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RPS Voices: The Rutgers Prep Blog

Gearing Up for Back to School: How the RPS Faculty Has Been Preparing for a New School Year
Gearing Up for Back to School: How the RPS Faculty Has Been Preparing for a New School Year

Over the past few months, we have all experienced many changes due to COVID-19. Among those changes has been how students learn and teachers educate/teach. We went from in-person learning to virtual learning overnight in March, and now, for the start of the school year in 2020, our Middle and Upper School students will be engaged in a hybrid model, with a rotational schedule that alternates between in-person and remote instruction (click here to learn more about Rutgers Prep's reopening plan for the 2020-2021 school year). It has been an enormous learning curve for us all, and the faculty at Rutgers Prep has risen to the occasion. 

As we look forward to a new school year our amazing teachers have spent the summer learning and preparing for a new type of school year. Their priorities, as always, are to make sure each student is receiving a top-notch education, whether they are remote or in-person.

Heather Vaccarino, Rutgers Prep's Dean of Faculty, recently shared with us how she and a few faculty members have been preparing for the fall.

“How am I getting ready for the fall? Either way, in person or remotely, education will be different. Teachers need to think about what is meaningful to them and what is most meaningful for our students. I am transitioning away from paper and going mostly digital. Thank goodness we have our iPads! This will be the safest for the kids and for me. I am going to continue to teach about the brain and metacognition and get kids thinking about how they think.  My love for binder organization will be thrown out the window and will use Notability for the organization.”

Creating a Digital Classroom

“A cool way to learn differently– it looks like your real classroom, and then you can add links, videos, activities, etc.,” said Vaccarino, who also teaches science in the Middle School. “I have started doing this for the upcoming year. I believe this can be used for remote learning or for in-person instruction.  Here is a screenshot of what it looks like so far.

Making a Master List of Labs in the Middle School

Ms. Vaccarino also had to tackle the challenge of creating lab work for her students in this new learning environment. “Carole Zboray (a fellow science teacher in the Middle School) and I have created a document that includes all of our labs we currently run from 6th-8th grade,” she said. “We are making a materials list and thinking about if the labs can run remotely and in person. In order to keep the students safe, students will not be able to work with partners in labs. I envision my class will have labs, but only half of the class works on the lab at a time and while the other half works on a digital component. 
We have also come to the conclusion that we are teaching executive function skills and not merely content. Students will be able to take these EF skills and apply them to all aspects of their lives.” 
This year will be different with a mixture of remote and in-person instruction. But one thing is for certain: we are prepared to give our students the best educational experience possible. 

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