Maggie Smith, a social studies teacher at Stagg High School, instructs her students remotely.
By Kelly White
The staff at Stagg High School said they take pride in being on the cutting edge of technology and providing assistance during the new normal of remote learning.
The school’s technology facilitators, who support innovative teaching, prepared hundreds of teachers and thousands of students to be ready to have a strong start to the school year and feel ready to go.
“ Teachers went from supplementing the classroom experience to redefining the way they deliver content and what products the students are developing,” said Mary Pat Carr, head dean at Stagg. “Students and teachers are using technology to impact their time remotely when involved in the course lessons. Student involvement and teacher feedback using district tools have made for a strong start to instruction and student engagement.”
The school, located at 8015 W 111th St., Palos Hills, has technology facilitators who have developed professional development sessions and guides to assist teachers in creating and enhancing their course lessons into interactive experiences for their students.
The facilitators are made up of Stagg educators: Justin Hawker, special education and math teacher; Antonio Roditis, English teacher; and Kristin Pila, physical education, sports medicine and medical terminology teacher.
This innovative group has assisted teachers in using tools that increase student involvement and redefine the outcome of the lessons. Teachers are using innovative tools to enhance their delivery of content and make the experience for the students thoughtful.
“ Remote learning presents a lot of new challenges for teachers and students. Most students and teachers just miss seeing each other every day in class,” Harker said. “It has been so important to find ways to connect with students, and help them feel comfortable in an environment like this. These have been the most meaningful experiences to me.”
This is District 230’s fourth year of being 1:1 with student Chromebooks. Freshmen had an organized day at the beginning of this school year where students could come to the building, pick up their new Chromebook, and tour the school.
“ Helping students and teachers successfully navigate remote instruction means I am helping students develop new skills to be flexible and resilient as they learn, collaborate, and share information in new ways,” Roditis said. “Whether they are practicing to communicate more effectively or creating new digital media for a class project, I know these skills will translate to the real world.”
Despite new challenges, remote learning does require students to be mindful, and rely strongly on written communication skills, district officials said.
“ Students are benefitting from learning to be flexible and approaching content and school in a whole new way,” Carr said. “It is not always ideal, but we all need to learn to adapt and be resilient when necessary. Every member of the faculty and staff has gone above and beyond. The fact that we are all part of the Charger community has never been more evident. Whether it is through supporting each other with using new technology, or creating innovative lessons, or just making sure the teacher across the hall is okay, everyone has risen to the occasion.”
Pila described remote learning as an educationally life-changing event for teachers and students alike.
“ Helping teachers and students learn, grow and communicate in a remote learning environment is transcending the skills we are all equipped with from this monumental experience,” Pila said. “As a technology innovation facilitator observing how teachers and students feel empowered to redefine the learning experience is inspirational and transcends education. I know these experiences and skills will make students more flexible, intuitive, and exceptional communicators in their futures.”