With all classes going virtual this fall because of the coronavirus, Prince George’s County, Maryland, Public Schools’ specialty programs such as vocational training and language immersion are being adapted.
The changes were discussed at a specialty programs virtual town hall meeting Wednesday night.
Classes in areas of study such as culinary arts, auto repair and firefighting are typically very hands-on, so educators have been forced to get creative.
“We have partnered with a lot of our vendors and business partners to create as many simulation opportunities as possible,” said Jean-Paul Cadet, director of Career and Technical Education for the county.
Aerospace engineering and aviation technology students who would normally have internships will try something else instead.
“Many of our mentors have already agreed to basically vlog, or walk around recording their day and sharing that with students, such that the students can still have some tangible experience in the career of STEM with the mentors that they’re being placed with,” said STEM instructional supervisor Felicia Martin Latief.
The K-8 level international baccalaureate program will use an online platform called Turnitin that allows students to submit writing assignments and enables teachers to comment on their work.
“The Turnitin platform does scan papers for plagiarism, so we will continue to support students in building that academic integrity,” said instructional specialist Edrika Hall.
In the creative and performing arts program, the focus will be on individual and small group instruction, but there may be virtual exhibits, performances and festivals too.
The Montessori program plans a three hour “work cycle” so that students can take part in virtual whole class instruction, whole class sharing, community meetings, small group instruction and work on individual mastery of skills.
Students will be sent customized boxes of school supplies, and in some cases, packets of materials.
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