Hopatcong Students have just concluded their second week of remote learning, and amazing things are happening within the District as the Students, Teachers, and Parents adapt to the new norm and use creativity and teamwork to make this the best experience possible for everyone.
The following article is the first in a series on the school district, and the first one focuses on the Tulsa Trail 2nd Grade team and administration. Special thanks to 2nd Grade teacher Mrs. Mellany Barroqueiro for taking the time for the interview.
Learning to Adapt - Quickly:
As the word came down that school would be closing the 2nd Grade teachers had only three days to quickly create two-weeks of assignments for the students. Since school was still in session teachers worked around-the-clock, utilizing their own personal time to prepare the required first two weeks of lessons on paper (Chromebooks only start in later grades).
“We worked together as a close-knit team, with each teacher taking one subject – and combining the results to meet the deadline.” Stated, Mellany Barroqueiro
Within the first couple of days of remote learning, teachers quickly learned that students were feeling overwhelmed and isolated from the social experience with friends. “We as a team felt that we needed to do something different – so we explored our options and ways to first fix the issues.”
The first change we put into place was a Schedule that balanced the mixture of fun and education that the students found in the classroom.
Beyond implementing the schedule, each teacher in our group worked together to launch a new online second-grade classroom with the help of Dr. Danielle Kovach who has the web skills. On the site, we posted everything they would need for the class, with extra sections for virtual learning opportunities and ways to have fun.
“Afterwards, I put out a message to the parents looking for what technology students had available to judge if I could go further with the creative process.”
Getting Creative: Everyone goes Above and Beyond
For my class, everyone had online capabilities, so I quickly moved to the virtual classroom to further enhance the experience for the students. I’ve never used this technology before, so the first couple of classes were a little rough, but we’re now scheduled every school day at 10:00 AM, and I have all 18 of my students online.
“I use this time to provide the students with the necessary social time and balance.”
- Each student shares current activities
- Answer any questions
- Offer positive words of encouragement
- Time to Interact with each other
- Exchange ideas on new goals
- Provide suggestions and set final goals
“Even though we’ve been able to reach this level, we are still working together as a team to evolve this to the next level on a day-to-day basis.”
Teamwork – Throughout the Community
Mellany shared that this wouldn’t be possible without the outstanding support and teamwork from Teachers, Parents, Students and School Administration, and even members of the community that have helped.
“This has really pulled together an already close-knit team of teachers, and more importantly the parents have really stepped forward to help. I mean they have REALLY stepped forward. Kudos to them!”
Parents that are already handling their own lives and the family, now have stepped-up to orchestrate all of the 1’000’s of details behind making remote learning a positive experience. This includes helping to set schedules, assist with homework and communicating any questions they run across.
Parents are also adjusting to the difference that the School Daily Structure provides in some cases. I recently had several parents say, “We have a new appreciation for the job that you do… I don’t know how you do this all day long…”
Regardless of the teamwork, there is still an individual toll across the team, as Mellany finds that while saving commute time, the job is 7x24 in support of everyone’s different schedule. And that seems to be the same across all groups.
“Every day we pray that we get over this COVID-19 and the school can reopen.”
More About Mellany Barroqueiro:
Mellany Barroqueiro has been teaching in the Hopatcong School District for 21 years and just loves the school and community. While living outside of the area, Mellany confides, “I just really love Hopatcong and the kids.”
Joseph Piccirillo, Assistant Superintendent of Hopatcong Schools added…
“Ms. Barroqueiro is the kind of teacher that is always looking for ways to provide more learning resources and opportunities for her students. She has done this consistently throughout her career and it comes as no surprise to me -- or the parents of her students -- that she would among the innovative trailblazers at the forefront of Hopatcong's online learning during the Coronavirus crisis.”
Credit: Tulsa Trail 2nd Grade Team & Beyond!
- Mellany Barroqueiro
- Katie Duthaler
- Andrea Mancuso
- Emily Minervini
- Kelly Pappas
- Linda Aviles
- Amanda Masilewski
- Danielle Kovach (Website)
- Jennifer Neu
- Stacey Christiano (Where is the World)
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