B-A evolves with increased needs for virtual learning


Phoebe Potter

Jamie Forshey has played a big role in the district’s readiness to move with virtual learning.

Zach Miller, Photo Editor

Virtual Learning is sweeping the country at every single  level of education from kindergarten to students nearing the end of college. All of this is due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing, but what about last March, just before the lockdowns began and everyone was still in school. Were we really prepared?

Everyone can agree this pandemic is anything but predictable. No one thought that back in March  Americans would be stuck in their homes behind a screen for the remaining days of the school year.

For B-A students, school then was nothing more than getting an assignment at the beginning of the week and having to have it done by Friday at midnight. It was asynchronous learning, assignments and due dates.

Now where is Bellwood-Antis at? Since moving to a hybrid model of learning at the beginning of January, students are in school twice a week and the days they are not there, they are at home behind their iPad listening to the same instruction the in person students are listening to. Bellwood has come a long way from what was implemented in the spring. This situation is not exactly ideal, but teachers and students are making it work.

None of this would be possible without someone showing the teachers what they are supposed to be doing. That’s where Ms. Jamie Forshey comes in. Ms. Forshey has done a lot for the teachers by finding them new apps that they can use and giving them the knowledge and resources to teach students the best they can from the virtual setting. The BlluePrint got the opportunity to talk with Ms. Forshey and ask her some questions.

Blueprint: How prepared do you think Bellwood was last spring when COVID started compared to now?

Ms. Forshey: B-A educators are much better prepared for any educational changes that may occur due to COVID.  We have learned a lot since last spring and have made adjustments in order to provide the best educational experience for students, regardless of the setting.

Blueprint: Do you think that virtual learning is just as effective as in person learning?

Ms. Forshey; Personally, I believe that students receive the best education when they have the opportunity to interact face-to-face with teachers and peers.  However, that does not mean that virtual learning is not an effective way to educate students.  It all depends on the model being utilized and the learning style of students Some individuals thrive in a virtual environment.

Blueprint: What do you see as the future of Bellwood and using technology to promote learning?

Ms. Forshey: Technology is a very useful tool that can enhance learning, so it is our job as a district to find tools that can do just that and then to train teachers how to implement them effectively.  Exposing students to a variety of tools will help them determine what technology they should use when faced with a task, a skill that extends beyond the classroom.

Blueprint: Is Bellwood prepared for another pandemic from a technology side?

Ms. Forshey: Let’s hope we never have to experience another pandemic in our country, but if that occurs, we are definitely prepared moving forward.  We have continued to update our infrastructure in order to accommodate the technology needs of teachers and students.

Bellwood thanks Ms. Forshey for making sure the teachers can do the best that they can for us students.