I think a lot of people want to get back to something that feels more like normal, and for families with school age kids, starting classes can be big part of that. But opening a school right now needs to be done in the right way.
At Opportunity Education, the foundation I established to help empower young people, we gave a lot of thought to how reopening should work at our Quest Forward Academies.
We are, of course, following all the guidance from federal and state health officials, including having everyone consistently wear masks, sanitizing hands regularly, and socially distancing.
But just like our Quest Forward Learning program is designed to reimagine education for a modern age, we wanted to approach on campus learning in a way that made sense in today’s world. To do that, we developed Seamless Learning.
At the center of Seamless Learning is our focus on the learning, not the buildings. What does that mean in practice?
• Where allowed by local officials, all our classes are running simultaneously on both Zoom and in physical classrooms.
• Parents and students work with the school to determine if their student should be remote or in person.
• Regardless of where the student is located, he or she can fully participate in each class and review recorded video for any missed class or topic.
Right now, the Quest Forward Academy Omaha is working in the Seamless mode, with approximately 20 students participating remotely over Zoom and everyone else learning on campus. (Santa Rosa is still working fully in distance learning mode as schools are closed for in-person learning in Sonoma County, CA.)
We are living through a period of rapid and disruptive change. It is a difficult time but my experience has been that innovation happens at moments like this. I think Opportunity Education’s Seamless Learning is going to prove to be one of those moments of innovation, and some of what we are learning is going to stick.