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College and Career Readiness through Blended Learning

Authors Posts by JFY Networks

JFY Networks


The Autumn of our Reconnect. School will be opening. But how?

School will be opening. But how?

by Gary Kaplan

School will be opening September 16. How it will open is still uncertain. Three operational models have been defined by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education: fully in-person, fully remote, and a hybrid of the two. It is up to each district to decide which option to choose. The decisions will not be strictly pedagogical: much will depend on health and safety conditions. Final school plans for reopening are due at DESE August 10.

Kingsman Academy, JFY Partner School presents in DC

JFYNet Partner School takes their rebuild process to DC

JUNE 2020 PODCAST – This month’s podcast features excerpts from a presentation by Kingsman Academy Public Charter School in Washington, DC, a JFYNet partner school. The presentation to the DC Public Charter School Board took place on June 20th, and describes the process begun shortly after the school’s opening in 2015. The Kingsman staff and administration realized that their operational plan was not serving the needs of their student population as they had thought it would and spent the next few years redesigning the school from the ground up. The current move to competency- based learning is the final step of their rebuilding process.

Online Reading Program: IEP/504 Accommodations & Support in Class & Remotely

Individualized Education Program with JFYNet

by Greg Cunningham, Blended Learning Specialist

In this tutorial, we review how our online reading program can help teachers implement effective Special Education accommodations in the classroom or remotely. Software provided by JFYNetWorks integrates seamlessly whether students are working remotely, in person in the classroom, or in a hybrid learning model shifting between remote and classroom.

More VIDEOS ON-DEMAND found here.

HOW ARE WE DOING? In our pursuit to serve up content that matters to you, we ask that you take a couple of minutes to let us know how we’re doing? Please click here to be navigated to our JFYNet Satisfaction Survey. Thank you!

JFYNet reflects on new normal

JFYNet Remote Learning Specialists mull over the New Normal

by Greg, Eileen, Cathie and Joan

Greg Cunningham

On March 16th, the world stopped. Or so it seemed. Restaurants closed, office workers were told to work from home, and going to the grocery store felt like a sequel to The Hunger Games. (I distinctly remember a woman in the deli yelling “I volunteer as tribute” when her number was called.) We were all instructed to stay home where we quickly discovered that Zoom was not just the name of a vintage PBS TV show.

One sector that did not shut down was education. Even though no one was in the school buildings, teaching and learning needed to continue. The schools I work with transitioned to remote learning quickly and fairly seamlessly. At Durfee High School in Fall River we immediately determined that our early college journalism course with Bridgewater State University needed to be shifted to an asynchronous online modality, as students would not be able to access the internet or the course at the same time every day. Lectures would be pre-recorded and downloadable, and assignments would be downloaded and then uploaded when complete, as had always been done. Some students were able to meet online once a week to ask questions or just to check in with each other. For some, these conversations were the only interaction they had with their classmates.

Teachers at other partner schools called it “the new normal. Ensuring that students had online access was a huge challenge. Many students jumped at the chance to complete their work online, realizing that they could complete their assignments in the morning and have all afternoon to themselves, most likely sitting in front of video game consoles. Teachers, however, were overwhelmed at times, trying to keep up with teaching content while solving tech issues for their students. Email become the primary means of communication with teachers. Replies often came late at night, as the days were spent responding to students’ questions. As I continued to create tasks for students to complete, more and more students participated.

Many commented that it wasn’t so much online learning as crisis learning. But for my students, only their surroundings had changed, not the software or the format. It was less traumatic to use the same software at home that they had used in school. Come fall, whether in the classroom or at home or some hybrid of the two, students will continue to engage in learning new content using software provided by JFYNet, just as in past years. It may be a new normal, but it could be the most normal thing they do.

GREG CUNNINGHAM, available THURSDAYS, 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM. Click here to email Greg.

Eileen Wedegartner

During the week before March 16, I had been in every school I work with and left each one assuming I would be back the next week. Then the shutdown slammed the doors and the next week bled into the next and the realization began to sink in that we would not getting back to face-to-face encounters anytime soon. This was a jarring transition for anyone who did not already do remote learning. For those of us who do, and who work with many people throughout the day and week, it was still a huge adjustment.

Schools are very busy places. Teachers and staff go all day with little time for breaks while students migrate from room to room and subject to subject in 4 minute or less. When you are in a school there is little time to talk things through. While teachers can carve out a sliver of time in a prep period or grab a minute during a lull, focused 1:1 meetings have always been difficult to arrange. But now, this remote period has forced me to change the way I interact with teachers. In so doing, I have learned new skills that will make these interactions more effective.

Since the shutdown, I have had many 1:1 or small group meetings with teachers to address specific questions they have posed. Instead of trying to find time in a frantic school day for physical meetings, we can meet online at a time that works for the teacher and for me. Video conferencing allows a degree of flexibility that the rigidity and time constraints of the school schedule does not. Video conferencing is a great tool to have because it means that I can talk with my teachers any day of the week, deal with minor issues, and plan a more extended conference to follow up later. Everyone has become more comfortable with these meetings, so including them in the future as an element of how we work will make communication more flexible and efficient.

As we all adjust to this new normal, I feel comfortable knowing that I can foster meaningful relationships with teachers and staff, and even with students. Education is all about relationships. Knowing that we can effectively develop those relationships remotely and continue to use the tools of remote work as teaching models adapt to unfolding circumstances gives me confidence that teaching and learning will evolve through these new forms of communication and interaction.

EILEEN WEDEGARTNER, available TUESDAYS, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM. Click here to email Eileen.

