a course they will explore during independent study time. In the months ahead, they will work through the online course and, when completed, have the opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of new content and skills. Examples of classes that might be offered are animation, space exploration, veterinarian studies, history (ancient wonders), mythology, graphic design, music in film, creative writing, ASL, and the taxonomy of Harry Potter.
Students will engage in this learning asynchronously during dedicated time in their schedules, and before school if they arrive to in-person learning prior to 8:15am. Advisors will engage their advisees in discussion related to their latest learnings and will support students as they prepare presentations of newly attained skills and knowledge. Late next week, students will receive an email on their school account that includes an invitation to access the Outschool portal to select their first course.
We hope that this initial challenge becomes a wonderful opportunity for our students this trimester. We are excited to leverage knowledge and skill sets of other professionals and provide students the time to explore an area of interest within their school day. We are eager to hear feedback from students about how this opportunity can evolve throughout the school year.