Ride and Shine Schools Award
Blessed Trinity Catholic High School
While Georgia Commute Options focuses on commute options to and from workplaces, including schools, eliminating the commute to school is typically not an option. Blessed Trinity Catholic High School in Roswell is pioneering nontraditional techniques for continuity, reducing traffic, and improving air quality in the school zone.
In 2014, with 980 students and 83 faculty members, Blessed Trinity piloted a work-from-home approach to schooling: “Virtual Days.” (In the business world, we’d call it teleworking.)
Using new technology to create a different learning experience for students, teachers conducted class from the school while the students stayed home. Some teachers recorded full lessons to play as videos, while others exposed classes to online resources and additional materials that would otherwise not be covered. With the use of Google Apps, faculty could interact with students in real time and provide feedback as assignments were being completed. For example, in the weight training physical education course, students were allowed to focus on the broader scope of health and fitness as opposed to just their period of weight lifting.
With still-fresh memories of the “SnowJam” of early 2014, Blessed Trinity wanted an option that could help reduce snow days from the calendar. After the successful Virtual Days pilot, the school plans to host a series of Virtual Days each year to keep students and teachers up to date.
A survey of students, faculty and staff showed over 70% of their community supports the project and would like to maintain scheduled Virtual Days at least once a year although students voted for more than twice per year. Kids are loving the change of pace as well as their improved air quality.
Not only are Virtual Days ultimately reducing potential added school days on the calendar; they’re also an innovative step toward reducing traffic in the school zone, resulting in less traffic and cleaner air for students, teachers and staff. But most importantly, the Virtual Day program is setting up the future work force to think creatively about their work environments and how they can implement new tools to solve problems like snow days and traffic jams.
Congratulations to Blessed Trinity Catholic High School for winning one of the Georgia Commute Honors Ride and Shine Schools Awards!