Providence, RI – San Miguel School Executive Director John Wolf appeared on GoLocal LIVE where he spoke to distance learning at the Lasallian boys’ school in Providence— and how educators are working with students and families during coronavirus.
“We’re getting tough news every day and people are challenged all around the world — right now our school has the lucky fortune and perspective to look back to 1681, which is the foundation of LaSallian schools,” said Wolf. “If you have that long a track record of survival and thriving and it’s more than a few epidemics and a few world wars, we know we’re going to get through to the other side, and we’ll get through it with hope and confidence and good humor.”
Wolf spoke to the high school and college preparatory school that focuses on serving inner-city boys, with class sizes no larger than 16 and the entire middle school capped at 64.
“We expect a lot of our guys behaviorally and academically and we found with encouragement and understanding of their learning needs in connection with our families they usually rise to meet that challenge,” he said. “If someone had told any of us educators out in the world right now or people who are parents that this was going to be happening a hundred days ago, that we’d be in this situation, everyone would have laughed — the reality is that all parents and teachers have had to make a seismic shift in pedagogy and a growth and understanding of virtual remote learning over the last 50 days.”
“So everybody’s on a steep learning curve. Our families have been awesome and luckily though the help of our supporters we are able to send every boy home on the Friday of closure with a school-owned Chromebook that was connected to our network and everyone was signed up for class by the following Monday,” said Wolf. “I think for all of us, other than getting used to the technology, is how do we help the families and their students make the learning environment as calm and a controlled environment as you can.”
Wolf spoke to setting up the “compassion fund” — to help those San Miguel families in need.
“If you think $10, or $5 donation is too little, it’s not for us,” said Wolf. “We’d love to have people along with us for the ride — no gift is too small.”
And for Wolf — and the San Miguel students and families — school doesn’t stop at the end of the “traditional” year — even a virtual one.
“We’re thinking aggressively and creatively about summer options,” said Wolf. “We know the need is not going to drop in the summer. We’re considering figuring out ways to keep the social distancing norms when we do get guidance from the Governor and Department of Health to then get outside for things like hiking, fishing, or even robotics on the playground.”
“There are no options off the table right now — we are in extraordinary times,” said Wolf of looking to provide learning opportunities year-round.