Raleigh charter school uses Zoom video to keep students talking

Posted April 1, 2020 7:13 a.m. EDT

— Longleaf School of the Arts, a charter high school in Raleigh, is using Zoom to keep students engaged with live, online classes during the coronavirus threat.

The "brick and mortar" school on Chapanoke Road is empty, but virtual classrooms using Zoom video conferencing are full.

History teacher John Peeler helps his students put the COVID-19 pandemic in perspective by comparing it to the 1918 Spanish Flu, which infected an estimated 500 million people.

Students and staff have logged in from home since March 19 to participate in full school days.

Johneka Williams, head of the school, credits her staff, including counselors, teachers and parents, for the smooth transition into virtual learning.

"We have been able to maintain each period with all of our students," Williams said.

The interactive Zoom platform offers flexibility.

"It has break out rooms," said English teacher Margaret Chidwick. "I can put them in small group discussions and give them something to do.

There are even dance classes that keep students on their toes and visual arts classes with show and tell.

"There is a bit of socialization, because they're able to talk to each other and discuss different topics," said Grace Franklin, a visual arts teacher.

Williams said the school had already prepared for remote learning before the pandemic.

"We have had years of snow days and years of time to figure out how to use virtual learning," she said.

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