On March 18, Governor Charlie Baker required all schools to shut down in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The League School, anticipating this directive, began planning well in advance to help students transition to a new way of learning. Beginning at the end of February, the administrative team continually communicated with the state’s special education association (maaps), the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the Department of Early Education and Care to obtain guidance and updates as the crisis unfolded. The team also monitored COVID-19-related developments through reputable sources such as the Centers for Disease Control.
The guidance of these organizations coupled with the school’s distinct philosophy enabled teachers, specialists, and staff to develop a customized online learning program for our students. Launched two and a half weeks after the school closed, we took a multi-faceted approach to continue to engage our students and their families:
- 4-5 online classes through Zoom per day covering academics, social groups, art, music and gym
- Teacher, specialist, and clinician-developed websites with lessons, activities, and resources for students and families
- Prerecorded lessons and videos on YouTube. Resource topics include: steps for incorporating augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) into activities, wearing masks, washing hands, and yoga.
- Specialist classes including dance, gardening, cooking, and behavioral check-in
- Office hours for parents to contact teachers and specialists for support and help working with their child online
“Although we developed the online learning program quickly, we did so thoughtfully,” said Principal Patrick Fuller. “Our teachers, specialists, and staff have been innovative in how they are educating their pupils and supporting student families.”
Another major initiative was to quickly ramp up student access to technology in an equitable way. The school’s Information Technology Department distributed iPads and Chromebooks for home use during the shutdown. They customized certain computers to meet the communication needs of individual students.
The League School team will continue to expand and enhance the remote educational program until the state permits reopening. “We have an outstanding group of administrators, managers, and professional staff who have taken on the challenge of continuing to provide our students with educational services during what is the most difficult time that any of us have lived through,” said Chief Operating Officer, Larry Sauer. “It has been an inspiration to see everyone lean on each other and support one another,” added Patrick.