Coronavirus Resources for Schools

Q&A on Distance Learning with Vanke Meisha Academy Leaders

Contains resources from school districts and public health agencies.

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Q&A from a conversation with leaders at Vanke Meisha Academy Vanke Meisha Academy (VMA) in Shenzhen, China learned that they would have to become an online school while students and staff were scattered during the lunar new year holiday. VMA is a boarding school serving high school age students. It is a highly academic college prep school. After a rocky two weeks a distance learning structure was created that maintains a strong academic program and emotionally supports both students and faculty. In order to share their learnings with others we conducted an interview with leaders from VMA. We urge you to take the time to watch the full interview. The enthusiasm, caring, and talent of these leaders comes through in the video in a way that is just not captured by reading a transcript of the conversation. Visit Vanke Meisha Academy Leaders Participating Wang He, Principal Maryann O'Brien, Academic Dean Mogammad (Rifat) Zardad, Math Department Chair, Instructional Coach Nicholas Tan, Associate Director of Educational Technology Sabrina Waterfield, Director of Teaching and Learning Center, English Teacher Interviewers Jeanie Cash and George Manthey, Co-founders, Lead Learner Associates QUESTION 1: What was going through your minds as you learned your students and faculty would not be returning after the new year holiday? ANSWERS: Maryann: I was thinking we'd be prepared because our team was so good and we already had a pilot online course. Sabrina: Because we are such a diverse group of people we have so many pieces that would really work. We were able to bring those experiences together. Nick: I knew something was going on. I wasn't sure what. But Sabrina told me we had to do something now. I thought, "Can't we do this a little later?" I thought it would only be a week or two. I started to wonder if we should create a full-on plan. We weren't prepared for the connectivity issues. Suddenly one billion people in China would be online at the same time. We had to test it. Sabrina: We needed a plan. We needed agreements. We had to protect the students so they would have a quality education. We had to protect the teachers so they were safe wherever they were. But also we needed to deliver exceptional lessons to all of our students. We were constantly in communication wherever we were in the world. We had to be flexible. Things came up. We had to have a backup to the backup. We used a platform called DingTalk for our communication. It's a platform just like messaging; it's a social networking work platform.

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