2020-2021 Academic Schedule and Program
Nobles faculty have spent months honing the skills and techniques required this past spring during Virtual Nobles, and we begin the school year prepared to meet each student where they are. Health and safety and equity of access are also paramount to providing excellent ongoing education and support. Learn more about this fall’s hybrid model, the academic schedule and grading policies, and remote learning opportunities.
As we have worked over the last several months to prepare for our fall return to school, we evaluated our needs, challenges and opportunities through the lens of three overarching priorities: health and safety, equity of access and ensuring we meet each member of the community where they are. This evaluation led to the following guiding principles:
- Begin with live academic classes. Assuming that guidelines allow for a safe return to school, it is important that we start back in classrooms this fall, even if only partially. This is important to fulfill our goals with our academic program and are acutely important for the social-emotional wellbeing of our students.
- There are advantages and disadvantages of both in-person and virtual learning. While we can recognize clear academic teaching and learning disadvantages to being in person given current restrictive guidelines, we also acknowledge the clear advantages beyond academic learning to having at least some time in person in academic classes. We need to embrace the balance, knowing both are important for different reasons.
- Some programs will not be able to happen in person. State guidelines and practical considerations dictate that some parts of our program will need to operate virtually to start the year.
- The model must be flexible. We must commit to a model that allows for flexibility as the pandemic evolves. We strove to create a model that will ensure as much consistency and predictability as we could for our community, without sharp turns and sudden changes.
- We need to prioritize having as much of an in-person class being present as possible. We strove to create a schedule that, to the extent possible, will have as many students present when we are live in classrooms as possible.
- We need to prioritize grade-level connectedness. Recognizing the importance of social and community connections, we need to prioritize students from the same grade being on campus together.
- We need to continue to plan one chapter at a time. Our reopening plan for fall will create as much agility as possible, preserving our ability to make changes as the pandemic evolves.
With these guidelines in mind, we are planning to begin the year in a hybrid model with an academic, community and co-curricular program that offers students a combination of virtual and on-campus learning by having three grade levels on campus, each two days per week. Our hope is that we will be able to offer a hybrid program throughout the crisis, ideally expanding our on-campus offerings over the course of the year.
Our hybrid model will use a modified version of the Nobles academic schedule. To de-densify the campus, three grade levels will be on campus at one time for academic and afternoon programs, each for two days per week. We selected the combination of grade levels that allows for the greatest number of classes to have most or all students present when in person.
- Mondays and Tuesdays: Classes VI, V and IV on campus, Classes III, II and I virtual
- Wednesdays: All programs virtual
- Thursdays and Fridays: Classes III, II and I on campus, Classes VI, V and IV virtual
- Class Meeting Schedule: Every academic class will meet three times each week. Depending on a student’s schedule, they will have between 15 and 18 classes each week, in addition to a range of additional programming, e.g., advisor meetings, meetings with clubs and organizations, assemblies, and meetings with teachers, etc. (View sample schedule.)
- Live Classes: Of the three classes that meet each week, either one or two will be live on campus (the number will vary depending on an individual student’s schedule).
- Arts Classes: Select classes will meet twice weekly (visual arts, acting, dance and Class V and VI arts/technology rotation courses). These classes normally meet two or three times weekly.
- M-Block Classes: Given the limitations of state and safety guidelines, M-Block classes will meet for a more extended period of time virtually on Wednesdays.
- Teacher Meetings/Extra help: Time is built into the schedule for optional, drop-in extra help with teachers.
- Wednesday Schedule: We will schedule those programs that are not feasible or safe to hold in person as virtual programs on Wednesdays to maximize how our time is spent both in person and virtually. Wednesdays will also include some virtual academic classes.
Students and Faculty Accessing Live Classes Remotely
Any student who has health or safety concerns when we return can choose to opt out of on-campus programming and participate entirely virtually. The student’s schedule will remain the same whether on campus or off, and the student will connect to live classes virtually. There are also virtual options for any student to connect to afternoon and co-curricular programs. Recognizing that much remains unknown about Covid-19, and that transmission could occur despite Nobles’s extensive efforts to create a safe environment, all families are advised that the decision to participate in programming offered on campus carries some risk, which families knowingly assume in deciding whether their students will opt for the remote-only learning options.
- Students Unable to be Present: Students who are not able to be present on campus for a live class will be able to connect into the live class virtually. Every teaching space will be equipped with technology to allow for remote connection.
- Faculty Unable to be Present: If a teacher is unable to be on campus for a live class, there are several solutions we will consider, including having the teacher connecting into the class virtually to teach (with a teaching assistant present) or having another Nobles teacher instruct the class.
- Students Enrolled in Classes with Older Students: There are some classes with students enrolled across grade levels. If a student’s live class is being held on a day other than when they are to be on campus, they will access the class remotely.
- All individual assignments will continue to be graded.
- For Classes I-V, final grades will be given at both the end of the first quarter and the end of the first semester.
- Class VI students will not receive final grades at the end of either the first quarter or first semester. They will continue to receive comments from teachers to report on academic progress.
Virtual Nobles Model
Should it become advisable, we are prepared to revert to a fully virtual model, and our hybrid plan to begin the year is set up to be agile and to allow us to move into a more virtual model as needed. Based upon extensive evaluation of the feedback from Virtual Nobles this spring, we have made adjustments and improvements to the Virtual Nobles plan, creating a system that would allow for a smooth transition from hybrid to fully virtual classrooms if necessary. Nobles faculty participated in extensive professional development this summer around virtual teaching and learning, and our academic departments have worked collaboratively over recent months on ways to best deepen the experience for students this fall.