The Smart Scholars (SS) Early College programs at FSC partner with the Amityville, Wyandanch and Brentwood school districts to provide college credit classes for high school students, as well as tutoring and college exposure. Classes run on Saturday mornings at the FSC campus.
FSC closed on March 12 and the SS rapid response team dove into action. Adjunct faculty, high school coordinators, and the office team contacted all students to ensure they were aware of the situation and prepared to continue their studies. A new plan for online instruction was devised, and classes resumed on March 21.
Google Classroom, Google Meet/Hangout, Blackboard Collaborate, and Zoom were all used by instructors. Team members scoured the internet to find free resources to aid students. Faculty knew they had to work even harder and be more creative to keep the attention of such a young audience.
So how do you keep students active and engaged? Instructors used many strategies: online tools and games like jeopardy, short, subject-relevant videos, PowerPoints, whiteboard, breakout groups, and screen sharing for demonstrations, as well as providing extra office hours. Unfortunately, not all students finished the semester because basic resources such as Wi-fi access and computers were unavailable. However, with resilience and dedication, 70% (121 students) successfully completed the semester.
The SS family (staff and students) have lost loved ones to COVID-19 and/or been sick with the virus. Additionally, many families are struggling with unemployment, food insecurities, and an uncertain future. But we are strong, and as a family we will embrace the future together.