Cristo Rey makes successful jump to online learning

Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School transitioned to online learning on Monday, March 16, in response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak. The school recorded 99 percent of its student body engaged online and assignment submissions.

Principal Dr. Diane Bush attributes the successful transition to teacher preparation and student commitment. “We were very clear with our students and we impressed upon them the seriousness of keeping up with their classwork,” Bush remarked. “We are excited to have 99 percent of our 524 students actively learning and we are following up with the two students who did not engage to see how we can assist them.”

Online classes are open from 7:30 am until 7:00 pm via educational applications, Unified Classroom and Aleks. Classes are not taught in real time so that students can log in throughout the day. Teachers are required to give at least one daily assignment which the students must complete in order to show attendance. Teachers are constantly checking their email during that time period to answer questions and help students.

Dr. Bush noted that teachers have been preparing lesson plans for over a month in anticipation of remote learning. Teachers are permitted to use their creativity employing different online applications such as Zoom and YouTube to present material in the best way for their students to learn. For her AP Calculus class, teacher Allie Olshefke utilizes a combination of YouTube instructional videos, Zoom meetings to discuss problems, and PowerPoints with subject matter.

Dr. Bush also asked teachers to be respectful of additional duties students may have while learning from home, such as providing childcare for younger siblings and working to help augment family income which could be stressed during this time. “The expectation is that our students will complete one daily assignment per seven classes per day. If any assignments are missed, we contact the student the next day to check in and see why the assignment was not submitted. Students contacted today were very polite and responsive to completing any missing work.”

The school expects to continue online learning through Friday, April 3, followed by its scheduled Spring Break. The school administration is hopeful that students can return to onsite learning in the school building on April 13.

Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School is a Catholic learning community that educates young people of limited economic means, of any faith or creed, to become men and women for and with others. Through a rigorous college preparatory curriculum, integrated with a relevant work-study experience, students graduate prepared for college and life.

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