distance learning

Welcome to RHCD’s Online Campus

We never thought we’d be having to think outside the classroom quite so far this spring, yet here we are! Rocky Hill Country Day School is now operating our Distance Learning experience for Nursery – Grade 12 students. Whether we are on campus or distance learning, our small class size makes us uniquely poised to provide a personalized learning experience that remains dynamic and student-centered.

Our approach to Distance Learning is an extension of our approach to on campus learning, emphasizing our established social emotional & wellness programs with our carefully designed students’ daily schedule. Art, music, language, and physical education remain fully embedded into our students’ days.

DIANE RICH

Head of School

While the COVID-19 pandemic presents us all with many challenges, RHCD’s nimbleness, central to our culture, has enabled us to uncover and develop new educational experiences for the future. Like our students, whom we ask to become resilient, self-aware navigators of a changing world, we are pivoting as circumstances change.

To learn more about RHCD’s online campus and our approach to distance learning, we invite you to schedule a virtual gathering with our Admissions Department.

What is Distance Learning?

Distance Learning occurs when the student and instructor are not in the same place or space. Interaction between learner and instructor can often be done using an online meeting platform or through learning activities which require a digital platform

Synchronous Learning
Learning that happens at the same time either in person or digitally using an online meeting video platform. Example: Students in 3rd Grade took a virtual field trip to Matunuck Alpaca farm.
Asynchronous Learning
Learning that happens when objectives and associated activities are worked on over time while not meeting face to face, in person, or using online meeting video platforms. Example: As part of their first grade science work, students design a food chain diagram.
Online Learning
Learning that leverages online tools, content, or resources to foster comprehension, connect ideas, facilitate discussion, or assess understanding. This term is often used interchangeably with eLearning.

At RHCD, we employ a multifaceted approach to distance learning so that our students have opportunities to connect with faculty, collaborate with peers, and explore independently.

Blended Learning
Learning which integrates elements of distance learning with face-to-face learning. Example: Sophomore English students read the Holocaust novel Maus in which the main character interviews his father. The students conducted their own in-person interviews with family members, recorded reflections from the experience, and shared them in a virtual class.
Digital Platforms
Free or paid platforms which enable voice and/or video conferencing with groups. In schools, teachers use these platforms to host discussions, to teach a concept using digital whiteboards, or to share presentations in a synchronous, digital format. Digital Platforms being used at RHCD include: Google Meet, Poll Everywhere, Kahoot!, Pear Deck, Flipgrid, Calm, and GoodNotes to name a few.

RHCD

DIGITAL PLATFORMS

RHCD

DIGITAL PLATFORMS

Our Approach to Distance Learning

Our Approach to
Distance Learning

Staying true to our mission during distance learning, RHCD leverages the strengths of our faculty and various online platforms, while always keeping student wellbeing at the center. Students receive highly personalized learning, with time to connect for discussions and peer-to-peer project work, and assessment methods focused on providing detailed narrative feedback.

DAILY SCHEDULE ELEMENTS
DISTANCE LEARNING NORMS
INTENTION OF THE DAY

Our Approach In Action

MINDFULNESS
LEARN MORE
LOWER SCHOOL
LEARN MORE
UPPER SCHOOL
LEARN MORE
MIDDLE SCHOOL
LEARN MORE
ATHLETICS
LEARN MORE

EVERYDAY HEROES

EVERYDAY HEROES – Second grade students have been interviewing members of society who go above and beyond. Part of the “Everyday Heroes PBL,” the project helps students appreciate the work of neighbors, family, and friends.

Second grade students have been interviewing members of society who go above and beyond. Part of the “Everyday Heroes PBL,” the project helps students appreciate the work of neighbors, family, and friends.

COLORWHEEL CHALLENGE

COLORWHEEL CHALLENGE – Art Teacher leads Lower, Middle, and Upper School students to design color wheels out of items they find around their house.

