Donate to a Student Today

College and Career Readiness through Blended Learning

- Authored by: Cathie Maglio

JFYNet staff report on the new COVID-19 normal.

Hero Educators Abound

by JFYNet’s Blended Learning Specialists: Eileen Wedegartner, Greg Cunningham and Cathie Maglio

Eileen Wedegartner

In a COVID-19 update April 2 Governor Baker apologized for not being able to name a specific date when something had happened. “I feel like March 6 to today has been one long day,” he mused. “I can’t keep track of it anymore.”

I knew what he meant. These last few weeks have been a whirlwind when life as we knew it drastically changed. Seemingly overnight, the streets in Boston fell silent and New York, the city that never sleeps, fell into a coma. Baker ordered all schools closed for three weeks and then extended it even longer, to May 4. District leaders, school administrators, teachers, parents and even students are mobilizing to try out learning in different ways. As I watch my own children navigate classroom meet-ups on Zoom and Google Hangouts, I am thankful for the efforts teachers are making to fill the void we in the community feel without school.

During this time, I have been able to connect virtually with the Higginson- Lewis K-8 School in Roxbury. I was supposed to be in the school the week of March 16 introducing teachers to our online program that would prepare students for the upcoming MCAS exams, when the ground suddenly shifted beneath our feet. Since then, teachers and school and district leadership have worked hard to engage students remotely. While everyone hopes to be back in the classroom May 4, I am deeply impressed with the efforts to ensure that students do not lose ground. From learning to navigate online meetings to crafting appropriate enrichment and practice materials that students can use either online or off, it is amazing to watch the teachers I work with help students navigate these new challenges in a world turned on its head. I sat in a virtual meeting recently with teachers who shared their techniques for implementing programs to help students keep up with their work. While our extraordinary doctors and nurses turn their hospitals into battle stations to defend against the viral onslaught, our educators are doing heroic work to ensure that students can be resilient and continue to thrive in the face of adversity. Their efforts during this shutdown will pay dividends when school comes back into session and students have to re-confront accountability.

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


Greg Cunningham

Madison Park: During the first two weeks of the shutdown, about half of the students previously registered with JFY logged into our software from home. Many teachers are continuing to use our math software to reinforce skills as well as bolstering reading skills with our ELA program.

We were proud to learn that Madison Park made a donation to Boston Medical Center to help protect medical staff on the front lines fighting the virus. Over 5,000 pairs of gloves, 1,000 gowns, 200 masks and 200 foot covers, which the school had intended to use for its training programs in health technology, medical assisting, dental assisting and cosmetology, were donated to BMC to replenish the hospital’s diminishing supplies.

Dearborn STEM Academy: Math teachers at Dearborn have opted to use JFY’s math software to reduce gaps in student learning. Students will focus on skills in which they have demonstrated low competency in order to strengthen their math abilities. More than 100 students registered for the first time with JFY during the truncated first two weeks of the shutdown. We anticipate many more, as teachers plan to work with JFY for the duration.

BMC Durfee (Fall River): Students in the Bridgewater State University dual enrollment courses continue to work and receive instruction supported by JFY during the school shutdown. In early March, BSU switched to remote learning for all courses and has provided instructors with resources to maintain continuity of instruction. JFY’s Blended Learning Specialists have assisted Durfee students in gaining access to coursework and keeping pace while using these resources. Understanding that many students have limited or no access to technology at home, instructors have been flexible with due dates for assignments in order to ensure maximum participation and credit.

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


Cathie Maglio

It is not easy for teachers or students to shift from traditional face to face education to remote. I applaud all the teachers I work with at East Boston High, Burke High, Revere High and Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocational for adapting so quickly to this new way of teaching and learning. I also commend teachers I have worked with in the past at other schools who are now at New Mission High and Hennigan K – 8 for reaching out to re-connect with JFY for online curriculum and teacher support as they transition to remote. I also cheer for students at all these schools who are making the adjustment to this different style of learning.

