This Spring, as large swaths of the nation complied with stay-at-home orders, Packer quickly shifted from in-classroom to online learning for the first time in the school’s 175-year history. Dubbed “Remote Packer,” our virtual approach to education highlights the creativity and dedication of our faculty, the resilience of our students, and the spirit and caring nature of the entire school community. Whether connecting during a Zoom class, hanging out in the Virtual Student Center, or catching up on school activities by watching the weekly Scoop video, it was clear that though we are physically remote, at heart we are #stilltogether.
As virtual learners, students are often asked to find things around their homes to fulfill assignments or participate in activities. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Preschool and Lower School students arranged found objects like books, stuffed animals, fruits, and crayons into color wheels and then shared their creations with their friends.
Sixteen Packer Upper School students came together to make a re-creation of the school’s campus to scale in Minecraft. Spending more than 100 hours collaborating remotely, this creative team of virtual architects meticulously captured Packer’s physical space — from the familiar facade to secret rooms and tunnels to favorite neighborhood hangouts.
Artists find inspiration everywhere. At a virtual Upper School Art Club meeting, members got creative with the gallery view of the Zoom virtual meeting platform. They attempted to make a variety of shapes, including this heart. “It was mostly just a little exercise, but hopefully it brightened someone’s day, too,” said Aidan J. ’20.
The New York State on Pause executive order has required many Packer faculty, administrators, and staff to figure out how to balance work and parenting — sometimes literally on their laps! Second Grade teacher Hardeep Juttla, like many, got help with lesson planning from her two “coworkers,” Sanaar and Avtar.
Originally scheduled to address the Upper School in the Chapel, writer and humanitarian Colum McCann gave his book talk virtually. The award-winning author of seven novels and three collections of short stories discussed his creative influences, his writing process, and the inspiration for his latest novel, Apeirogon.
Remote learning provided an opportunity for faculty and students to create new traditions. Students in Upper School Latin III (pictured) and Middle School Latin 7 celebrated Rome's birthday with their first Toga Tuesday, an activity that now takes place each week.
Our dedicated faculty have swiftly transitioned to new modes of teaching during remote learning. They have created hours of video lessons and led dozens of live virtual classes via digital meeting software, like Zoom and Google Meet, all while maintaining the creativity and enthusiasm that is the hallmark of a Packer teacher. Here, Associate Teacher Morgan Wright, prepares a Second Grade social studies lesson to be posted in SeeSaw, a digital learning app used widely in the Preschool and Lower School.
Pelicans are social by nature, so it’s no surprise that during remote learning students miss hanging out with their friends. For many — including these First Graders — video chats provide a way to stay connected.