Art Teacher leads Lower, Middle, and Upper School students to design color wheels out of items they find around their house.

STORYTIME

STORYTIME – Students and families alike gather each evening for ‘story time’ and a mindful moment guided by our school’s Librarian. It is a special time characterized by support, love, and connection for all participants.

Students and families alike gather each evening for ‘story time’ and a mindful moment guided by our school’s Librarian. It is a special time characterized by support, love, and connection for all participants.

Staying Connected

RHCD’s school community is foundational to who we are, and so now, more than ever, we come together in a myriad of ways for camaraderie, for support, for celebration.

Listen to What Our Community is Saying

I feel proud to be a part of RHCD’s community, and commend everyone (students, faculty, families) for meeting this challenge head on and inspiring me!  Prior to COVID-19, our photography class used Google Drive as the central location where all our assignments lived. Now, with distance learning, we continue using our Drive while adding Google Meets. This consistency in how we access our assignments, and stay connected has provided a smooth and successful learning experience for both of us!”

Dawn Temple,
Faculty, US Photography

On the surface, distance learning seemed awful, scary, and hard. The hardest thing for me has been distractions. I also feel it has been difficult to hold discussions online, it is easier to talk when there is body language and verbal cues. Despite all this, distance learning really hasn’t been all that bad. I love the control I have over my schedule. I am able to eat breakfast, sleep in, workout, and move my work to whatever time of day I feel most motivated. I’ve really enjoyed the initiatives by the school to keep students motivated. I’ve loved doing the Mariner workouts on top of my own. I’ve also really enjoyed all the senior love we’ve been getting this month. Most of all I’ve appreciated the work my teachers have done to make class work online. Even though class feels different, everyone has worked hard to find a new normal.”

Isabella R.,
12th Grade

On March 30, 2020 we welcomed the faculty/staff and students of RHCD into our living room to begin an adventure!  Since the very first day, I‘ve seen Mariner qualities shine in my children (5th and 8th graders).  I’ve watched as they navigate the carefully crafted schedules of their amazing teachers and division heads.  I see them partnering with classmates to complete assignments outside the “live” sessions.  I hear them encouraging peers, and peers lending their expertise to them. I am thankful for our RHCD community.”

Brooke Brown,
Parent to Chase (5th) and Cole (8th)

ZOOM

Zoom is a cloud-based video communications app that allows you to set up virtual video and audio conferencing, webinars, live chats, screen-sharing, and other collaborative capabilities

KAHOOT

Kahoot! allows you to create interactive games (or choose from a large library of content) to introduce new topics, review material, or formatively assess your students. At RHCD, an Upper School English teacher leverages Kahoot! with her students to review important material.

PEAR DECK

Pear Deck allows you to design engaging Google Slides presentations, interact more effectively with students, and include formative assessments. Teachers at RHCD use Pear Deck during synchronous learning, to provide a method for every student to contribute answers both to SEL and content questions, as well as during asynchronous classes, to have students respond to prompts, cartoons, images and charts.

GOODNOTES

A handwriting notes app that allows you to write on your ipad device and share notes as a pdf with students after class. A RHCD chemistry teacher uses Google Notes to write equations and solve math problems on a “whiteboard” just as she would in a face to face class. Notes are also shared with students after class.

PADLET

Padlet is an online virtual “bulletin” board, where students and teachers can collaborate, reflect, and share links and pictures in a secure location. RHCD’s 4th grade teacher uses Padlet to post his daily learning schedule, link activities for his students and even created a “Good Books” Padlet that his students are using to share book recommendations with one another.

FLIPGRID

Flipgrid allows students to engage with topics and respond to prompts using video reflection. RHCD’s 6th grade class uses Flipgrid to respond to Covid-19 journal prompts. Students record brief videos showing “a day in the life of Covid-19”, “how to segments”, “newly learned skills”, or “instrument practice.”

