Virtual Wednesday makes positive impact
In its revised reopening plan, Mountain Brook Schools designated Wednesday as a virtual day at Mountain Brook Junior High and Mountain Brook High School to meet the needs of students and teachers.
The district understood students needed time to receive academic support and intervention after starting the school year on an alternate schedule. MBS also knew teachers needed time to provide that assistance to both traditional and virtual learners while managing their full workload.
So far, the virtual day has succeeded in satisfying those demands.
“These days have been really beneficial, not only for our teachers, but for our students as well,” MBHS Principal Philip Holley said. “It’s given the teachers, for example, a chance to collaborate with each other, to plan and work together. It’s also, for our students, given a great opportunity for them to come up to catch up on some things from the first nine weeks, to get individualized help from teachers.”
Secondary students do not come to campus on Wednesday morning so that faculty members have protected time to work. Many teachers use that period to plan instruction, grade, and meet with their peers.
“It’s really given us a lot of time to really get everything together for our students both virtually and the students we have in class,” MBJH math teacher Madeline Carlton said.
Beginning on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m., students can visit campus to receive individualized teacher support, participate in study sessions, make up work, and retake assessments from the first nine weeks. Students at both MBJH and MBHS have until Nov. 13 to recover their grades from the first quarter.
“It’s been a great opportunity and very impactful for a large number of our students to get caught up on some things and kind of close some of those gaps that we saw occur through the first nine weeks,” MBJH Principal Donald Clayton said.
MBJH has created five, 45-minute slots on Wednesday afternoon that students can register to attend. More than 1,000 students have taken advantage of the opportunity since the first virtual Wednesday on Oct. 21.
At the high school, teachers coordinate times to meet with their students individually or in groups. Holley has received overwhelmingly positive feedback.
“The students that I’ve heard from have resoundingly told me how beneficial this has been for them,” he said. “Not only does it give them a chance on Wednesday to kind of catch their breath in the middle of the week, it’s giving them a chance to work on things from the first nine weeks, because we all know how difficult it’s been on everybody.”
Heather Fitch, chair of the MBHS world languages department, said that virtual Wednesdays have been transformational for her and her students. She has been able to knock out work while they recover their grades and get back on track.
“It has just been tremendous to have that protected time for kids to come in and get that extra support,” Fitch said. “I feel like it really has been beneficial for everybody — for students, for teachers.”