St. Joseph School embraces distance learning during COVID-19 pandemic

St. Joseph School embraces distance learning during COVID-19 pandemic

By Carol Azizian

Review Contributor

In a second grade classroom at St. Joseph School, students created posters expressing appreciation for Beaumont-Royal Oak Hospital health care workers and sent them via email to nurses there. In a fifth grade classroom, students created videos of themselves and reported “Science Breaking News” instead of a science test.

Since March 20, teachers have been connecting with their students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade through distance learning.

“Our first day of distance learning was Monday, March 20, which we began just like a normal day of school with a schoolwide live morning prayer at 8:30, on YouTube Live, which we have continued to do each day,” said principal Joe Zmikly. “Our live morning prayer routine has kept us united in prayer, faith and community, which have been the key ingredients that have kept our ship afloat and our distance learning thriving.

“Teachers are doing an amazing job of delivering daily instruction using remote tools, such as Google Meet to conduct live meetings with students, online textbooks and materials such as TCI for social studies and Sadlier for math and grammar, Raz Kids for differentiated reading instruction, and many more,” Zmikly said. “We use Blackbaud’s School Management software as our main hub to tie everything together, which has been excellent. All of our students in grades 1-8 have a school-issued iPad with a keyboard, which has made all this that much more smooth.”

Fifth grade teacher Emily Zande said she “wanted the kids to have a place where they could still interact with each other and have fun activities to do at home outside of our daily curriculum. Analyzing quotes, mindfulness checks, suggested work-outs, and acts of kindness are posted daily. We have continued our curriculum, but things look a bit different. Instead of a Science test, students created video of themselves reporting the ‘Science Breaking News’, each segment being a lesson from the chapter. Watching the videos, I couldn’t stop smiling (and tearing up). They showed their creativity, their knowledge, and brought me back to being a kid playing make-believe. It hasn’t been easy, but my 5th graders have done an amazing job of staying positive and acclimating to our new ‘normal’.”

Second grade teacher Kim Klozik sent pictures of the posters that her students made for health care workers via email to her niece, who is a nurse at Beaumont.

“She said she was posting them on the nurses online board.”

Klozik also set up distance learning lessons and used the app See Saw to post assignments.

Second grade teacher Markell Shango invited her fiancé, Dr. Dillon Karmo, a physician at Royal Oak Beaumont who is working with coronavirus patients, to speak to students earlier this month about the virus and what students can do to protect themselves and their families.

Klozik also offered virtual field trips to farm of St. Joseph School’s physical education teacher in Oxford. She also took photos while kayaking of a beaver lodge, muskrat den, a Sandhills crane and swan nests and showed them through the See Saw app to her students.


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