Cathie Maglio

When schools shut down in March, I wondered how my job would change. For starters, instead of getting up at 5 and being out the door at 6, I could roll out of bed later. I could check email and send responses in my pjs while having a cup of tea. I still performed all the tasks I always had, collecting student data and sending out reports, answering teachers’ questions and enrolling new students. I added weekly office hours on Zoom for teachers to chat and answer curriculum questions. I had phone calls with teachers to review best practices for using the online curriculum most effectively in remote learning. Since students were already accustomed to using the software online, not much really changed in the shift to remote learning.

But something was missing. I was still communicating with teachers, enrolling students and classes, and compiling data into reports. What was missing was in-person contact with teachers and students. I was not in the schools working with my teachers and students in person. I could still communicate with my teachers via email, phone, and Zoom, but it really was not the same. There were teachers I had become friendly with over the years. I would see them in the halls and stop to chat. I missed that interaction, learning about what was going on in their lives and telling them about mine.

Now I wonder how they are doing. Some of these teachers will be retiring and I may never see them again. I have come to cherish these relationships. I believe there is a reason why certain people come into our lives. These colleagues have made me a better teacher and person. I hope I have helped them in some ways as well, not just in how to use instructional software.

These days, I am so proud of my teachers and their students for making the transition from classroom to remote learning. I applaud them for all their hard work and caring about their students.

Technology is a wonderful thing. It can supplement, but it can never replace the human connection that comes from being with another person– in person.

CATHIE MAGLIO, available THURSDAYS, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM. Click here to email Cathie.

Joan Reissman

A Blended Learning Specialist spends much of her time working with students and helping teachers shape instruction. Although school visits disappeared in March with the shutdown, that did not mean we lost our function. I have always had a sense of mission about my job as a Blended Learning Specialist. Even though I love teaching, I feel that I can help many more students remotely. The COVID shutdown has not eliminated our ability to serve; in fact, we are more important than ever. Our clients have a big advantage because they already had the foundation for remote learning. Although many software companies offer free access, they do not give the level of training and support that we provide. We help teachers on a deeper level. Our mission has always been to remove obstacles to using technology. Our programs provide custom alignments, assessments, and reporting. We have constant contact with teachers because they know they can reach us by email, phone or Zoom. Our role is vital because we help teachers engage students with a solid remote learning program. There’s no substitute for a live teacher in the classroom; but working together we can enliven virtual teaching and learning in this rapidly evolving new normal.

HOW ARE WE DOING? In our pursuit to serve up content that matters to you, we ask that you take a couple of minutes to let us know how we’re doing? Please click here to be navigated to our JFYNet Satisfaction Survey. Thank you!

Sheltered English Immersion (SEI)

by Greg Cunningham, Blended Learning Specialist

In this tutorial, we review how our reading program can help teachers of EL students implement effective SEI strategies in the classroom or remotely. Software provided by JFYNetWorks integrates seamlessly whether students are working remotely, in person in the classroom, or in a hybrid learning model shifting between remote and classroom.

Summer Study will Give You a Jump On the Fall

A Fall Payoff with Summer Study

Summer is usually a time for students to relax and hang with friends. But a little bit of study this summer will lead to big payoffs in the fall. All students already enrolled in JFYNet software may continue using the software all summer, and new students are invited to enroll. This video provides online options and suggestions for summer study, and information as to why, due to the Covid-19 school shutdown, summer study is more important now than ever.

Once an at-risk student himself, Jorge Santana leads his students towards success at PACE

Once an at-risk student, Jorge Santana now leads students towards success

JUNE 2020 PODCAST – This month’s podcast features Jorge Santana, the Executive Director of the PACE Career Academy Charter School in Pembroke, New Hampshire, a JFYNet partner school. In this episode, you’ll hear how Mr. Santana was an at-risk student while growing up, worked early in his career to find systemic solutions to help students connect with mentors, and how PACE Academy works with students who are considered at risk and struggle with education due to other factors in their lives. We also hear two current students at PACE Academy discuss how they have found success with the help of Mr. Santana and all the staff members at PACE.

Specialists’ messages to the 2020 graduates

Hats off to the Class of 2020

from Cathie, Eileen, Joan and Greg


When I graduated from high school, our class motto was “At this peak we begin climbing.” My message to this year’s graduates is, You have climbed the peak! Congratulations! As you stand there, you look back to your high school days and ahead to all that is before you. This is not the only peak you will climb in your life. You will pass through some valleys, and you will ascend other peaks. Cherish your time in the valleys. It is there that you grow, learn things about yourself, and gain strength to conquer the next peak. As you prepare for that next climb, I wish you a smooth ascent and a beautiful view from the top!

Cracks in the Bedrock, The destabilizing effects of inequality

by Gary Kaplan

History doesn’t repeat itself, Mark Twain observed, but it often rhymes.

Because of our peculiar history, the current calls for redirection of police funding to social programs fall with a familiar cadence at JFYNetWorks.

We are often asked what JFY stands for. It stands for Jobs For Youth, the original name of the nonprofit organization. Jobs For Youth was founded in 1976 with a Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention grant from the US Department of Justice. Our original mission was to help high school dropouts find jobs. Low-income youth were dropping out of high school at rates rising toward 20% nationally and 40% in the cities. In the early 1970s the Nixon Administration, predating Reagan, thought the best social program was a job. And so, our history began as a juvenile justice delinquency prevention program.

Remote doesn’t have to mean impersonal

by Gary Kaplan

Online communication has been with us since May 24, 1844, when Samuel F.B. Morse tapped out his first dots and dashes. Thirty-two years later, in Boston, Alexander Graham Bell summoned Mr. Watson with the first voice message carried over an electrical wire. Western Union transmitted a halftone photograph in 1921, and in 1927 Philo Farnsworth beamed the first live TV image. The cornerstones of online communication were in place. These founding fathers would be astonished at the ceaseless cacophony of voice, image and text that blankets the globe today in an impenetrable electronic cocoon.