The Harley School, Nursery-12th Grade, Rochester NY
From Lucy, a 10th grader, about her school during this time of crisis:
“Our small classes at Harley have always made it easier to engage in discussions, get everyone to participate, and develop trusting relationships with teachers. When we began remote learning, many of us were expecting short lectures and lots of independent assignments. The school appeared to be preparing for this as well, sending out guidelines for the new methods, but I don’t think any of them would’ve expected how it turned out. Many of our classes are discussion based, and muting ourselves waiting to be called on would’ve interrupted the rhythm that each class has developed with their teachers. Now, after a few weeks, we somehow managed to continue this with very few people getting cut off because of the lag. The teachers at Harley worked to make these lessons as close to normal as they can, and it really has paid off. Some classes even modified our assignments to educate us on current events. Lesson plans were intriguing as always, but digging deeper into the history as well as current discoveries, gave us knowledge capable of giving us a sense of control over the situation. None of us ever thought we would be alive during a pandemic, and many of us weren’t truly aware of what that even means. In the first week of remote learning, the 10th grade history class was given an assignment studying the 1918 influenza, and later comparing it to what’s happening now. At first, it seemed to only magnify my fears, but despite the tragedy back then, knowing that it really wasn’t anything “new” helped me. For chemistry, each student was assigned a report on one of the medications being studied to combat COVID-19. We each individually got to search for answers of our own, but also shared our presentations with the rest of the class. I’d seen plenty of speculation on the news, but digging deeper into their resources, cutting out exaggerations and assumptions, finding the purest evidence, was comforting. I could give several specific examples for each one of my classes and each one of my teachers. Each one of them found ways to not only make classes close to normal, but to make aspects of them even better. Without clearly showing it, each of them set it up for us to keep asking questions that went far past the actual lesson, and to continue pursuing answers. In times like this, nobody can give us clear answers to our questions, other people can’t satisfy each of our worries. But we have now been taught to do so ourselves, to search for what we need to try to calm the fears that we can not express.”
The “Harley At Home” program takes a unique approach to moving its schooling off-site and into its community’s homes, foregoing “remote learning” for an opportunity to rise to greater heights of joy in learning, in all its different forms.