“We are educating and adapting.” That’s how Kelan Griffin, Ursuline Academy IT Director, described the academy’s distance learning efforts during the COVID-19 state mandated school closure. From the moment Governor Edwards declared the closure of all Louisiana schools, Ursuline did not miss one second of instructional time. Teachers and students left that Friday, prepared to begin online classes first thing Monday morning. This seamless transition has proven successful for students ranging from Toddler 1 to 12th grade.
“It’s all about the teachers. They are the ones doing it,” Griffin said. Once the onset of the coronavirus became prevalent in the state, Ursuline Academy faculty began meeting to brainstorm, share best practices, and test new ways of online instruction. With the advantage of Google Classroom already in place across the entire academy, teachers just needed to bring in Google Hangouts as a means of adding live video instruction. Ursuline’s IT Director states, “None of this was expected as we started 2020, but our preparation started years ago. If we rewind 6 years, we would not have been able to do this. Our success stems from our desire to provide a 1:1 device environment which led to doing what we do daily at school and at home.” Beginning in the 2014-15 school year, 5th-12th grade became 1:1 with Kindergarten-4th being added a few years later.
In a thank you letter written to faculty & staff and administration, a 6th grade parent wrote about her daughter, “Due to the efforts and technology at UA, she wakes up each morning with a purpose and is able to learn and socialize remotely. It gives us great comfort.” Whether on or off campus, Ursuline Academy’s nurturing community fuels every girl’s success – building confidence and social-emotional resiliency. Ursuline girls stand up and stand out – especially in times like these.