The Value of Landmark – No Matter the Setting
Landmark is one of the many schools across the U.S. that shifted to remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to the new normal, we developed an innovative program that maintains Landmark’s unique approach to educating students with dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities, meets them where they are in the learning process, and encourages them to be engaged, curious learners. As we return to campus in the fall, we'll continue to hone our remote learning platform as the pandemic situation continues to evolve.
Our commitment to providing students a daily one-to-one tutorial, a dedicated academic advisor, small classes, individualized curriculum (High School and Elementary•Middle School), and highly trained faculty remains as strong as ever. We're confident that the customization that we provide goes above and beyond what students will find in most other school programs.
Landmark will continue to guide our students as they learn and grow—academically, socially, and emotionally—throughout these uncertain times. Our teachers, counselors, advisors, and administrators are actively supporting students and their families as they navigate a new learning experience. In fact, Rob Kahn, former head of the Elementary•Middle School (EMS), and Stacey Sargent, an EMS faculty member and veteran remote instructor, shared tips on how parents can help their children have an effective remote learning experience.
faculty training: always innovating
We set our teachers up for success, just as we do our students, in any environment. Our teachers are at the forefront of educational technology, constantly researching, learning, and implementing new teaching tools that they use to individualize instruction. As part of our professional development initiative, teachers regularly share tips and tricks, attend technology training webinars, collaborate virtually, and gather weekly to share ideas and strategies.
New faculty at our Elementary•Middle School and our High School will still participate in several weeks of intensive training in August, and that training will continue throughout the school year, with each new faculty member working closely with a mentor. And veteran faculty eagerly dove in to learn new strategies and tools to teach remotely using a broad array of evidence-based programs. Landmark will continue to provide faculty a fully subsidized Master of Education in Special Education from the Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development so that all of our teachers are assured a specialized graduate degree helping to best meet the needs of our students.
ONE-TO-ONE DAILY Tutorials
In our one-to-one remote tutorials focused on reading remediation, teachers deliver the same level of highly customized instruction that we provide in on-campus tutorials. Our tutors regularly consult with Academic Advisors to determine areas where students need additional support and develop targeted instruction to meet the specific needs of each student.
Even in a remote environment, students use hands-on and virtual manipulatives, games, and resources to practice the skills that provide the foundation of their individualized program. Take a look at a High School tutorial video and an Elementary•Middle School tutorial video to get a taste of what our customized tutorials are like.
Students meet frequently with their Academic Advisor to discuss school work and any concerns related to their academic program and overall school experience. Advisors regularly communicate with parents/guardians via phone and email to make sure students and families are not feeling overwhelmed, understand assignments and expectations, are keeping up with the work, and finding ways to relax and engage in physical activities. Parents are encouraged to reach out to Academic Advisors with any questions about academics—and they do. We encourage this sort of dialogue because it benefits our students and helps them succeed!
Executive Function SUPPORT
Managing time and staying organized is a challenge for many of our students in any environment. We are expanding our support for all of our students with executive function guidance so that they can better manage the workload, various applications, online assignments, and more. Learning and developing a mastery of these skills is essential for academic success and to boost confidence.
Landmark’s Six Teaching Principles™
Landmark’s Six Teaching Principles™ are the backbone of our teaching methodologies and represent proven, effective, research-based teaching practices for ALL learners, not only students who struggle with language. While a remote or an on-campus learning environment, teachers implement the Landmark Six Teaching Principles™ to ensure that they meet student’s needs in the new platform.
When teaching remotely, Landmark holds live classroom sessions via Google Meet. These sessions replicate in-person classes, with teachers delivering instruction and interacting with students in classes of six to eight students. Teachers send students an invitation to each class, ensuring a secure online environment.
Watch this video of one of our elementary teachers, Mrs. Conant, explaining the pedagogy behind an activity in her Oral Expression/Literature class where her students studied, recited, and even provided illustrations of Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken." We think the outcome is pretty magical—and hope you do too.
In a remote environment, students independently use Google Classroom to access and manage their asynchronous assignments (online, teacher directed). Google Classroom is a safe and secure digital platform that allows teachers to create, distribute, and grade assignments. Google Classroom streamlines the process of sharing files between teachers and students. Think of it as a “digital binder” for students’ assignments and resources.
During senior year at the High School, students use Canvas, an online learning management system used at many two- and four-year colleges, to understand how to navigate the platform in preparation for the transition to post-high school academics. Seniors use Canvas for academic classes in the remote learning environment. Our goal is to make sure that our students are prepared for whatever it is that they want to pursue after they leave Landmark.
Our counseling team has been actively working with individual students to address general anxieties related to COVID-19 and to provide strategies for managing worry, sadness, and grief during this unprecedented time. Counselors are also holding small student groups to foster social connection and community. In a remote environment, they utilize the Google Meet platform to connect with students and see them face-to-face. In addition, counselors also provide families with at-home strategies for managing behaviors that have come up as a result of stress related to the health pandemic. The overarching goal of counseling at Landmark is to support students and families (in collaboration with teachers and advisors) to ensure that each student is supported holistically, and therefore more able to take advantage of the academic opportunities available to them at Landmark.
Whether we are on campus or learning remotely, all High School students, from grades 9 - 12, will participate in Transition Advisory groups on a regular basis. These groups will guide and support students working through various aspects of our transition curriculum. In addition, juniors and seniors meet individually with their guidance counselors. Landmark will host virtual meetings with admissions representatives from many post-secondary schools and programs. The Guidance Office will also continue to hold workshops and special interest group meetings (students applying to art schools, students interested in gap year programs, those looking to go into the military or the trades, etc).
Electives and Enrichment
Landmark offers a wide range of elective activities in both remote and on-campus environments. Electives at the High School include debate club, art, music, technology, dance, physical fitness, music, cooking, and so much more! For EMS students, Landmark offers a broad variety of remote and on-campus hands-on enrichment and social activities that include art, photography, physical fitness, music, Lego club, a school newspaper, gardening club, group breakfasts and lunches, and more!
We are also expanding our community-building activities for new and returning students, as well as parents. We know how isolating remote learning can be and fostering friendships and genuine connections between and among our students, families, and faculty is vital for a healthy and fulfilling school experience.
The International Group welcomes all students, not just those who come to Landmark from other countries. Most members were born here but are in the group to celebrate and share their heritage and customs and learn about others. Our favorite topics range from ethnic foods and customs to current events.—Kanella Zaralides, International Group faculty advisor
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