Moving Toward A New Normal
What has the pandemic taught us about teaching and learning?
As our schools enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is perhaps a good time to reflect upon what we can learn from the disruptions that it has caused for students, parents, faculty and staff. The transition from in-person to remote education in the spring of 2020 and then back to in-person or hybrid learning environments in the fall of 2021 certainly demonstrated just how creative and resourceful our institutions can be when a crisis calls for it. But these last two years have also left many of us stressed and exhausted. Nonetheless, there are insights to be gleaned from this experience that may help us in the future.
A primary source of the stress and exhaustion was having to suddenly figure out how to deliver learning opportunities for students in new ways using mostly old resources. Most of the facilities and equipment our schools possess were designed for the “standard” or traditional model of education—teachers and groups of students grouped in individual classrooms all day with physical learning materials and equipment that belonged to the school. Very suddenly, teachers and students needed to be remote from one another, learning materials had to be found and provided online, and all curriculum delivery, discussion and assessment became electronic—over a hundred years of traditional learning environments and teaching strategies upended in just a few months! Then, in the fall of 2021, the return to in-person learning required very restrictive rules for interacting with one another, posing yet another set of challenges since school facilities were not conducive to the safety precautions necessary during a pandemic.
As we prepare for the 2022/23 academic year, I know many students, faculty and parents are hoping to get back to “normal” and the way things used to be in schools. But I hope that all of us also take some time to reflect on what we have learned from our creative responses and resourcefulness during these past years and strive toward a new and better normal in Hawai‘i’s private and parochial schools.
This is the 20th year that the Hawai‘i Association of Independent Schools (HAIS) has partnered with HONOLULU Magazine to provide families with this informational guide to the 100-plus private and parochial schools in our state. My thanks on behalf of all HAIS member schools to HONOLULU Magazine for making this valuable resource available to parents and students across the state.
This Private School Guide provides a listing of most of Hawai‘i’s accredited and/or licensed nonpublic schools. The HAIS website, hais.us, serves as a helpful resource for families providing information about admissions, as well as the “Find a School” search function that lets one specify the type, size and location of schools of interest. Also returning this fall is the HAIS Education Fair, which will take place on Sept. 10 and provides families with a free and unique opportunity to meet with private school admissions teams. Each child is unique, and the school your family entrusts with your child’s education should be committed to his or her success.
Philip J. Bossert, Ph.D.
Executive Director, HAIS