Distance Learning Doesn’t Stop High School Graduates
2020 has been a year of firsts for so many of us. For Quest Forward Academy Omaha, that includes our first graduates. It was with great pride that we held a virtual ceremony (also a first) for our two members of the senior class, Leah and Ian.
When we first began planning for this graduation early in the school year, the initial planning all revolved around an in-person event at a specific location. Little did we know that all of our plans would be upended as we approached the end of the school year. While we certainly would have loved to celebrate with our graduates in person, our virtual ceremony allowed friends and family of our graduates to participate from far and wide. One graduate had a family member attend the ceremony all the way from England! It really ended up being a very special day for all of us.
I would like to take a brief opportunity to recognize our two graduates, Leah and Ian. These students not only met the academic requirements to successfully complete their high school program, they both showed impressive personal growth during their time with us.
Both of them had various struggles along the way that could have easily gotten them off track, but they persevered. These students took to heart our teaching model that includes regular work on habits and mindsets. By putting these habits and mindsets into practice, they have been able to reach this significant milestone.
In particular, Leah demonstrated the habit of Learning from Setbacks. When faced with challenges in the past year, she doubled her efforts and really surprised all of us in the level of commitment she showed in completing this school year strong. Ian has really had to put the habit of Manage Yourself into practice. He had to overcome hurdles of rethinking deadlines and expected plans all along the way these last two years. We hope that they are as proud of themselves as we are of them.
Each school year brings its own set of challenges. The 2019-2020 school year was no different. While the year brought challenges none of us expected, it also brought opportunities for our school community to rise to these challenges and continue to learn.
One big lesson learned through the challenges we faced this year is the importance of our community. Even when facing the challenge of shifting our school to an online format, it was the sense of community that helped our students continue to move forward together.
The fact that we were able to make such a shift speaks volumes to the hard work and dedication of a number of people. This includes mentors, staff, and a great support team from Opportunity Education. It especially includes efforts on the part of our students and families. There was no playbook for making a significant shift to distance learning, but I think we were able to write a pretty good one.
We are already looking ahead to the 2020-2021 school year. I am confident that we will be able to meet the challenges the next school year brings. We have come a long way, and we are excited about the opportunities in store for our students this coming year.
Congratulations Class of 2020!
Mark Smith is the founding Director of Quest Forward Academy Omaha. With advanced degrees in Education School Administration and previous experience in the Omaha School District, Mark wears many hats. He enjoys the opportunity to see students grow and transform through Quest Forward Learning.