Florida Prep will begin Distance Learning on Wednesday, March 25. However, with many Florida Prep students currently residing in their home countries, the program set-up follows entirely different protocols than those implemented by public schools and challenges faculty and administration strive to ensure that education at the school continues.
“As schools in Florida began closing due to the Coronavirus outbreak our team was checking the whereabouts of our students”, says Florida Prep Dean of Students, Jay Gideon.
“Not only were many overseas in their home countries (almost 40% of the school’s student population are international boarding students), the order to close the school came during Spring Break when vacations were already underway.
“During the initial part of the planning process our primary discussions focused on the travel plans on file for our students, their access to digital media and the time differences between the USA and their home countries. We realized they were in 14 separate locations across the globe!” he remarked.
Florida Prep Principal, Lisa Gray, and Vice Principal, Kristen Lockman then set to work mapping out a program for both teachers and students and investigated the best protocols for the task that few had ever imagined would ever occur.
“It soon became clear that Zoom, the online meeting app, in conjunction with Google Classroom could meet the requirements of our students,” said Gray “Not only does Zoom allow for large online meetings, but each class may be recorded, allowing for those students in different time zones to participate later in the day.
“We put together the entire Distance Learning package during Spring Break, and began 2 days of teacher training on Monday, March 23”, Gray continues. “On Wednesday, March, 25th we went live to students across the world with a full schedule of online classes, course work, and assignments in Google Classroom. Virtually every student from Florida Prep was up and ready to go. Those that could not log in due to a lack of digital access will be guided by telephone through one-on-one instruction.
“It was an amazing team effort,” says Gray “And I am proud that our staff and faculty were able to make it happen in such a short period of time. Our students will now be able to continue their education at Florida Prep regardless of the circumstances around the world’, she concluded.