What’s Right With Schools: Teachers at Thomas Edison MS in Meriden helping students engage when some distance learning, others in the classroom

Whats Right With Schools

MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — How do you help students engage when some are distance learning and others are in the classroom? For this week’s What’s Right With Schools we take you inside Thomas Edison Middle School in Meriden to see how teachers there are taking on that challenge.

At Edison MS, they are a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) magnet school and they integrate the ‘four C’s’ into everything they do: creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, collaboration looks a little different.

In one class we met with they’re learning about 3-D printing using a program on their laptops to learn the material. We’re not just talking about the students in the classroom, but also those remote learning from home.

Taking classroom collaboration to a new level.

Over in a language arts class, the students in the classroom are collaborating with students at home as they take a timed quiz.

Making sure all students are working together has been a big focus during the pandemic.

“Our teachers are truly working double-time as you’ve seen in these classrooms trying to engage both our students in-person and virtually,” explained Melissa Rizza, the math instructional coach. She works with teachers on how to incorporate math into daily lessons.  

Making sure all students have a chance to work together and engage in group activity has been a big focus for STEM Coordinator Caitlin Lombardi, too.

She says technology has played a huge role in this year’s academic experience, “Because so much has been thrown at our teachers and they’re learning platforms and programs, how to use webcams, having multiple devices on in their classes at the same time, so you know learning all of that.” 

She says as a STEM coordinator she’s been working with teachers and making sure they’re familiar with technology especially the virtual breakout rooms that were built: “The use of the breakout rooms: so one of the things they’re intentionally doing, making sure we have in-person students working collaboratively with students who are virtual.” 

Each teacher is essentially running two different classrooms all day and making sure their curriculums incorporate creativity, critical thinking, communication, and of course, collaboration despite the distance.

“I don’t think any of us have ever worked so hard. It is a 12-hour-a-day job and plus,” Principal Karen Habegger tells News 8. 

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