POLL EVERYWHERE

This add-on for Google Slides increases classroom participation by allowing teachers to poll students during live sessions. RHCD faculty effectively apply Poll Everywhere during Advisory Meetings to check on how students are doing/feeling.

QUIZLET

Quizlet Teacher is free for all educators. It gives teachers the ability to create study sets, keep track of student learning without ads, use voice recording, and upload images. RHCD faculty have used Quizlet to review important vocabulary in Social Studies and Language Arts and 5th graders love to play the Gravity game!

CALM

The #1 app for Sleep, Meditation and Relaxation. Named “the world’s happiest app”. At RHCD, teachers and administrators use Calm to guide participants in meditation and breathing techniques, gentle movement and stretching, music, focus and overall Health & Wellness.

SCREENCAST-O-MATIC

It’s free, easy to use and allows teachers to create screencast videos with narration. At RHCD, our 3rd grade teacher uses Screencast-o-Matic to record video tutorials for her students and parents. Our MS/US Spanish teacher uses Screencast-O-Matic to record audio narration for her Google Slide presentations so that students can access instructional asynchronously. Our school Librarian records daily story time videos to share with LS students.

MICROSOFT WHITEBOARD

Whiteboard allows students and teachers to connect on a virtual canvas. Upper School teachers use Microsoft Whiteboard to demonstrate how to solve math problems.

EPIC!

Epic! provides online access to thousands of books for lower school students. Teachers use it to assign books, create assessments, and track progress. Lower school students have been using Epic! in the classroom since the start of the year. It continues to provide access to thousands of eBooks and learning videos during distance learning.

DAILY SCHEDULE ELEMENTS

Lower School 

  • A blend of live and asynchronous classes to balance screen time
  • Daily Morning Meetings with mindful moments
  • Detailed daily lesson plans shared with students/families
  • Daily PE/movement/mindful breaks
  • Weekly ‘Specials’: Art, Music, Language, Science, Library
  • Small group and 1-on-1 teacher support
  • Audio and written feedback by teachers, and self-reflection of assignments by students, are provided in real-time
  • Closing Meetings each day
  • “Live” storytime each evening with our librarian, and sometimes with Guest Readers!

Middle School

  • A blend of synchronous classes, asynchronous classes, and community connections
  • Student-run Middle School Morning Meetings
  • Typically 2 live academic classes per day to balance screen time
  • Advisory Meetings twice a week
  • Art, Music, and World Language classes
  • Frequent shout outs, appreciations, Kahoots, scavenger hunts, and weekly advisory challenges to support connections between students, teachers, and Middle School families
  • Consistent PE/movement periods

Upper School

  • A blend of live class sessions, small group work with teachers, and independent work
  • Intentional daily schedule to balance academic work, movement, and connection
  • Daily Advisory Check Ins
  • Consistent 1:1 Faculty availability to students
  • Asynchronous work that engages students and encourages them to communicate and collaborate with their peers
  • Project work that requires students to think critically and create solutions to real world problems
  • Virtual Meets for Clubs
  • Daily Mariner Challenge for fitness and team competitions

DISTANCE LEARNING NORMS

RHCD encourages all students and teachers to adhere to the following guidelines when participating in ‘Live Sessions’.

  • Be on time.
  • Be positive and patient.
  • Bring your sense of humor. Tech glitches will happen and it’s no big deal!
  • Practice gratitude for all that is going well, and for the simple fact that we’re all together!
  • Participate.
  • Share your ideas and find a way to invite others to participate.
  • Mute yourself when someone else is speaking.
  • Type your questions and comments into the chat when someone else is speaking.
  • Be aware of your environment to avoid distractions. Consider your background.
  • Dress appropriately to be seen by your teachers and classmates.

INTENTION OF THE DAY

At RHCD, our coursework is an extension of our core values and philosophy. As such, administrators and faculty alike start each virtual gathering and class assignment by sharing the latest resource, inspirational quote, fun fact, or gesture of appreciation as a means to reflect and focus on health, humor, and the individual’s well-being.

