Buffalo's Sacred Heart Academy adjusting to new normal of learning

Posted at 5:48 AM, Apr 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-06 06:12:58-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — For students at Buffalo's Sacred Heart Academy, the school day looks a little different.

The girls who typically wear uniforms and head to their building on Main Street are learning from home.

"Students connect each period with their teacher in a Zoom meeting," said Jennifer Demert, Head of School at Sacred Heart Academy. "They will either have an assignment that they can work on in that period or they will have a live lesson with their teachers."

A lot of schools are doing online learning these days, but Sacred Heart is keeping students on the exact same school day schedule.

The planning for this learning at home strategy started weeks before New York Gov. Cuomo directed schools to close.

That gave teachers and staff the chance to look at how the rest of the world had handled distance learning due to coronavirus.

"What we were reading at that time was a synchronous schedule," said Jessica Geraci, Math Department Chair at Sacred Heart Academy. "So following our regular bell schedule was the best at keeping the kids on a routine, feeling as much normalcy as possible."

The students start their morning checking in, then virtually head to their first period class. At the end of that class, they log on to the next one.

"We are on our regular bell schedule, which I have on my wall," Geraci said. "I set alarms on my iPad so they go off at the end of every class to keep me on schedule."

After four years, it's a schedule senior Brigid Christiano knows well.

"[It's] pretty much a normal bell schedule we all have ingrained in our brains," Brigid Christiano said.

Brigid and her sister Samantha say they appreciate the structure at a time when so many things are different.

"Still I'm getting up and doing my schedule, my routine, and going throughout my day," Samantha Christiano said.

School leaders say the hardest part for everyone has been missing those face to face interactions, and special school moments.

"I know the faculty and staff have been working really hard on, especially for seniors, making sure that we can still incorporate certain traditions," Brigid Christiano said.