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College and Career Readiness through Blended Learning

- Authored by: Greg Cunningham

JFYNet staff report on the new COVID-19 normal.

Hero Educators

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.

How to log into Mathspace, Online Learning

ON-DEMAND VIDEO brought to you by JFYNetWorks

DEAR JFYNet Partner School Students,

If you need help logging in and are unable to contact your teacher, you can email Greg at GCunningham@JFYNet.org. Be sure to include your full name, your school and teacher’s name as well as the course name.

THANK YOU,

Team JFYNetWorks

Next Generation ELA: MCAS 2.0, Testing Strategies and Review [WEBINAR]

Preparation for English Language Arts in the Next Gen ELA MCAS

This recorded webinar will provide specific strategies for students to use during online testing, including a review of the technology enhanced format used by the English/Language Arts MCAS test and an explanation on how to make the best use of tools available when answering questions. Strategies are provided to prepare students for the specific types of questions featured on the upcoming English/Language Arts MCAS test.

Star Light, Star Bright… Use the Force

Is it the end? Or just a pause for regeneration?

by Greg Cunningham, Blended Learning Specialist

On the night of December 18, 2019, a piece of my childhood came to an end. Though I would not be shocked if Disney found a way some day to resurrect the Star Wars saga, it seems that the storyline which began when I was seven years old, in the back of my parents’ car at the drive-in theater, has come to an end.

My friends and I grew up with Star Wars. Though we learned at some point that the first movie was not actually the beginning of the story, still the release of the first three movies enthralled us. I had a Luke Skywalker poster hanging in my bedroom, complete with fuzzy edges, well into my early teenage years. The action figures, which today would be worth hundreds of dollars, were scattered around the basement.

Madison Park Tech Voc Grad Now the Educator Podcast, Lessons during Black History Month with Settenah Wright

Lessons taught during Black History Month

FEBRUARY 2020 PODCAST – Settenah Wright is a graduate of Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, where she now teaches English as a Second Language. She grew up in Roxbury, MA, attending the Boston Public Schools and spent two years living in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which is where her ESL teaching career began. In this episode, Ms. Wright shares her classroom lessons during Black History Month, and the local connections Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Malcolm X and Barack Obama have to the Roxbury neighborhood.

Philosophy in a Traffic Jam; Pondering Uncultured, Aggressive, Rude Behavior

Acrimony and outlandish behavior the new norm?

by Greg Cunningham, Blended Learning Specialist

Adults are not always on their best behavior. One need only drive on the Expressway during rush hour to confirm this truth. We do the best we can, especially around children, but sometimes we’re forced to explain the behavior of other adults who should absolutely know better.

Origins of JFYNetWorks (Podcast)

With Gary Kaplan, Executive Director
Narrated by Greg Cunningham, Blended Learning Specialist

JANUARY 2020 PODCAST – For nearly 40 years, JFYNetWorks, a Boston-based nonprofit organization, has served high-need populations in Massachusetts by developing and delivering education and job training programs that equip young people with the skills needed to succeed in our changing economy. Gary Kaplan, Executive Director of JFYNet, describes the origins of the non-profit, and how it has adapted to best serve a changing student population over the years.

The Way it Ought to Be… Have we lost the concept of civil discourse?

by Greg Cunningham, Blended Learning Specialist

It begins with the way we are teaching our children.

At the conclusion of his news broadcast on CBS each weekday evening, Walter Cronkite would shuffle the sheaf of papers on his anchor desk, raise his eyes to the camera, and deliver his signature sign-off: “And that’s the way it is.” It was one of the first consistent taglines on television. There have been others, such as Charles Osgood’s “See you on the radio” and “We’re in touch, so you be in touch” from ABC’s news magazine 20/20. Entertainment shows followed, like Carol Burnett’s famous ear tug, a secret message to her grandmother, and the current The View which asks us to “take a little time to enjoy the view.” Rachel Maddow thanks viewers for “joining us this hour” and Ellen DeGeneres implores them to “be kind to one another” when she signs off.

The World After 9/11. What have we learned?

Strength and faith and the hope they will find a way to navigate safely home

by Greg Cunningham, Blended Learning Specialist

Every year as September 11 approaches I am drawn back to that cloudless day and the eerie quiet that settled over Boston as the flickering, droning television screen became our collective stream of consciousness. There was no escaping the stark reality of that moment: America had been attacked, we had been attacked, and we were no longer safe behind our oceans as we had felt we were on September 10.