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Heritage Oak School transitions to virtual classrooms


April 11, 2020

Photo provided

Heritage Oak Kindergarten student with her teacher on live video chat on the computer.

Social distancing needs during the COVID-19 pandemic has everyone making significant adjustments to daily life, including schools, students and parents. While the virtual classroom is not new, few traditional K-12 schools have entered that realm on a large scale basis. Recently, Heritage Oak School in Tehachapi stepped up to the plate in the virtual classroom space to accommodate their families during this time to ensure all of their students continue to learn for the remainder of the school year and do not fall behind.

Since learning about the virus and the possibility of temporarily closing schools, Head of School Amy Walker and staff prepared the teachers and students by training them on a variety of Google Education's GSuite platforms and working with families to make sure every student had a device for online learning. Those that didn't were issued school owned Chromebooks. The teachers also prepared lessons and printed materials for students for the next two months. When the Kern County School District informed all schools to close, Heritage Oak was prepared and made the transition to virtual classrooms almost seamless. Despite the technology learning curve for both teachers and families, as well as the adjustment of learning from home, the school has been running smoothly for the past three weeks.

"We have a professional and outstanding faculty team that pulled together everything that was needed to educate students online in a very short time. We already were closed several days of school due to the PSPS events based on our west side location, but due to faculty perseverance and hard work, we have not missed a single day of school due to the coronavirus," Walker said.

The Google "classroom" shows students daily assignments that are due by the end of the day with videos of their teachers explaining the lesson from their home. Once they watch the video of their teacher, the students complete assignments on the subject, upload a picture and mark it complete in the Google Classroom application. Teachers can then grade the assignment on their end of the application and afterward the students receive notification on the app and email of their grade. Depending on the grade level, teachers meet with students anywhere from 2-5 times a week over Google Hangout or Hangout Meet for a live video chat to check in on what they have learned, discuss questions and review concepts. Some have spent time reading together in small groups.

Second grade teacher, Sarah Anderline, said, "I'm thankful we have the technology that enables us to continue school outside the physical classroom and for the parent's flexible attitude during this challenging time!"

Heritage Oak will be accepting new student applications for the fall. Parents can visit for enrollment information and to connect with the school's Admissions Counselor, Kim Garrett.


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