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Looking Forward: What We Know Now About How to Help Elementary Learners Succeed in a Virtual Setting

Looking Forward: What We Know Now About How to Help Elementary Learners Succeed in a Virtual Setting

To put it gently, the last 18 months have presented a lot of “firsts”—firsts for parents stepping into hands-on learning guide roles, firsts for many classroom teachers taking their practice to a virtual setting, and perhaps most complicated of all, firsts for our youngest students who transitioned their learning online in record volumes. Throughout this journey, working shoulder to shoulder with our educator partners, we’ve uncovered powerful best practices and seen incredible implementation models that ensure that these firsts ultimately lead to lasting positive outcomes for student learning.

Let’s take a closer look at two recommended approaches to leveraging Calvert Learning, our K–5 project-based learning digital curriculum program, to support elementary learners in virtual settings.

Elementary Curriculum with Mentoring Services and Your In-District Teachers

As an ideal complement to our trusted Calvert Learning curriculum, Edmentum offers a powerful Virtual Teacher Mentoring Program to develop virtual teaching capacity when you want to allocate your own in-district teachers to this teaching model. Offering expert coaching by master virtual teachers with years of experience in online instruction, Edmentum’s one-of-a-kind program empowers teachers with the intentional professional development (PD) they need to adapt their craft for the virtual classroom.

The program itself is focused on five core elements:

  • Mentorship: Master online teachers connect with mentees providing one-to-one instructional coaching, expert advice, and opportunities for feedback and reflection
     
  • Professional Learning Community (PLC): Become part of a community to connect on instructional best practices, optimizing student experiences and encouraging academic achievement
     
  • Cohort: Join a dedicated group of peers to participate in collaborative teacher meetings
     
  • System and Content: Learn the ins and outs of navigating Edmentum systems and unpacking curriculum pedagogy
     
  • Certification: Earn an Edmentum-issued online teaching certification to add to your credentials

Newly armed with mentoring skills, we’ve captured a number of educator stories highlighting their success. Take it from Deanice Shegog, social studies teacher at Lawton Public Schools in Oklahoma:

While I felt like it was going to be a struggle for me to change, the team at Edmentum and their mentor program has been amazing. . . .  I now feel comfortable in my curriculum delivery. I feel comfortable with teaching online, and I feel like my students and I are able to engage in very close relationships just like we would in the classroom.

Elementary Curriculum Paired with State-Certified Virtual Teachers from Edmentum

For those educator partners facing teacher shortages or identifying additional staffing needs this year, Edmentum is also able to pair Calvert Learning digital curriculum with our own state-certified teachers through EdOptions Academy. For many of our school partners, our virtual teachers allow in-district teachers to focus on serving the students who attend school in person and also to provide a dedicated online Edmentum teacher who is skilled to teach other learners virtually.

Our virtual teachers recognize that how educators engage with elementary-aged students in a virtual setting requires a totally different instructional approach. As students begin their learning journeys, they’ll meet their virtual teacher and get access to that teacher’s direct contact information, and they can expect periodic progress reports aligned to the district’s schedule.

You’ll find a variety of learning options available, including:

  • Live, synchronous lessons with the EdOptions Academy teacher
     
  • Reoccurring family meetings to discuss the overall experience and progress made
     
  • Live, in-the-moment help sessions to accompany asynchronous learning
     
  • Lessons notes for family learning guides to provide assistance

Also because EdOptions Academy is a virtual option associated with your local district, students get the benefits of participating in local school activities and organizations.

Virtual learning may not be the right fit for every elementary student, but when executed with proven strategies, support, and wraparound services, your youngest learners stand to make amazing gains! Learn more about Calvert Learning best practices from our team of expert educators.

patrick.hockey's picture
Dr. Patrick Hockey

Dr. Patrick Hockey is the Senior Vice President of Instructional Services at Edmentum and has been with the company since 2009. Previously, Patrick served as a building principal, as a virtual school principal, and in various district administration positions after leaving the classroom as a technology education teacher in Pennsylvania. He has a PhD in Instructional Design for Online Learning and Masters degrees in Education Administration and Curriculum and Instruction.