Sixth grade student Zoe Harkness has been taking full advantage of the virtual classroom and extracurricular opportunities available through the Warwick Valley School District’s Distance Learning Academy this year.
She’s thoroughly impressed Principal Georgianna Diopoulos, who notes Zoe’s independence and proactive approach to her studies for the success she has had learning during quarantine.
Zoe and her mom, Alicyn Harkness, have both been working from home this year, enjoying their family version of a co-working space.
It begin in the third or fourth grade
“Zoe’s been in an environment where she understands what being independent and working from home and being productive looks like,” said Harkness, added that she appreciates the tools and guidance the district has provided for its remote learning students to succeed. “We were talking about why we think Zoe has been so independent in her studies through all of this, and it goes back to the district providing her with an organizer back in third or fourth grade.”
Zoe found she enjoyed using the organizer to keep track of her days and schedule her work, and she’s made a seamless transition to the Google Suite, including its own scheduling capabilities. She credits the district’s technology for helping her be self-driven and stay connected as a Distance Learning Academy student.
Technology helps keep the classroom feeling alive
“It was a little hard staying in touch when people first went back to school on hybrid, but with Google Meets we’ve been able to work on homework together and stay in touch,” said Zoe, who likes the way Google Meets and the other district-approved communication technologies have helped keep the classroom feeling alive during the pandemic.
Zoe, who has managed a streak of three marking periods on High Honor Roll incidentally, has used the tech platforms available to her to stay active and up-to-date in her classes, as well as in band, chorus and guitar club. She finds the ability to download sheet music and record her performances particularly useful.
“Doing band and chorus online is fun, seeing the kids that are actually in school,” said Zoe, who plays percussion in the Middle School band. “I can sing along or play along, so it’s like I’m actually kind of there.”
‘Studying from home worked for me’
Her mother said that by embracing the technology used day-to-day in the DLA, Zoe’s computer literacy and abilities have gone through the roof this year. She has even put her new technology communication skills to work outside the virtual classroom.
“Since COVID, in general, I think I’ve talked online more with my friends and my family members in faraway places than I ever did before, and that’s been great too,” she said.
Zoe’s independent streak and inquisitiveness have led her to address this year’s challenges as opportunities, and she’s made the most of her DLA resources on her way to a successful year.
“I was happy that we had the opportunity to go to the Distance Learning Academy this year, because I think it could have been a little overwhelming for some people going into a building this year,” she said. “Studying from home worked for me. I am looking forward to hopefully going back to the Middle School in the fall, but first, I’m looking forward to summer!”