Keene, NH – 09/16/2020: With masks and face shields, a disinfecting schedule for classroom materials and the cafeteria transformed into learning space, this school year will look like none other. Many things have changed in the past months, but Keene High School is showing real spirit and creativity to meet the moment.
Adopting the “hybrid instructional model” that had been proposed by the SAU29 administration and approved by the Keene Board of Education, students will receive instruction as two cohorts at Keene High School on-site either Monday/Thursday or Tuesday/Friday of each week with the rest of the school work being completed remotely from home. On Monday, the first cohort of 574 students arrived at Keene High, and the second cohort of 594 students followed on Tuesday.
“So far, so good,” said Dr. Cindy Gallagher, who recently assumed her new role as KHS principal. “Our instructors are ready and eager to teach, and the students have been phenomenal at rising to the challenge and adhering to our strict safety protocols including the daily health screening.”
Additionally, 182 KHS students have opted to exclusively study remotely. On Monday, a KHS presentation to parents of remote learners outlined the various options of meeting these students’ academic needs this year. Families now have the option to create individualized pathways for each student, making it easy to flexibly attend KHS if needed with the goal to fulfill the curriculum requirements for each learner.
Dr. Gallagher says she empathizes with families’ frustration over the remote learning options that initially were somewhat limited. The approach has now been broadened, so that with the combination of live instruction with some KHS teachers, VLACS instruction with certified NH teachers, extended learning opportunities, and the PLATO courseware our remote students are being served very well.
Logistics have been working out remarkably well, and the IT department is currently busy distributing Chromebooks to all students as the entire academic program at KHS has been shifted to Google Classroom. Teachers have been hard at work preparing in-person and virtual classrooms to keep their students safe and engaged.
“I’m proud to be here and blessed with a very talented team of teachers and staff. Everyone has really stepped up and come together in making this work for our students. I feel very confident about our building safety and a positive learning environment this year, despite the challenges COVID-19 is posing. I would like to thank our families for their patience as the last kinks are being worked out, I want to thank the students for being so cooperative, and our staff and teachers for their work that is nothing short of exceptional. I have an open-door policy, so please do not be shy to contact my office with any concerns. We are all in this together – let’s make it work!”