Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, much has changed across the globe. An entire generation of students has had their education disrupted with schools looking and feeling different than they have in years past. However, through it all, at Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley some things have remained the same: teaching and learning continues for our students in pedagogically sound ways, and each day our teachers and staff continue to build the spirit and feeling of community that makes EB so special.
Many of our students have returned to EB for in-person, on-campus instruction, while others have enrolled in our Full-Time Home Learning (FTHL) program. The in-person and FTHL programs function independently of each other, and operate on separate pacing schedules while simultaneously addressing the needs of our students and families. Whether students have returned physically to campus, or are continuing to learn from a distance, this school year is one everyone will remember for years to come!
A return to in-person instruction is not feasible for many families. Wishing to acknowledge and support them, EB has developed a high quality program with dedicated French and English instructors and access to our STEM, Art, SEL, PE and Garden specialists, to support the learning of students continuing school from a distance. The FTHL program is grounded in strong academics, and through the teachers’ hard work of intentionality and purpose in how they structure their lessons, students are presented a streamlined curriculum designed to focus on essential content areas. EB’s FTHL students spend their fair share of time online, however just because they are learning remotely, their learning is not all tech based. The teachers want their students engaged in reading books, manipulating manipulatives, writing, editing and revising all of which can be done “unplugged”. FTHL teachers work tirelessly to create community, routine and accountability for their students, and the FTHL experience and lessons have been developed for the ongoing community of distance learners and is paced according to their specific schedule, and is not synchronized with our on-campus classrooms. Given the independent nature of the program it was not created to be a hybrid model where on-campus students are attending sporadically, but is dedicated entirely to our students continuing to learn from home.
The on-campus cohort of teachers is working just as tirelessly to deliver intentional and well structured lessons, and the in-person student pods are engaged in learning and growing each day they are at school. EB’s leaders continue to work closely with local health agencies to gather data and determine the best approach to delivering instruction for our community. The on-campus students are divided into learning pods of twelve students, or less, as social distancing requirements have shifted how classrooms and other facilities look and function. Regardless of these shifts, students are still engaged in personalized individual instruction, collaborative inquiry and balanced-literacy lessons each and every day.
Ecole Bilingue is a special place, dedicated to providing an educational model that is appropriate for all students and their families. During these uncertain times, this has meant dedicating resources to two high-quality programs running simultaneously as this continues to be the best approach for meeting the needs of the school community. No matter what the future may hold off-campus, both EB’s on-campus cohort, and the FTHL students continue to be prepared for success, and instilled with the commitment to be global citizens and build a world community.