Hybrid Learning at Calhoun
Calhoun classrooms look different this year. Students and teachers wear masks, and desks are spaced six feet apart. Devices Calhouners call “Zoombots” are in every classroom and allow students to connect virtually with their teachers and classmates via video-conferencing.
To open school safely during the pandemic, Calhoun adopted a hybrid learning model, which means that some students attend class in person, and others join virtually from home. Implementing this model has called for a reinvention of nearly every aspect of the school experience. But throughout it all, Calhoun has done so in a way that leans on our long-held values of student-centered learning, innovative teaching and equity.
Explore what hybrid learning looks like at Calhoun across divisions.
Non-mixing pods (groups); in-person 5 days/week
7th & 8th Grade
Non-mixing pods; in-person 3 days/week; remote 2 days/week
Divided into 2 cohorts; in-person 2 days/week
Option to remain fully remote
Adapting and Innovating
Shifting to hybrid learning has required Calhoun teachers to reimagine how they teach. Luckily, they’re no strangers to innovative thinking.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and while the hybrid model was born from less-than-ideal circumstances, it has also presented opportunities. From the invention of “Zoombots” to discovering new ways to share content, Calhoun faculty and staff have adapted to the challenge of hybrid learning and paved the way for classroom innovation.
“We have teachers with decades of experience who have had to relearn their tools, and that's hard. What's extraordinary about our teachers is that they're so dedicated to their students and to the craft of teaching that they've done that.”
— Steve Solnick, Head of School
Flexibility Amidst Uncertainty
When it came time to plan our hybrid learning model, Calhoun took an approach that offers families a wide range of options. The decision to keep family needs at the center was driven by the school’s long-held values of individualized learning and equity.
The flexibility of Calhoun’s hybrid approach also keeps class groups together throughout the year. This consistency not only maintains a strong network of support for students during an otherwise difficult year, but preserves the strong student-teacher relationships that are the foundation for robust learning and growth.
"We are taking into account all of the circumstances that families bring to the table, which speaks to the individualized nature of what we do and is an extension of who we are as a whole child institution."
— Eric Osorio, Associate Head of School for Teaching and Learning
Hybrid Learning in Action
Walking around Calhoun classrooms, you see situations that would have been unimaginable pre-pandemic. Middle Schoolers in a chemistry lab are joined by virtual classmates who are equally immersed in the experiment from their homes. In an Upper School politics elective, the debate is as lively in the Zoom breakout room as it is in the physical classroom. Or in a Lower School Spanish class, the teacher has the rapt attention of kindergartners whether they’re circled around her on the rug or peering from boxes on the screen.
All of these scenes of engaged learning can be attributed to the skill and commitment of our teachers.
“What I observe in classrooms is nothing short of masterful.”
— Alison Rothschild, Director of Lower School—Early Childhood
As Calhoun transitioned to a hybrid model, teachers and administrators took on the challenge of maintaining a sense of community in the face of physical distance.
Through deliberate curriculum planning and the incorporation of additional virtual spaces, students are finding new ways to connect. As a result, Calhouners across divisions are forging new relationships and nurturing old ones both in school and online.
"I'm so excited about how incredible the sense of community has been under the circumstances."
— Nayantata Mhatre, Middle School Dean of Students
Hybrid learning at Calhoun has led to an expansion of the tools and applications we’ve brought into the classroom. Across grade levels, teachers have broadened the use of technology and harnessed it to engage students in novel ways.
From virtual meeting spaces to online educational platforms, these tools have enhanced the learning experience for students both in school and at home.
Here are some of the tools used in hybrid learning:
- Zoombots: a computer mounted on a moveable stand that connects remote students to a class
- Seesaw: the online learning platform for 3’s-5th graders
- Schoology: the online learning platform for 6th-12th graders
- Jamboard: a collaborative virtual whiteboard
- Padlet: an online bulletin board
- PearDeck: an interactive slideshow tool
- Book Creator: an app for making digital books
- Edpuzzle: a tool that turns videos into interactive lessons
- Raz-Kids: an online guided reading program
- Quizziz: gamified quizzes, lessons, presentations and flashcards