Karen Robey

Sylvania Schools
Sylvania, Ohio
Karen Robey, Director of Elementary Teaching and Learning

Finding the Good

The challenges of simultaneously teaching students in-person and online are significant. As COVID continues to wreak havoc on our world, many of us are wondering, “How long will this last?”.  Since March 13th, 2020, I have continually attempted to find “the good” during such an extremely difficult time.  From an educational standpoint, is it possible to think that some of the instructional practices we are being forced to implement or enhance are actually positive changes for learning as well as preparing our students to be future ready and 21st century learners?  I think so.

Throughout the month of June, 2020, I had the pleasure of collaborating with twelve school districts in Ohio to determine, or predict, the instructional needs, during a pandemic, for all potential learning scenarios; remote, hybrid, or in-person.  We discussed the likeliness of quickly transitioning from one scenario to another.  Fast forward to November, 2020, and we are living in transition.  As I think back to our work during the summer, the overarching theme was time.   We knew all stakeholders, especially staff, would need time to plan, time to adapt, time to adjust, and time to learn.

At Sylvania Schools, we believe the success of our schools starts with supporting our staff.  Now, more than ever, continuous collaboration time and ongoing professional learning opportunities are critical.  Our calendar includes two days dedicated to collaboration time, in addition to professional learning days.  Our goal is to ensure teachers have designated time to collaborate and plan effective teaching and learning for all potential scenarios; remote, hybrid, or in-person.  Our collaboration days allow teachers to plan with grade level teams, connect with peers in other buildings throughout the district, or collaborate as a department.  Our professional learning days, on the other hand, focus on enhancing our instructional delivery and student engagement.  Our recent professional learning day resembled a robust, virtual conference, consisting of peer-led sessions and vendor-led sessions.  Staff members were able to attend sessions deemed most relevant to their growth and development.  All sessions were recorded and are continuously accessible to staff as needed.  Our intention is to help staff build confidence in the tools needed for blended learning while providing opportunities for collaborative discussion on successes and best practices.

Despite exhausting and challenging times in education, I am extremely proud of our staff for continuously growing and learning, for the benefit of our students.  Where there is growth, there is good.