Though there was not much notice to prepare for the move to online learning, Munroe already had many of the necessary tools in place and teachers used their own creative ideas to keep the students engaged. Dr. Adam Gaffey, Head of School at Munroe, said, “What has perhaps been most remarkable is how well the teachers have been able to bring their strengths from their in-class instructional style to the online environment. Teachers have set up classrooms in their living rooms complete with whiteboards and are teaching to a virtual room full of students. The students are able to ask questions, see the teacher, and even show their work to the teacher. With all of our Middle School and High School students already having an iPad we were uniquely prepared to implement the online program.”
Through remote teaching, many teachers have seen their students excel. Kia Frazier-Wiliams, a second-grade teacher at Munroe, said there were many positives from online learning, “Some students who do not need a lot of direction or instruction have more freedom to explore their minds and complete tasks independently at their own pace.” One of the main priorities she’s set for classroom online was for the students not to lose all sense of normalcy during this time in their lives. “They still get to engage with their peers and instructors, although in a less traditional way. However, this method of learning hopefully lessens the chance of regression in student learning and comprehension,” said Frazier-Williams.
For math teacher Melissa Darby, teaching online was the best option for her to stay connected. “Statistics show that students lose some learning over the summer. I cannot even imagine going from mid-March to August before we begin teaching again. I feel that it is important to keep our students on a schedule that promotes healthy habits and promotes exposure to new ways of learning. Streaming our classes ensures that our students are getting exposure to the skills and concepts needed to prepare them for the next grade level,” she said. Dr. Gaffey added, “Our mission is to prepare our students for an ever-changing future. When it became clear we would need to keep our students safe by keeping them at home, we knew we have the faculty, staff, and infrastructure to continue our student’s education at home. Academic achievement is the foundation of everything we do at Munroe. We know our families want their children to be prepared for college and beyond. By continuing our instruction and meeting our curriculum goals, we are confident that this time, although a challenge for everyone, will not see our students suffer academically.”
Not only has Munroe excelled with the online teaching structure, but also making sure the students have the same milestones they would have before the lockdown in Gadsden County took place. Director of Advancement and Technology, Jeremy Potter has been working hard to give students the graduation they deserve. He has come up with a variety of technology solutions for the senior class, including a virtual prom, live streaming class night, and a Graduation planned for each student that will use technology to allow each student to be a part of the ceremony while staying safe. Students will also be able to take part in an awards ceremony recognizing students from all grades who have excelled in academics and athletics by joining online meetings.
Robert F. Munroe has thought about all aspects of its institution and continues to evolve as more information comes in. Dr. Gaffey noted, “I could not be more proud of how our community has come together. I know every school is doing the absolute best they can for their students with the resources they have. I believe our close community and dedicated teachers have enabled us to do more than most schools would believe possible. We are running our school day each and every day. Students are learning and teachers are teaching. Munroe is a special place.”