Distance Learning

Our Approach to Distance Learning

We see distance learning as an opportunity to reinforce, uphold, and demonstrate our school values while providing an excellent educational experience. Our faculty have worked hard to create opportunities for students to be creative and embrace curiosity. We are committed to building, leaning into, and embracing resilience and integrity while meeting the needs of our students and community. The following plan was developed for students to engage in learning in hybrid and distance learning environments.
While we are engaged in hybrid and distance learning, we all recognize that there are a number of challenges associated with this environment. If you find your family in a situation where your child’s participation in distance learning is overly challenging, we completely understand and will work with you in whatever ways we can.

For more information download a copy of the Hybrid and Distance Learning Plan.

List of 5 items.

  • Mission

    The Barnesville School will seek to continue to provide a joyful, supportive learning environment for the development of excellence in all of our students.
  • General Expectations

    The goal for our hybrid and distance learning program is to mirror a typical in-person school day as much as possible, including synchronous learning. To help accomplish this, we have developed the following expectations for teachers and students:
    • All faculty will be delivering their curriculum using Google Classroom.
    • Each class will have a “live” (synchronous) component using Google Meet.
    • Classes will begin on time.
    • Barnesville’s policies regarding turning in work will be maintained.
    • From time to time, some classes may be videos or instructions that need to be completed by students in a specific time frame provided by the teacher.
    • Students should give their best effort, exhibit their best online class behavior, and attend classes regularly, health permitting.
    • Regular dress code should be followed for live classes. No pajamas should be worn.
    • Students should have their cell phones in a different location during class time.
    • Students are expected to exhibit appropriate behavior online and be respectful and responsible.
    • Students are not permitted to experiment with Google Meet options during class time.
  • Family Guidelines

    1. Establish routines and expectations. It is important to develop good habits from the start. Create a flexible routine and talk about how it is working. Chunk days into predictable segments. Help students get up, get dressed, and ready to learn. Keep normal bedtime routines, including normal rules for digital devices. Adjust schedules to meet everyone’s needs, but don’t default to staying up late and sleeping in.
    2. Choose a good place to learn. Your family’s regular learning space for occasional homework might not work for extended periods. Set up a physical location that is dedicated to school-focused activities. Make sure it is quiet, free from distractions, and has a good internet connection. An adult should monitor online learning. Keep doors open and practice digital safety.
    3. Stay in touch. Teachers will mainly communicate regularly through our online platforms and virtual learning environments. Make sure everyone knows how to find the help they need to be successful. Please refer to the communication section later on in the document.
    4. Help students ‘own’ their learning. No one expects parents to be full-time teachers or to be educational and content matter experts. Provide support and encouragement, and expect your children to do their part. Respect the privacy of your child and that of other students. Resist the urge to "pop in" to your child's classes. Struggling is allowed and encouraged! Do not help too much. Becoming independent takes lots of practice. At Barnesville, your child usually engages with other students and any number of adults hundreds of times each day. Many of these social interactions will continue from a distance, but they will be different. You cannot replace them all, and that is okay.
    5. Begin and end the day by checking in. These brief grounding conversations matter. Checking in with students to process instructions they received helps them organize themselves and set priorities – older students, too. Not all students thrive in distance learning; some struggle with too much independence or lack of structure. These check-in routines can help avoid later challenges and disappointments. They help students develop self-management and executive functioning that are essential skills for life. For examples, please download the Hybrid and Distance Learning Plan.
    6. Establish times for quiet and reflection. For families with children of different ages, and parents who may also be unexpectedly working from home more often, it is good to build in some time for peace and quiet (i.e., movie, reading, listening to music). Siblings may need to work in different rooms to avoid distractions. Many families will need to negotiate access to devices, priorities for wi-fi bandwidth, and schedules throughout the day. Students should use noise-canceling headphones as they will support student focus and learning.
    7. Encourage physical activity and exercise. While living and working at home, we will all need some room to let off steam. Moving, whether independently or together as a family, is vital to health, wellbeing, and readiness for learning. It is a great opportunity to practice exercising ‘alone together’ with digital workouts and online instructors. Set new fitness goals and plan hands-on, life-ready activities that keep hands busy, feet moving, and minds engaged. Think about how your children can pitch in more around the house with chores or other responsibilities. Now is a good time to think about increasing personal responsibility and pitching in.
    8. Manage stress and make the most of an unusual situation. We are going through a time of major upheaval to our normal routines and ways of life, and there is a great deal of anxiety in the world. Emotions may be running high, and children may be worried or fearful. Parents may be stressed as well and children are often keenly aware of trouble. Children benefit when they get age-appropriate, factual information, and ongoing reassurance from trusted adults. We have put in place layers of support for Barnesville students, such as classroom activities and strong relationships, so please do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher if you need assistance or advice. In these circumstances, it is often possible to reframe challenges as opportunities: for spending time together, discovering new ideas and interests, investing energy and attention in activities that often get pushed aside by everyday tasks and responsibilities. Experts advise that it is a good idea to slow down, find beauty, enjoy unexpected benefits, and express gratitude by helping others. The strength of Barnesville’s community will help see us through.
    9. Monitor time on-screen and online. Distance learning does not mean staring at computer screens seven and a half hours every day. Teachers will aim to build in variety, but it will require some trial and error before everyone finds a balance between online and offline learning experiences. Each family will need to consider how to manage screen time.
    10. Connect safely with friends, and be kind. Help your children maintain contact with friends through social media and other online technologies but monitor your child’s social media use. Even while connecting online, students should follow the values of being respectful, kind, and polite.
  • Communication

