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Going Remote, but Staying Connected: How Calhoun Rose to the Challenge of Distance Learning

When schools around the world were forced to close their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Calhoun community was faced with an unprecedented challenge—translate our teaching, learning and school culture to a virtual environment.

Student logs in from home

The sudden shift to distance learning under the cloud of a global crisis was a task equivalent to building an airplane while in flight, and the entire community stepped up to get our plane launched and flying safely. With little notice and no playbook to follow, teachers and administrators reimagined what school would look like online. Families leaned into parenting through a pandemic. Each of us took on the charge of learning new technological tools.

Adjusting to distance learning was far from easy, yet we discovered that our core philosophies and values had prepared us to navigate this uncharted territory. Calhoun teachers’ focus on the individual student journey served them especially well when it came to being flexible and innovative in a new educational landscape. The close relationships that are so central to Calhoun enabled us to support our students from afar and carry one another through this difficult time.

Even when it was physically impossible to do so, the Calhoun community never stopped coming together. We adapted traditions like Upper School Town Meeting and the annual Egg Drop to a virtual format. Clusters, sports teams, clubs and affinity groups continued to connect. We also invented new ways to foster togetherness by launching the Calhoun Community Hub, an online space that offered wellness resources, inspirational content and weekly live events hosted by faculty, parents and alumni. The 2019-2020 academic year will be marked by these few months of distance learning. Looking back, we cannot forget what was lost, but we feel proud of the ways we responded to this crisis. As a school and a community we kept our connections alive and turned challenge into opportunity.

For more about Calhoun's transition to distance learning, check out these two stories below: