Virtual Learning Overview and Expectations

March 17, 2020

On Thursday, March 19, St. John’s Northwestern will transition its classroom learning to a virtual format. We are proud of the individualized learning and support systems we have in place for our students. However, this unprecedented and highly fluid situation calls on us to temporarily alter many aspects of our daily lives, including education.

For now, our virtual learning focus is on the two weeks of March 19 – April 2, followed by spring break. The scheduled date to resume in-person classes is Tuesday, April 14. As a faculty, we have discussed the most effective and meaningful ways to deliver educational content while maintaining contact with our students for instruction, explanation, and additional support. Many teachers will use Google Classroom, and many will use video explanations, video chats, or online conferencing. We will hold working sessions on how to utilize these tools, as well as to provide a variety of different resources available to teachers and students.

Communication and shared expectations between teachers, students, and parents will be of the utmost importance during this time. Even though virtual learning begins on Thursday, it is also a teacher in-service day for the preparation of virtual materials and activities. You and your cadet(s) should expect to receive instruction from all of your teachers explaining how they will conduct their courses virtually, their expectations, tips for being successful, and how they will communicate with their students.

We ask for your support in reiterating to your sons and daughters that these next two weeks is not a vacation or extended free time. Begin with a sit-down discussion about the importance of continuing classwork. Create a designated workspace giving them adequate room for books, supplies, and a computer. Set the firm expectation that they are to be meaningfully engaged in learning during the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. CST. The class day will proceed as follows:

  • Period 1: 8:00 – 8:40
  • Period 2: 8:50 – 9:30
  • Period 3: 9:40 – 10:20
  • Period 4: 10:30- 11:10
  • Period 5: 11:20 – 12:00
  • BREAK 12:00 – 1:00
  • Period 6: 1:00 – 1:40
  • Period 7: 1:50 – 2:30

Students will need to check their email several times a day or at the beginning of the “period,” ask for help, clarification, or questions, and turn in all assignments on-time to avoid being penalized for late work. Teachers will update their grade books daily to keep track. Our TLC staff will reach out in a separate communication with helpful study tips and ways they can support cadets who need extra help during this time.

This is an unprecedented and highly fluid situation, where updates and changes seem to come by the hour. The best way to get through this is to stay positive, healthy, and engaged with a common goal: our cadets.

I will be available during these next two weeks by phone and email, as will all teachers, so please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns that you may have. Please take care and we look forward to seeing your children back on campus soon.


Stephanie Ihler
Academic Dean
St. John’s Northwestern Leadership Academies