PFA Contributes to Blended Learning

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Caroline Sanders '23

A camera in Lisa Wallace’s US classroom helps her blended learners to see the entire class during discussions.

Caroline Sanders, Advertisement Editor and Social Media Editor

At the end of each school year, all funds that the Parent Faculty Association has raised go back to the School. In the past, the PFA has used this money to purchase new school buses, renovate the theatre, and buy supplies for the Team Room. This year they focused on supplies, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, to help reopen the School.

The PFA contributed to the blended learning model by purchasing cameras and microphones for every classroom. This helps students and teachers that are online have a more effective teaching experience by allowing them to hear and see more clearly. 

“The microphones and cameras in each classroom are really helpful. Without them, it would be so much harder to have group discussions and lessons when the teacher is teaching from home or when other students are joining the class online,” Sutton Howard ‘23 said.

One teacher who is teaching from home is English teacher Catherine Collins-Vecino, who is home this semester due to family members who are at high risk. She gave her perspective on the blended model.

“The technology is absolutely amazing. And I mean, the fact that I can do a live class and the fact that I can see my students and see their reactions is amazing,” Collins-Vecino said. “But I do still feel like there’s a barrier there; I mean they’re looking at a wall, and I’m looking at a screen.” 

 Collins-Vecino said being off campus has not been ideal, but that she is very grateful that Country Day has given her the opportunity to do so. She said that at the beginning, it was difficult, figuring out how and where to set up the technology. But each day she has learned something new and has made adjustments to make class a little easier. 

“I mean you just don’t know what’s going to happen with the technology. Every day there’s some anxiety associated with, ‘how is this [class] going to go’…. Technology is great but it’s not always terribly reliable and so, you become dependent on something outside of yourself to make the lesson successful,” Collins-Vecino said. 

The PFA has also purchased 120 bipolar ionization units to better ensure each person’s safety. These units are installed into the air conditioning system and are located all over campus. They are constantly providing fresh and clean air in every classroom. They work by disinfecting the air using a blue-light system.

“It felt like the right thing to do, to show our appreciation.”

— Laura Rooker, past PFA president

The new technology and ionization units were the two main contributions made this year by the PFA. 

“Typically, our gifts back to the School are designed to embellish what is already a great education for our students. But this year felt a little different… And so we decided after lots of discussion… that those were two things that were timely and meaningful,” the 2019-2020 President of the PFA, Laura Rooker, said.

Additionally, at the end of last school year, the PFA dispersed gift cards to all of the teachers who worked so hard to make online learning bearable for the entire student body. The gift cards were worth $50 on Amazon. They were given to compensate for the usual end of the year gifts that students give their teachers. 

“It felt like it was the right thing to do to show our appreciation,” Rooker said.

As well as the gift cards, teachers received welcome back gift baskets at the beginning of this year. And on October 6, all teachers are receiving a dinner to go for their families from Central Market. The entire community, including each teacher, staff member and student, received a OneFWCD tshirt, featuring a falcon with a mask on, to kick-of the year as well. The PFA is also planning on hosting a Teacher Appreciation Luncheon later this year. 

Overall, this year the Parent Faculty Association has made very effective and purposeful contributions to the school and the students and faculty are very thankful for them.