Teachers are now using online communication tools to teach and stay in touch with their students, and the students are responding.

I also want to laud Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocational High School for donating face masks and other medical supplies from their training resources to Melrose Wakefield Healthcare.

CATHIE MAGLIO, available WEDNESDAYS, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM. Click here to email Cathie.

The Dance of Blended Learning with Meredith Hubbell

A gifted teacher shows how it’s done

by Cathie Maglio, Blended Learning Specialist

One of my favorite classes is the Grade 10 Level 1 English Learners class at East Boston High School taught by Meredith Hubbell. I am amazed at the strategies Meredith has developed to help students build their English language skills. One of those strategies is our JFYNet online reading comprehension program which Meredith uses nimbly and adroitly in combination with other methods.

Cultivating the Garden, Cultivating Students

by Cathie Maglio, Blended Learning Specialist

A teacher is not unlike a gardener.

Time flies so quickly, especially as we get older. It’s now fall and a new school year is underway.

Last weekend as I prepared my garden for winter I started to think about how educators are like gardeners. A gardener sows seeds and then watches the flower seeds turn into beautiful flowers and the vegetable seeds yield their harvest of tomatoes, cucumbers, beets and squash. No two flowers are the same, even if the seeds came from the same package. I love seeing the different colors of zinnias and marigolds and the shapes and sizes of tomatoes, each one unique, even on the same plant.

The Importance of being a teacher

It’s More than Imparting Subject Knowledge

by Cathie Maglio, Blended Learning Specialist

Schools are people— students, principals, deans, librarians, janitorial staff, office staff and teachers. Of all these groups, the teachers are the most influential. They are the largest constant bloc, staying largely intact as students pass through, and they have the most direct contact with students. They are the ones who make the school what it is.

Reflections on the Blue Line - A school year draws to a close

A school year draws to a close

by Cathie Maglio, Blended Learning Specialist

Here I am at the tail end of another school year. It’s been busy getting students ready for MCAS, both in ELA and Math, and ready for college. This year I have been responsible for two schools, Revere High and East Boston High. Though only a few stops apart on the Blue Line, they present very different challenges. I’ll get off at Maverick first and save Revere for next time.

Travel Advisory-Pay Attention
I am always amazed that students ever make it to class on time!

by Cathie Maglio, Blended Learning Specialist

Navigating the corridors of a high school during the changing of classes is a challenge. I’d rather drive on the expressway in rush hour. Students move in packs down the middle of the corridor making it difficult for anyone to pass. They congregate at the ends of the corridors blocking anyone from getting around the corner. They stop abruptly to greet a friend and you almost bump into them. Or they almost crash into you texting on their cell phones oblivious to their surroundings.

MCAS 2.0: Standards-based assessments support data-driven, student-centered instruction

How standards-based assessments support data-driven, student-centered instruction

by Cathie Maglio, Blended Learning Specialist

The JFYNet program creates opportunity by using technology in the form of student-centered blended learning to help young people develop the skills to thrive in school and ultimately in the world of work. This is accomplished by working in schools to help students improve their reading, writing and math skills. There are a few ways to measure the skill development of each student: MCAS scores, quizzes embedded in the software programs, scores on SAT and Accuplacer, and finally placements directly into college-level classes without remediation.

Tragedy and Triumph, The Highs and Lows of Working in Schools

The Highs and Lows of Working in Schools

by Cathie Maglio, Blended Learning Specialist

The schools I work in have been back in session since the beginning of September. I was excited to get back to see teachers I have worked with for years, to meet teachers who are new to the JFYNet program, and to see all the students, new and returning. I have also gone to new schools, giving presentations on the JFYNet blended learning program. I enjoy doing these demonstrations since it gives me a chance to meet other teachers and principals and to show them a program that I know helps raise students’ skills and scores on MCAS and college placement testing.