    While distance learning, students or parents may need to contact someone with an issue or question, and teachers are available from 8:00 AM-3:00 PM. You should receive a response within 24 hours Monday through Friday. Any emails received after 3:00 PM will be responded to the following day. If you or your child would like to speak directly with a teacher during their office hours, please send them an email request to have them contact you directly. Please use email only and do not communicate with a teacher via your child’s Google Classroom. Please see below for who to contact with questions or concerns. For email addresses, please visit the school’s Faculty and Staff page on our website, found here.

    Please download the Hybrid & Distance Learning Plan for more information.
  • Technology Assistance

    Some families may need assistance with technology. Please download the Hybrid & Distance Learning Plan for more information.

Learning Models

Middle School Hybrid And Distance Learning

The goal of the Middle School Hybrid and Distance Learning Plan is to run the school as close to a typical, in-person day as possible to provide the best academic experience possible. Google Classroom will remain the primary vehicle for all communication, including announcements, assignments, and expectations for teaching and learning. Google Meet will be used for all synchronous (live) classes.

List of 2 items.

  • Student and Parent Roles and Expectations

    • Parents or guardians should help manage their online learning by ensuring, as much as possible, that your child is attending all classes and completing all assignments.
    • Our Barnesville Honor Code and Acceptable Use Policy will not change in the distance learning platform. It is important to understand the need for respectful online behavior and communication, and any violations of Barnesville’s policies will be subject to disciplinary action (i.e., receiving no credit for assignment in class, suspended from attending classes for a given time, etc.). We appreciate the support of our community to maintain these expectations.
    • Parents or guardians should not join their children’s online classes or be visible on their children’s screens during classes.
    • Students and families should not videotape live classroom sessions.
    • Students should be set up in a distraction-free environment to attend online classes.
    • All students should wear noise-canceling headphones during their class time.
    • Students are expected to attend all classes unless a parent or guardian notifies the teacher(s) via email that you are sick. Teachers will take attendance at the beginning of each class.
    • Students should sit up during Google Meet classes - no lying down.
    • Students’ cameras should be on and their faces visible during Google Meet classes. Their camera should be on at all times during class unless the teacher asks or gives permission to turn it off.
    • Students are not to share the class links for Google Meet classes/meetings with anyone who is not part of the class.
    • Students are expected to stay in touch with their teachers during the week by checking their Google Classrooms and Google Calendar each day for announcements, assignments, and feedback from teachers. Teachers will be checking their email daily during school hours.
    • Students should be dressed appropriately, following Dress Code guidelines.
    • Student cell phones are to be put away during class time.
    • Students are to be on time for classes.
    • Faculty will continue to maintain their respective online gradebooks through Blackbaud as a tool to provide feedback to students. In addition, feedback on specific assignments will be provided via Google Classroom and email if necessary.
  • Schedule

    Students will follow their daily class schedule for both distance learning and hybrid scenarios. Teachers will post log-in times for synchronous classes on a daily basis the evening before via Google Classroom. Most classes will be synchronous.  Attendance will be taken and reported for each class. All classes will begin on time according to the daily schedule and all current grading policies (late work, deadlines, etc.) will be maintained. Students will receive a calendar invite through their school email that will contain a link to each synchronous class.
    Homeroom will take place for Middle School on Mondays and Fridays. Advisory groups will meet online at the regularly scheduled times in the weekly schedule. There will be no organized activities during morning break, study hall, lunch, or recess. Students should use those times as a healthy break throughout the day. Students are expected to eat during breaks from classes, but not during classes as a courtesy to others.
    Teachers will be available for questions and support via Google Classroom for students and via email for both parents and students. Teachers will respond during the hours of 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM. Middle School teachers will provide office hours unique to the subject.

