We’re All in This Together: Faculty Collaboration in the Transition to Distance Learning
An integral part of the Seven Hills culture, faculty collaboration has really become a prime focus of teacher development over the past few years. Collaborating across classrooms to plan curriculum and lessons, the formation of grade-level and subject area teaching teams, and increased alignment from grade to grade, the Seven Hills program emphasizes the importance of leveraging teachers’ strengths while remaining flexible to new methodologies that benefit student learning.
When families around the world navigated school closures due to the coronavirus outbreak, the successful pivot to distance learning at Seven Hills was in large part due to the structure and culture of collaboration that was already in place. In the weekend prior to our campus closure, teachers could be seen planning for diverse student needs, assembling distance learning care packages, and researching the new digital tools that were becoming available. They imagined ways to reshape a unit, reexamine a scope and sequence, and asked each other—how can we do this even better? How can we make this more inclusive?
The Seven Hills traditions of ingenuity, creativity, and collaboration have proven even more essential in our current environment. Despite not being able to reopen in person this past August, teaching teams spent the summer learning from the successes and lessons of last spring and developing age-appropriate, dynamic curriculum for remote learning. The addition of content coordinators over the past few years has
allowed Seven Hills the opportunity to mix and match students and lessons across learning styles and interests. In distance learning mode, support teachers and floating guest teachers can host virtual breakout sessions for small group support, differentiation, and enrichment.
It takes a village, and collaboration across grades and disciplines has made our program stronger than ever, as well as more sustainable over time. We are moved by the words of the 6th graders’ High School Musical performance, “we’re all in this together.”