Harrisburg Academy Ventures into Online Instruction
By: Head of School, Adrian Allan
COVID-19 has forced Harrisburg Academy, along with every other school, to face challenges we have not had to address in the past. During my nearly half-century as an educator and more than 25 years as an administrator, I cannot recall ever having to make so many difficult decisions as I, and my administrative team, had to make earlier this month. These decisions ranged from how to develop a comprehensive cleaning and sanitizing protocol, to how to prepare for online instruction should the school have to close at a future date. When we realized, in February, that a closure was possible, our community began to look at the Academy’s capability to deliver an online educational program to our students. We were determined to have a program that would address the needs of all our students in Preschool through grade 12. Training for our teachers on setting up online classrooms followed within a few days.
When Governor Wolf closed all Pennsylvania schools on March 13th, we notified students and parents that we would begin online classes for all our students beginning Wednesday, March 18. I, along with our teachers, prepared my first online lesson. We all held our breath as we logged into our Google accounts. Would it really work? Would our students be there? I logged in and then, within a minute, my students joined my class. It was amazing how smoothly we all adapted to this new experience of online instruction. When I later checked in with other teachers, I found that everyone had managed to successfully connect to their classes. In observing what other schools in our area were doing, we became aware that the Academy was one of the district leaders in providing genuine online instruction rather than simply marking time with enrichment assignments or providing only independent study.
It gives me great pride and a sense of achievement that the school is considering ways to share our programs with students outside of the Academy’s immediate community. This initiative began with the idea that our students could invite a friend to share our virtual school experience with them.
At Harrisburg Academy, being an International Baccalaureate World School means being a contributing member of our society. This commitment lies at the very heart of our mission statement, which states that we are committed to preparing our students to make the world a better place for all of us. Please click here to read our full press release.