Dear Academic Approach Families and Colleagues:
I’m proud today to share some inspiring insights from Principal Charlie Heintz of Loyola Academy in Wilmette, IL. Like many, he, his faculty, and their students and families have rapidly transitioned to e-learning, and his insights reveal a thoughtful, rational, and proactive approach. Adjusting to e-learning as effectively as possible is key for students to continue essential academic progress. Today, I’m sharing his thoughts about expectations for students and teachers. Next week, we’ll follow up with more from him and other school leaders about early successes and lessons from these transitions.
What are the primary goals or objectives you have for students and teachers while schools are not in session?
Our primary objective is to continue teaching and learning. The e-learning format presents many challenges. I have asked our teachers to balance content with connection. It’s important to remember that school is social, and students need a community to support them during these times.
What are your expectations for teachers?
Many of our teaching expectations haven’t changed. Teachers are being asked to follow the same learning targets and curricular outcomes of their courses. That said, we have amended our bell schedule, so teachers do not nearly have the same amount of time to cover material. We are asking teachers and department chairs to re-calibrate the content so it covers the most essential learnings of the course.
What structures or routines are you providing for students? How are you communicating with them?
We kept our usual schedule (six day, rotating cycle) but reduced the minutes in class period from 55 minutes to 30 minutes. Each e-learning day has six periods with ten minutes between periods. An e-learning school day runs from 10am to 2pm.
Keeping the daily bell schedule has been well received. It provides students with a familiar rhythm. Additionally, we send out a morning message at 6am with announcements for the day and an afternoon message with our daily prayer. Our Student Activities Office provides contests and online events for continued engagement. Submissions and winners are posted on Instagram.
Principal, Loyola Academy
Matthew Pietrafetta, Ph.D., Founder & CEO