Lower School Hybrid And Distance Learning

The goal of the Lower School Hybrid and Distance Learning Plan is to keep your children engaged so they can learn and grow while providing them with meaningful opportunities for connection and community. We will provide opportunities for them to read, write, share ideas, explore, create, play, and move. Perhaps most importantly, we will continue to provide them a sense of community and normalcy with a structured school day that continues the planned learning program.
Due to the developmental stages of our youngest learners, parents will need to assist your child with distance learning. For example, parents should assist with logging into the device and various applications in addition to walking through directions when needed. All lower schoolteachers will be using Google Classroom/Google Meet as the learning platform.
For Preschool through Pre-K, teachers will provide suggested activities to allow students the opportunity to continue cognitive, physical, and social-emotional skill-building. Live/Synchronous opportunities will be scheduled by the classroom teacher each week.
For Kindergarten through Grade 4, assignments should be completed by the due date. Please reach out to the teacher through email if your child is unable to participate in distance learning due to illness.

List of 2 items.

  • Student and Parent Roles and Expectations

    • If needed, parents or guardians should assist their child in logging into their device and various applications, and walk them through instructions when needed.
    • Parents and guardians should create a comfortable, distraction-free place to work.
    • All students should wear noise-canceling headphones during their school time.
    • Parents or guardians should not join their children’s online classes or be visible on their children’s screens during classes unless they need support.
    • Students and families should not videotape live classroom sessions.
    • Parents or guardians should partner with their child’s teachers and reach out should any challenges arise.
    • Parents or guardians should help their children to plan and turn in their work, and keep them focused and on task.
    • Students are expected to attend all classes unless a parent or guardian notifies the teacher(s) via email that they are sick. Teachers will take attendance at the beginning of each class.
    • Students should be dressed appropriately and should not wear pajamas.
    • Parents may be asked to pick up materials at the school bi-weekly.
    • Lower School academic policies will be in place for distance learning.
  • Schedule

    Grade level teachers will be emailing detailed schedules to their families. The grade level schedules will be used for both distance learning and hybrid learning. Students in 1st through 4th grade will meet synchronously a minimum of 3 times per day. Morning meetings for each class will take place to start each day. Teachers will provide a daily to-do list describing learning goals and activities for the day via Google Classroom, as well as all log-in times for the day. Homeroom teachers will formulate lessons around reading, writing, and math and one or two special subject teachers will provide subject-related activity synchronously each day. These assignments will have a balance of on-screen (synchronous) and off-screen (asynchronous) tasks that help connect to previous learning and the current curriculum. Homeroom teachers in the lower school will be available from 2:15 PM -3:00 PM each day to answer parent emails and individual student questions via Google Classroom.

    Kindergarten will begin each day at 8:15 with independent (asynchronous) morning work (literacy, math, or journal activities that are self-paced). The students would then have Morning Meeting time together (synchronous) beginning at 9:00. The remainder of the morning would consist of a “Specials” class (synchronous) and a Language Arts/Reading class (Recorded daily videos of lessons and small group synchronous instruction). After a lunch/outside break the afternoon schedule will consist of math instruction (Recorded daily videos of lessons and small group synchronous instruction/assessment), a synchronous Afternoon Meeting (read alouds, interactive social studies/science teaching, social/emotional literacy), social studies/science and centers with a built in break each day.

    For grades 1 through 4, synchronous learning will take place daily between 8:15 AM and 11:30 AM. From 1:15 PM to 2:00 PM, academic classes may at times be synchronous. Specials classes will take place synchronously from 12:15 PM until 1:00 PM and from 2:15 PM until 3:00 PM each day. If a student in 1st or 2nd grade is not able to attend these classes, the class will be recorded and a link will be provided so that the student may access it at a later time.

Frequently Asked Questions

List of 8 frequently asked questions.

21830 Peach Tree Road
PO Box 404
Barnesville, MD 20838
p: 301.972.0341