March 29, 2020: Virtual Learning Launch
A Message to our Penn-Delco Professional Teaching Staff,
In less than 24 hours, Penn-Delco will attempt to do something it has never done before: provide instruction to an entire district of students who do not sit before us. Nearly 3,400 students will be relying on us as we attempt to maintain their learning from a distance.
As our country reacts to this unprecedented pandemic challenge in the digital era, Penn-Delco staff have the opportunity to show our true colors as professionals who will do the best we can to assist, comfort, and guide our students, and to help them realize that their academic growth and development can continue during this uncertain time.
Patience and Understanding
Like any first attempt at a challenge, we expect bumps and hiccups. The school district understands that many teachers are home attending to family members of their own, and flexibility and understanding will be given. Our teaching staff understands that now is a time where everyone can pull together to do what they can to make distance learning work well for students--to the best of our abilities. This important point is worth noting: we know this won’t be perfect, but perfection should never prevent progress. Patience and understanding are our key words to help us through next week.
It is evident that distance learning doesn’t translate equally to each academic discipline or position within our professional staff. We believe it is important for everyone to keep this in mind. Administrators and Teachers who serve in academic support positions, or teach a subject that is difficult to deliver virtually, should make efforts to assist to the best degree you can.
Reach out to colleagues, post support materials, send emails with suggestions, call upon students or parents to check on progress, etc. Be sure to be able to show you stepped up and did your part one way or another. Colleagues should understand the limitations that distance learning present for some among us. We are at different levels of skill in this arena as well. None of our online efforts deserve comparison as they are equally well intentioned.
We are here to support you
Administrators and Teachers who will feel pressure to make distance learning work well can feel confident that the district “has your back”, and any effort to make this work will be recognized for what it is: an honest effort to teach our students in a way that hasn’t been done before. Continue to count on each other, play to the strengths of those in your PLCs, and divide and conquer tasks. We are all in this together.
The advance work that teachers and supervisors did to prepare for this virtual instruction will be of much assistance to all of us. They did great work!! We should all be grateful for that. Teachers can build upon that and give it the individualized and professional touch that each of you can provide.
We've got this
Through this letter, we affirm our mutual commitment to the needs of both our students and our staff, and we know that flexibility and understanding, and focus on the big picture, will yield positive outcomes. In short, we know that in our effort to deliver distance learning, our staff will do the best they can, and we understand that our initial best efforts won’t define us or represent the best we have to offer. It’s just a start, and that’s all we need right now.
Kindly and carefully review the online teaching directions and guidance that you will receive from administrators as they will include important and helpful guidance to assist us in our virtual teaching efforts.
In the meantime, stay home, stay healthy, and stay Penn Delco Proud.
Confidently and Gratefully Yours,
Dr. George Steinhoff – Superintendent.
Mrs. Nicole Armbruster – PDEA President