MINDFULNESS

Putting students’ social and emotional needs first is paramount, and this does not change during distance learning! At RHCD, daily interactive sessions utilize a variety of gentle yoga and stretching, breathing, and mindfulness techniques where students take the time to slow down and connect their body and mind.
 
Over the last six years, through the support of our partners at Center for Resilience, we have embedded mindfulness across the curriculum. This preparation has benefited our students, families, and the entire community even more so now in this difficult time.
 

Examples of Health, Wellness, & Mindfulness at RHCD include: Students using mindful tools like a glitter jar or guided beach meditation, faculty invited to 10-minutes of live nightly mindfulness practices and “Mindful Mondays” – 30 minutes of gentle movement followed by guided breathing

Mindful Moments: Mindfully Eat a Raisin

Consider mindfully eating something small, as described in this activity from PyschCentral.com. Take a raisin or a piece of chocolate and mindfully eat it. Slow down, sense it, savor it and smile between bites. Purposefully slow down. Use all your senses to see it, touch it, smell it and taste it. Savor its texture and how it feels in your mouth. Let it linger and then swallow it. After you finish eating it, turn up slightly and smile.

LOWER SCHOOL

The roots of our Lower School philosophy run deep. They are nourished by the relationships we establish within our family-oriented community and the meaningful connections and learning that are the focus of our whole child approach. Our commitment to our philosophy has allowed us to take on the challenges and embrace the excitement of our distance learning adventure!

Throughout distance learning, we find our continued emphasis on mindfulness education, the Responsive Classroom approach, and the integration of the Choose Love curriculum to be equally as valuable. Our Morning Meeting offers our students their familiar personalized greetings, sharing opportunities, glimpse of the day ahead, team-building activity, and mindfulness practice, while offering teachers a social-emotional check-in for each student at the start of the day. And to keep our parent community engaged, we offer bi-weekly virtual PTL meetings, including a pertinent “article share” as a parent education opportunity and a way to connect and alleviate stress, as well as a vetted resource site for parents to access a range of local and national thought leaders.

UPPER SCHOOL

In the Upper School, students and faculty continue to strengthen academic skills while using the integral foundation of community to resiliently navigate distance learning. Individualized learning is emphasized through advisor and teacher check-ins, synchronous and asynchronous classes, and projects. Faculty collaborate with students to challenge them academically, while also supporting students through this unprecedented time. Faculty work together to quickly address any student who is struggling and the strong advisory program allows for close monitoring of each student’s well being. Through mindfulness training and practice, teachers prepare to be fully present and supportive for each student. 

With distance learning, academic work has become even more individualized with the emphasis on developing important skills and competencies to prepare students to tackle real world problems.

MIDDLE SCHOOL

The Middle School’s approach to distance learning is a balance between engagement, maintaining community, health and wellness, and strengthening the foundation of our students’ core academic skills.  As with the other divisions, our distance learning is a blend of synchronous live sessions and asynchronous work that the students manage during their unscheduled time in the week. Some of the key aspects of our approach in the Middle School include:

  • advisory periods to connect advisers with their students as a check-in on well-being and as a way to generate fun and connections
  • a dynamic arts program using materials found in the home to continue to foster student creativity as well as give students time off screen and a break from their core academic subjects
  • weekly healthy activity goals for students to accomplish and document in their health logs, which are followed up with short, individual meetings at the end of each week
  • a full Middle School community, student-run meeting each week, carrying on an important tradition, bringing a sense of normalcy and strengthening our community relationships
  • frequent communication with parents through weekly blogs, as well as bi-weekly virtual meetings where ideas can be shared and questions answered.

CONTACT US

If you have any questions, or would like to know more about Rocky Hill Country Day School, please fill out the form below.

Rocky Hill Country Day School

530 Ives Road
East Greenwich, RI 02818

Phone: 401.884.9070
Fax: 401.885.4985